It is no exaggeration to say that modern music would not have been born without the existence of this instrument, the "Gibson Les Paul," which is synonymous with electric guitars.

Since its birth in 1952, it has been used by legendary musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Gary Moore, Randy Rose, Slash, Takahiro Matsumoto, and many more. Even today, they continue to attract unwavering popularity and admiration.

Since its release, the Les Paul has undergone specification changes and was temporarily discontinued, and each year has its own unique characteristics, but this time we would like to focus on the rare gold top Les Paul from the initial release. Please take your time to look at these gems that overwhelm you with their presence even just by looking at them.

1954 Gibson Les Paul

This '54 Les Paul features a bar bridge. The compactness of the bar bridge gives the body top shape an appealing appearance. Although there are some problems with octave and tuning accuracy, many players seem to like this bridge as well as Les Paul Junior. Also, the slightly violent sound seems to be liked by enthusiasts. Since Jeff Beck put a PAF on it and played wonderfully, the awareness that it is OK to keep the bar bridge has been instilled, and guitarists with a rock spirit tend to prefer this '54 with a bar bridge. ' With the '52, that trapeze tailpiece is curvy and hard to play. The neck joint angle is also shallow, so the string tension is weak and not quite rock solid. Inevitably, when choosing a vintage gold top, the '54 is probably the most affordable guitar in terms of content and cost performance.

The head veneer is Hollywood (holly) and the logo is white butterfly shell. The rod cover is very clean, but you can see the "roll marks" that occurred when the board was processed at that time, which confirms that it is an original from that period.

The head angle is 17 degrees from 1952. The neck of the Gibson neck is wooded in a way that the grain is tilted, which makes the grain straight from the head to the back of the nut, where it tends to break easily, thereby gaining strength. The neck section also has the advantage of having a finer grain, which allows moisture to dissipate more quickly and allows the neck to acclimate to the environment more quickly. This method of cutting wood is very costly and extravagant because only a small number of necks can be made from a single piece of square wood, but it shows Gibson's attitude toward instrument making at that time.

The Gibson Les Paul uses a set neck construction, and the truss rod is adjusted from the head side. The truss rod has been used by Gibson since the 1920s, and in addition to its original purpose of adjusting the neck, it also serves to maintain the strength of the neck, which has become soft due to wood removal.

The serial numbers of solid guitars from 1952 to 1960 have the first digit as the last digit of the year, followed by four to five digits. This particular guitar is "4 3046," which identifies it as the 3046th Les Paul made in 1953.

One of the main features of Gibson's original Les Paul models was the strong set neck construction; when introduced in 1952, the neck joint angle was 1 degree, but this was changed to 3 degrees in 1953. The set-neck construction is usually achieved by "roughing" the neck by shaving the core at the end of the neck, which is embedded in the body, to make it thinner than the body. This allows for a wider joint surface between the body and the neck, and no unnecessary gaps are created. This is the reason why Les Paul is so strong and has excellent sustain, which is one of its characteristics.

Gibson was a company with excellent woodworking techniques. The wiring holes connecting each cavity and the control cavity are machined and glued before the mahogany and maple are glued together. To ensure that the knobs are oriented to match the angle of the arch top, the bottom of the top maple is machined from two different angles. This is a very time-consuming process, but it is the reason why the instrument is so well-known.

The condenser is a GRAY TIGER made by "Cornell Dubilier" and the pot is made by "CTS".

 The body back is made of one-piece mahogany without exception.
The top of the body is made of maple, usually 2 or 3 pieces of maple, often 6 pieces of maple, although it is hard to tell exactly because of the matte gold paint. The gold color looks slightly greenish because the paint of those days was made by mixing bronze powder with lacquer paint, and the bronze in the paint oxidizes to produce the deep gold top coloring.

The arch top (curved top) technique was unique to Gibson, which owned a wood carving machine, and was not owned by Fender at the time, and was intended to differentiate the guitar from other solid guitars in that it was more expensive.

The combination of a stud bridge tailpiece and P-90 single pickup, which replaced the trapeze bridge tailpiece starting in 1953, was a major feature of Les Pauls of this era.

Patent stud bridge/tailpiece filed by Ted McCarty in January 1953. This bridge was called "bar tailpiece," "McCarty bridge," etc., and was used until around 1955. After that, it continued to be used on Les Paul Junior and Special. Lightweight aluminum is used as the material.

The pegs are "Crewdson 320VP," commonly known as "no line" pegs without the Crewdson lettering. The peg button is also called "1 knob" because it has a single knob close to the shaft.

The set neck joint is a deep insert joint, which is inserted more than halfway into the pickup. Of course, there was no name of deep insert joint at that time, and this was a natural specification. By making the joint's contact surface wider and deeper, the neck's vibration and the body's vibration can be directly reflected in the sound. This system is commonly used today, but the fact that this system was established at that time shows the high degree of perfection of Les Paul instruments themselves.

The P-90 single pickup, introduced in 1940, consists of two alnico magnets that sandwich the pole piece, and the coil is wound on a plastic bobbin.
The wire is AWG #42, with about 10,000 turns wound, for a fat, sticky sound. The cover is not a conventional dock ear type with the screw fixing part next to the pickup, but a soap bar type with the screw fixing part between the 2nd and 3rd strings and between the 4th and 5th strings. Dock ears and soap bars have the same structure. The woodworking technique under the pickups is also carefully finished, again showing the high level of Gibson's woodworking technology.

Gold cylindrical knob barrel knob, used on Les Pauls from its birth in 1952 to around 1955.

The fingerboards are made of Brazilian rosewood, a world-famous wood that is now listed as an endangered species under the Washington Convention, and its import and export is banned. It is a heavier and harder wood than ordinary rosewood, which reinforces the soft neck and produces a solid core attack.

The toggle knob has been made by Switchcraft since that time. The drilling and drop-in process is also very carefully processed.