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Gibson Les Paul Standard

The original Les Paul

The Les Paul Model, from the 1954 Gibson Catalog - note the combined wrap-around tailpiece
Les Paul Model / Les Paul Standard
Pickups Two single-coil P90 (1952-57, 1968), Gibson humbuckers (1957-1960, 1976-date)
Scale 24 3/4"
Body Solid Honduras mahogany, carved maple top. 17 1/4" long, 12 3/4" wide, 1 3/4" thick.
Neck 22 frets. Set neck, one-piece mahogany (maple from 1976-82). Rosewood fingerboard with trapezoid inlays
Controls Two volume, two tone, three-way pickup selector switch
Finishes Gold top (with natural mahogany back and sides) 1952-57, 1968; Cherry Sunburst 1957-1960; Natural, Dark Sunburst, Wine Red, from 1976; Ebony from 1978

The Gibson Les Paul Standard, was actually first produced as the 'Les Paul Model' from 1952. It only gained the 'Standard' suffix in 1960, to differentiate it from other models produced at the same time. Initially it was fitted with P90 single coil pickups, though these were replaced by Gibson humbuckers in 1957.

Les Paul was a phenomenal guitarist, as well as inventor and studio recording innovator, and although he certainly helped develop the guitar bearing his name, the patent lists Gibson president Ted McCarty as inventor. The guitar was under development between 1950 and 1951, being launched in the middle of 1952. It was Gibson's first solid body guitar; a response to public demand and to Fender's Esquire and Broadcaster models. McCarty was not fan of the Fender models, and decided to create a far superior guitar, unmatchable by Fender. It would have less harshness thanks to a mahogany body and set neck, but with the sustain provided by maple. This was famously accomplished by adding a carved Michigan maple top to the slab Honduras mahogany body.

Les Paul made a deal with Gibson to promote the Les Paul. He would get paid a commission for every guitar sold, but would also not be seen using guitars by other makers: check out the video to the right showing him playing one of the early Les Paul Model guitars, accompanying his wife Mary Ford.

Gibson Les Paul Standard catalog appearances

The following catalogues feature the Les Paul Standard (or Les Paul Model, as it was known initially). Click through to see the individual pages, and the original specifications/descriptions from each year. Other Gibson catalogues can be found here.

1958 Gibson electric guitar and amplifier catalogue
The Les Paul Guitar is shown on page 16 of the 1958 Gibson catalog. It is still shown with the older P90 pickups, though these were in the process of being replaced by humbuckers
1960 Gibson catalogue
The Les Paul Standard shown on page 10 of the 1960 Gibson Catalog is quipped with humbuckers and has the new Cherry Sunburst finish
1968 Gibson Les Paul brochure
The LP Standard shown in the 1968 Les Paul brochure represents a late '55 - early '57 model, with it's P90s and separate tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece.
1978 Gibson Quality /Prestige /Innovation catalogue
The reintroduced LP Standard on page 5 of the 1978 Gibson Quality /Prestige /Innovation Catalog now has a maple neck, and is available in several alternate finishes
1980 Gibson catalogue
The 1980 Gibson guitar Catalog contained the entire range of Les Paul guitars available in 1980
1981 Rosetti (UK) Gibson catalogue
This 1981 UK Catalog from Rosetti shows the Standard on page 4
1983 Gibson guitar and bass catalogue
The Standard features heavily in the glossy 1983 catalog. Pages 4 - 5 show the construction and all the un-assembled components, with 6 - 7 showing the completed guitar

1960s Les Paul Standard reissue

As the 1960s dawned, the Les Paul was redesigned; it basically morphed into the new SG series, with the name soon being dropped in favour of 'SG'. But by 1968, the SG Standard was back, with it's first reissue. It was only short lived, however being replaced by the Les Paul Deluxe in price lists by 1969. Certain shipping figures suggest that the Les Paul Standard continued in production throughout the 1970s, though it was certainly not included in the 1970 or 1975 Les Paul brochures, or Gibson price lists until mid 1976. The Standard has remained in the Gibson range since this time however, becoming one of the company's flagship models.

