Vintage Guitars
I'm happy with this
This website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features, and to analyse traffic. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. See terms and conditions

Gibson Les Paul

Solid body single cutaway electric guitar

Les Paul visits the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo circa 1956
Les Paul examining a Les Paul Custom at a visit to the Gibson plant in Kalamazoo, circa 1956

Les Paul was one of the most important figures in the history of modern day music. He was an inventor, an innovator in studio recording and an incredible guitarist. After his death, an auction of his guitars included dozens of projects with experimental electronics dating back decades.

But the best invention he was associated with was the Les Paul solid body guitar; probably the most recognised, and copied guitar design, alongside the Gibson SG and Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster. Les Paul certainly had input on the design, features and finish of the instrument, but the name on the original patent was that of Gibson president Ted McCarty.

The Les Paul was Gibson's first solid body

Rickenbacker had had a solid body over twenty years before the launch of the Les Paul, and Fender and Bigsby had also recently produced solid bodies. Fender launched the Esquire and Broadcaster (which became the Telecaster) in 1950. There had been public demand for more conveniently sized solids for some time, and Gibson finally responded in 1952. McCarty wanted a guitar that would be better than the harsh-sounding 'junk' that Fender was producing. The Les Paul was to have a carved top and a set-neck - beyond the ability of Fender at the time. Gibson produced several mock ups, trying different woods, but ended with the mahogany body/maple top combination of their first solid body, the Les Paul Model. And what a success: with a small gap in the early 1960s, it has been in production ever since.

Les Paul, in an advertisement from 1953
Keith Richards advertises the Les Paul
The 1975 Les Paul catalogue featured Keith Richards playing a Les Paul Custom

Just about every famous guitar player has played one, though it is particularly associated with Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Eric Clapton (Cream), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Paul Kossoff (Free) and Slash (Guns and Roses). Keith Richards appeared on the cover of the 1975 Les Paul catalogue with an LP Custom.

The Les Paul came in several variations. The 'Les Paul Model' of 1952 had a Honduras mahogany body and neck, with a gold finished maple top (gold top). It was regularly upgraded throughout the 1950s, and many would argue that it was at its pinnacle in 1958. It had had two soap bar P90 pickups from 1952, however in late 57 they were replaced by standard Gibson humbuckers. Cherry sunburst became the standard colour rather than the goldtop, and to differentiate itself from the other Les Paul models, it was renamed the Les Paul Standard by about 1960.

The single pickup Les Paul Junior was launched in 1954. Once again this was a mahogany instrument, both body and neck, but without the carved maple tops of the other Les Pauls. It was the only model not to change its pickup to a humbucker in 1957. A limed-mahogany version was also available (at a slightly increased price, and was known as the Les Paul TV.

1954 also saw the first mention of the two pickup Les Paul Custom (the black beauty), which again started out with single coil pickups, but became a three humbucker model in '58. Beautifully appointed with gold hardware and split diamond headstock inlays contrasting the ebony (black) finish and matching ebony fretboard.

Further details on the different Les Paul guitar models

Specifications, original advertising, catalog pages and shipping data for the various incarnations of the Gibson Les Paul.

Gibson Les Paul 'SG' redesign

But in early 1961 the whole range was redesigned - it was given a new double cutaway body shape (today's SG). Early SGs were sold as 'Les Pauls'. For one reason or another, Les Paul did not approve, and his name was removed from these guitars. So briefly, in the early-mid 1960s Les Paul guitars were not available. However, a lot of the early guitar heroes mentioned above were discovering these great instruments, and finding them perfectly suited for the overdriven blues-rock scene that was emerging, particularly in the mid-sixties UK.

The first Gibson Les Paul reissue of 1968

Public demand for Les Paul guitars precipitated a reissue in 1968; initially two models were made available again, the Les Paul Standard and Custom, and these guitars have been available ever since. They sold sufficiently well that further models were added in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, both in well-known and a myriad of lesser-known configurations. One of the first models was the mini-humbucker equipped Les Paul Deluxe, added to the line in 1969.

Low-impedance Les Pauls

As well as being a great jazz guitarist, Les Paul was a guitar inventor, and amongst his designs were the low-impedance pickups designed largely for studio use. The Les Paul Professional, Personal, and Recording were developed by Les Paul himself, using some of the novel circuitry he had been experimenting with in his own studio. Low impedance pickups allow a cleaner signal when recording, however were not designed for normal amplified performances. This was not a problem, as the first two models came with a transformer for live work, and the recording guitar had a switchable transformer built in.

