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  1. #1

    Need help with 1971 gold top

    Hi all,

    I purchased an original 1971 gold top last weekend online. It looked great and the seller has fantastic reviews and is a guitar collector.

    The guitar is a gift for someone who I know that has wanted a gold top for about 20 years. I found out though that it was rebuilt (seller did not mention this in the description). It was rebuilt in 78. New frets, New tuners, new Pick ups (original models), and new wiring. We spent just under $3500 for this guitar and I'm a bit worried. Seller says it plays great and the case, neck, Knobs, and bigsby are all original.

    I am not very knowledgeable about these guitars. Should I be concerned? What should I look at when it arrives to check it out?

    The seller seems fine but a rebuild always makes me nervous. I'm not sure though if it realistic to get a historic guitar such as this in our price range (we did not want to exceed 4k). I just don't want the playing to sound different than it would with all originals.

    Thank you all! And I apologize if I don't post this in the correct area....

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member guitplayer's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    I`m not sure "rebuilt" is the right word. Customized...maybe. I`d look out for a refin

  3. #3

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by guitplayer View Post
    I`m not sure "rebuilt" is the right word. Customized...maybe. I`d look out for a refin
    What is a refin? Sorry, I'm not very well versed in guitars...

    The seller told me this morning the original owner was a tech at a guitar shop for 20 years and that the neck is straight. He did offer to take it back if we aren't satisfied with it's playing so that eased some concerns at least.

  4. #4

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Used historic gold tops sell for $2,200 and up, so you could have easily afforded one.

    Just a suggestion, next time ask questions before you buy.
    Tim

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member musekatcher's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Plains View Post
    Used historic gold tops sell for $2,200 and up, so you could have easily afforded one.
    $3500 for a fully functional, correct 71 I think is a good deal. I've seen some hacked up examples selling for $2500 that need work, better original examples for $4500. Is a "historic" a re-issue?

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird89 View Post
    Hi all,

    I purchased an original 1971 gold top last weekend online. It looked great and the seller has fantastic reviews and is a guitar collector.

    The guitar is a gift for someone who I know that has wanted a gold top for about 20 years. I found out though that it was rebuilt (seller did not mention this in the description). It was rebuilt in 78. New frets, New tuners, new Pick ups (original models), and new wiring. We spent just under $3500 for this guitar and I'm a bit worried. Seller says it plays great and the case, neck, Knobs, and bigsby are all original.

    I am not very knowledgeable about these guitars. Should I be concerned? What should I look at when it arrives to check it out?

    The seller seems fine but a rebuild always makes me nervous. I'm not sure though if it realistic to get a historic guitar such as this in our price range (we did not want to exceed 4k). I just don't want the playing to sound different than it would with all originals.

    Thank you all! And I apologize if I don't post this in the correct area....
    Yes, you should be very concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird89 View Post
    What is a refin? Sorry, I'm not very well versed in guitars...

    The seller told me this morning the original owner was a tech at a guitar shop for 20 years and that the neck is straight. He did offer to take it back if we aren't satisfied with it's playing so that eased some concerns at least.
    [Unless you get a true expert, who carefully inspects it in his hands] Send it back.

    If you're ready to throw $3500 at something for a friend that you care about, tell him you'll let him select a guitar he wants and has checked out in his hands.
    Guitars can be very personal. He's wanted a Goldtop for 20 years? Let him pick it out.
    You'll both be happier in the long run.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    What a super generous gift, your friend is very lucky. I’d love a goldtop too 😊

    There are so many knowledgeable people on this forum, maybe someone would be willing for you to send them the link to the guitar privately and then give you some feedback.

    Unfortunately, I am no guitar expert, my two expensive guitar purchases have been for new guitars from trusted on-line sellers, as there are no authorised dealers in my country.

  8. #8

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Hi. Thank you all for your responses.

    I did speak with the seller again about my concerns. He understood and told me if we get it and are not satisfied he will accept a return and refund us the full cost minus shipping. So that has eased some concerns.

    He told us the original owner worked at a guitar shop as a tech and had all of the work done professionally. My father in law is into guitars and recommended a local shop that specializes in vintage guitars. I called and they are willing to look it over when it arrives. Though they said they don't feel that the changes mentioned are too concerning and sound as though they likely improved the guitar. Due to its age they said it's not reasonable to think we'd find a gold top of that era without any changes for under $5k.

    Above someone mentioned historic ones can be found for $2500 but in my experience I've only ever seen reissues go that low.

    I have attached a picture of the guitar

    Screenshot_20191028-071936_Chrome.jpg

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    The pic the OP posted looks like it is a buggered 1971 ‘54 reissue. These originally had a wrap bridge, P-90 pickups. These can be very heavy guitars and usually have flat dome-like tops with not much of the top carve that Les Paul’s are usually known for.

    The Bigsby, bridge, pickups definitely not original Gibson hardware.

    Restoration to original specs would be very difficult due top-mods for Bigsby & pickups. Something odd going on with the non-original bridge mounting to the body...makes it look like Chinese knock-off hardware.