In 1980, Gibson released two limited edition versions of the Les Paul, the Les Paul Standard 80, and the Les Paul Standard 80 Elite. These two heritage reissue guitars were based on the earlier examples of this guitar: both had a mahogany neck (at a time when most Les Paul necks were maple), reissued Pat. Appl. For pickups, nickel hardware, the original SP1 headstock with 17° headstock pitch, and were available in Vintage Cherry Sunburst or Honey Sunburst finishes. There were differences between the two models of course: the Standard 80 had a carved curly maple top, the 80 Elite a carved quilted maple top. The Standard 80 had a three-piece mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, the 80 Elite a one-piece mahogany neck with ebony fretboard.

Gibson Les Paul model / Les Paul Standard original advertising

Electric guitar advertisements originally published from 1953 onwards. Click on the images for larger copies. Check out other vintage Gibson advertisements

Gibson Les Paul Standard - They

Gibson Les Paul Standard - They're Tops... Les Paul, Mary Ford and their Gibsons (1953)
Very early advert for the Les Paul Guitar. This was only a year after the models introduction, and at this point, the instrument was simply called the Les Paul model

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Gibson Les Paul Model

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Gibson Les Paul Model (1953)
It's a sensation! This very early advertisement for the Les Paul Model (latterly known as the Les Paul Standard) features Les Paul himself playing the gold-topped P90 equipped guitar

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Les Paul Says: It

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Les Paul Says: It's Gibson (1956)
A most important part of our recording equipment This interesting mid-fifties advert shows Les Paul at work recording guitar with his wife Mary Ford looking on. The advert shows the original gold-t...

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Daddy of

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Daddy of 'em All (1969)
1969 advert for the two re-released Les Paul models, the Custom and the Standard

Les Paul may not have invented amplified music, but he perfected it almost single-handed. He started a revolu...

Gibson Les Paul Standard - The Most Les

Gibson Les Paul Standard - The Most Les (1978)
"Les Paul's silver anniversary is your golden opportunity". Advert for the 25th anniversary Les Paul guitar

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Vintage Voltage. 30th Anniversary Les Paul Standard

Gibson Les Paul Standard - Vintage Voltage. 30th Anniversary Les Paul Standard (1982)
An advertisement for a short-lived limited edition model to celebrate 30 years of Les Paul's work with Gibson guitars

The shape of '52 that shattered all the molds; the classic gold top, The...

Gibson Les Paul Standard - American-made. World-played.

Gibson Les Paul Standard - American-made. World-played. (1982)
This advertisement was widely used circa 1982-1984. It features the American map guitar that appears on the cover of the 1983 Gibson catalogue, alongside the ES-335 dot, and Les Paul Standard.

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1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar with Case

1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar with Case

Dalton, Massachusetts, 012**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard. With Original hard shell case.
Guitar is in great shape and was well loved. Obvious and really nice looking honest play wear!
Pictures can indicate overall condition. This was cared for and played often as you can see!
3 piece neck shows no signs of breaks etc.
Has had a recent fingerboard level and refret
Pickups and date codes on 3 of the 4 potentiometers indicate 1979 vintage (1 pot seems to have been replaced).
Serial ... more
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Original 1988 Gibson Les Paul Standard Wine Red w /  1980s Chainsaw Case

Original 1988 Gibson Les Paul Standard Wine Red w / 1980's Chainsaw Case

Mystic, Connecticut, 063**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1988 Gibson Les Paul in Wine Red. Great playing and sounding guitar equipped with original Bill Lawrence humbuckers. Everything looks original besides strap buttons replaced and has a replaced (blank) truss rod cover. weighs around 10lbs. 8oz
No issues or breaks. There is some finish wear / dings on back and top and headstock. . some light seam lines visible in top.
there is a 1 / 2 inch ding at heel (pictured). Back of neck has light wear only and feels great. Attractive light ... more
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1981 Gibson Les Paul Standard, Tobacco Sunburst, Seymour Duncan / Tim Shaw pickups

