Les Paul Professional Guitars

1971 Gibson Les Paul Professional

Color: Walnut, Rating: 9.25, $3,650.00 (ID# 01935)
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A Near Mint Les Paul Professional


1971 Gibson Les Paul Professional.


This Les Paul Professional is one of only 116 guitars produced between 1971 and 1973. This rare guitar weighs 12.20 lbs. and has a two-piece 'single-bound' mahogany 'sandwich' body with a carved top. Three-piece mahogany neck with a nice, fat nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches and a wonderful thick profile. Bound rosewood fretboard with 22 original jumbo frets and inlaid pearl trapezoid position markers. Very small and unobtrusive headstock 'volute'. Inlaid pearl "Gibson" headstock logo. Three-layer black over white plastic 'bell-shaped' truss-rod cover secured by two screws and "Les Paul Professional" engraved in white. Individual 'Gibson' Roto-Matic tuners with octagonal metal buttons. Serial number "956937" and "Made in USA" stamped in blind on back of headstock. Below the "Made in USA" is a "2" for 'second'. Two oblong low-impedance humbucker pickups mounted at an angle with "Gibson" embossed on the plastic pickup covers. Black laminated plastic pickguard secured to body by side bracket and top screw. Four controls (volume, bass, treble, decade) on lower treble bout. Phase slide switch and three-way tone selector on small panel on lower treble bout. Three-way pickup selector switch on bass horn. The potentiometers are stamped "137 6944", "137 7039" & "137 7047" (CTS, October 1969 and September & November 1970). Black plastic 'bell-shaped' knobs with white markings and metal tops. Two Guitar input jack sockets on side of lower treble bout (an additional input has been professionally fitted allowing the guitar to be used with a standard cord). Tune-O-Matic retainer bridge with nylon saddles and separate stud tailpiece. This guitar is in near mint (9.25) condition with just a few very small surface marks/indentations on the sides and the back of the neck. Overall a spectacular example of a quite rare Les Paul. Housed in the original five-latch black shaped hardshell case with orange plush lining (9.00). Complete with two special, two-piece, 'low impedance' guitar cords with microphone connectors, one to a single jack, the other with two jacks - stereo??????

The "2" stamp is sometimes seen on Gibson guitars, designating a "second", which had some minor cosmetic flaw.

One of just 116 Les Paul Professionals made in 1971 out of a total run of 118 guitars produced between 1971 and 1973.

"Most Les Paul low-impedance models have different body dimensions than other Les Paul models" (Gruhn's Guide to Vintage Guitars, p. 218). The Les Paul Professional is 14 inches wide, 18 1/4 inches long, and 2 inches deep.

"The Les Paul Professional was the low-impedance economy model that incorporated a Standard-style, rosewood fingerboard, neck and front body binding, and chrome parts (although the catalog listed nickel) sans the nifty mic input setup -- all for $480. Price-wise, this put it between the Custom and Deluxe models, prompting Gibson to claim "… perhaps the feature you'll enjoy the most is the modest price tag that accompanies this 'professional' guitar. The larger 13 7/8" body continued to utilize the customary 1/16" mahogany cross-band strip. Grain direction is optimally set at 90 degrees for bonding strength and can easily be viewed under the front pickup. The pickup switch's function was more accurately described with "Rear/Front" instead of normal "Rhythm/Lead" assumption. As on the other low-impedance solids, electronic function lettering was upside down to read easily while playing the instrument. Terry Kath of the popular eight-piece brass/rock group Chicago (CTA) was one discerning artist who used this versatile model in concert. It was also pictured on the front cover of Guitar Player magazine's August 1971 issue. Jimmy Page was another guitarist who realized their expanded tonal recording potential. He posed with one for his solo album cover." (Robb Lawrence. The Modern Era of the Les Paul Legacy 1968-2009, p. 40).

"The Les Paul Professional has many of the same exciting features found on the LP Personal: low impedance pickups; fast, low action neck; and a 24 3/4" scale. But perhaps the feature you'll enjoy most is the modest price tag that accompanies this "professional" guitar. Features: Low inpedance electronics and pickups. Clear grain British Honduras mahogany neck construction. Buffed and polished clear walnut finish reveals the fine grain-lined features in the basic wood. Bound rosewood fingerboard with deluxe pearloid inlays. Nickel-plated Schaller machine heads with sealed geras. Nickel-plated Tune-O-Matic bridge. 18 1/4" long, 4" wide, 2" deep; 24 3/4" scale, 22 frets, neck joins body at the 16th fret." (1970 Gibson Les Paul Professional catalog description).

"In 1969 along came the first wave of Les Paul models with low-impedance pickups -- the Les Paul Professional, the Les Paul Personal, and the Les Paul Bass… The Personal and Professional had a complex array of controls, and Gibson's instruction leaflet reinforced the impression that they were built with recording engineers rather than guitarists in mind. Familiar volume, bass, treble and pickup selector were augmented by an 11-position Decade control, 'to tune high frequencies', a three-position tone selector to create various in and out-of-circuit mixes, and a pickup phase in/out switch. Both guitars required connection using the special cord (lead) supplied, which had a built-in transformer to boost the output from the low-impedance stacked-coil humbucking pickups up to a level suitable for use with normal high-impedance amplifiers." (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul, p. 60).

"Gibson engineers and 'Mr. Guitar', Les Paul, spent endless hours of research and experimentation in producing this exceptional instrument. A revolutionary new design with low-impedance pickups. The Les Paul Professional is truly a giant step forward in musical electronics and tone reproduction." (Gibson, 1970)

According to the Gibson catalog, the guitar and bass models were constructed with the normal "three-piece laminated British Honduras mahogany neck construction. The laminations are quarter-sawn for maximum strength." The arched, three-piece body had the "center cross-band," and featured a beautiful, deep brown finish. "Clear walnut finish reveals all the fine grain-lined feature of the basic wood."l.

The decade control has 11 incremental positions that add more resistance or capacitance and inductance into the system (or combinations thereof) that, in effect, add to the sound permanently. Fringing curve magnetic improvement (efficiency) increases the cap resistance ten times - plus off position. It changes the amounts of R (resistance), C (capacitance), and L (inductance). When the decade and resistance are used together, it uses notch filters between 2,000 - 3,000 Hz, etc., and changes the impedance at 7,000 Hz.

The lower settings can approximate an acoustic guitar tonality while using the front pickup (especially with the bass and treble controls backed off). Highest settings tend to fatten it up to a humbucking fullness, while inbetween settings blend the two in varying increments. This effect is hardly noticeable unless you're using it properly into a board, without the line transformer in use for high-impendance amplification.

Original Gibson brochures state, "The 11-position decade control 'tunes' or alters the treble harmonics. Position 0 will peak the highest frequency and graduates accordingly down the spectrum in steps through position 10. This control is most effective when the tone selector is in position 2 and the bass response has been reduced. You will experience innumerous tonalities.

"Interesting tonal blends can be achieved when using treble and bass controls simultaneously. You can preset the desired amount of treble and increase (decrease) bass without affecting treble frequencies. The same goes for presetting the desired amount of bass. You will not affect the bass frequencies if you add (subtract) treble. (Treble and bass controls may be used with the tone selector, phase and toggle switch.)"

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