The 1957 Les Paul
Collectibility Rating: 1952-1953:The
Because Guitars Are Cool.
1957 Gibson Les Paul goldtop model guitar specs:
- Some 1957 and 1958 Les Paul goldtops are seen with dark brown backs (also some 1956 models).
- 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 darkback Les Pauls will have black control cavity plates (as used on the Les Paul Custom) instead of brown plates.
- Rare, but sometimes seen, are 1957 gold tops with a mahogany top (a single one piece body with no maple cap - the mahogany can easily be seen from inside the control cavity route).
- Humbucking PAF pickups replace P-90 pickups around serial number "7 2000" to "7 3800" range (latest 1957 goldtop documented with P-90s is serial number "7 38xx", and the earliest is a leftie PAF goldtop "7 13xx").
- During this period there was definately overlaps of Goldtops with either P90 or PAF pickups.
- First few months of humbucker pickup production used brushed stainless steel pickup covers (instead of nickel plated covers) with no PAF stickers.
- Resistance of the new pickups ranged from 7.0k ohms to 8.9k ohms.
- The first month of humbucker Les Paul goldtop production used black plastic parts (pickguard, pickup rings, switch surround), with black parts being in the serial number range "7 13xx" to "7 32xx".
- All black plastic 1957 Les Paul Goldtops should have a dark back (if it doesn't, chances are someone stole the cream parts and replaced them with black parts).
- The black pickguard is basically a 5 layer b/w/b/w/b Les Paul Custom pickguard (but cut for two humbucking pickups).
- Within a month or two, PAF goldtops changed to cream plastic parts (cream part PAF goldtops not seen before serial number "7 3000").
- Generally speaking black plastic part 1957 Les Paul goldtops are worth less than cream part 1957 goldtops though.
- The black and cream plastic humbucker pickup mounting rings had "M-69" as part of the molding, on the bottom side between the height adjustment screw and mounting screw.
- Plastic humbucker rings had four "screw tunnels" for each mounting screw (but not for the two pickup height adjustment screws).
- Though the M-69 pickup surrounds were used until about 1970 (in black, when they were replaced by the M-8 pickup rings with no screw tunnels).
- Gibson did not use cream colored M-69 pickup rings any later than 1960.
- That's why there's such a big deal about original cream-colored 1950s Les Paul pickup rings, because original M-69s in cream were unavailable after 1960.
- Though these seems like minor details, original plastic parts are important to these guitars.
- The mounting screws for white pickup rings are nickel plated, for black pickup rings the mounting screws are black.
- In 1957 the Rhytm/Treble ring plastic got slightly thicker changing from .20" thick to about .25" thick.
- The R/T ring stayed like this until early-1959 when the font on the R/T ring changed getting thinner.
- The "Gibson" peghead pearly logo moved closer to the top edge of the peghead (as positioned on all other Gibson models) in late 1957 (1957 PAF Goldtops can have either the low or higher position "Gibson" peghead logo).
- The logo changed from 3/4" from the top of the "b" to the tip of the peghead to about 3/8".