1971 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, Goldtop

By Gibson

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Vibey, early 70’s Les Paul Deluxe in ever popular and effortlessly cool Goldtop finish. Often unfairly overlooked and underrated the Deluxe is a fine guitar, especially the early 70’s examples. Notable users include Pete Townsend and thin Lizzy guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson and more recently Mike Ness.

First shipped in 1970 the Les Paul Deluxe would replace the Les Paul Standard that itself had only just been reissued in 1968. In essence the Deluxe was very similar to the 1969 Standard with the Mini-Humbucker pickups replacing the P-90 pickups of the Standard. This was an interesting time for Gibson, they had stopped production of the single-cut Les Paul in 1960 and the Les Paul model itself had disappeared from the catalog by 1964. With Les Paul back on board the Gibson range would be split between the regular impedance models (Custom, Deluxe) and the newly designed low impedance models favoured by Les himself (Professional, Personal). Initially released only in Goldtop finish, the Deluxe would be offered in numerous other finishes as the decade progressed. The Deluxe was a good seller for Gibson and remained in the Catalog until the 1980’s and has subsequently been reissued.

This early ‘70s model is a great example, the serial number range dates the guitar to 70-72 and the guitar has all the traits to conform with this. The guitar has a ‘pancake’ body with a Mahogany neck with Rosewood fingerboard. The headstock is the larger style utilised by Gibson from 1969 until the 1980’s. The headstock has an impressed serial number with a ‘Made in USA’ stamp below and a small volute as the headstock transitions into the neck. The finish has taken on the patination that only a Gibson Goldtop and 50 years will achieve; with every little nick and dint the gold has greened as the finish has oxidized - It’s easy to see why Goldtops have become so popular, they age is such a charming manner. The front of the guitar has previously had stickers attached leaving a silhouette of their location. The back of the guitar shows an area of buckle wear alongside plenty of cool lacquer checking and wear consistent with the rest of the guitar. The guitar retains its original frets with binding nibs present. The frets are low and wide, despite this they play well and feel fast beneath the fingers.

Electronics comprise of two excellent sounding Pat No Sticker Mini-humbuckers, a full set of CTS pots and two sprague Black Beauty caps. The loom has been disturbed with the addition of two resistors to the volume pots and reflowed solder leaving codes unreadable. One tone pot is dateable to 1965, possibly correct though likely an earlier replacement. Pickups measure 6.65K and 6.85K in the neck and the bridge respectively. The bridge is the original PAT NO wired ABR-1 with nylon saddles. Tuners are the correct Gibson Deluxe double-ring style and with the exception of the input jack cover the hardware is correct.

In use, the guitar plays nicely with a low fast action. The neck is the traditional late sixties/early seventies slim oval Les Paul profile with a depth of 20.34mm at the first fret filling up to a palm filling 25.61mm at the 12th fret. The nut width is a generous 43.21mm. Acoustically the guitar has a lively ring and plugged in the guitar sounds like a great Les Paul Deluxe with the mini humbuckers offering brighter and snappier tones than full sized humbuckers but with without losing the warmth and weight of humbuckers.

The guitar weighs in at a 9.5lbs and travels in a non-original case that although fine for shipping would need attention were it to be used regularly.
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