The Les Paul Special 55 was reissued in 1975, and the Les Paul Pro Deluxe, another guitar based on the 1950s models was first launched in 1978.

The late seventies saw big sales of the Les Paul, and a lot of newer models added to the line. Amongst the high-end Les Pauls were the Artist, Artisan and The Les Paul, each with custom features, top-of-the-range appointments and price tags to match.

Got an opinion on the contents of this page? Disagree with something written above? Please comment

Gibson Les Paul for sale is funded by its visitors. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. For more info see terms and conditions.
1969 Gibson les Paul ?59 Conversion 1959

1969 Gibson les Paul ?59 Conversion 1959

Lake Stevens, Washington, 982**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Super cool 1969 Gibson Les Paul ?59 Conversion

Guitar has been refinished to natural and late 1960s PAT Sticker Humbuckers have been added. The tuners have been Grovered, but the originals are included. Original wiring harness. Tail piece and Rich are also original. Homemade wooden knobs which are so wonky they are cool: I??ve just left them. Refretted with a new nut. Has been with the same motor since the mid-1970s

Awesome medium chunky neck profile. Feels very much ... more
eBay logo
1979 Vintage Aria Pro II LC-500 Les Paul Custom Style MIJ Japan W Gibson Dimarzi

1979 Vintage Aria Pro II LC-500 Les Paul Custom Style MIJ Japan W Gibson Dimarzi

Oak Park, Illinois, 603**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a VERY well made to Gibson spec in Japan 1979 Aria Pro II LC-500 with upgrades. The entire electronics array is Gibson, the neck pickup is a vintage DiMarzio PAF Classic, Bridge Pickup is out of a 90??s Les Paul Custom. Pancake body construction like Gibsons of the era, proper 70??s volute, long tenon neck, 60??s style neck profile. Frets are fine, fret end bibs intact, original acorn truss rod nut intact. There??s obviously signs of use / play on the guitar, it??s 45 years old, but ... more
eBay logo
1959 Gibson Les Paul Custom - PAFs - Lightweight - Original Hardshell Case

1959 Gibson Les Paul Custom - PAFs - Lightweight - Original Hardshell Case

Henderson, Nevada, 890**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


The best sounding late 50's paf Les Paul Custom we have ever had and there has been dozens over the years. Most likely due to the exceptionally light weight mahogany. These typically weigh in the 10lb plus range and have never witnessed one this light before! Guitar is mostly all original and has a double white bobbin paf in the neck position. Very light clear coat on back of neck that is only detectable by a slightly darker coloration under a black light. Pro refret with larger wire. A few ... more
eBay logo
Gibson Standard 58 Les Paul Goldtop 1958 Reissue 1971 1 of 25 rarest Les Paul

Gibson Standard 58 Les Paul Goldtop 1958 Reissue 1971 1 of 25 rarest Les Paul

Hopewell, New Jersey, 085**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Gibson Standard 58 Les Paul Goldtop 1958 Reissue 1971 With original hang tag and blank guarantee card returnable to Kalamazoo
Being offered from the private collection of Sound Investments USA LLC

All electronics work and are original . very clean guitar. The Frets are ok but here is what my luthier said. The neck is slightly bowed on low E side and straight on high E side which he states can be fixed by replacing frets and compensating for ... more
eBay logo
1961 Gibson Les Paul / SG Custom original WHITE with Sideways Vibrola

1961 Gibson Les Paul / SG Custom original WHITE with Sideways Vibrola

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1961 Gibson Les Paul (SG) Custom in its original White finish with gold hardware and a factory sideways Vibrola. It has a great playing neck with very worn frets, but still playable. It's all original with the exception of one volume knob. It's also 100% complete along with its original hardshell case. This original Les Paul Custom looks great with lots of minor nicks + dings (most have been touched-up with white... more
eBay logo
1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar w /  Glass Display Case  1 of a Kind!!

1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar w / Glass Display Case 1 of a Kind!!