1981 Gibson Les Paul Standard, Tobacco Sunburst, Seymour Duncan / Tim Shaw pickups

Deltona, Florida, 327**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1981 Les Paul Standard in Tobacco Sunburst finish. It plays and sounds great. The original tuners were replaced with chrome Grovers and the strap buttons were replaced with Schaller strap lock buttons. It has a late 80s Seymour Duncan 59 in the bridge position (which has a DiMarzio chrome cover for some reason ) Everything else is original to the best of my knowledge, including a much-sought-after Tim Shaw pickup in the neck position
It is in good condition for a 40+ year old guitar, with ... more
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2023 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aged 59 R9

2023 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aged 59 R9

Lee's Summit, Missouri, 640**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


2023 Gibson 59 Les Paul Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aging Sunrise Tea Burst
Great Vintage-looking Top! Great Vintage-looking Top, Hand-Picked! Minty 2023 Gibson Historic '59 Murphy Lab Les Paul Reissue. This one is super clean and we couldn't find any flaws. The guitar plays easy and sounds excellent. Nice and lightweight! Comes with original hardshell case and paperwork and the original shipping box! Check out our website for more photos and other important info!
General ... more
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2024 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aged 59 R9

2024 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Standard Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aged 59 R9

Lee's Summit, Missouri, 640**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


2024 Gibson 59 Les Paul Murphy Lab Ultra Light Aging Sunrise Tea Burst
Great Vintage-looking Top, Hand-Picked! Minty 2024 Gibson Historic '59 Murphy Lab Les Paul Reissue. This one is super clean and we couldn't find any flaws. The guitar plays easy and sounds excellent. Comes with original hardshell case and paperwork and the original shipping box! Check out our website for more photos and other important info!
General Information
... more
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Epiphone Inspired By Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Factory Burst

Epiphone Inspired By Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Factory Burst

Urbana, Illinois, 618**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This is the best 1959 Reissue Les Paul Epiphone has ever made and this particular guitar is premium quality for Gibson let alone Epiphone. Plays super easy. Clear but fat tone for that Tele on steroids sound
I bought a few months ago and have played it a few times but never gigged. It is in MINT condition and priced to sell. Only reason I'm selling is because I have too many guitars and need to downsize a bit
I have no complaints about this guitar! It weighs about 8 5 lbs very light ... more
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1980 Gibson Les Paul Standard Vintage Electric Guitar Ebony w /  Case, T Tops

1980 Gibson Les Paul Standard Vintage Electric Guitar Ebony w / Case, T Tops

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


Up for sale, a 1980 Gibson Les Paul Standard in perfect working order with the original Ebony gloss nitro lacquer finish and chainsaw case. The three-piece carved maple top, solid (non-sandwich) mahogany body, and maple neck deliver the classic range of sounds indicative of this tonewood combination, with incredible clarity and warmth. Loaded with an original pair of T Top humbuckers, the bridge pickup delivers round, chiming tones with a hint of growl and great cut, while the middle position on... more
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Gibson Les Paul (SG) Standard with Sideways Vibrola Cherry 1963 w / OHSC

Gibson Les Paul (SG) Standard with Sideways Vibrola Cherry 1963 w / OHSC

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


Vintage Gibson Les Paul "SG" Standard with Vibrola in cherry finish made in 1963 with original marigold interior hard shell case(Refin / Refret). This guitar features a solid mahogany body, mahogany neck and bound brazilian rosewood fingerboard. Equipped with a set of Throbak Maximum vintage ER-Custom humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions. Controlled by 2 volume, 2 tone pots and a 3-Way toggle switch comprised of its original pots dating the 41st week& 44th week of 1962. The 24 75" scale ... more
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1981 Gibson Les Paul Heritage Standard 80

1981 Gibson Les Paul Heritage Standard 80

Denver, Colorado, 802**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This 1981 Gibson Les Paul Heritage Standard 80 is a dream come true for any guitar enthusiast. Crafted with the utmost precision and care, this electric guitar is the perfect addition to any musician's collection. The body is solid and features a Heritage Cherry Sunburst finish that is sure to turn heads. The model is a Les Paul Standard, a classic and timeless design that is sought after by many The brand is Gibson, a name that is synonymous with quality and precision. The guitar is part of the... more
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Vintage 1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Burst Electric Guitar

Vintage 1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Burst Electric Guitar

Fair Oaks, California, 956**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Beautiful vintage Les Paul. This one has definitely seen tons of stages. All the wear is natural. This is one of those guitars that is a pleasure to play because it's so worn in in all the right spots.

