The beginning of the Les Paul would see several subtle and not so subtle changes that would separate it from all other Les Paul models produced in 1952 and beyond.
No one know for sure exactly how many of these very early models were produced. Estimates run from 12 to no more than 100.
The different features of these early '52 Les Paul models include no neck binding, two pickup mounting screws positioned diagonally on the corners of the bridge P90 pickup, the logo often has the "G" touching the dot in the "I”.
In this photo, the Gibson logo of a later 1952 Les Paul shows clear separation between the "G" and the dot of the "i".
Photo above shows the Gibson logo of an early 1952 Les Paul wherein the "G" touches the dot of the "i".
Photo shows the squarish looking parallelagram shape of the control cavity of a very early 1952 Les Paul.
Unique Features of the First Run of Les Pauls in 1952
Photo shows a very early '52 Les Paul neck without cream binding.
Photo shows the much more common clover leaf cavity pattern found on later '52 Les Paul models and until today.
Other differences include the route under the bridge p-90 which in very early 1952 Les Paul models, has the wire channel passing thru the pickup route in the center.
Contrast this to 1952 models with neck binding which have the normal wire channel route through the treble side of the neck pick route.
Additionally, early 1952 Les Paul models also have different wood routings. The control cavity is a square like parallelogram shape, instead of the cloverleaf shape used on 1952 models with neck binding.
The rear control route was change in 1953 around serial number "3 22xx". The trapeze tailpiece ground channel route was discontinued. This route was used for the ground wire running to the claw of the trapeze tailpiece.
The conversion from trapeze tailpiece to wrap-around on the 1953 Les Paul started at earliest around serial number "3 13xx", so early 1953 models still use the older trapeze tailpiece.
Photo shows a later '52 Les Paul wherein wire channel routing goes through the treble side of the pickup routing.
The photo above shows a very early 1952 Gibson Les Paul with the diagonal placement of pickup mounting screws on the bridge P90 pickup.
Photo shows a very early '52 Les Paul wherein wire channel routing goes through the center of the pickup routing.
Photo shows a later 1952 Les Paul neck with cream binding.
The photo above shows a later 1952 Gibson Les Paul with the placement of pickup mounting screws now in the middle as part of the center row of poles.