How much is a Gibson Les Paul worth?

John Shults

Posted on March 08 2022

How much is a Gibson Les Paul worth 1950s

It's important to have accurate identification in order to find the value of a 1950s or 1960s Gibson Les Paul. As a Gibson guitar buyer, I start with with most important parts of identification first, then work my way down the list until I've assessed every aspect of the Les Paul. Gibson Les Paul values are subjective, but there will be general agreement on Les Paul values of the same model, year of manufacture, features, condition, and originality among guitar buyers. 

As a Gibson Les Paul collector, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest examples of all models of Gibson Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s and early 1960s. If you've inherited a vintage Gibson Les Paul and are curious about how much I would value your guitar then you can contact me here: sell a Gibson. Or if you'd like help with using the serial number to find the year then check out the Les Paul Serial Number lookup

How much is a Gibson Les Paul worth?

Here are the steps I go through to answer the question of how much is a Gibson Les Paul worth? My specialty is in Gibson Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s and 1960s only, so this information is for vintage Les Pauls only. The most important aspects of Gibson Les Paul values are: exact model (there were 5), exact year of manufacture, features, condition, and originality. I am always buying Gibson Les Paul guitars and I'm careful to identify these aspects fully before trying to find comparable sales and values. 

Get help here: Sell a Gibson.

Gibson Les Paul worth and values, find the year

1. Exact Les Paul model (there are 5!) effects value

The first part of finding how much is a Gibson Les Paul worth is to accurately identify the model. Gibson introduced five different Les Paul models during the 1950s: Les Paul Junior, Les Paul TV, Les Paul Special, Les Paul Standard, and Les Paul Custom. The values for each model range wildly from $4,000 up to $400,000 depending on which model 1950s Les Paul you have. Some of the Gibson Les Paul models will have the name underneath the Les Paul signature on the headstock of the guitar (Junior, TV, Special, and Standard (but is written Model instead of standard). However, the Gibson Les Paul Custom has a large split diamond pearl inlay instead of the model name. The 1958, 1959, and 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard is worth the most of all the models and years. 

2. Year by serial number effects value

The year of manufacture by serial number is important to finding the value of a Gibson Les Paul since the features changed throughout the 1950s. You can get help with finding the year by serial number here: Les Paul Serial Number Lookup. When trying to find out how much a Les Paul is worth, it's important to compare Les Pauls from either the same year or same year range with matching features. The Les Paul Standard varies in worth by year more than the other models by far. A Gibson Les Paul Standard from 1959 is worth almost 10x the value of the same model made during 1952. 

Find year of Gibson les Paul by serial number

3. Features affect worth

Gibson Les Paul collectors are looking for certain features which correspond to generally agreed upon values for Les Paul guitars. The two most important features that affect value are finish color and pickup style. Each Les Paul model changed differently over time, but the most significant change is the transition from gold finish or goldtop to Cherry Sunburst on the Standard model in 1958. A late 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard is worth nearly double the value of an early 1958 Les Paul Standard with gold features, all else being equal. 

The pickup style and bridge style also heavily influence the value of a 1950s Gibson Les Paul. Gibson introduced a new pickup in 1957 they called the humbucking pickup. This became the most popular sound for rock and roll, but only Les Pauls from the last few years of production have them. The bridge style also became more refined in 1956. Gibson introduced the Tune-O-Matic style bridge on the Custom in 1954 and the Les Paul Model in 1955. Les Paul guitar players found the tighter intonation and tuning stability to be far more valuable than the early style bridge. 

Gibson Les Paul gold goldtop 1950s value and worth

Gibson Les Paul Buyer

I am actively looking to buy all models of the Gibson Les Paul from each year in the 1950s and 1960s. If you're curious about how much I would value your Les Paul then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. I can help you identify the exact model, find the year by serial number, and identify important features. I may be the guitar buyer you're looking for. 

Gibson Les Paul Guitar Buyer

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