1975 Gibson Les Paul Standard

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Playability, looks, slim neck, weight, one previous owner

Thumbs down: Refinished, some replacement parts, repaired electrics, non‑OHSC, Norlin‑era reputation

Decree: A far from perfect example of a much‑derided period in Les Paul history although she looks great and plays very well. I love it

Model Description:

From 1952 until 1961, the Gibson Les Paul seemed to be a bit of ‘work‑in‑progress’, going through numerous revisions and models (Junior, Special, Standard and Custom). The ‘Standard’ actually started off as the gold top ‘Les Paul Model’ with P90 pickups and a trapeze tailpiece. Humbucking ‘Patent Applied For’ (PAF) pickups didn’t arrive until 1957 and the iconic sunburst arrived in 1958 when the model was formally designated as the ‘Standard’. After about 1,700 Standards were shipped, the model was discontinued in 1961 due to falling sales, to be replaced by the double cutaway SG (but called the Les Paul until 1963). Due to customer pressure, Gibson reintroduced the classic single cutaway Les Paul was in 1968 as the Les Paul Deluxe, with optional humbucking pickups. During the early 1970s, the body was changed to ‘multipiece’ mahogany/maple construction to make use of available tone woods. The necks also changed to thinner, stronger maple necks with a volute to strengthen the headstock join. By 1977, the cross‑banded ‘pancake’ bodies were replaced with solid mahogany and necks reverted to mahogany. The Les Paul Standard has been in continuous production since 1968 and has been available in a wide range of variants at all price points from the lower‑priced Epiphone models to high‑end Custom Shop specials. The mid‑1970s Norlin‑era Les Pauls are widely criticised for cost‑cutting and declining quality in the face of aggressive imported competition. However, this one‑sided condemnation is not the whole story and the numerous changes to specification over the years tend to muddy the waters as much as perceived management interference. The 1958‑1961 ‘bursts remain the most desirable of all solid body guitars and the mid‑1970s Standards tend to be the least collectable of the breed (I think of them simply as ‘different’), although this polarisation is likely to become less stark in the future.

Guitar Description:

Here is a very pretty 1975 Les Paul Standard. Despite its supposed drawbacks, this particular Les Paul has become CRAVE Guitars’ ‘signature’ image. This status came about because I have owned this guitar since the late 1970s and it has been through hell and high water with me over the years. To be upfront, this is not a guitar for the purist collector out there. When I originally bought it in about 1978 from the original owner, it was in tobacco sunburst with a fair amount of buckle rash on the back. There wasn’t really a vintage guitar scene at the time and, anyway, I didn’t really know any better, so I had it refinished in natural as soon as it came into my possession. It has since been refinished again in a much nicer cherry sunburst. Personally, I really like the plain maple cap, rather than a flame maple homage to the past. To‑date, this is CRAVE Guitars’ only refinished guitar. It is one of those much ridiculed mid‑1970s Les Pauls with the ‘pancake’ body and maple neck. The former, frankly, makes no practical difference except to the dogmatically prejudiced. The latter is, to my thinking, an advantage as the maple neck is slim and solid, giving it a lovely smooth playing feel and no concerns about the risk of the dreaded neck break. The scratchplate, pickup covers and toggle switch tip are not originals. The electrics have been repaired at some point too. None of this affects its playability, sound or looks but the changes do have an adverse effect on its vintage value. Good job I’m not motivated by money. The reason that I’ve kept this Les Paul for so long is that it not only has sentimental value but also, over the decades, it has been a favourite of mine. So… I say ‘nyah‑boo‑sucks’ to the naysaying critics. Being objective, it may not be worth much to someone else but it means a heck of a lot to me, so I’m hanging onto it and it unashamedly continues to be CRAVE Guitars’ go‑to ‘shop front’ guitar.


  • Made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A. in 1975
  • Refinished cherry sunburst finish (originally tobacco sunburst)
  • Mahogany ‘pancake’ mahogany/maple body with plain maple cap
  • Maple set neck with headstock volute
  • Bound rosewood fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and pearl trapezoid markers
  • Scale length 24¾” (629mm)
  • Chrome hardware
  • Original Kluson tulip tuners
  • Replacement floating cream plastic scratchplate
  • Original humbucking pickups
  • Original switch, knobs, strap buttons and jack socket
  • Replacement switch tip and repaired electrics
  • Weight: 9lb (4.08kg)
  • Vintage ‘Rainbow’ flight case

Detail Gallery:

← Return to ‘Guitars’ page

Like it? Why not share it?