Among my absolute favorite vintage guitars is the Gibson Les Paul Model goldtop with gold finish made from mid 1957 to mid 1958. Gibson's Les Paul model guitar was only five years old in 1957, and in my opinion, this is the year they finally got it right. Goldtop Les Paul guitars from previous years are fantastic of course, but the combination of the tune-o-matic bridge, humbucking pickups, and last full year of the gold finish is the best combination of features. 

As a Gibson guitar collector, I'm always looking for the nicest examples of Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s. My favorite year for the Les Paul is 1957 like the guitar pictured above. If you've inherited a 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitar and are curious about how much I would value it then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. Or if you're looking for help with how to find the year of my Gibson Les Paul then check out the Les Paul Serial Number Lookup

1957 Les Paul History

The Gibson Les Paul Model with gold finish debuted in 1952, but in my opinion as a guitar player, it peaked in 1957. The solid body electric guitar was only a few years into existence in mass produced form, so it took some time for guitar manufacturers to fully refine them into the tools we know them as today. The two main features that make the 1957 Gibson Les Paul Model my favorite are the humbucking pickups and the Tune-O-Matic bridge. The powerful humbucking pickup became the sound of Rock and Roll for decades to come, and the tune-o-matic bridge gave the Les Paul solid tuning stability and intonation to make the note pure. You can check out some earlier year Goldtop Les Paul guitars here: Gibson Les Paul Gold 1954 and Gibson Les Paul Gold 1956.

It's easy to find the year of a 1950s Gibson Les Paul using the serial number and the features. The serial number of this Gibson Les Paul goldtop is ink stamped, begins with a "7" prefix, and has all the features we know from 1957. The 7 prefix indicates that the guitar was made in 1957 since that was the only decade with an ink stamped serial and prefix digit. The features also support 1957 being the year of manufacture since the humbucking pickups weren't introduced until 1957, and the gold finish was updated to the Cherry Sunburst finish in 1958. For more on Gibson Les Paul serial numbers, check out Les Paul Serial Number Lookup

Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars with gold finish 1957-1958

Gibson Les Paul 1957 Value

The value of a Gibson Les Paul from the 1950s depends on a few important factors: exact year it was made, color, pickups, bridge, condition, and originality. You can learn more about Les Paul Values here: How much is a Les Paul worth?. It's easy to find the year with serial number if your Les Paul was made in the 1950s. 1950s Gibson Les Paul guitars always have an ink stamped serial number with 4 or 5 digits and a prefix digit indicating the year (with a few exceptions). For more help with Gibson serial numbers check out the Les Paul Serial Number Lookup.

The pickups and bridge also factor in heavily to the value of a 1950s Gibson Les Paul goldtop. Gibson Les Paul goldtop guitars used single coil pickups Gibson called P-90s from 1952 until mid 1957. The Humbucking pickup was introduced in '57 and Gibson guitar buyers will almost always pay more for a factory humbucker Les Paul. The Tune-O-Matic bridge replaced the wrap tail bridge in late 1955 which was also a great improvement in tuning and intonation. 

Like most collectibles, values for all original and clean Gibson Les Paul guitars in the 1950s will always be higher for comparable models with changed parts and heavy wear. However, some parts are far more important to value than other. The finish and pickups are the most important parts of a 1957 Gibson Les Paul. Tuner buttons, switch tips, and jack plates are far less important since they don't affect the tone or playability of the guitar.

If you've inherited a 1957 Gibson Les Paul guitar and are curious about values then you can contact me here: Guitar buyer. I am actively looking to buy a 1957 Gibson Les Paul goldtop and will value it fairly. 

1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard headstock

John Shults

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