While Les Paul remains deeply influential as a guitar player, perhaps his greatest legacy will be his contribution to the evolution of electric guitars. By 1951, Les Paul was a respected guitar player, and he was known as a bit of an innovator, too. He had experimented with the solid body electric guitar concept for years, so Gibson president Ted McCarty approached him that year to discuss a collaboration. The result was the Gibson Les Paul Model, which remains one of the most influential and forward-thinking electric designs ever conceived.
In 1961, Gibson abandoned the traditional single-cutaway Les Paul shape in favor of the SG. But despite the new model, demand for the original design continued, leading Gibson to offer their first reissue of an older model. Released in 1968, the new les Paul Standard was a faithful recreation of the '56-'57 specs: twin P-90 pickups, a Tune-O-Matic bridge, and a gleaming gold-finished top. Just like the earlier editions, the '68-'69 Les Paul Standard offered great tone, great looks, and superior playability.
This 1968/69 Les Paul Standard is a beautiful example of Gibson's first reissue. Interestingly, its serial number (866942) dates to '67, according to most resources. Nevertheless, three of the pots date to late '68 and one of the pots dates to '69. Because of that, we imagine most of this guitar was built in 1968, but it was probably completed and shipped to a dealer in 1969.
Cosmetically, this Les Paul Standard is extremely clean. It looks like both corners of the headstock were chipped (fortunately, no headstock break), and that caused the D and G tuning pegs to be bent. Also- the peghead overlay was refinished black to cover up the chipped edges, and the new finish checked slightly (see photos). The back of the neck shows to some evidence of overspray, but the original finish fluoresces underneath. The body appears to have been refinished—the top doesn't show any tan lines from parts, and although it appears to show some age, it doesn't fluoresce underneath a blacklight. The back shows some fluorescence, especially around the edges and in the grain of the mahogany. It's all very tasteful, and the results are excellent.
This 1968/69 Les Paul Standard sports all of the period appropriate parts, and it sounds fantastic through any amplifier. The neck carve is reminiscent of the '50s, so it gives you a lot to hold onto. The bridge pickup measures 10.25 k ohms and the neck measures 8.50 k ohms. Interesting, only two of the inlays (7 and 9) are the blueish late-'60s material—the others are more yellow like a '50s example.
This 1969/69 Les Paul Standard has a low, inviting setup and the tone to push any amp into smooth saturation. It includes a Norlin-era Les Paul case with one broken case latch.