Early 1969 Vintage Gibson Goldtop – 1 piece body – p90 pickups- The real deal!

Here’s some info on the history of the 1968/1969 Goldtops:

1968 Gibson Les Paul Standard goldtop guitar Re-introduction specs:1st reissue of the 1956 style Les Paul Standard started in August 1968, with a single cutaway mahogany body (one piece) with a center seamed maple top, goldtop finish, tuneamatic bridge, small (narrow width 1950’s style) peghead, P-90 pickups. Neck is a single piece of mahogany with two small “wings” glued to the side of the peghead (50s style contruction). Tuners are nickle plated double-lined, double-ring style Klusons with plastic buttons that say “Gibson Deluxe” vertically. The binding in the cutaway gets wider than it’s 1950’s counterpart, completely covering the maple top (unlike the 1950s binding which shows a slice of the maple top in the cutaway below the binding). Also the serial number is stamped into the wood at the back of the peghead, all metal parts (except tuners) are chrome (not nickel), and the gold knobs have metal inserts in the tops with “volume” and “tone” printed on them. The neck also has a 14 degree peghead pitch instead of 17 degrees, and Indian rosewood fingerboard instead of Brazilian. The fingerboard inlays have a different look too, because it’s a different block of celluloid than the 1950s guitars.

The very few first LP Standards of 1968 had a crown peghead inlay (like an ES-335) instead of the gold “Les Paul” signature. This existed on examples in the 501xx to 505xxx serial number range. The truss rod cover was pantographed with “Les Paul”. With serial number series 513xxx, the peghead changed to the silkscreen “les paul” signature on the peghead (like 1950s Les Pauls), and the truss rod cover was now blank. Another strange feature of these first 1968 Goldtops is the strap button on the non-cutaway side is mounted too far away from the neck to be of any use. On the back of the body the round edging is more “round” than normal on the first 1968 Les Paul gold tops. Also the neck tenon (the part of the neck’s tongue seen in the neck pickup route, how the neck connects to the body) is considered “long”, and like 1950s construction. If you remove the neck p90 pickup, you’ll see the tenon goes well into the pickup cavity (the tenon is about 3/4″ long inside the neck pickup cavity).


Other than that, 1968 goldtops look and are constructed just like 1956 LP goldtops (except the weight of these guitars tends to be much heavier than the 1956 models). Most 1968 Les Pauls use Sprague “black beauty” tone capacitors, but also some use the SG-era brown disc capacitors. The control cavity route in 1968 is different too, as it was routed all the way thru the mahogany body *before* the maple top was glued on. There is no “bite” mark in the cavity as seen in the 1950s Les Pauls. That is, the walls of the control cavity are straight, and the floor is flat (1950s models have a contoured cavity floor). The wiring route is a square route (not a drilled hole). Note the rumor that 1968 Les Pauls used leftover 1950s bodies is completely untrue.

Early Gibson 1969 Les Paul Standard Goldtop guitar specs:In December 1968 the Les Paul went through some transitions. 1969 serial numbers start in the 530xxx range. Around serial number 542xxx, the peghead get wider and uglier to match the Les Paul Custom’s headstock. Only a handful of January 1969 Les Paul Standards had the earlier 1968 style narrow peghead. The “dot” in the “i” of the Gibson logo is missing in 1969 (still using the open “b” and open “o” logo though) starting around serial number 539xxx. Starting in February 1969 the control cavity was routed like 1950s guitars with the maple top glued in place. This can be seen because the maple has a slightly routed step, where on January 1969 and 1968 Les Pauls the maple has absolutely no routing marks.Mid 1969 Gibson Les Paul Standard goldtop guitar specs:Lots of changes to the model starting around April 1969, and transitioning through the summer. First the center seamed maple top is gone, with multiple pieces of maple being used (hard to see on a goldtop finish, but you can usually see the seams). The neck tenon is now considered “small”, with it only extending about 1/4″ inside the neck pickup cavity. Sometimes the bodies were routed for long tenon necks, but a short tenon neck was installed. If this happens, a block of wood is glue there to fill the gap. Also the “cross banded” (pancake) 3-piece Les Paul body started around April, with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between the mahogany body back. This first generation of the pancake body had the thin maple pancake close to the top of the body.

In June 1969 the pickups change to mini-humbuckers, and the guitar is renamed the “Les Paul Deluxe” (“Deluxe” is pantographed into the truss rod cover). Serial numbers for mid-1969 to late Les Pauls all seem to be in the 800xxx to 893xxx range. By mid-1969 the maple pancake layer moved to the dead middle of the mahogany portion of the Les Paul body. Staring December 1969, beneath serial number, it says “made in USA” and has a small “volute” on the back of the neck in the nut area (a vulute is a ski-jump like bump on the back of the neck).




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