2012 marks the 60th anniversary of the Gibson Les Paul, but until now the US firm has kept a tight lid on its celebratory plans. Here's the first of what we suspect will be several announcements – a 300-strong, limited edition run of Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtops.
Set to retail at around $3,899 (approx. £2,500), the firm has aimed to recreate the feel of the original run of 1952 instruments and has paid close attention to cosmetic details, making only a few minor tweaks. As such, it seems to be a relatively faithful interpretation of the original production Les Paul.
Click through the gallery to take a closer look at the instrument and find out more.
Gibson has tried to be faithful to the original 1952 model that was first designed by Les Paul and company president Ted McCarty and the guitar's body therefore features a high-gloss nitrocellulose goldtop finish with natural back and sides and vintage binding.
The body is made from a single piece of grade-A mahogany, which has not received the customary “weight relief” treatment (boring out holes in the wood) found on many modern Les Paul models. In other words, this is a heavy guitar best suited to macho, macho Marlboro men (and women), wrestlers and those of a generally solid build.
The trapeze wraparound bridge is probably the feature that leaps out most on first inspection and it also represents one of the only concessions to modern convenience on an otherwise authentic recreation...
The original 1952 Les Pauls were initially strung under the bridge (due to a shallow neck incline), rather than over it as they are here. Gibson says this made it difficult to palm-mute strings and that's why it's opted to stray from the original spec here.
Gibson has fitted the Les Paul 60th Anniversary Limited volume and tone pots with gold speed knobs on the surface and “Orange Drop” tone capacitors underneath.
Another minor cosmetic detail is that the pickup selector switch (not pictured here) has no plastic ring around it, as this did not feature on production models until 1953.
Two 'soap bar' P-90 pickups channel the hefty body's tone and sustain and beneath them lies a scratchplate engraved with a “60th anniversary” logo.
The Les Paul neck, like any guitar neck, has always been a matter of personal taste. Rather than 'update' the Les Paul 60th Anniversary Goldtop with a more popular, modern thin profile, Gibson has once again remained faithful to original here, meaning it's got a period-correct, thicker early 50s profile.
Aside from the now iconic Gibson Les Paul branding, the headstock features vintage-style tuners and cream 'tulip' keys.