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. In essence the Deluxe was very similar to the 1969 Standard with the Mini-Humbucker pickups replacing the P-90 pickups of the Standard. 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 70-75 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 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 would have originally left the factory with two Gibson mini-humbuckers, these have been replaced with a pair of period Gibson P-90 pickups. Both have the clear bobbins as is seen on Seventies P-90s. The bridge coil wire is a copper colour with the neck coil wire green. Both pickups look as expected with no reason to suspect a rewound coil. The Soapbar covers are Throbak branded. Pickups measure 8.82K and 8.38K in the neck and bridge respectively. Pots are matching with the source code only visible on the one pot dating them to the 18th week of 1974. Hardware is chrome plated throughout; tuners are modern reproduction double-line Kluson, 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 well thanks to the new frets and nut with a straight neck and good action. The neck is the traditional late sixties/early seventies slim oval Les Paul profile with a depth of 20.45mm at the first fret increasing to a palm filling 25.24mm at the 12th fret. The nut width is a generous 43.61mm. Acoustically the guitar has a lively ring and plugged in the guitar sounds like a great Les Paul Deluxe with the added warmth and sustain of the changed pickups. The P-90s offer a different tonality over the standard Mini-humbuckers. Powerful, cutting, balanced they help to conjure up a little of the magic that can be found in a fifties Goldtop.
In all a great example of a near 50 year old vintage guitar with some player friendly changes and a drop in pickup swap that may well appeal to more players. The guitar weighs in at a 9.5lbs and travels with its original Gibson Case.