The pots and harness / 3 way switch appear to be original. The tuners have been changed to Grovers. I'm not 100% sure but I think it's safe to say that it probably has a refret based on how much wear is on the guitar. medium jumbo frets look and feel new. The knobs are ... more
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1978  Gibson Les Paul Standard Vintage Guitar Tobacco Sunburst w /  Case

1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Vintage Guitar Tobacco Sunburst w / Case

Aurora, Colorado, 800**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Very solid, great condition, no repairs, breaks, cracks, or separation. Solid body, buckle marks, normal bumps and marks, does not have any issues working straight from the case. Case lock has been broken and does not latch. Other latches work as they should
... more
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1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Sunburst + OHSC

1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Sunburst + OHSC

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


1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Sunburst + OHSC

Google us! Lovies Guitar Shop
Lovies Guitars is excited to offer up this 1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar with a Sunburst Finish! The Les Paul Standard is a legendary instrument known for its iconic design and exceptional sound. Whether you're a professional musician seeking a vintage tone machine or a collector interested in a piece of guitar history, this Les Paul Standard delivers a classic and ... more
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1980 Gibson Heritage Series Standard Elite 80 Les Paul Guitar-Cherry Burst-OHSC!

1980 Gibson Heritage Series Standard Elite 80 Les Paul Guitar-Cherry Burst-OHSC!

Bigfork, Montana, 599**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This listing is for a
1980 Gibson Heritage Series Standard Elite 80 Les Paul Guitar-Cherry Burst-W / OHSC
If you are reading this, you know what it is
9 9lbs
This is a STELLAR example of the rare, Heritage Series Standard 80 Elite
Guitar is (of course) all original and it is in excellent+ condition. The only minuscule issue is some VERY light finish checking on the back of the neck. I did attempt to get it to show under bright lighting, but honestly you can only see it from ... more
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1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard With Protector Case

1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard With Protector Case

Dallas, Georgia, 301**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard in Cherry Sunburst. Plays great with low action. No breaks or damage just the usual dings and finish wear of a guitar of this age. Original pickups and pots. Original type tuners reinstalled. Weighs 10lbs 2 oz. Has original Protector case that has had one latch replaced. Frets are flatter with some grooving, still rings clearly  
Is at Paulding Music Center
Dallas , Georgia
... more
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1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold All Original! w /  P-90s+OHSC

1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold All Original! w / P-90's+OHSC

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


1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold All Original! w / P-90's+OHSC

Google us! Lovies Guitar Shop
Lovies Guitars is excited to offer up this 1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar with a Gold Finish! In 1952, Gibson changed the world forever with the release of the Les Paul model. The very next year, this guitar was made and became a part of the legend of these iconic instruments. This guitar has the tone and playability you would expect from a Vintage ... more
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1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Standard with Sideways Vibrola

1961 Gibson Les Paul SG Standard with Sideways Vibrola



pspanVintage 1961 Gibson Les Paul SG in original cherry finish with Sideways Vibrola, one-piece Honduran Mahogany body / neck, Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard, trapezoid inlays, and 60s slim neck profile make this a player??s dream.
The original "Patent Applied For" humbucking pickups were replaced with the nearly identical, 60s "Patent Number" T-Top pickups which sound incredible. The pickups have ??patent number?? stickers and L-tooling marks on the feet??all characteristic features of ... more
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1971 Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar w /  OHSC One of a Kind Custom Order!!!

1971 Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar w / OHSC One of a Kind Custom Order!!!

