1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard Burst
Posted on June 10 2021
It was such a thrill to be the buyer for this 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard and to own it, if only for a short time. I spent all the time that I could with it trying to get a better feel for all its small details and features. I'm always a buyer for vintage Gibson guitars, but I'm especially looking for Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.
If you're looking for help with Gibson guitar dating, check out How to date a Gibson Les Paul.
The 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard goes back to at least 1952 when Gibson introduced its new solid body electric guitar for Spanish style playing, the gold finished Les Paul Model. It went through many changes and updates to get to the guitar we see here from 1958. Most notably, the Cherry Sunburst finish was introduced on the model during the 1958 production. This 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard is an authentic example of this new finish.
Of the 434 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standards listed in the shipment ledger, some were finished Gold with brown stained back and sides and some were finished with the new Cherry Sunburst. We don't have a full accounting of how many Gibson Les Paul Standards were made in each finish in 1958.
Of equally important note to the 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard, Gibson employee Seth Lover helped design a brand new type of pickup in 1955 that replaced its old single coil design, the P-90. The Humbucking pickup utilized two coils with reverse direction windings that cancelled the 60 cycle hum that often plagued the single coil pickups. The Humbucking pickup replaced the P-90 on the Les Paul Model in 1957. It's commonly called the "PAF" pickup because of the sticker on the back that reads "PATENT APPLIED FOR". This is the pickup that helps make the 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard such a coveted guitar.
This 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard burst, nicknamed "PJ" because of the name on the case, weighed in at 8lbs 14oz. The neck profile measured exactly .90" deep at the first fret. This is a typical fat 1958 profile that I found very comfortable because of the slightly thin shoulders of the C shape. Many of the R8 reissue Les Pauls had more a D shaped neck that felt even larger than they measured. This was not the case with this guitar!
The control cavity of this 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard had some interesting features that are specific to a 1958 Gibson guitar. Check out the way that the ground wire is soldered to the back of each pot. You can also see the bright yellow lead covers on the capacitors. It seems that Gibson wasn't preoccupied with the direction of the capacitors when installing them since many from this time period are installed opposite of each other, including this guitar. You can also see a pretty nice chew mark on the edge of the cavity. The potentiometer codes read 134 808 which indicates Centralab, 1958, 8th week. Check out How to date Gibson and Fender guitars with potentiometer codes.
Another interesting feature that's typical of 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars and even some early 59s is the small fret style. Gibson updated their standard fret size to large jumbo frets in 1959 so there are far more large fret bursts than small fret guitars. This guitar had been played a lot so there was very little meat left on the small frets. It was still a blast to play!