1955 Gibson Les Paul Model Factory Refinish 1969

1955 Gibson Les Paul Model Factory Refinish 1969


Gibson's Les Paul Model debuted in 1952 with a revolutionary design inspired by the rich history of the brand: a solid body electric guitar with single cutaway, set neck, carved Maple cap over solid Mahogany body, two P-90 pickups, and visually stunning gold top finish. The fine craftsmanship of the carved Maple top and set neck was a rebuttal to Leo Fender's Broadcaster model (later renamed the Telecaster) introduced in 1950, which Gibson executives like company president Ted McCarty considered crude and unrefined. The attractive gold finish, commonly known as the "Goldtop" lasted until the introduction of the Sunburst finish in 1958. The goldtop Gibson Les Paul Model enjoyed stage time with popular artists of the 1950s including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Freddy King, Muddy Waters, and countless others.

Make and Model: Gibson Les Paul Model

Year: 1955. This formally all gold Les Paul had an ink stamped serial number on the back of the headstock that was likely lost before or during the refinish. The potentiometers appear to be original to the guitar and indicate the 20th week of 1955. The combination of the barely visible plugs for the wrap tail bridge, the shape of the volume and tone knobs, neck shape, and no line Kluson tuners support this year. It was common for all gold Les Pauls to be refinished because of excessive greening and oxidation of the finish in areas of high wear. 

Year of refinish/update: The original owner's son said his dad told him he sent it back to Gibson "in 1960". The position of the silk screened Les Paul signature seems to indicate it was actually sent back in 1969. The Bigsby B-5, chrome finished raised Gibson and patent number tune-o-matic bridge with nylon inserts, and copper ground wire could date from 1965 to about 1970. All signs point to a factory refinish and update except that it doesn't have a restamped serial number. In my opinion, the evidence suggests this guitar was refinished at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, MI in the late 1960s despite the lack of restamped serial number.

Specifications: 9lbs 4oz, 1 11/16" nut width, .89" neck depth at the 1st fret, .99" depth at the 12th fret. The neck pickup reads 7.2k ohms and the bridge measures 7.7k ohms, both measured at a 1/4" cable plugged into the jack. 

Originality: All parts appear to be original from 1955 except for the Bigbsy B-5 (late 1960s), raised Gibson Patent Number Tune-O-Matic bridge with nylon saddles (late 1960s), one nickel and one chrome domed thumbwheels (mid and late 1960s Gibson), copper ground wire on the potentiometers (late 1960s Gibson), the cream pickup selector switch tip (likely late 1960s), and the Rhythm/Treble ring and jack plate are both aged reproductions by Historic Makeovers. The original owner installed a black rhythm/treble ring and crude input jack plate so I replaced them with the Historic Makeovers aged reproductions. The fret nibs are mostly gone from the fretboard of this guitar indicating a possible refret. The dimensions of the frets match what I would expect from 1955.

Important parts from 1955: both P-90 pickups and covers (two black leads from coils to baseplate), nut, tuners and bushings, amber volume and tone knobs, pickguard and mounting hardware, all electronics, brown and pink Lifton case with raised lid. There is still plenty of 1950s gold finish visible in the pickup routes, control cavity, and switch cavity.

Condition: Excellent! I can find no evidence of prior breaks or repairs. It does appear that the treble side bridge post may have been drilled and reinstalled. The bridge pickup coil leads have been extended and soldered back to the leads. The D and G tuner button posts are bent.

Playability: Excellent! The neck is straight and the truss rod works as intended. This vintage Gibson Les Paul Goldtop plays like a dream. 

Notes: Just in from the son of the original owner out of Arab, Alabama is this killer vintage Gibson Les Paul Goldltop! The guiltlessly added Bigbsy B5 and Tune-o-matic bridge by Gibson in the late 1960s work nicely together and give this one such a great feel and vibe. The original brown and pink 4 latch Lifton case is in pretty nice condition indicating the guitar hadn't suffered much wear before the refinish and update. I'm confident you'll love this clean vintage refinish and update 1955 Gibson Les Paul goldtop!