Hicksville, New York, 118**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar w / Glass Display Case 1 of a Kind!!
Today we are offering a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar w / Glass Display Case - 1 of a Kind. It weighs 10 lbs 9 oz, 24 75" scale, 1 70" nut width. Now let's get past the fact that someone took a 1978 Les Paul and highly customized it This guitar is TRULY a 1-OF- A- KIND and it is TRULY Amazing! You can get any sound out of this baby. No modeling or digital sounds here You want a Les Paul Custom, ... more
eBay logo
Gibson Les Paul 1976 Deluxe

Gibson Les Paul 1976 Deluxe

Topock, Arizona, 864**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


A rare offering with only 14 made in 1976 with the Wine Red finish! Non-original back plates, upgraded mojo-tone oil-filled capacitor and pots, and replaced with real Gibson tuners

Original finish, pickups, and everything else!
... more
eBay logo
1977 Gibson Les Paul Special limited edition double cutaway Tobacco Sunburst

1977 Gibson Les Paul Special limited edition double cutaway Tobacco Sunburst

Nazareth, Pennsylvania, 180**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up For sale is this great Limited Edition 1977 Gibson Les Paul Special Double Cutaway
This Special weighs 8 8lbs
The guitar is in overall great shape. It does have some dings and dents from over the years of being played on the body and a few spots on the back of the neck which have been pictured
The second strap button on the back has been removed and filled but can be put back if wanted
The pickups and electronics work and sound great. The neck is in great shape and the frets ... more
eBay logo
1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop, Slender Neck, Joe Bonamassa Owned

1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop, Slender Neck, Joe Bonamassa Owned

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original brown Lifton hardshell case. Unique among its peers, this particular Goldtop has had its original neck reshaped both in terms of depth and nut width, approximating a late '60s carve with a slender, fast feel and 1 9 / 16" nut width. This Les Paul also holds the distinction of once being part of Joe Bonamassa's collection
Featuring all original electronics, ... more
eBay logo


Ferndale, Michigan, 482**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Here we have an amazing 1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop. This 50 year old Kalamazoo, Michigan made at the old Gibson Factory guitar has been very well taken care of and not played a whole heck of a lot. Besides having almost no laquer checking, the frets show no real wear and no signs of any pitting as well. Cosmetically the guitar has a newer look and customers are looking at it saying 'man this thing is almost mint!' The finish has it's share of very small blemishes and light dings but the... more
eBay logo
1972-1975 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top

1972-1975 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top

Pewaukee, Wisconsin, 530**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Except for the jack plate, pick guard and strap pegs, this is an all-original (as far as I know) Gold Top. No neck or headstock cracks or breaks ever. I've owned this for 20 years and am no longer gigging it. I inherited another Gold Top, so even though I prefer this one, it has to go. Has enough small finish dings here and there to make it a legit player. Although there are embarrassingly few buckle scratches on the back. It weighs a fairly light 9 2 pounds. The Mini Humbuckers have always ... more
eBay logo
original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special double cut 1st edition FIGURED MAHOGANY!!!

original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special double cut 1st edition FIGURED MAHOGANY!!!

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special in its original Cherry finish which shows off a very rare figured mahogany body. This is the first version with the larger control cavity and the lower switch position. It has a great playing neck with great frets. It's all original and 100% complete along with its original chipboard case (missing handle). It's in great shape with some nicks + dings, finish checking and other... more
eBay logo
Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty Ebony 1976 w / OHSC

Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty Ebony 1976 w / OHSC

Renton, Washington, 980**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Vintage Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty in Ebony finish made in 1976 with Original Hard Shell Case. This guitar features a double bound solid mahogany / maple / mahogany pancake body with a maple top, 3-piece maple neck with volute and bound ebony fingerboard. Equipped with its original set of gold covered Gibson Patent Stamp T-Top humbuckers in the neck and bridge position. Controlled by 2-volume, 2-tone knobs and a 3-way toggle switch with original pots dating to the 5th week of 1976. The ... more
eBay logo
1974 Gibson Les Paul Special 55 Vintage Electric Guitar Ebony w /  P-90s, Case

1974 Gibson Les Paul Special 55 Vintage Electric Guitar Ebony w / P-90s, Case

Seattle, Washington, 981**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Up for sale, a circa 1974 Gibson Les Paul Special 55 model in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Professionally refinished in a gloss Ebony nitro lacquer years ago, this finish is essentially indistinguishable from Gibson factory quality, offering a color not otherwise available from Gibson in the model's original run
The first "reissue" of the '50s Les Paul Special platform and a vintage guitar in its own right, the 55 model features a solid mahogany construction and pair of ... more
eBay logo
original 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard GOLDTOP!!!

original 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard GOLDTOP!!!

