04 Aug Gibson 1968/1958 Les Paul Standard, “The Husk” Conversion by Dick Knight, 1973
Let me begin by showing you a few shots of this guitar. Few have seen it yet (click on the images to see them at full resolution).
This specific guitar has an incredible history (with stories…). It was “born” in 1968 (early 1968) as a first reissue of the Gibson Les Paul Standard model, that had been produced in the 1950s from 1952 to 1960 (and production had ceased because of very low sales!).
During the mid to late 1960s though, a few upcoming guitar players (in the likes of Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton) were being seen playing late 1950s Les Paul Standard “Bursts” (sunburst colors with “flamed” maple tops). Due to the amazing sound of these, musicians started liking Les Pauls like never before and Gibson was “forced” to re-introduce the Les Paul model (that had been substituted in favor of the SG design from 1960 to 1968).
The first late 1960s Les Paul Standards (reissues) though, had little in common with their 1950s ancestors in terms of looks and features.
They were in fact Gold Tops (a finish with which the Les Paul had been introduced in 1952 up until circa 1957-1958) and featured P90s pickups (please see here for a detailed history of the Les Paul Standard – add link).
Basically, this guitar had the following look and features:
Since late 1950s “bursts” were scarce at the time (only circa 2000 had been produced in the late ’50s) and everyone wanted one, some players decided to “convert” these into “Burst” Les Paul Standards.
Below, a picture of a real 1959 Les Paul Standard “Burst” owned by Les Paul Expert (and friend) Joe Ganzler:
It is nice to note some rough similarities between the two. The “Lemonburst” color that is seen on both is a direct consequence of time passing by these instruments. Sun light causes the original red paint to “fade” in such manner. Basically, all of late 1950s Les Paul Standards tend to fade in a similar – but different for each guitar – way.
Joe Ganzler was the one to rescue the “Husk” and some time later, sell it to me.
The Husk is probably one of the very first guitars to have been converted into such design.
Professional Guitar Player – insert name here – the actual owner of this guitar back then – contacted famous luthier (Dick Knight) to have it converted.
Quite few details in the construction and looks were in fact different. Gibson had already gone through some internal production changes since the 1950s and several construction techniques were probably already lost (or were too expensive to reapply even at the time).
So Mr. Dick Knight began his work on this guitar, probably resetting the neck at a more proper late 1950s angle, changed the positioning of the stop bar and bridge, routed the body for humbucker pickups in lieu of the P90s and… added a thin layer of veneer “figured” wood top over the existing maple top of the guitar.
It seems in fact that one of the desireable aspects of the looks of Burst Les Paul Standard is the “flame figure” that their top sports (some of them). Among collectors and players nowadays, the characteristic flame of a particular Les Paul is one of the key elements to its value.
This guitar since then has seen a number of different owners and was sold in recent years as a real 1958 Les Paul Standard for a price over USD 500.000 (yes, you read it right: $500.000, if fact $561.000! Read here: Al Parish Auction).
It is unclear if the seller was aware of committing a fraud or was unsure of the real dating (and story) of the guitar.
Also, another factor in the latter price figure was due to another “mistake”: the guitar was in fact thought to have been owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, as the following picture (shot about the time of the sale) stated:
UPDATE: for the ones “curious” to hear this one, I’ve shot a video from which I have edited this audio from. Video will be soon fully featured here, but in the meanwhile, you might be wanting to hear what it sounds like.
Here (SoundClick, “All Right Now, Free, SoloDallas’ Version”)
Note of the author for the more ‘particular’ reader: these articles on SoloDallas’ gear are not intended to be egotistical, neither am I intending to show off. They are for passion, documentation/information and sharing pleasure with those who have a similar interest. Thanks for your trust and understanding, SD
CadmusPosted at 13:20h, 03 December
I have a question concerning most of the Gibson Les Pauls burst, specifically the paintjob on them. I didn’t see any better topic to ask it, so sorry if this is not really on-topic.
Why nobody notices that kind of split in the paint in the middle of the guitar? Why is it there? It’s on almost every Les Paul with burst colours and I’ve always thought it looks terrible.
PiemontePosted at 11:49h, 25 November
How does the Dick Knight conversion compare to Scott’s one? I’m thinking about a conversion myself, either a 68 or earlier depending on cost. The guitar looks just stunning.
I remember I tried a Dick Knight 68 conversion many years ago and it just blew my Gibson 1959 40th Anniversary aged model away, both in feel and tone. I’ve got a nice replica at the moment but still fancy a conversion.
Excellent site Fil, lots of useful info, and man you get a great tone.
SoloDallasPosted at 11:58h, 25 November
First off, thanks very much. Secondly, how comes you’re in Italy and speak such a great English?
Thirdly, it’s mainly the years that have passed by on these instruments that make them such good sounding/playing instruments. This is solely why I tend to go to used instruments only: someone before me has played them before me, and has broken them in. Mostly this is all. None of my instruments are “magical”, I can assure you this. I don’t even know if there really are magical instruments at this point. It’s a sum of things. So, the ’68 has NOTHING special. It’s just an old guitar. I think Mr. Knight mainly has improved the looks of this guitar, that’s really all. Now onto your delicate question, how does it compare to Lentz’? Have no idea. They’re different sounding, this for sure. You can still tell it’s Les Pauls, but they’re different sounding and playing. I guess I need both, each one covering different territory. The Lentz might be more “airy”, in the sense of that deceiving, subtle “hollowness” overtones that I search in Les Pauls. However I need to tell you that in this respect, I am a TOTAL lover and convert player with the… chambered recent Les Pauls. Yes Sir. I now have two. You can see/hear one – the most recent one – on “Free Bird Tutorial Part Two”, and that acid, thin tone is just magical to me. And that is a STOCK 2010 R8 Les Paul! It is SO subjective. If you are in Piemonte, why don’t you come down to Rome and let’s meet and you get to play these things?
