1977 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Single piece mahogany body, original Epiphone pickups, neck playability, originality

Thumbs down: Maple neck with volute, weighty, gold finish ageing

Decree: A classic original Gibson Les Paul Deluxe with its great pickups and a smooth slinky neck

Model Description:

The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe is an interesting model in the company’s history. The original Gibson ‘Les Paul Model’ was launched in 1952 with a gold top finish and P90 pickups. There has never been a discrete Les Paul Gold Top model; it is a finish that has been used on various models over the years. The gold top Les Paul Model remained in production until it was retired in 1958 after acquiring humbucking pickups around 1957 to be replaced by the sunburst Les Paul Standard. While the gold top was a common finish, there was no Les Paul Deluxe model in the original Les Paul line up. Gibson did not produce any single cutaway Les Paul models between 1961 and 1968. When Gibson finally re‑introduced the single cutaway Les Paul in late 1968, the Deluxe was a new model that featured left‑over Epiphone ‘New York’ mini‑humbuckers and a ‘Standard’ specification with full‑size humbuckers was a special order option until it was formally designated as the Standard in 1976. The black Les Paul Custom was also reintroduced in 1968 alongside the Deluxe. Early Les Paul Deluxes with gold top finish and humbuckers were the first ones seen since 1958. The infamous ‘multi‑piece’ mahogany body with maple cap was introduced in 1969 and in the same year a neck volute was added to strengthen the headstock against the notorious neck breaks. In 1975, maple necks replaced the break‑prone mahogany and new colour finishes were added. Gibson reverted to solid mahogany bodies around 1977 and necks returned to mahogany by the early 1980s. Over the years, many owners converted their Deluxes to Standards by replacing the mini‑humbuckers with standard‑sized humbuckers, meaning that there are fewer unmodified examples available today. In 1978 Gibson released the Les Paul Pro‑Deluxe with two P90 pickups. By 1985, Gibson had discontinued the Les Paul Deluxe, while the Standard and Custom have both remained in production to the current day. Gibson reissued the Les Paul Deluxe in 2005.

Guitar Description:

Here we have a lovely, honest, all original, no‑issues mid‑1970s Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top with that exclusive finish and those great Epiphone mini‑humbucking pickups. The body comprises the much‑favoured single piece of mahogany, rather than the so‑called ‘pancake’ body. This one has the maple neck, which may deter some purists. However, it has a lovely slim shape that plays very well and you know it’s relatively safe from the risk of the dreaded neck breaks that plague so many Gibson mahogany necks. Forget the petty prejudices and give one a go, the necks feel great. I don’t believe the idiosyncrasies make any appreciable difference to the sound whatsoever, so the resentment that these guitars attract is a case of snobby aesthetics over practicality. The maple neck also makes this model more affordable than the mahogany‑necked versions. There is nothing quite like the Les Paul Deluxe’s pickups tone‑wise – bright and clear with plenty of kick. This particular Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top is all‑original and is in great condition. The finish shows some general wear and tear and the scuffs are often a sign of a good ‘old’ guitar because they get played! The original gold finish has become a bit ‘blotchy’ over the years but it is only cosmetic maturity and at least it doesn’t have any of the relatively common ‘greening’ caused by oxidation of the gold paint when it becomes exposed to air. She weighs in at the 10‑pound mark, making it bearable but a bit heavier than ideal – although very typical for the era. The original Les Paul Deluxes from the 1960s are now becoming inordinately expensive and the 1970s ones are now beginning to be sought after. Get one while you can, they’re worth their weight in gold.


  • Made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A. in 1977
  • Metallic gold nitrocellulose finish on the front, otherwise natural body and neck
  • Single piece mahogany body with carved maple cap
  • 3‑piece Maple set neck
  • Bound rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets and trapezoid pearloid markers
  • Scale length 24¾” (629mm)
  • Chrome hardware
  • Original nickel Kluson tulip‑button tuners
  • Original single-ply cream plastic floating scratchplate
  • Original mini‑humbucking pickups
  • Original switch, knobs, strap buttons and jack plate
  • Original bridge and tailpiece
  • Weight: 10lb 1oz (4.57kg)
  • Vintage non‑original hard shell case


  • Vivian Campbell (Dio, Def Leppard)
  • Ace Frehley (Kiss)
  • Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy)
  • Steve Lukather (Toto)
  • Yngwie Malmsteen
  • Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin)
  • Brian Robertson (Thin Lizzy)
  • Tom Scholz (Boston)
  • Slash (Guns N’ Roses)
  • Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden)
  • Pete Townshend (The Who)

Detail Gallery:

← Return to ‘Guitars’ page

Like it? Why not share it?