    If this is a 1971 ‘54 reissue...the modifications have taken away a lot of value as well as desirability. The later ‘53 Reissues came closer to vintage specs than this model.

    Someone wanting a contemporaneous Gold Top would choose from ‘53, ‘56, or ‘57 reissue models...depending upon features they desire.
    ‘53 has wrap bridge & P-90s
    ‘56 has TOM bridge/tailpiece & P-90s
    ‘57 has TOM bridge/tailpiece & humbucker

    This guitar gift could be a disappointment ...depending upon what version of Gold Top the player has in their heart.
    Last edited by toxpert; 10-29-19 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Is a

  10. #10
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    A photo of the front and back of the headstock would be helpful for identification

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member Triplet's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    If your friend has a fair amount of knowledge on Gibson guitars I don't think he would want it. Not at $4k. I know I wouldn't want it. Personally, I could make it respectable, again, with proper parts, but that's me.
    Its an ugly Christmas sweater type of gift for sure...
    .
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    Fer fux sake! Duane's left and Dickey's right!
    .

  12. #12

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
    The pic the OP posted looks like it is a buggered 1971 ‘54 reissue. These originally had a wrap bridge, P-90 pickups. These can be very heavy guitars and usually have flat dome-like tops with not much of the top carve that Les Paul’s are usually known for.

    The Bigsby, bridge, pickups definitely not original Gibson hardware.

    Restoration to original specs would be very difficult due top-mods for Bigsby & pickups. Something odd going on with the non-original bridge mounting to the body...makes it look like Chinese knock-off hardware.

    If this is a 1971 ‘54 reissue...the modifications have taken away a lot of value as well as desirability. The later ‘53 Reissues came closer to vintage specs than this model.

    Someone wanting a contemporaneous Gold Top would choose from ‘53, ‘56, or ‘57 reissue models...depending upon features they desire.
    ‘53 has wrap bridge & P-90s
    ‘56 has TOM bridge/tailpiece & P-90s
    ‘57 has TOM bridge/tailpiece &Screenshot_20191029-153832_Chrome.jpgScreenshot_20191029-153832_Chrome.jpgScreenshot_20191029-153832_Chrome.jpg humbucker

    This guitar gift could be a disappointment ...depending upon what version of Gold Top the player has in their heart.
    Thank you for the detailed response! I've attached some more pics of it including one with the serial number

    Screenshot_20191029-153821_Chrome.jpg

    Screenshot_20191029-153840_Chrome.jpg

    Screenshot_20191029-153832_Chrome.jpg

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Additional note, if this is a 1971 ‘54 reissue...the change from P-90 pickups to humbuckers required routing the top. I would want to see what the pickup cavities/routing look like. They could be cleanly done or hogged out. Are the new routes in the correct position? The neck pickup looks too close to end of the fretboard...the pic does not show the gap that should be there.

    The seller should be able to send you better pics that show details. The fuzzy pic is a red flag to me. What else does the seller not disclose? For this example, the seller has a problem on their hands they want to get rid of...older guitar compromised with many changes that are not desirable/not original in nature.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Just saw the update post with pics. Neck pickup position is too close to fretboard.
    Headstock is the large version with pantograph ‘Gibson’ inlay. 3-piece neck with volute. Body is short-lived pancake construction with maple layer in the middle.

    While these features are all period correct...they represent a time when Gibson moved far away from the class Les Paul build specifications.

    It does look like a buggered 1971 ‘54 Reissue. With the image of ‘Les Paul Guitar’ in my dreams....this is not the guitar I would buy.

    The prototypical Les Paul has 1-piece neck, small headstock with script logo, no volute, no Bigsby. Pickups for this model would be P-90 and bridge would be wrap tail. Body would be solid ...not multi-layered pancake.

  15. #15

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by El Gringo View Post
    A photo of the front and back of the headstock would be helpful for identification
    Hi. Here are the pictures requested:

    s-l1600 (3).jpg s-l1600 (1).jpg

  16. #16

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
    Just saw the update post with pics. Neck pickup position is too close to fretboard.
    Headstock is the large version with pantograph ‘Gibson’ inlay. 3-piece neck with volute. Body is short-lived pancake construction with maple layer in the middle.

    While these features are all period correct...they represent a time when Gibson moved far away from the class Les Paul build specifications.

    It does look like a buggered 1971 ‘54 Reissue. With the image of ‘Les Paul Guitar’ in my dreams....this is not the guitar I would buy.
    Thanks again for the information! Sorry the pictures came through a bit weird...I was working on my phone. Here are the rest of the images I kept from the listing.

    s-l1600.jpg s-l1600 (7).jpg s-l1600 (6).jpg s-l1600 (5).jpg s-l1600 (4).jpg

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Yes, you should be very concerned.



    [Unless you get a true expert, who carefully inspects it in his hands] Send it back.

