Les Paul Guitars

1976 Gibson Les Paul

Color: Natural, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 00027)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

The Ultimate Les Paul!

This ultimate Les Paul is No. 20 of only seventy-seven produced between 1976 and 1979 (and one of only fifty-nine with the Natural finish). It weighs 11.20 lbs. and has a nice, fat nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches and a scale length of 24 3/4 inches. Figured maple top, back, and sides, with rosewood outer binding and green- and red-stained wood inner bindings. Rosewood control plates on the back. Figured maple neck and three-piece ebony/rosewood/ebony fretboard with 22 frets and inlaid abalone block position markers. Inlaid abalone "Gibson" headstock logo with abalone five-piece split-diamond inlay and "The Les Paul" on truss-rod cover. Individual Gibson tuners with tulip-shaped mother-of-pearl buttons. Oval mother-of-pearl plate on the back of the headstock: "Reg. No. 20/5-13-76." Two "Super Humbucking" pickups with rosewood surrounds and balanced outputs of 7.45k and 7.27k. Rosewood pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch. Handmade rosewood knobs. Nashville bridge and separate stud tailpiece. All hardware gold-plated. Minimal tarnishing to hardware, otherwise this guitar is in mint condition. Housed in the original Gibson black hardshell case with the original Gibson "Artist Series" plaque on the outside, with black plush lining, and Gibson silk ribbon (9.50).

"The Les Paul" was one of two new Les Paul models introduced in 1976. "It was a spectacular limited edition notable for its use of fine woods for virtually the entire instrument. Many parts that on a normal electric guitar would be made from plastic were hand-carved from rosewood, including the pickguard, pickup surrounds, backplates, controls and truss-rod cover. Raw bodies and necks of attractive maple, including the back, and an ornate ebony and rosewood fingerboard were produced at Gibson's Kalamazoo factory. Further work on the multiple coloured binding, abalone inlays and handmade wooden parts was continued at the workshop of freelance luthier Dick Schneider, about a mile from the factory in Kalamazoo. Schneider worked on The Les Pauls together with his brother Donnie and Abe Wechter from Gibson...Very few of The Les Pauls were made, and while an unfortunate four-figure misprint in Gibson's own records precludes an exact total, it's most likely that there were well under 100 produced between 1976 and 1979, with most made during the first year...As the limited stocks of Schneider's handmade wooden parts ran out, so normal plastic items were substituted, as well as less ornate binding. Each example of The Les Paul had a numbered oval plate on the back of the headstock" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul, p. 72).

According to Dennis Chandler, a former Gibson sales representative, who owns The Les Paul No. 1, a local Cleveland Gibson dealer, Dick Sodja, owner of Sodja Music, was so impressed with the quality, workmanship, and special cosmetic features of this guitar that he ordered one for his store on June 23, 1975. Assuming that No. 1 would go to Les Paul, Dick Sodja expected to receive one of the custom limited production models. In 1976, Les Paul and Chet Atkins received Grammy nominations for their album Chester & Lester. By March of 1976, The Les Paul was close enough to completion that it was loaned to Les Paul for him to play while appearing live on television at the Grammies. After his performance, the guitar was returned to Gibson for final adjustments and cosmetic completion. Gibson luthiers finished the guitar as Les Paul specified and it was fitted with a "Reg. No. 1/3-26-76" mother-of-pearl oval plate on the reverse side of the peghead. Needless to say, Les Paul was extremely eager to receive this very special instrument. However, for some unknown reason, this guitar was never shipped to Les Paul. Instead, the order placed by Dick Sodja at the 1975 NAMM show was filled with the prototype. On March 31, 1976, The Les Paul No. 1 was shipped to Sodja Music. By the time Gibson realized what had happened, it was too late to correct the error. The guitar remained in the inventory of Dick Sodja virtually untouched, until October 10, 1977, when its present owner, Dennis Chandler, purchased it ( When Gibson finally did send The Les Paul to Les, it was No. 25.

The Les Paul’s list price was a staggering $3,000 in 1976, when a Les Paul Custom listed for $739!

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