BIG PRICE DROP
PREMIER GUITARS in Sydney has been listing this fabulous instrument for a while now, and we have had some entertaining discourses with a number of potential buyers – almost all of them in USA. Which makes it kinda tricky to enable a hands-on, personal inspection.
Over the course of that time it has come to our attention that the colour of the pickup surrounds does not exactly match that of the pickguard. We have no explanation for this, as the guitar has not been changed in any way by each of the previous two Australian owners, dating back to 1996.
These owners were more interested in the intrinsic value of the guitar as a beautiful, playable instrument. And it has been appreciated as such for its entire tenure in Australia, having been played by some significant musicians on some iconic Australian recordings, and in the live arena.
However, we have since carried out our own due diligence and acquiesce to the fact that the plastics do not EXACTLY match in colour. So there is the possibility that an owner prior to 1996 (about which we have no knowledge) may have changed something. Who knows why ….. that is the perennial question when assessing vintage instruments.
So in consultation with the owner, we have now dropped the price by AUD$10,000. The fact remains that this is a lovely, ridiculously rare 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with original PAF pickups, in amazing (almost) original condition. An absolutely fabulous instrument in every way.
We at PREMIER GUITARS have never seen a more beautiful, iconic and collectable Gibson Les Paul, that also plays and sounds as good as this one. We understand that Australia is at the bottom of the world, but if this guitar had been available to personally inspect on mainland USA, or UK/Europe, it would have sold to the first genuine buyer who actually played it. It’s that good.
Original listing follows –
Vintage Gibson Les Paul Standard – Goldtop with PAFs – USA 1957
Here is a Holy Grail instrument – a 1957 Les Paul Standard with PAF humbuckers.
1957 was the first year for humbuckers, and this Les Paul Goldtop, serial number 7 XX08, features two “Patent Applied For” pickups, measuring 7.6 ohms at the neck position and a punchy 8.2 ohms at the bridge. Replacing the P-90s of previous years, the dual-coil, hum-canceling humbucker proved to be quieter and produced a tone that has become highly desirable, creating a continuing high demand for original PAFs.
1957 was also the last year Les Paul Standard Models would receive the Goldtop finish, before the very first “reissue” of 1968.
Duane Allman played a gorgeous 1957 Les Paul goldtop for the first 18 months of his two and a half years in the Allman Brothers Band. He played the goldtop on the band’s first two albums, which featured the original versions of “Whipping Post,” “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” “Midnight Rider,” “Revival” and other classics. He also played it on his numerous sessions with other artists, including Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 masterpiece, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, before swapping it for a ’59 Burst.
This is an absolutely fabulous instrument in every way. It was bought by its current owner from a specialist vintage dealer in Sydney in 1996. Its provenance doubly checks out, as it was previously owned by a current client of PREMIER GUITARS, who recognised it when he saw it in our showroom. He had bought it direct from its original owner in USA and later sold it to the current owner through a high profile Sydney vintage dealer.
It has been a working guitar, having been played onstage and on recordings by the current owner for the past 20 years. During that time it was set up & maintained by noted Sydney luthier Piers Crocker, who had also known this guitar for many years prior to that. We contacted Piers who confirmed he gave this one an excellent refret back in the 1980s. Piers also confirmed that although he also refinished the back of the neck at the request of a previous owner, this guitar has not had a neck break or any repairs required. The rear neck refin does not cover the back of the headstock, and goes only to the beginning of the neck heel.
At some point in its life prior to 1996 the original tuners were replaced with genuine Gibson double ring tuners from 1961-62. They work fine, tuning is strong and precise.
This guitar is a medium weight at 9.2 lbs and feels mighty comfortable. Some flamey looking maple is apparent on the top where the original gold finish has worn away.
Acoustically, this Goldtop probably has more natural resonance than any humbucker-equipped Les Paul we’ve played. Beneath the chimey, crisp treble, there’s a hollow woodiness that could fool you into thinking it’s a chambered body – if it weren’t for the astonishing solid body sustain. It holds its tuning superbly. All electronics appear to be original and are working perfectly.
At full throttle, the bridge pickup is aggressive, with a noticeable midrange quack and a jangly chime. The neck sounds wide open and clear, lending a jazzy texture to chords and a vocal quality to single notes. It will also clean up in a wonderful way by playing lightly or turning down, without losing clarity or treble response.
This one has amazing touch sensitivity and harmonic complexity. Add a touch of overdrive then play a chord and you can hear different harmonics overtones drifting in and out as the volume gently fades.
There is something about the necks Gibsons was carving during the mid 50s that is supremely player-friendly. This one feels like a full C neck, certainly not like the bigger chunky necks of ’58 and ’59. The shape has a subtle refinement that fades from a soft C to a fully rounded profile by the fifth fret to maintain its roundness all the way to the heel. It is probably best described as a wide C rather than a U or a D profile.
This ’57 reveals its charms gradually and never stops delivering sonic surprises. This Les Paul is from an era when Gibson had the most skilled craftsmen working with the best materials available, and the company was at the top of its game. This beauty is incredibly well made and has certainly improved with age, as it will keep doing.
A big bonus is that this collector grade Les Paul comes with its original 5 latch Lifton case, which is in remarkably good condition.