Vintage Gibson Les Paul: 1970 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe!

John Shults

Posted on December 12 2019

Vintage Gibson Les Paul: 1970 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe!


This clean vintage c.1970 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe has just cruised through the shop and I barely had enough time with it to make this video. It's got some really cool early features that are leading me to call it a 1970 but it could have been made in 1971 or 1972. I'm always looking to buy clean examples of vintage Gibson guitars but especially anything that says "Les Paul"on it! Do you have one for sale? I'd love to check it out. You can reach out to me to send pictures and information about your guitar here at the Sell Vintage Gibson guitar page. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

You can check out more pictures of this vintage Gibson Les Paul Deluxe here: vintage Gibson Les Paul Deluxe information.

Or check out this one from 1972: Gibson Les Paul Deluxe electric guitar.

Lots of different versions of the LP but let’s follow the history of what we call the Standard: Les Paul History: debuted as the Model 1952 with gold finish, 1957 with Humbuckers, 1958 becomes Standard in Sunburst finish, replaced by SG body (but still Les Paul) until 1963. Standard reintroduced with gold top/P90s and Custom in 1968, Standard largely replaced by the Deluxe in 1970 with mini humbuckers. The first year or so was Goldtop, then Cherry sunburst was offered in the price list by 1971. Nashville plant was opened in 1975, Maple necks instead of Mahogany. 

So if this is from 1970 then this is a true original factory in Kalamazoo, MI Les Paul! How to date this Les Paul: It’s super tough! The serial numbers are inconsistent and shipment logs aren’t public. Potentiometer codes are one of the first places I go but sometimes they don’t help. This Les Paul has potentiometers date codes indicating the 48th week of 1966! And they’re original.

Important features: Cherry Sunburst finish (began sometime in ‘70 but officially ‘71, Mahogany neck (pre-1975), Small volute (1970?), patent number sticker mini hums (1970), transitional neck tenon. Light weight.

Neck Tenons: Gibson’s neck tenon (part of neck that is glued to the body inside the body) shortens between 1969 and 1971. Long tenon in ‘69, transitional tenon late ‘69 to ‘70 or ‘71, short tenon by ‘71. The long tenon extends under the neck pickup, transitional tenon is visible in the neck pocket, short tenon is not visible in the neck pocket. (1968 ES-355, this LP, 1972 Gibson ES-345)

Book Recommendation: The Modern Era of The Les Paul Legacy 1968-2009. Has great info on the reintroduction of the single cutaway Les Paul and all the variations after that. Note on mini humbuckers: Epiphone?? 1958-1969 made by Gibson in same factory, entire line discontinued in 1969. Gibson had a lot of left over mini humbuckers (Jim Deurloo), were used in the Deluxe. There are rumors and myths of Standards being made between 1971 and 1974 but they’re very rare. Standard reintroduced with full size buckers in 1975. 

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe vintage 1970 electric guitar

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe headstock vintage 1970

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe electric guitar vintage 1970

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe vintage 1970 original case

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  • Pete: October 30, 2021

    I sold a 1970 sunburst with it’s original case, hang tag, paperwork and bill of sale a few years ago and it was an incredible guitar – excellent condition.
    Luckily, I still own it’s “brother” – a 1970 Les Paul Deluxe gold top (well worn through playing) and that is just a wondrous guitar to use..!!

  • Roseland67: May 28, 2021

    I have identical guitar.

    Sn 779780, re fretted in 2001,
    plastic cable connector cover was replaced with brass, still have original square case with purple plush interior.
    Gigged for over 40 years and still going strong, some buckle rash from when I was young and stupid.
    My guitar is 50 years old now,

  • Scott Proffitt: August 21, 2020

    I have this exact guitar. I bought it used from a music story in Jasper GA around 1986. It did not come with the original case, but I managed to get a newer Gibson case at the time. Otherwise, its all original and in good condition. Not much buckle wear, just a tiny small cigarette burn. Also the pickup toggle switch cap cracked and I replaced it, but kept the original. How does not having the matching case impact the value as these are getting older and older?

  • TVG: July 26, 2020

    Hey Randy, I haven’t seen that guitar but I will be on the lookout for it! Best of luck in the hunt! —John

  • Randy Holzman: July 26, 2020

    I had a 1970 Les Paul Deluxe sunburst I bought new in 1970, at Alabama Music Co. in downtown Birmingham. My wife lost her job due to injury, and because of money issues, I had to sell it at Highland Music on Birmingham’s southside, around 2014 I think. I wish I could find that guitar; I’d try to buy it back. I played the hell out of that thing, so much that the neck was super faded compared to the rest of the finish, but it played very smooth and fast. It was a great guitar, I really miss having it!

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