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard in its original GOLDTOP finish. It has a great playing neck with great frets. It's all original with the exception of a couple of screws and is 100% complete along with its original hardshell case. It's in great condition with nicks + dings, finish checking, a short shallow gouge in the back of neck behind the 2nd fret and other cosmetic wear. There is a very short hairline crack in ... more
eBay logo
original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special double cut Cherry

original 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special double cut Cherry

Carbondale, Illinois, 629**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Add Me to Your Favorite Sellers
Olivia's Vintage would like to present this 1959 Gibson Les Paul Special in its original Cherry finish. It has a great playing neck with great frets. It's all original with the only exception being the black switch tip. It's also 100% complete along with its original chipboard case (missing handle). There is a hairline crack in the thin portion of wood in the body on the bass side of the neck joint that remains only a cosmetic issues as the guitar itself ... more
eBay logo
Unplayed! Gibson Custom 1976 Mike Ness Les Paul Deluxe Aged Goldtop + COA OHSC

Unplayed! Gibson Custom 1976 Mike Ness Les Paul Deluxe Aged Goldtop + COA OHSC

Thousand Oaks, California, 913**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Unplayed! Gibson Custom 1976 Mike Ness Les Paul Deluxe Aged Goldtop + COA OHSC

Google us! Lovies Guitar Shop
Lovies Guitars is excited to present this 2021 Gibson Custom 1976 Mike Ness Les Paul Deluxe with an Aged Goldtop Finish! Since 1978, Social Distortion and frontman Mike Ness have churned out their distinctive brand of aggressive SoCal-style punk. Even though Mike hails from Fullerton, Calif , his taste in guitars is pure Michigan. A self-proclaimed ??Gibson guy, ?? Mike... more
eBay logo
Gibson Vintage 1978 Custom Build Les Paul Recording Electric Guitar W / OHSC

Gibson Vintage 1978 Custom Build Les Paul Recording Electric Guitar W / OHSC

Redwood City, California, 940**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Gibson Pre-Owned Vintage 1978 Custom Build Les Paul Recording Guitar W / Original Hard Shell Molded Case
One-Of-A-Kind commissioned custom build Les Paul Recording model from Gibson, predates the Custom Shop!
Base model is the Les Paul Recording guitar with customized and entirely unique features. Mahogany Body and Neck with Ebony Fingerboard, Dual Gibson Low Impedance Pickups with 3-Way Toggle Switch, Gold Hardware, In-Line 4-Knob Controls for Volume, Treble, Bass, and Decade with Tone ... more
eBay logo
RARE! 1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard Royal Tea Burst w /  Factory Humbuckers! +Case

RARE! 1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard Royal Tea Burst w / Factory Humbuckers! +Case

Thousand Oaks, California, 913**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


RARE! 1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard Royal Tea Burst w / Factory Humbuckers! +Case

Google us! Lovies Guitar Shop
Lovies Guitars is Excited to offer up this 1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard with a Royal Tea Burst Finish! The 1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard is a vintage electric guitar that's highly regarded among musicians and collectors for its timeless design, tonal richness, and historical significance. This particular Les Paul model from 1975 features factory-installed ... more
eBay logo
Gibson Les Paul Custom Vintage 1976 in Original Hardshell Case

Gibson Les Paul Custom Vintage 1976 in Original Hardshell Case

Bridgeport, West Virginia, 263**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom in factory Wine Redwith the original hardshell case. Cosmetically the guitar is in pretty goodcondition for being 47 years old, showing normal nick, dings and play wear. The LP Custom is popular with rock groups because of its amazingsustain capabilities. It has thatclassic 70's Les Paul tone. Thereis nothing that sounds better than a Les Paul turned way up, grinding out somehot riffs! The guitar weighs 10 4Pounds
... more
eBay logo

Find more Gibson Les Paul for sale at

There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment

Comment on this article

Email address
Anti-spam question - to catch web robots
How many legs does a spider have?
Alan Totten Comment left 28th June 2013 18:06:35 reply
Hi there, I have a Les Paul with an inked on number 8 7772. I think it is supposed to be a Custom Shop 58 reissue but theseller also said prehistoric, R8 and goodwood era which sounds like gobbledgegook to me. Could you please confirm what I've got? Do you need photos? Thanks Alan
James E Sampson Comment left 11th May 2013 16:04:43 reply
I have an original 53 and a half Gibson Les Paul without the trapeze, with case that I'm trying to sell. Not restored still plays great, has that cool green stain all across the body. My father bought it in 53, played 25 years on that same guitar. Kills me to part with it but it was made to play not sit on display. If you would like pictures I will send pictures of guitar and case. I need to know its true value SN 3-2236.
Cherry Sunburst Comment left 14th August 2012 19:07:33 reply
Is there a best Les Paul? I mean surely the 1958 Les Paul Standard *should* be, but is it really any better than a 1968 or even a 2008? My 72 LP Custom absolutely rocks, but it's only worth 2k apparently. Best damn geetar i've ever touched.


mailing list


Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

Other Great Sites

Recent posts on vintage guitar and bass

1971 Selmer guitar catalogue

1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.

