Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 Dating & Values
Posted on September 16 2021
This Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 is one of the finest vintage guitars to come through this humble shop. The Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960, often called the Burst because of its Cherry Sunburst finish, is highly regarded by guitar players and collectors alike for its classic tone and stunning looks. I'm always a Gibson guitar buyer, but the Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1950s are my absolute favorites. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.
I was initially drawn to this Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 because of its amazing story. This Burst was given brand new to an 8th grade girl from her parents in the early 1960s. They ordered it through a Gibson teacher-agent who were able to order Gibson guitars direct from the factory with no dealer in between. The Burst's proud new owner played it with her band The Rhythmette's for a few years before the other parts of life became a bit more important. She tells me that she can't remember ever taking it out to play after marriage and kids became more important than the band.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the story of this Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 is how it was rediscovered. Her granddaughter became interested in playing guitar via Youtube. She had an acoustic guitar but couldn't resist the allure of electric guitars (just like me!). She remembered that her grandmother had a guitar and asked to borrow it. Her boyfriend saw the guitar and recognized it. Can you imagine? I cannot.
You can get more information on Gibson Les Paul guitars here: The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy.
How to date a Gibson Les Paul
Knowing how to date a Gibson Les Paul is important to establishing its value. Gibson didn't make it very easy to date the Les Paul but we can do it if we know where to look. Here are the aspects I consider for Gibson Les Paul dating: Gibson serial numbers, potentiometer codes, and features. Gibson serial numbers are not always the best way to date a Gibson Les Paul since they're not necessarily consecutive and are sometimes even repeated multiple times in a decade. Still, they can be helpful if you're familiar with how they work. Gibson serial numbers for Les Paul guitars in 1960 begin with a year prefix 0 and are followed by 4 or 5 digits. They're ink stamped under the finish and not impressed in the back like later guitars. This Gibson Les Paul Standard has an ink stamped serial number with a 0 prefix followed by 2xxx. This would indicate that it was made in 1960.
The next place to look for how to date a Gibson Les Paul would be the potentiometer codes. Potentiometers are variable resistors which allow the player to control the volume and tone of the signal going to the amp. You can find the potentiometers on the back of the guitar under the large plastic plate. The codes on this Les Paul read "134 5950" where 134 = Centralab (manufacturer), 59 = 1959, 50 = 50th week of the year. This is when the potentiometer was made and it then had to ship to Gibson and be installed in the guitar. This Gibson Les Paul Standard likely left the factory in the first few months of 1960.
The last place to look for how to date a Gibson Les Paul would be its features. Since Gibson slowly changed various aspects of the Les Paul throughout the 11 year production run, the features should match the serial number and potentiometer codes. The Gibson Les Paul by 1960 featured a single cutaway body with Maple cap top, Cherry Sunburst finish, PAF or Patent Applied For stickered humbucking pickups, and ABR-1 bridge. This Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 matches exactly that description, but the subtle features go even further. This Les Paul features the typical 1960 era neck profile measuring 0.80" at the first fret to 0.90" at the 12th fret. 1960 was a transitional year for the style of knobs from the amber bonnet style to the reflector cap knob and the single ring Kluson tuner to the double ring. This Gibson Les Paul 1960 has both the early style amber bonnet knob and the single ring Kluson tuner.
Gibson Les Paul 1960 Values
Now that we know how old is my Gibson Les Paul, we can start to find out how much it is worth. Gibson Les Paul values vary wildly based on exactly what year it was made, condition, color, and features. We know that this Gibson Les Paul Standard was made in 1960 based on its serial number, potentiometer codes, and features. Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars made in 1958, 1959, and 1960 are commonly referred to as the "Burst" in reference to the Cherry Sunburst finish used only for those three year. Bursts are extremely desirable to players and collectors, but 1960 is the least desirable of the three years because there are more of them, the finish style changed, and the neck profiles are slimmer. This Gibson Les Paul Standard has many 1959 style features including the early style Cherry Sunburst finish, amber knobs, single ring Klusons, 1959 potentiometer codes, etc.
The condition of this Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 is exceptional! This guitar wasn't played very much in the past 5 or 6 decades so it's extremely well preserved. The 1959 Les Paul Sunburst color that this guitar has is very prone to fading, but this guitar still has rich red color. The finish is clean and free of large blemishes. There's very sublte and light checking throughout the guitar. It also retains all its original tags, strap, case, case key, pictures with the original owner, and amplifier. This guitar is the total package.
The features of this Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960 are transitional, meaning that it bears both 1959 and 1960 style features. The 1959 style features include the color, amber bonnet knobs, single ring Kluson tuners, and double white bobbin PAF pickups. The pickup covers have never been removed from this guitar but we can see evidence of the double white bobbin threw the bobbin mounting screw holes. It also has a 1960 era feature in its slimmer neck profile measuring 0.80" at the first fret and 0.90" at the 12th fret.
Sell a Gibson Les Paul
I'm always a Gibson Les Paul guitar buyer but I am especially looking for Gibson Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s and 1960s. I may be interested in buying or Gibson Les Paul or I may be able to connect you with a guitar buyer. Many sellers are looking for where to sell Gibson guitars near me which is a service I may be able to provide. I travel world wide to buy Gibson guitars so I may be able to come to you if you have the guitar I'm looking for. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.