Iconic looks and tone, maybe all you need is a 1953 Gibson Les Paul Goildtop…
Released in 1952, the design of the Les Paul undertook some dramatic changes in its first few years. The wrapover bridge was the first with these examples from 1953 being equipped with what's been dubbed the thin ear tailpiece to compensate for the zero degree neck angle, a feature changed towards the end of the same year.
This is a wonderful guitar. The gold of the top has retained its lustrous finish which has taken on a slightly deeper hue when compared to some Goldtops we’ve seen. There is plenty of wear around the edges with the most obvious being around the lower bout. There's also some exquisite checking. Thankfully the greenening has been kept to a minimum.
A noteworthy point is the evidence of the repositioning of the bridge which we believe happened at the factory as the finish backlights evenly with no evidence of any later repair. It possible that when the guitar left Kalamazoo the plugs were hidden under the finish and that over the year this sunk revealing their existence.
The signature is is fact that of the man himself, added to the guitar in the 90s during Les’ regular tenure at the Iridium in New York. This is according to the previous owner who lived in Brooklyn NY.
The back of the body again shows signs of wear but on a whole it looks great. The clear coat here really accentuates the grain and colour of the mahogany. This effect continues on the neck which exhibits some quite exquisite patterns and some of the straightest grain we have seen on a neck from this era. This is again complimented by the richer hue of the clear coat. The neck does show some signs of wear.
The fretboard and original frets are in great shape with plenty of life left in both. The bridge shows no signs of corrosion and the plastics too are well preserved. The electronics are all correct. Some of the solder joints look to have been disturbed buth there is no signs of any changes. Both pickups are both strong and evenly balanced (not always the case!) with the classic mellowness and bite you expect from a 50’s vintage P-90 Gibson.
The guitar comes with its correct Lifton 4 latch case that seems to have gone through more of a time than the guitar but has at least served its purpose in keeping the guitar in very good shape.
Sonically this guitar is a joy. Both pickups are well balanced and deliver those 50s tones. There’s plenty of scope, from woody neck position through smoother combined sounds to the biting snarl of the bridge pickup. It will make you question why you need any other guitar in your life.
We haven’t seen many wrap-tail Goltops here at ATB Guitars in recent month and this one certainly sits alongside the good ones as an archetype. The look and the tone of this guitar should surely make it a must have in any collection. Grab it before it gets away…