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!

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. 

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