    If you're ready to throw $3500 at something for a friend that you care about, tell him you'll let him select a guitar he wants and has checked out in his hands.
    Guitars can be very personal. He's wanted a Goldtop for 20 years? Let him pick it out.
    You'll both be happier in the long run.
    Tom’s advice is the best solution for your endeavor to gift a guitar to your friend.
    You may have to incur some costs for shipping...in the end it will all work out for the better.
    Last edited by toxpert; 10-29-19 at 04:37 PM.

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    That is definitely NOT a c.1971 reissue. Pancake body was not used on those.

    Very high price for a boogered guitar. I'm even more convinced you should pass on it.

    BTW: If this had been posted in the correct Forum area [Sunburst Pub] you would have gotten more responses from those very familiar with 70s Les Pauls.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

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  19. #19

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    That is definitely NOT a c.1971 reissue. Pancake body was not used on those.

    Very high price for a boogered guitar. I'm even more convinced you should pass on it.

    BTW: If this had been posted in the correct Forum area [Sunburst Pub] you would have gotten more responses from those very familiar with 70s Les Pauls.
    Thanks for the reply. What do you mean it is not a c. 1971 reissue?Also, what is a pancake body?

    I will repost in the sunburst pub forum. Thank you!

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    I defer to Tom regarding the pancake body and the ‘54 reissue and stand corrected.

    Best regards to all and may this adventure end well.

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    You should send the guitar back buy a Historic 57 if your friend want double coils , this guitar is very fiddled with IMO I would pass !
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    He thinks the mirror is a photo of a clown ?

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  22. #22
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird89 View Post
    Hi. Here are the pictures requested:

    s-l1600 (3).jpg s-l1600 (1).jpg
    Thank You.

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Please note that the OP has started another thread in the Sunburst Pub.
    That's the best place to continue this discussion.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  24. #24

    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    Please note that the OP has started another thread in the Sunburst Pub.
    That's the best place to continue this discussion.
    Paul, do you mind if I send you an email with a few questions/pictures of a gold top I found that I think may be a good find? I don't mean to bother you, but you were very helpful in this issue and I'd really appreciate just a quick glance. We are returning the one in this forum due to so many modifications and I think the one I found is a much better quality but not knowing much about guitars I'd appreciate an opinion before purchasing this time.

    Thank you!

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
    Just saw the update post with pics. Neck pickup position is too close to fretboard.
    Headstock is the large version with pantograph ‘Gibson’ inlay. 3-piece neck with volute. Body is short-lived pancake construction with maple layer in the middle.

    While these features are all period correct...they represent a time when Gibson moved far away from the class Les Paul build specifications.

    It does look like a buggered 1971 ‘54 Reissue. With the image of ‘Les Paul Guitar’ in my dreams....this is not the guitar I would buy.

    The prototypical Les Paul has 1-piece neck, small headstock with script logo, no volute, no Bigsby. Pickups for this model would be P-90 and bridge would be wrap tail. Body would be solid ...not multi-layered pancake.
    Why are you going on and on about a flippin' 71 Reissue, something you know nothing about? If you don't have a clue, don't make mutiple posts as if you do and confuse someone seeking guidance!! Your idea of what constitutes YOUR Dream Goldtop has nothing to do with the op and only applies to you. WTF dude enough, you ain't helping.

    The op wishes to gift a "Goldtop" for a freind. The op needs to find out if the freind has a specific type "Goldtop" in mind or just any genaric Goldtop. Either way, this guitar is overpriced and misrepresented. That is all that matters.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    It is not a reissue.
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    Why are you going on and on about a flippin' 71 Reissue, something you know nothing about? If you don't have a clue, don't make mutiple posts as if you do and confuse someone seeking guidance!! Your idea of what constitutes YOUR Dream Goldtop has nothing to do with the op and only applies to you. WTF dude enough, you ain't helping.

    The op wishes to gift a "Goldtop" for a freind. The op needs to find out if the freind has a specific type "Goldtop" in mind or just any genaric Goldtop. Either way, this guitar is overpriced and misrepresented. That is all that matters.
    I am not going on about a '71 Reissue. That post was 4 days ago...and on the OP's original thread. I missed that the '71 did not have a pancake body. Tom pointed that out and I responded with thank you for the correction.

    I am out of discussion here and can only hope that the individual receives a gift that he appreciates.

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Quote Originally Posted by toxpert View Post
    I am not going on about a '71 Reissue. That post was 4 days ago...and on the OP's original thread. I missed that the '71 did not have a pancake body. Tom pointed that out and I responded with thank you for the correction.

    I am out of discussion here and can only hope that the individual receives a gift that he appreciates.
    Your first three posts claim it is. So you missed the pancake body, every picture proves it isn't a reissue. No one would ever think so as it is so plainly obviously not and I just wonder why you feel the need to post so much about something you know so little about? Same for declarations of what makes a proper goldtop.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member toxpert's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    Good bye everyone.

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member guitplayer's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with 1971 gold top

    z
    Last edited by guitplayer; 11-06-19 at 10:59 AM.

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