January 16, 2011
Bedroom beauty holy grail
This gorgeous 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard was stored under a bed for about 40 years.
The 1960 Gibson GA-14 Titan 1x10 combo was purchased at the same time as the Les Paul.
In the early 1950s, the Gibson Company noticed the impressive sales of Leo Fender’s solidbody guitar, the Telecaster, and decided to design one of their own to stay competitive. Maurice Berlin (head of CMI, Gibson’s parent company) and Gibson president Ted McCarty approached popular recording artist Les Paul (who had also been experimenting on a solidbody guitar design for a number of years), and with his input designed the Les Paul Model solidbody guitar, which Gibson introduced in 1952. The model evolved through the 1950s as practical improvements were made in its design. By 1958, after receiving a Tune-o-matic bridge (1956) and humbucking pickups (1957), the Les Paul had its finish changed from an opaque metallic gold to a beautiful transparent cherry-red sunburst. This was the final major change before the model was discontinued after 1960.
The 1960 Les Paul Standard featured this month is a very clean example that was literally stored under a bed, away from daylight, for the last 40 or so years. This lack of light has kept the guitar’s sunburst as bright and vibrant as it was when new. This guitar has features typical of an early 1960 Standard. These include a big, full neck shape (as in ’59), two PAF pickups (double-white neck and double-black bridge), Astron capacitors (replacing the Sprague “Bumble Bee” caps used in ’58 and ’59), and gold plastic bonnet knobs (replaced by reflector knobs later that year). This rare instrument is one of only 635 Les Paul Standards produced that year.
A Gibson GA-14 Titan combo—also dating to 1960—was purchased at the same time as the Les Paul. With two 6V6 power tubes and a 10" speaker, the GA-14 is very much like a Fender Harvard of the same era.
More information on Les Paul Standards can be found in The Gibson ’Burst: 1958-1960 by Jay Scott and Vic DaPra, The Modern Era of the Les Paul Legacy: 1968- 2009 by Robb Lawrence, and Gibson Electrics – The Classic Years by A.R. Duchossoir. You can find information on Gibson amps in Gibson Amplifiers 1933-2008: 75 Years of the Gold Tone by Wallace Marx Jr.
Having not been exposed to light for four decades, the sunburst finish on this Les Paul is almost as
bright and vibrant as when the guitar left the factory.
LEFT: This month’s 1960 Les Paul sports a pair of original PAF humbuckers that measure 8.09 kΩ (neck)
and 9.15 kΩ (bridge). RIGHT: Rated at 14 watts, the GA-14 Titan has two channels (each with a pair of
inputs), a single shared Tone control, and a 10" Jensen P10R alnico speaker.
Dave ’s Guitar Shop
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.