The 1959 Gibson Electric Guitars and Amplifiers Catalog

Phil47uk

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Check out 'The Fretless Wonder' on pg 15. I heard they were difficult to play and didn't last, any confirmation on that?
Nice thread northernguitarguy...:dude:

I've been playing them that long but buggered if I'm anal enough to know a 57 catalogue from a 59.:laugh2:

It's interesting that there is no mention of the LP standard in sunburst finish, which I know was in a Selmer catalogue around that time, because I collected the things.
The standard was always considered the poor mans Custom and wasn't as sought after.
Of course, what happened was that the Strat turned up on UK shores at the turn of the 60's, as you couldn't buy one over here before then because there was an embargo on US goods during the 50's.

By the time Les Pauls and Strats first started filtering in, it was the Strat that everybody coveted ( Mainly because of 'The Shadows' ) and certainly not the Les Paul.

It was the end of the 50's and the dawning of the space age and wow! didn't Strat's just fit the bill. Retro colours, slim fast action necks. The day of the old chunkers was over. Many Les Pauls had necks like baseball bats and people just didn't like them, including me..:laugh2:
Yeah. the custom had a slimmer neck and so did the standard by 1960, but it was too late.. The die was cast.... And die they certainly did.. ( Excuse the pun ).

It makes me chuckle when I hear youngsters saying to me " Yeah but the Les Paul is much ballsier, why didn't you have one ?"
Well, in fact that's exactly what you didn't want back then.. A thick muddy sound with distortion, simply because of the styles of music.. That was to come half a decade later. You wanted clean.. And boy did Fender give you clean.
With re your question, were thre P/U customs they hard to play?
I wouldn't say they were hard to play with regard action etc, but there was just too many pickups on the thing. You couldn't get your fingers in there and it was just too.. Well let's say.. Too cluttered!

You couldn't give away a Les Paul back then and it wasn't till the mid 60's when bigger 100 watt amps came in and bands started to play.. LOUD!..that the Les Paul made a resurection courtesy of Bloomfield, Clapton etc.

Then one day a guy called Hendrix appeared on the scene and virtually over night... All back to Strats..The Les Paul once more sinking in to virtual obscurity until a guy with a top hat and leather trousers once again gave the Les Paul another comeback.

It's all about trends.. If the guitar Gods are using that guitar, all the lemmings follow suite.. Then it's all change for the next act.:laugh2:

Luckily I was never into trends and the only guitars I owned in the 60's were Strats, 335's, Gretches and Teles.

As my wife said once to her friend about me.

'Phil will never go out of fashion for the simple reason he's never been in fashion'. :shock:

:laugh2:
 

Seantk

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$265 was the price for a Les Paul Standard (Cherry Sunburst Finish) in the 1960 Gibson Catalog. Source "The Beauty of the Burst"

The 1960 Gibson Catalog includes the Les Paul Standard Sunburst
 

northernguitarguy

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$265 was the price for a Les Paul Standard (Cherry Sunburst Finish) in the 1960 Gibson Catalog. Source "The Beauty of the Burst"

The 1960 Gibson Catalog includes the Les Paul Standard Sunburst
We're getting to the bottom of this......:hmm::laugh2:
 

SKATTERBRANE

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The Goldtop in the catalog has P90s. In mid 1957 they went to humbuckers.

In mid 58 they went from goldtop to burst.

The picture of the Goldtop is a full 18 months before 1959.

Now to the Junior, TV and Special. It was mid 58 that they went to a double cut. In the catalog they are still single cuts.

It may be a 59 catalog, but I guess the Les Paul was so low in priority, they did not bother to update the pictures on them.

In mid 1959 the Special went from Les Paul Special to SG Special, the Special was the first model to drop the Les Paul name. (no, they did not have the 1961 SG body, they stil had the double cut slab body)
 

SKATTERBRANE

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In fact, just by the virtue how deep in the catalog the Les Pauls appear, shows Gibson's priority. They were known for hollow bodied Jazz guitars, not so much the lowly Les Paul.
 

colchar

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Of course, what happened was that the Strat turned up on UK shores at the turn of the 60's, as you couldn't buy one over here before then because there was an embargo on US goods during the 50's.
Pardon?
 

northernguitarguy

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In fact, just by the virtue how deep in the catalog the Les Pauls appear, shows Gibson's priority. They were known for hollow bodied Jazz guitars, not so much the lowly Les Paul.
What happened to the amp division? I never knew that Gibson was so deep into making amps. Did Fender kick their ass somehow?
 

SKATTERBRANE

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What happened to the amp division? I never knew that Gibson was so deep into making amps. Did Fender kick their ass somehow?
Oh yeah, Fender kicked their ass in both amps and solid bodied guitars. Gibson was a bit bewildered why people wanted a guitar made with a band saw and bolts.
 

redcoats1976

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i thought it was interesting that the les paul was buried in the middle.guess they really werent that popular back then...
 

dfwadjuster

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The prices listed in the catalog, were those the prices that music stores were selling at? Or was it the practice back then, as it is now, to sell below the MSRP? Just curious. Enjoyed this thread!
 

Phil47uk

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Yes there was Colchar. You couldn't get say Strats imported into this country during the 50's. Why do you think Hank Marvin had the first, which they privately brought in. It wasn't till the very late 50's,turn of the 60's before you saw those guitars hanging up on guitar store walls in London.
It was some sort of trade embargo.. Check it out yourself . (Second paragraph ).

http://www.musicradar.com/news/bass/the-history-of-the-electric-bass-part-3-a-uk-perspective-531916
 

Bobby Mahogany

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Let's face it, these guys doing the catalogs had no idea they would be scrutinized 50 years later to fine tune the puzzle of guitar history!
Even the description of the "Les Paul Guitar" is not totally accurate, mentioning humbuckers while the picture shows P-90's.
I find interesting the fact that they present the "Les Paul Guitar", no mention of "Standard" while they present the "Custom". I guess the "Standard" name came later?
 

northernguitarguy

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Let's face it, these guys doing the catalogs had no idea they would be scrutinized 50 years later to fine tune the puzzle of guitar history!
Even the description of the "Les Paul Guitar" is not totally accurate, mentioning humbuckers while the picture shows P-90's.
I find interesting the fact that they present the "Les Paul Guitar", no mention of "Standard" while they present the "Custom". I guess the "Standard" name came later?
There was no need to call it a Standard, there were only the two models. The original Les Paul guitars were outfitted with P-90s and the very first year had the trapeze tailpiece, which as far as I know was a poor design.
 




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