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


1971 Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar w / OHSC One of a Kind Custom Order!!!
Hey now!! Today I'm offering up something special out of my personal collection This is a 1971 Gibson Les Paul Standard Cherry Sunburst Electric Guitar It weighs 9 lbs 12 oz, 24 75" scale, 1 69" nut width What makes this special? This is the only 1971 Gibson Les Paul Standard with factory humbucker routing. This was the year of Deluxes, and Customs. Of course, the Deluxes had the Gibson embossed mini-humbuckers, and ... more
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Gibson Les Paul Standard 1980 - Tobacco Sunburst

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1980 - Tobacco Sunburst

Florence, Mississippi, 390**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1980 Gibson Les Paul Standard Tobacco SunburstThis is an amazing example of a rare Gibson early factory stock Les Paul StandardThis guitar is a jaw dropper in terms of original, unmolested condition! There are light scratches and a couple of small dings here and there but the pictures tell the story - incredibly minimal age and handling or wear! Fingerboard and frets have minimal play wear, great low action. The neck feels super slim, very comfortable and the truss rod functions as it should. ... more
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1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop Darkback, Collector-Grade w /  Lifton Case

1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop Darkback, Collector-Grade w / Lifton Case

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


Up for sale, a 1958 Les Paul Standard in collector-grade condition, complete with the original four-latch Lifton case. This Goldtop / Darkback is simply stunning in its presentation, exhibiting limited playwear on the original nitro lacquer finish, retaining untouched electronics and original hardware and plastics
The midpoint of 1958 was the transition from Goldtops to Bursts, making this PAF-loaded example among the last made prior to the switch, with well less than a thousand guitars ... more
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1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop w / OHSC

