Les Paul Standard Gold Top 'Dark-Back' P-90 Tune-O-Matic Guitars

1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top 'Dark-Back' P-90 Tune-O-Matic

Color: Dark-Back Mahogany with Gold Top, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 02048)
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A Near Mint and Totally Original 1957 'Dark-Back' Tune-O-Matic Les Paul Standard
One of the very last of the P-90 Les Paul GoldTops


1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top 'Dark-Back' P-90 Tune-O-Matic


This totally original Tune-O-Matic Les Paul Standard Gold Top with a 'Dark Back' is one of the very last of the P-90 Les Paul's The guitar weighs just 9.10 lbs. and has  a solid "dark-back" mahogany body with a solid carved maple top. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice fat nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches, and a wonderful thick profile. Rosewood fretboard with 22 original thin frets and inlaid pearl crown position markers. Headstock with inlaid pearl "Gibson" logo and "Les Paul Model" silkscreened in gold. Two-layer (black on white) truss-rod cover secured by two screws. The serial number "7 5708" is inked-on in yellow on the back of the headstock. The top of the guitar has single-ply cream binding and the fretboard has single white binding. Individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with single-ring tulip-shaped Keystone plastic buttons (four are stamped on the inside "2356766 PAT APPLD" and two are stamped "D-169400 PAT NO."). Two nicely balanced P-90 pickups with outputs of 7.51k and 7.34k. The cream neck pickup cover is stamped on the inside "UC-452-F/1" and the cream bridge pickup cover is stamped on the inside "UC-452-B/2". Single-layer cream plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) on lower treble bout plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. Gold plastic bell-shaped "Bell" knobs. The potentiometers are stamped "134 649" (Centralab December 1956). Two original "Bumble-Bee" capacitors (this is one of the first of the Lest Paul Standards to use "Bumble-Bee" capacitors—until 1956 they used "Grey Tiger" capacitors). ABR-1 non-retainer Tune-O-Matic bridge with metal saddles and separate "wrap-over" stud tailpiece. This fifty-nine year-old and one of the very last of the P-90 Les Pauls is in absolutely mint (9.50) condition - by far the best we have ever seen! The original frets show some light playing wear which is mainly confined to the first six frets. The fretboard also shows some minor wear, again mainly confined to the first six frets. There is absolutely no belt-buckle rash on the back, just one tiny ding (the size of a match-head) on the treble side near the jack input, a couple of miniscule surface marks on the sides and two equally miniscule marls on the top. No fading, no 'greening' and no finish checking to the guitar whatsoever. The hardware is also exceptionally clean with just a tiny amount of surface pitting on sides of the Tune-O-Matic bridge. This is the best looking P-90 Les Paul Standard that we have ever seen and is also one of the best playing and sounding examples. Housed in the original Gibson Faultless 'California Girl' five-latch, shaped brown hardshell case with pink plush lining (9.25++). This amazing guitar has the original brown leather strap, the original Gibson 'Les Paul' tri-fold hang-tag, the original folded "Les Paul' instruction hang-tag, the original 'Tune-O-Matic Bridge instruction sheet in its original manilla envelope, an original box of Gibson 'Mona-Steel' strings, an original typed letter from Gibson dated April 26, 1957 talking about the 'new models', an original 1947 Les Paul Songbook, an original eight-page Gibson price list dated July 15, 1957 (showing the Les Paul priced at $247.50 + $42.00 for the case, an original copy of 'Melody Maker' dated December 21, 1957 with headline "Les Paul & Mary Ford for Britain" and finally an original 1958 Columbia 45 rpm record in its original paper sleeve "Fantasy" / "Put a Ring on my Finger" by Les Paul and Mary Ford. This guitar and its case are an absolute 'time capsule' - you will never find a cleaner one of these - let alone a 'Dark Back' example.

"The first Gibson Les Paul solidbody electric guitar, known simply as the Les Paul Model then but now better known by its descriptive nickname 'gold-top', first went on sale during 1952" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul, p. 15).

"The new Les Paul guitar was launched by Gibson in 1952, in the summer, priced at $210, which was about $20 more than Fender' Telecaster sold for at the time…Today, a gold-finish Les Paul model is nearly always called a gold-top thanks to its gold body face…The new gold-top's solid body cleverly combined a carved maple top bonded to a mahogany base, a sandwich that united the darker tonality of mahogany with the brighter sonic 'edge' of maple. Paul said that the gold colour of the original Les Paul model was his idea. 'Gold means rich,' he said, 'expensive, the best, superb'" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul, pp. 20-21).

"In 1955 the gold-top gained Gibson's new Tune-o-matic bridge. The unit had the facility to adjust individual string-length, improving intonation. Two years later humbucking pickups replaced P90s on the gold-top" (Tony Bacon and Paul Day, The Gibson Les Paul Book, p. 19).

"Some 1957 and 1958 Les Paul goldtops are seen with dark brown backs. These 'dark backs' are easy to identify by the serial number, which is ink stamped with yellow ink (instead of black ink, as used on the light color backed goldtops). Also dark back Les Pauls will have black control cavity plates (as used on the Les Paul Custom) instead of brown plates" ( This guitar is an early 1957 Les Paul Gold Top with a 'Dark Back'. It has the serial number stamped in yellow ink and has black control cavity plates rather than brown plates.

"The tone capacitors for (all) Les Paul models changed in late 1955. Prior to this they used a brown waxy looking tubular Sprague capacitor called the Sprague 'grey tiger'. But by 1956 this changed to Sprague's 'bumble bee' tube cap, which was black with colored value stripes (in the 1968 the same capacitor was again used on the single cutaway Les Paul standard reissues, but Sprague has changed the marketing name of the capacitor to 'Black Beauty'). The Bumblebee caps were used from 1956 until 1960 for all pre-SG Les Paul models (Juniors, Specials, Standards, Customs)" (

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