1968 Selmer guitar catalogue

1968 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1968/1969 Selmer guitar catalogue (printed July 1968), showing the entire range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Hofner, Gibson, Selmer and Giannini. Selmer were the exclusive United Kingdom distributors of Hofner and Gibson at the time, and this catalogue contains a total of 18 electric guitars, 7 bass guitars, 37 acoustics, and 2 Hawaiian guitars - all produced outside the UK and imported by Selmer, with UK prices included in guineas. This catalogue saw the (re-)introduction of the late sixties Gibson Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard (see page 69) and the short-lived Hofner Club 70. Other electric models include: HOFNER ELECTRICS: Committee, Verithin 66, Ambassador, President, Senator, Galaxie, HOFNER BASSES: Violin bass, Verithin bass, Senator bass, Professional bass GIBSON ELECTRICS: Barney Kessel, ES-330TD, ES-335TD, ES-345TD, ES-175D, ES-125CD, SG Standard, SG Junior, SG Special GIBSON BASSES: EB-0, EB-2, EB-3 - plus a LOT of acoustics branded Gibson, Hofner, Selmer and Giannini

1961 Hofner Colorama I

1961 Hofner Colorama IHofner Colorama was the name UK distributor Selmer gave to a series of solid and semi-solid guitars built by Hofner for distribution in the UK. The construction and specifications of the guitars varied over the period of production, but by 1961 it was a totally solid, double cutaway instrument, with a set neck, translucent cherry finish, six-in-a-row headstock, and Hofner Diamond logo pickups. Available as a single or dual pickup guitar, this sngle pickup version would have been sold in mainland Europe as the Hofner 161.

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)

1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.

1960 Hofner Colorama II

1960 Hofner Colorama IIThe Hofner Colorama was the name given by Selmer to a series of solid (and semi-solid) body Hofner guitars distributed in the United Kingdom between 1958 and 1965. The Colorama name actually applied to some quite different guitars over the period, but in 1960 it was a very light, semi-solid, set necked guitar with one (Colorama I) or two (Colorama II, as seen here) Toaster pickups. Although an entry-level guitar, it was very well-built, and a fine playing guitar; certainly a step up (at least in terms of craftsmanship) from many of the Colorama guitars that would follow, and a good deal of the guitars available in Britain circa 1960.

1971 Epiphone 1820 bass (ET-280)

1971 Epiphone 1820 (ET-280) bassBy the end of the 1960s, a decision had been made to move Epiphone guitar production from the USA (at the Kalamazoo plant where Gibson guitars were made), to Matsumoto in Japan, creating a line of guitars and basses significantly less expensive than the USA-built models (actually less than half the price). The Matsumoku factory had been producing guitars for export for some time, but the 1820 bass (alongside a number of guitar models and the 5120 electric acoustic bass) were the first Epiphone models to be made there. These new Epiphones were based on existing Matsumoku guitars, sharing body shapes, and hardware, but the Epiphone line was somewhat upgraded, with inlaid logos and a 2x2 peghead configuration. Over the course of the 70s, the Japanese output improved dramatically, and in many ways these early 70s models are a low point for the brand. Having said this, there are a lot worse guitars out there, and as well as being historically important, the 1820 bass can certainly provide the goods when required.

1981 Gibson Marauder

1981 Gibson MarauderProduction of Bill Lawrence's Gibson Marauder began in 1974, with production peaking in 1978. But by 1980 the model was officially discontinued, though very small numbers slipped out as late as spring 1981. Over 7000 examples shipped between 1974 and 1979, and although no totals are available for 1980 and 1981, it is unlikely production reached three figures in either of these years. These final Marauders were all assembled at the Gibson Nashville plant, and had some nice features not available through the later years of production, such as a rosewood fretboard, and in this case, an opaque 'Devil Red' finish. It's a great looking and fine playing guitar!

