1954 Gibson Les Paul Model goldtop from an Appraisal
Posted on February 03 2021
The Gibson Les Paul Model is one of my favorite guitar that has ever been made, so it's a joy to be trusted to appraise a family's prized vintage Les Paul. This 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model, commonly referred to as a goldtop, is a fantastic example of a well preserved wrap tail Les Paul from the second year of production.
If you're looking for help an appraisal for your 1950s Gibson Les Paul Model, check out the Guitar Appraisal page. You can also reach out to me here to sell a vintage Gibson Les Paul. You can also check out How to date a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar for help with Gibson guitar dating.
You can also check out another 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model appraisal.
Gibson's Les Paul Model (later called the Standard) was introduced in 1952 as a solid body electric with arched top and a trapeze tailpiece, which loosely resembled the archtop guitars that the company was famous for at the time. By 1954, the trapeze tailpiece transitioned to a simple metal bar bridge supported by two heavy threaded studs on either end (now referred to as the wrap tail bridge). This 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model features the typical thin ear wrap tail bridge, two P-90 single coil pickups, cream white pickup covers and rocket fin shaped pickguard, barrel shaped amber knobs, trapezoid fretboard inlays on a Brazilian Rosewood fretboard, "Gibson" peghead logo inlaid with mother of pearl, and tulip shaped buttoned Kluson tuners. The amber switch tip is typical for this time period and likely original to the guitar. The only part I could find that does not match the original part is the output jack plate below. This one is black; the original plate would have been cream colored like the other plastics. It's a common part to crack unfortunately!
I was also provided with a picture of the capacitors and potentiometers on the inside of the control cavity. The date codes on these potentiometers are likely on the side rim, so I'm not able to read the codes (Check out How to date Gibson guitars with potentiometer codes). I can see that the two capacitors here are the Grey Tiger brand which is typical to find in 1954. I can also see that the solder appears to be undisturbed, which is a good indication that all electronic parts are original to the guitar.
This picture of the peghead gives us the proper name of the guitar silkscreened in gold underneath the inlaid pearl Gibson brand. "Les Paul Model" is what the catalog and company called the guitar until it became the Standard in the late 1950s. The "Model" was the first of 5 "Les Paul" artist endorsed Gibson guitars that were all in the catalog by 1955. The lowest student grade Les Paul was the Junior, then the TV Model, the Special, The Standard, and the highest grade Les Paul was the Custom. So many calling the goldtop simply the "Model" makes a little more sense now!