1971 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe, Sunburst

By Gibson


Vibey, early 70’s Les Paul Deluxe in a great looking Sunburst finish with a dark, brown back a feature of the earliest Sunburst Deluxes. 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 the very early 70’s the Les Paul Deluxe would replace the Les Paul Standard that itself had only just been reissued in 1968. Fundamentally the Deluxe was an evolution of the 1969 Standard Model with the Mini-Humbucker pickups replacing the P-90 pickups of the Standard in late 1969. 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 catalogue until the 1980’s and has subsequently been recently 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 Sunburst finish and the dark back are a feature of the earliest Sunburst Deluxes. The sunburst to the top is in great condition with only a few small mark to the finish. The back and neck has a far more checking and more wear. The guitar fluoresces evenly under blacklight but we believe likely there has been finish work to the guitar in the past.  Electronically there are a couple of changes but the guitar retains its original, excellent sounding Gibson Pat.Number Mini-Humbuckers with the decals intact. Volume pots are modern replacements as are the Bumblebee caps but the tone pots are the original CTS parts with late 1970 date code.  Hardware is chrome plated throughout; the tuners have been replaced with a modern set, the bridge is the original PAT NO wired ABR-1 with brass saddles. The guitar has its original pickguard, gold reflector knobs and truss rod cover. 

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 20.35mm at the first fret filling up to a palm filling 25.52mm at the 12th fret. Frets and nut are original to the guitar. Pickups measure 6.96K and 6.84K in the neck and bridge respectively. The guitar has all the sonic qualities you could want from a like a great Les Paul Deluxe. Clearer, brighter and more defined than its full Humbucker sized cousin with more smoothness when compared to a P-90. The guitar weighs an even 9.5lbs. 

In our opinion the Deluxe is often an unfairly overlooked and underrated model among other Gibson instruments, this great playing and sounding early seventies example is the perfect example of a great 50 year old Gibson for relatively little money. The guitar comes with a period correct Gibson Les Paul case that, according to the previous owner, came from Mick Ralphs.

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