1952 Gibson Goldtop Les Paul

A fully-gold Goldtop in impeccable shape from the latter half of 1952


After Gibson initially rejected his solidbody guitar prototype, “The Log,” a few years earlier, Les Paul was brought on in 1951 to collaborate on a new guitar design that would mark the company’s entry into the burgeoning solidbody market. As we all know now, that guitar would go on to revolutionize the world of music and leave an indelible impression on guitarists from that point onward. Aside from his endorsement and name, Paul’s actual contributions to the new Les Paul model have been disputed. He maintained that he had the final say on the guitar’s design, but Gibson’s president at the time, Ted McCarty, said the design was already finalized when they approached the multi-tracking pioneer for an endorsement. Although we may never know which version of the story is true—or whether it’s a combination of both—both sides agree that Paul requested a gold finish for the guitar to maximize its flashiness and highlight its quality. It was this cosmetic decision that brought about the nickname for the now-legendary first Les Paul model: the goldtop.

While most of the first Les Pauls came out of the Gibson factory in 1952 with the iconic finish only on top, some—including the one here—sported gold on the neck, back, and sides as well. This goldtop also features binding on the neck and body, and it was never serialized, either. That sets the production date solidly in the latter half of 1952. The guitar has only known a single owner, and it’s in all-original cosmetic and electronic condition. Overall, it’s in great shape. It has some beautiful checking on the top and back finish, and it has retained its gold color quite nicely.

Thanks to Greg Mayo at Greg’s Guitars for listing this guitar on Gear Search. Whether you’re looking for a vintage piece or the latest guitar on the market, there’s a great chance you’ll find it at Gear Search. More than 47,000 pieces of gear are listed, including some of the rarest gear in the world.

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