The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe first debuted in 1969/70; they first appear in the Gibson price list of September '69, though shipping figures show none shipped until 1970. Two years earlier, Gibson had relaunched the Les Paul Standard and Custom. Where the (reissued 60s) Standard had two cream-covered single-coil P90s, the Deluxe came equipped with two cream-surrounded mini-humbuckers. Structurally they were the same though: a mahogany body and neck with carved maple gold-top (although numerous other colours became available later). The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe went on to become one of Gibson's most successful models, with over 35 thousand guitars shipped in the 1970s alone (see Les Paul Deluxe shipping statistics).
1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe in beautifully Cherry Sunburst finish Image Heritage auctions
So why did Gibson change from single coil to the mini-humbuckers? These pickups had never been used on Gibson instruments before (they differed from the mini-humbuckers used on the Firebird in that they had pole pieces), but they had been used on very many Epiphone models (Crestwood Custom, Crestwood Deluxe, Sheraton, Wilshire, Riviera, Emperor, Broadway). In late 1969 production of all Epiphone instruments moved from the Gibson Kalamazoo factory to Japan. Was the introduction of these pickups more about using up left over stock (one of the few hardware items not used on a Gibson equivalent model) than a deliberate hardware choice?
The following description is taken from the 1970 Gibson catalogue
LES PAUL DELUXE High Impedance
This Les Paul model is "deluxe" in every way. Fine performance and outstanding styling. The attractive gold finished carved maple top is magnificently highlighted by two powerful chrome-plated humbucking pickups.
FEATURES: Gold finished carved maple top with laminated mahogany back and neck. Two powerful chrome-plated humbucking pickups. Fast, low-action neck joins body at 16th fret. Three-piece laminated mahogany neck with adjustable truss rod. Graceful single cutaway design. Three-position toggle switch activates either or both pickups. 22 fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl inlays. Double combination bridge and tailpiece. Tune-0-Matic bridge, adjustable up and down and individual fine tuning adjustment for each string. Individual pickup pole pieces. Nickel-plated metal parts with individual machine heads. 17 1/4" long, 12 3/4" wide, 2" deep; scale length 24 3/4".
The Les Paul Deluxe shipped very well indeed. As can be seen it was incredibly popular in the early seventies, selling more than many other vintage Les Paul versions, although its position did slip as the decade wore on.
|Model \ Year||1970||1971||1972||1973||1974||1975||1976||1977||1978||1979||total|
|Les Paul Deluxe||22||8||339||7||376|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Blue Sparkle||215||9||7||231|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Blue Sparkle LH||2||2|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Cherry||1039||760||227||280||1||2307|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Cherry Sunburst||220||1671||4529||3198||679||40||107||885||73||11402|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Cherry Sunburst LH||25||65||59||36||39||28||252|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Goldtop||2587||3144||2482||4880||2955||394||34||93||915||70||17554|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Goldtop LH||27||36||34||45||66||23||22||34||22||309|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Natural||82||3||12||345||16||458|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Red Sparkle||124||124|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Red Sparkle LH||1||1|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Tobacco Sunburst||169||608||796||293||13||1041||93||3013|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Tobacco Sunburst LH||2||5||4||31||42|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Walnut||36||67||7||2||112|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Wine Red||610||14||99||831||41||1595|
|Les Paul Deluxe - Wine Red LH||1||30||24||21||32||108|
|Les Paul Deluxe with humbuckers||9||179||28||5||221|
|Total Les Paul Deluxe||2587||4466||5194||10484||7367||2561||172||413||4450||413||35520|
|Total Les Paul Custom||2612||3201||4062||8322||7563||7451||4323||3134||10850||1699||53217|
|Total Les Paul Recording||236||1314||1759||915||204||332||362||180||78||5380|