Vintage Instruments: Gibson Guitars

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1961 Gibson Les Paul Standard

An incredible sounding, one-owner, first year SG body, early 1961 Gibson Les Paul Standard. Consigned with us by the wife of its original owner, this guitar was locally purchased new in 1961 and has spent its years here in southern Ontario. Its owner was a music instructor with the Ontario Conservatory of Music, and a some-times gigging musician. His guitar was well cared for and well loved, and arrived here at Folkway completely intact and 100% original, complete with its Gibson-branded brown and pink case and original leather strap.

This SG Les Paul has not been modified in any way, all parts are original, and all solder joints are as they left Kalamazoo in early 1961. We were the first people to undo the screws in the pickup surrounds and back plate since they were installed at the factory. Gotta love that. Bridge humbucker is a PAF with DC reading of 7.8kOhm, neck is a no-decal version with a 7.4kOhm resistance. Pots all date to the 3rd week of 1961, and the serial number is in the 7000s, reaffirming that it was completed quite early in that year.

The neck has a wonderful feel, with a full width and fast backside, but not super-thin as some ‘61s can be. The original frets are showing some age, but aren’t badly worn and remain very playable. Neck angle is fine, and the guitar is set up with 4-5 64ths action. Sideways vibrato tailpiece works surprisingly well and doesn’t interfere with tuning stability, neck joint shows no finish cracks or issues of any kind, all four pots, switch, and jack work perfectly. The guitar’s original finish shows some fade, but is still much more red than brown, and the lacquer is intact and without much wear but for in and around the first three frets of the neck where the fingerboard binding was once also reglued.

The original case is in perfect working order and without any seam separations or exterior damage. All latches work correctly, the lid hangar is intact, case pocket opens and closes as it is designed to, the pink lining is all well attached, and there are no musty, smokey, or otherwise unappealing odours to endure. The keys to the latch locks are still in the case pocket. The leather strap that’s been with the guitar since new is a nice addition and still works well.



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