1954 Gibson Les Paul Model (Goldtop!) - Pictures From A Recent Appraisal

John Shults

Posted on December 04 2019

1954 Gibson Les Paul Model goldtop Appraisal

I love being trusted to appraise (or offer an opinion of the replacement value) a vintage guitar - especially Gibson Les Paul guitars. I recently received pictures and a request for an appraisal from the grandson of the original owner of this beautiful 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model. I poured over every detail I could in these pictures to determine what, if anything, had been changed or modified or repaired. You can contact me here at my appraisal page if you're interested in an opinion of the replacement value of your vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar.

Vintage 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model guitar goldtop

And what a beautiful example it is! Here we can see what appears to be the original gold finished top (with Maple cap underneath), two P-90 pickups, barrel style or "Speed" knobs, wrap tail style wrap over stop bar tailpiece, trapezoid fretboard inlays, neck binding, rocket fin style pickguard, and cream colored plastics. The finish has moderate (and very attractive) checking (small lines as a result of expansion and contraction). The gold in the finish tends to turn green in places where it oxidizes because of the copper content. There appears to be oxidation on all the parts that would likely wipe off easily with a gentle professional cleaning.

1954 Gibson Les Paul Model Mahogany back

Here's the lightly brown stained and finish Mahogany back with two control access plates. The Les Paul Model was introduced with a single cutaway, carved top, and gold top finish in 1952. The model was updated and renamed the Standard in 1958 with a Sunburst top finish in 1958. 

Control cavity, original potentiometers and electronics, 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model goldtop

Here we can see the control cavity with the back panel removed. The four round topped metal cans are called potentiometers (often shortened to "pots") which house the variable resistors that control the volume and tone. The two cream colored tubes are capacitors. This guitar appears to have all its original electronics and doesn't show evidence of prior modification or repair. 

 1954 Gibson Les Paul Model neck, headstock

Finally, this picture shows the headstock of the Les Paul Model! The Gibson logo is inlaid in pearl and the "Les Paul Model" signature and model name is silkscreened on the black painted holly peghead overlay. The Kluson tuners have tulip style buttons with a single ornamental ring. The truss rod nut cover is a two ply plastic cover with thick white base and thin black top. 

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