1971 'Pick Epiphone' Catalog

1971 Pick Epiphone catalogWhen Epiphone production moved from Kalamazoo to the Matsumoku plant in Japan, a whole new range of electric, flattop and classic acoustic guitars was launched. Between late 1970 and 1972 the new models were launched and refined. This 'folder' catalog contains various inserts released over these years detailing four electric six-strings (ET-270, ET-275, ET-278, and thinline EA-250), three bass guitars (ET-280, ET-285, and thinline EA-260), three folk/steel acoustics, four jumbo flattop acoustics, two 12-string jumbos, four classic acoustics, and a banjo.

1981 'Gibson Specials' Pre-Owners Manual

1981 Gibson Specials Pre-Owners Manual'Gibson Specials' was part of the June 1981 pre-owners manual series, but unlike the other folders contained a mish-mash of different guitars: limited editions, test marketing and close outs. "You will find the unusual, the brand-new, and the bargain within this folder". End of line 70s guitars like the Marauder, S-1, and L-6S Custom mixed in with brand new models the The V, The Explorer and the Flying V Bass.
It was the largest folder in the series, with 24 inserts, (19 guitars and 5 basses): Guitars: 335-S Standard, Melody Maker Double, Marauder, L-6S Custom, S-1, RD Artist, Firebird, Firebird II, Flying V, Flying V-II, The V, Explorer, Explorer II, The Explorer, The "SG" Standard, Les Paul Artist, Les Paul Artisan, ES-335 Heritage, ES-175/CC Basses: Grabber, G-3, L-9S, RD Artist Bass, Flying V Bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bass

1970s Shaftesbury 3263 bassRose-Morris were selling Shaftesbury-branded Rickenbacker copy instruments from the late 1960s right through the 1970s. The 3263 bass was one of the first models, (alongside the 3261 six string and 3262 twelve string) available from late 1968 until about 1974. The earliest incarnation was a set neck bass, produced very briefly in Japan. But production quickly moved to Italy. This bolt-on neck example was built by Eko, in Recanati, using the same hardware and pickups as fitted to Eko, and Vox basses built around the same time. It's certainly a fine looking bass, and not a bad player either.

1961 Hohner Zambesi

1961 Hohner ZambesiThis very early, and pretty rare British-built guitar is branded Hohner London. Hohner were, of course, a German company, better known for their harmonicas and accordions, but they were keenly expanding into guitars at the birth of the 1960s. This model, along with the Hohner Amazon and (particularly) the Hohner Holborn, bear some similarity with Vox guitars of the same period; furniture manufacturer Stuart Darkins constructed bodies and necks for both brands, with Fenton Weill assembling them using their hardware and pickups. These guitars do have some hardware peculiarities, and they are not the most adjustable of instruments, but they actually play very nicely, being solidly built out of some very nice woods. Check out the video on this page.

1963 Vox Super Ace

1963 Vox Super AceThe Vox Super Ace was a mid-priced British solid body electric guitar, produced by JMI at their factory in Dartford, Kent. It was broadly modelled on the Fender Stratocaster, and a sibling model to the dual-pickup Vox Ace. Both the Ace, and Super Ace (along with several other models), were redesigned in 1963 with a new body shape, headstock style, and pickup layout - only increasing the resemblance to the aforementioned Fender. The Super Ace had a 1963 price tag of 47 5S. It's a pretty nice playing guitar with some lovely sounds - check out the videos on this page, and in the Vintage Guitar and Bass supporting members area

1966 Vox New Escort

1966 Vox New EscortThe Vox New Escort was Vox's version of the Fender Telecaster, at a time when American guitars were out of reach for most British musicians. It was made by JMI in England, for the British market, and unlike the majority of other models, didn't have an Italian-made equivalent. But the New Escort wasn't a slavish Fender copy, adding Vox's stylish teardrop headstock to the tele-style body, with a stop tailpiece and two Vox V2 single coil pickups. And it's a pretty substantial, and nice playing guitar, with a very comfortable neck. Check out the images, specifications, and watch a video of it in action. There is also extra content in the vintageguitarandbass supporting members area.

1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin' Care

1969 Fender catalog, Fender Lovin CareCatalog scan. The 1969 Fender Lovin' Care catalog consisted of 48 pages of electric guitars, basses, amplifiers, steel guitars, acoustic guitars, banjos and keyboards. Like the previous catalog, this featured the company's guitars in a variety of interesting settings around California, from the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, to the Hollywood Bowl. Several instruments were making their first appearance amongst it's pages: the Telecaster bass, Montego and LTD jazz guitars, and the Redondo acoustic. It was the final catalog appearance, however, of the Electric XII, Bass V, Duo-Sonic, Coronado I and Coronado Bass I.

