The next stop on this guitar collecting trip was Baton Rouge, Louisiana to buy this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom! As a vintage Gibson and Fender guitar buyer, I'm always traveling to buy the guitars I've always dreamed of. Many private sellers prefer in-person transactions in the comfortable environment of their own home. When Paul contacted me about his 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom he's owned since 1969, I was happy to add Baton Rouge on to the trip I was already on. Check out this blog post for the previous stop in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to buy a 1954 Fender Stratocaster

If you're looking for help with a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar then I may be able to help. You can quickly look up the year of your Les Paul here: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup. If you're curious about how much I would value your vintage Gibson Les Paul then you can contact me here: Guitar Appraisal.

Gibson guitar buyer for Les Paul guitars 1950s 1960s

Les Paul Custom 1960

Gibson's Les Paul Custom model is the top of the solid body line since its introduction in 1954. The single cutaway, carved top Les Paul shaped body with Ebony finish was used from 1954 until the introduction of the thinner SG body style in 1961. Original equipped with one AlNICo V and one P-90 single coil pickups, it was updated in 1957 with three humbucking pickups with an odd wiring scheme which utilized the out of phase middle and bridge pickups together with the toggle in the middle position. Unlike the Standard, the Custom utilized a solid Mahogany body with no Maple cap. 

While the standard tailpiece configuration used the stop bar mounted to the top, the optional Bigsby B7 vibrato tailpiece was a common option. It seems that the previous owner of this Les Paul Custom preferred a fixed tailpiece so he removed the spring and arm from the Bigsby. I quite like the Bigsby option with a proper set up so I'll be reinstalling the parts to get it back into playing condition.

Les Paul Custom black beauty 1960 headstock with custom inlay

Les Paul Dating By Serial Number

The Les Paul serial number system in the 1950s made it quite easy to date them as long as the finish is original to the guitar in that area. Gibson used an ink stamp to apply the serial number to the back of the headstock just above the tuners. From 1952 until 1960, the serial number consisted of a single digit prefix to indicate the year, followed by either four or five digits to comprise a semi-consecutive unique serial number. The serial number of this guitar begins with a "0" to indicate 1960 and is followed by four additional numbers beginning with 06xx. This serial number indicates that it was made in 1960. 

 We can also date this Les Paul using its features. We know that the initial run of Les Paul Customs (late 1953-1960) utilized the single cutaway carved top Les Paul body style. The third pickup and transition to humbuckers happened in 1957, but the transition to reflector knobs didn't happen until mid 1960. The features we can observe in the pictures of this 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom support the year that the serial number indicates. 

Les Paul Custom 1960 in Black finish with Bigsby tailpiece

How much is my Les Paul worth?

The value of a vintage Gibson Les Paul is highly dependent on the exact model, exact year, condition, originality, and sometimes even its story. In the case of this guitar, it is exactly a Les Paul Custom with Bigsby tailpiece as opposed to the four other Les Paul models made that year (Junior, TV, Special, Standard). The Bigsby tailpiece can sometimes drop the desirability of the guitar to collectors since many prefer the stop bar tailpiece's tuning stability. Since this guitar is the same year and configuration as Jimmy Page's own Les Paul Custom, I don't think the tailpiece would hold it back.

We know from the serial number and features that it was made in 1954. The most desirable year of the Les Paul Custom may be 1959, followed by 1957 and 1958, then 1960. The single cutaway body style and humbuckers are unique to 1957-1961 which are highly prized by players and collectors. 

The condition of this Les Paul Custom 1960 is thoroughly played with all the wear to prove it. However, there's no damage to the guitar like the headstock crack/repair that's so common to these guitars. The hardware is mostly original to the guitar except for tuners and some saddles. When I look at this Les Paul, I see a great example that's been loved by its owner for decades. It's a guitar that I'm thrilled to have. 

You can find out what your Les Paul may be worth here: Les Paul Appraisal.

1950s Les Paul Custom with three humbucking pickups

John Shults

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