Gibson Les Paul/SG Standard Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963)

Gibson  Les Paul/SG Standard Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1963)
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Item # 11862
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Gibson Les Paul/SG Standard Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963), made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, serial # 132657, cherry lacquer finish, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, original black hard shell case.

This is a truly stunning example of a late-model Les Paul/SG Standard from 1963, one of Gibson's all-time classic solid body guitars. With a deep cherry lacquer finish on its exquisitely sculpted double-cutaway body, this was an incredibly radical looking and feeling instrument in its day, offering more unencumbered neck than anyone had ever seen! This style "Standard" replaced the original single-cutaway Les Paul just at the end of 1960; while the original single-cutaway Les Pauls roared back to favor later in the 1960s, this slim and supple SG has also been considered a classic for generations. Les Paul himself was not a fan, and his endorsement was removed from the model later in 1963 not long after this one was made.

This LP/SG mounts two hot yet sweet early "Patent Number" humbucking pickups, identical to the final PAF's and one of Gibson's finest sonic creations. The neck pickup is missing the "Patent" sticker but is definitely a perfectly matched original. The wiring and solder are untouched; most pot date codes are soldered over but they appear to be from the 33rd week of 1963. The controls are topped with metal capped back-painted plastic knobs. All hardware is nickel plated; the original no-wire Tune-O-Matic bridge has the rare bone saddles, something of a stop-gap between the metal and nylon variants. The then-new Gibson Deluxe Vibrola tailpiece has the long engravrd rear cover piece which has no real function but does dress the guitar up a bit!

The bound rosewood fingerboard has trapezoidal pearloid inlay. The neck profile is no longer the slim "flat" feeling 1960-61 version, but the stouter 63-4 carve with the deeper, rounder back and much chunkier feel. The headstock has double-ring Kluson Deluxe tuners and Gibson's classic "crown" inlay on the face. "Les Paul" is engraved into the truss rod cover.

The early '60s was a great period for the entire SG series but particularly the Standard; these early Les Paul-marked SGs with the sculpted mahogany bodies and transitional PAF/Patent # pickups have an aesthetic and sonic character unlike any others. They actually have a chiming, bell like sound at low volume but of course are now most highly prized as rock machines. While fairly popular when new they really came into their own in the late 1960s with the advent of high volume amplification (from Marshall, especially) unleashed the screaming beast within!

Exactly 1445 of these elegantly badass guitars were shipped in 1963. The final ones shipped with "Les Paul" markings had serial numbers in the 135XXX region; this one is #132657 so is not far off from end of that endorsement; after October 1963 the "Les Paul" logo is abandoned. The SG Standard had always remained a popular guitar; most '63s have been far more heavily used than this one has. The model had a particular heyday in the late '60s and early '70s -- anyone who has seen live footage of Cream (or dozens of other period bands) in 1967-8 knows what these ultra light and responsive SG/Les Pauls are capable of! Simply one of the classic rock guitars of any era, it is also a more versatile instrument than many think.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 13 1/4 in. (33.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/4 in. (3.2 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).
This is a truly superb example of a 1963 Les Paul Standard, showing only vert light use for 60 years along and spectacularly well-preserved, especially for this particular model. It is all original except for a superb refret and a easily0reversed bridge substitution. The heel joint is the major trouble spot in early SGs, often having been either partially or wholly broken. This one shows NO damage or movement at all, and the headstock is also completely free of the common cracks.

The finish is completely original with no touchup or overspray, and retains a very strong deep red cherry color with the only noticeable fade on the back of the neck from hand contact. The lacquer shows some scuffing with small dings and dents overall; the bottom back/side edge on the lower bout has some minor rubbed-away finish loss but the back is amazingly free of buckle rash. The headstock edges have a few tiny dinks but are far cleaner than most.

The hardware is all original and complete; the guitar is currently fitted with the solid machined Callaham ABR bridge, but the clean original bone-saddle bridge is in the case pocket, easily re-installed. The oft-missing vibrato arm with its screw and nylon bushings is present and complete. The G string tuner shaft is slightly bent, but fully functional. The nickel plating shows some light corrosion most visibly to the pickup covers and Vibrato. The original pickguard has shrunken up just slightly but is fully intact with no cracks or popped corners.

This is one of the best playing Les Paul/SG's we have had, which the excellent break angle off the vibrato and solid milled metal Callaham bridge are a major factor in. It has been neatly refretted with 50 x 100 wire (medium size, taller but not wider than the original). This could be taken down closer to original spes. if desired. This lovely SG offers sounds ranging from sweet to snarly, or truly rampaging when pushed into overdrive. It rests in its original yellow lined black case looking fast just sitting still, to this day one of the wickedest rock machines ever. Under the lid is a small sticker from the original dealer Vokac Music in Chicago, and in the case is a battered but original copy of the 1962 Gibson catalog from the same store. Overall Excellent + Condition.