1973 Eko Ranger Folk

1973 Eko Ranger FolkThe Eko Ranger series of guitars was incredibly popular in the second half of the 1960s and through the 1970s, selling in very large numbers. The Ranger Folk was 1 1/4" smaller, and 1" shallower than the Ranger VI and XII - and with a narrower waist. Not a bad guitar; a little quiet, but pretty playable. These were great value in 1973, and because they sold so many, they are easy to find and excellent value today.

1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitar

1966 Vox Symphonic bass guitarThe Symphonic bass was built in the UK, by Vox parent company JMI. It was the Vox equivalent to the Fender Precision bass, and was one of the most expensive Vox guitars produced. It was actually a great playing bass, rather similar to the Precision in feel and sound, but was probably just too expensive compared to an actual Fender and consequently sold poorly. When Vox hit financial problems in 1968, unsold guitars and basses were passed on to Dallas Arbiter, who briefly sold the excess Symphonic bass stock as model 4537. This bass, although with a neck date of February 1966, was most likely one of the unsold Vox guitars sold on by Dallas Arbiter. Check out the bass, and the two video demos through 1960s Ampeg and WEM amplifiers.

1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog

1968 Shaftesbury catalogThe 1968 Shaftesbury 'Electric Guitars' catalog was just four pages long, and contained four guitar models: the six string Barney Kessel-style 3264; and three Rickenbacker-styled semi-acoustic models: the six-string 3261, the twelve string 3262 and the 3263 bass. Shaftesbury was the house-brand of major UK distributor Rose-Morris, and seems to have been launched as a response to the company's loss of it's distribution deal with Rickenbacker. The guitars were mid-priced, and built in (initially) Japan, and later Italy, by Eko

1970 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns Celebrated Classics' catalog

1970 Rose_Morris catalog1970 Rose-Morris catalog, dated April 1970. It featured 6 electric guitars, 32 acoustic guitars, 3 basses and 1 steel guitar. It contains the following instruments, over 20 pages: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3262, 3264, 3265, 3400; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Colorado, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12; Aria 1674, 1675, 1676, 1679, 1680, 1695, 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk; Rose-Morris 15-11, Kansas, Georgian, Florida; Suzuki 1663, 1664, 1665, 3054, 3055, 3060; Tatay 1713, 1714, 1715; Peerless 3052; Steel guitar: Aria 3425

1971 Rose-Morris 'Exciting Electrics Wonderful Westerns' catalog

1971 Rose_Morris catalogThe sixteen-page 1971 Rose-Morris catalog featured electric guitars by Rose-Morris' own brand, Shaftesbury, and budget brand Top Twenty; aswell as acoustics by Eko, Aria, and for the first time Ovation. The catalog contains the following instruments: Electric guitars: Shaftesbury 3261, 3264, 3265, 3400, 3402; Top Twenty 1970; Bass: Shaftesbury 3263, 3266; Top Twenty 1971; Acoustic guitars: Ovation: Balladeer, 12 String, Glen Campbell, Glen Campbell 12 string; Eko Rio Bravo, Rio Bravo 12, Ranger, Ranger Folk, Ranger 12, Colorado, Ranchero, Ranchero 12, Studio 'L'; Rose-Morris Florida; Aria 'John Pearse' Jumbo, 'John Pearse' Folk

1972 Fender Precision bass

1972 Fender PrecisionA detailed look at an early 1970s Fender Precision bass guitar in custom black finish, with rosewood fretboard. 1972 list price, $307.50. The Fender Precision had been shipping since at least very early 1952 - with just one re-design circa 1957. This example, then, shows a model already two decades old, but barely changed since the '57 revamp. Fender got it right first time around, and although there are numerous minor cosmetic differences, the essence of this bass is effectively the same as it was in '52: a simple, single pickup instrument with a GREAT sound. Check out the demo video through an old Ampeg B15. It's no wonder this is the bass that everybody wants!

1967 Vox Stroller

1967 Vox StrollerThe Vox Stroller was the brand's entry level electric solid body guitar, fitted with just one pickup and a fixed tailpiece. Although aimed at student guitarists, it wasn't a terrible instrument, but did lack somewhat in adjustability, having no accessible truss rod and only a floating rosewood bridge. But this example is actually quite an improvement on earlier versions, with a standard 1/4" jack and a solid mahogany body. 1967 price £18 2s. JMI ceased UK guitar production in late '67, and combined with decreasing demand for the Stroller, this surely must be one of the last examples shipped.