1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop w / OHSC

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop
This Guitar Is Located At Imperial VIntage Guitars Sherman Oaks
In Very Good Overall Condition (Please See Photos)
Cosmetic Playwear And Finish Checking Throughout As Shown
Light Fret File Markings On Fingerboard
All Original Example
Mojoaxe Compensated Bridge Added (Original Included)
Original Frets In Fully Playable Condition
Original Receipt Of Sale, Hang Tag And Strings
Neck Depth At 1st Fret: 0 90 "
Neck Depth At... more
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Rob Comment left 24th May 2017 04:04:59 reply
I have a Les Paul Standard Model, serial number 109602 in what I believe is called Dark Sunburst or Coffee Sunburst finish, that I inherited from my brother-in-law. I have every reason to believe he already owned it when I first met him in 1976. It has twin humbucker pickups, cream plastic trim, and seems to be all original in all other respects as well. I love it and play it every week. I am trying to determine the year of manufacture. Apparently Gibson records for the early 1970s are deficient. The pots are marked 1377421 and 70-028, and I found on another website for Gibson dating that this means they were made in either 1970 or 1974. I offer this information as just another small piece of evidence to support your statement in the article that Gibson was producing Les Paul Standards through the 1970s.
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 24th May 2017 15:03:40 reply
Hi Rob. Well, as you know you can not ascertain the precise year of manufacture from the serial number, however your pot codes do give some info. 70-028 is the part number, and 1377421 gives the date of the pots manufacture (21st week of 1974) and the manufacturer (137 = CTS). So although, technically, a guitar could sit around the Kalamazoo plant for some time before the electronics were fitted, it is more likely that both were built in 1974. If you get a chance post a pic in the forum - would be great to see it.
PJ Comment left 25th May 2017 16:04:10 reply
Hey Rob, First off, I made an error on reporting my serial number, it was a typo...should have been 680071. That said, in 1987 I wrote to Gibson in an attempt to verify when my Standard was actually manufactured. They sent me back a manila envelope containing a booklet called "The Gibson Story" that was published in 1973, a nice generic cover letter (actually photocopied), and list of serial numbers From the letter: "We here at Gibson are always pleased when our retail customers want to learn more about our products. We appreciate your interest in wanting to know more about your Gibson Guitar. Unfortunately, it would require a full-time staff of Gibson historians to answer all the inquires we receive regarding manufacture dates, type of material used, value of instrument etc. Enclosed find our serial number listing which should help you determine the age of your guitar. blah...blah..." I believe the relevant part of the "enclosed" for your serial number is this: "...To clarify serial numbers from the early 70's, the headstock will be stamped "Made in USA" under the serial number in the following: 1970: 100,000 - 400,000 1971: 400,000 - 700,000 1972: 700,000 - 980,000 In 1975 eight digit serial numbers were initiated. 1975: 99000000 1976: 00000000 In 1977 a new system was inaugurated in which the first and fifth digits of an eight-digit serial number identify the guitar's year of construction. For example, an instrument labeled 73128056 is a 1978." Using the guide from the horse's mouth, My serial number falls in the mid-ish 1971 range which validates my guitar's manufacture date, given what I also know and stated in my previous email: ordered in 1970, arrived in 1971. Using the same guide, your guitar's serial number would fall in the early 1970' range -given of course that it has "Made in USA" stamped into the headstock, beneath the serial number. That said, it does not line up with your pot's alleged manufacture number. My speculation? one of three possibilities (there may be more): 1. Your neck was manufactured, stamped, and dated in 1970 and sat waiting for a body until 1974 at which time the pickups and pots were installed. Of course, I don't know at what point a manufactured neck (or guitar) would have received a serial number. 2. Your guitar was manufactured in 1970 and the pots were replaced at some point afterwards. 3. the pot serial number dating system is flawed. So the mystery of your Standard's manufacture continues, unless your brother in law, or the store where the guitar was purchased (if still around) can verify the date of purchase. My Standard came from Appleway Music in Ft. Collins, Co. in 1970-71, however, Joe Fonfara sold the store in the late 1970's and it has long since gone out of business. Hope this is insightful and helps you narrow down your guitar's date of manufacture. Paul
Vintage Guitar and Bass Comment left 25th May 2017 16:04:42 reply
1970: 100,000 - 400,000 1971: 400,000 - 700,000 1972: 700,000 - 980,000 Hi PJ. Thanks, interesting post. That specific piece of info (even though from Gibson) is incorrect/incomplete. Gibson customer service (at least in the past) have been famous for giving out dramatically over-simplified info. I can provide dozens of examples that contradict those numbers. You are correct that after serial numbers were allocated, guitars may have sat around for some time before being shipped, however this more often the case with lower volume models. I have records of several Gibson guitars and basses with similar 10xxxx serial numbers and pots dating to mid 1973, and shipped in 1974 - including models only launched in late '73 for example - so definitely not 'old stock'. IMHO a shipping date of 1974 is still the most likely option.
Rob Comment left 25th May 2017 17:05:39 reply
Thanks for your interest, PJ and Vintage moderator. The serial number 109602 and MADE IN U.S.A. are impressed into the head stock. I am satisfied that the pots dating to the 21st week of '74 i.e. May 20-24 are a good indication of 1974 being the correct year. It may have been a high school graduation present for my brother-in-law that year, and it is extremely unlikely that he would have ever replaced the pots. The sales receipt and cancelled check were probably among the thousands of such papers in my father-in-law's stuff when we cleared it all out, but I never thought to look for them at the time because I did not know I would inherit the guitar 4 years later.
PJ Comment left 14th May 2017 19:07:50 reply
In 1970 a friend of mine "special ordered from the factory", a 1954 Les Paul Model Standard Gold Top that looks identical to the picture in this article. He sold it to me in 1976, as by then he was more interested in playing his bass guitar. I have owned it since then, and continue to play this sweet sounding beauty. The only blemish it has is a barely noticeable, tiny (1/8th inch x 2/16 inch) ding in the finish located about 1 1/2" in from the upper bout - the result of an ashtray falling on it. LOL. The body is a single, solid piece of Honduras mahogany, with a carved maple top. Serial number 080071 is stamped into the headstock. the words "Made in USA" are also stamped in the headstock. This guitar dispels the myth that all Gibsons manufactured in the 1970s are garbage.


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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.