1963 Vox Clubman Bass (left handed)

1963 Vox Clubman Bass left handedA nice example of the Vox Clubman II bass, built by JMI in Dartford, Kent in 1963. This is a lightweight bass, short (30") scale and very easy to play. It is an early example, and as such has a thin black scratchplate and side mounted, coaxial output jack. JMI offered left handed examples of their solid body Vox guitars and basses at 10% premium. Production numbers are unclear, but left-handed examples rarely come up for sale

1977 Gibson ES Artist 'prototype'

1977 Gibson ES Artist prototypeNot to be confused with the Gibson ES Artist launched by Gibson in 1979; this ES Artist was an early model designed by the Gibson research and development team in Kalamazoo in 1977, the instruments themselves constructed by Gibson artist Chuck Burge. It was planned for launch as a high end semi acoustic with 335-style construction (central maple block) and innovative circuitry - but was pulled at the last minute, being deemed too expensive. Apparently, several examples were produced with varying specifications, though exactly how many actually left the Kalamazoo plant is unclear. Certainly two guitars were sold to LaVonne Music by Gibson in around 1980. Read more about the development of this guitar, with details from Chuck Burge and the story of it's sale to LaVonne music

1959 Hofner Committee

1959 Hofner CommitteeThe Hofner Committee was a truly beautiful guitar produced in Germany, primarily for the UK market. It was a large bodied (initially 17 1/2") guitar with a carved spruce top, available as an acoustic or electric guitar. By the early sixties the carved top was replaced with a laminate, and although still a very fine guitar, the earlier carved top examples, with frondose headstock (like the example shown here) are far more highly prized amongst musicians and vintage guitar collectors.

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean

1965 Gretsch Chet Atkins TennesseanThe Gretsch Chet Atkins Tennessean, or model 6119 was Gretsch's best selling hollow body of the 1960s. This wonderfully faded example from 1965 was originally Dark Cherry Red, but has turned a mid-orange brown. The original color, however, can be seen underneath the pickup surrounds. 1965 specs: maple body, two-piece neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard and Hi-Lo 'Tron single coil pickups. Nickel plated Gretsch Bigsby tailpiece.

1965 Gretsch 'For the Spectacular Sound of the Times' guitar and amp catalog

1965 Gretsch catalogThe 1965 Gretsch catalog, or catalog #32, featured 10 hollow body electric guitars, including the newly launched Gretsch Viking; four solid body electrics, including the Astro Jet - making it's only catalog appearance; just one bass, the single pickup PX6070; nine acoustics and 12 tube amplifiers. Pride of place went to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman that adorned both the front and back covers. 24 pages, six of which are in full color.

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret ends

Guitar Repair: fixing fret buzz and sharp fret endsLoose frets are especially problematic in certain old guitars, but are generally very easy to fix. You'll be amazed at the difference you can make with just a few tools, a bit of knowledge, and a little time. Fixing loose frets can eliminate fret buzz, remove sharp fret ends, and greatly improve the tone of any guitar. If your luthier bill will be greater than the value of your guitar, definitely time to have a go yourself!

1966 Hagstrom 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog (Merson USA)

1966 Hagstrom guitar catalogHagstrom guitars were distributed in the mid-1960s United States by Merson of USA. This eight page 'worlds fastest playing neck' catalog, printed in two-colors contained six solid body electrics, three solid body basses, two electric acoustic guitars, two electric acoustic basses and five acoustics.

1965 Hofner President

1965 Hofner PresidentThe President was produced by Hofner in Bubenreuth, Germany, specifically for Selmer, who distributed the brand in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations. The President was a hollow body electric acoustic, available as a full body or thinline, and with blonde or brunette finish. It was a great playing guitar that sold fairly well in the second half of the 1950s, throughout the 1960s, and into the very early 1970s. The example shown here is a full-body depth guitar in blonde - and as a 1965 guitar, one of the last to feature the rounded Venetian cutaway. From late 1965 until 1972, the President sported a sharp Florentine cut. Naturally, such an electric acoustic suggests jazz and blues, but many of the original British Hofner President players were part of the rock 'n roll, skiffle and beat scenes of the late 50s and early 60s.

1963 1964 Fender catalog

Fender 1963 catalogue"The Choice of Professional and Student Musicians Everywhere" This eight page catalogue was included as an insert in the 1963 annual "school music" issue of Downbeat magazine (September 1963). As well as keyboards and pedal steels, this catalog contains seven guitars, three basses and ten amplifiers - from student guitars such as the Musicmaster and Duotone to professional models like the new Jaguar.