PiemontePosted at 12:39h, 25 November
Thanks for your detailed answer Fil, it’s much appreciated, and it would be great to meet up some time, I’ve based near Alba.
AKOPosted at 02:40h, 09 September
Hi Solodallas, Just wanted to say congratulations on a great website, we spoke a while ago as i’d purchased an Angus Young signed SG no 11 of which you were very helpful. Can you tell me, i noticed some Gibson necks are of ebony (but not actual ebony ) in colour and some are not, how is this acheived as i feel it looks much better, any ideas?
thunderstevePosted at 20:17h, 01 September
Great info and site!
solonetherlandsPosted at 15:48h, 01 September
fretboarderPosted at 06:18h, 04 August
this one is really sexy! im still waiting for a video of it dallas!? lol
SoloDallasPosted at 10:06h, 04 August
Videos… incoming! Just shot one. In the meantime, there’s audio just added (bottom of the post) if you want to hear “her”. Cheers, SD 🙂
RyleyPosted at 11:15h, 02 August
beautiful guitar Fil, u have quite the stunning collection my friend. keep postingg! 🙂
Accadacca100Posted at 13:46h, 31 July
I was at an guitar show in Denmark, and there was a guy that had about 10 cool vintage gibsons for sale.
He asked me if i wanted to try one of the guitars out.
And i tried an Les paul, he told me it was an original Gibson Les Paul Goldtop from 1952, and there was some small holes in the body, he said that it was back in the 50’s that Les Paul himself had tried to put some gadges on it. It was amazing to try it but, the fact that Les Paul had owned it was even more amazing.. It costed 170,000 DK wich is
29724,44 USD … when using currency converter. : )
LolloRnRPosted at 19:42h, 30 July
Hey Fil! How are you?
I just read the bad news about your youtube channel, but i’m happy your new site it’s online!
Great guitar BTW, i just love those faded cherry bursts that looks almost natural, green/moore like.
Anyway, best wishes for you site, i’m sure you will do a GREAT work, as usually!
Thanks for all you videos and related stuff!
EnragedSlashPosted at 11:23h, 30 July
Gorgeous guitar Phil!
This is my first post here, and I don’t even know if this is the right place.
I recently purchased a pair of Stephens Design Vintage Lab PAF replicas and put them in my ’95 Les Paul. I think they sound amazing! I’d love to hear your opinion (as you know very well the sound of a real PAF – anyway better than me for sure :D). I think they are the closest replicas I’ve ever played. They have the same chirp and vintage vibe I remember from a real ’58 les paul I once played, owned by a long time friend of mine (and teacher!).
Dave Stephens has his own channel on youtube (www.youtube.com/SDPickups), btw plenty of videos can be found also in this channel (www.youtube.com/dretot).
I’d appreciate your opinion about them. Check them out, if you have the time, obviously! 🙂
Thanks a lot!
SoloDallasPosted at 11:52h, 30 July
Matt, Welcome at SoloDallas!
This IS the right place to post. ANY place is the right place here. It’s all for us, it’s all related to this music and gear. Never mind and worry about this here. Soon or later I will also add a forum for all of us. To answer your question, yes I know those (don’t have any yet) and they are known to be the best ones among all the replicas out there. Dave has found a few concepts and secrets that he added to the building of the magnets and pickups. I look forward to hearing those. You could post a video on youtube – if you don’t already have it – and then, post a response right here. I encourage you to do so: you know my principle: the more information out there, the better for all of us. Thanks VERY much for being here, yours, Fil
ar2619RobPosted at 15:08h, 29 July
Is the early 50’s Gold Top with the P90’s the same as
Tom Scholz used? I think I read somewhere his was a ’56 with the pick guard removed?
Anyway I think it’s beautiful!
JebaPosted at 05:09h, 11 June
Great looking guitar. And a great site 😀
SoloDallasPosted at 05:30h, 11 June
Thank you Jeba! 😀
OldSchoolRocker666Posted at 16:04h, 10 June
My current guitar look very similar to the one that’s allmost the lowest placed picture , exept that it’s an Vintage Les Paul, and the ‘wheel buttons’ are black and looks different, also doesnt have the light coloured ‘plate’ and the finish is similar i think but brighter than this one, like ”sandy” and ”dirty”-beach finish, other than that, it looks quite close.
Damn that i dont have a cellphone or webcam to link picture of my 🙁
SoloDallasPosted at 09:08h, 11 June
Then yours must look striking. I love vintage LPs. What year is it yours?
OldSchoolRocker666Posted at 18:52h, 20 June
Umm, that’s a good question, i have no idea to be honest, but to be honest it’s not anything special, it costed about half the price you can give for ”factory” Standard SG’s nowadays, i wanted an guitar with humbuckers and were shown some guitars at store, it feels nice to play it, neck feels smooth e.t.c, but.. the amp is shit(its an Line6 crap amp), i hate how the amp sounds, i tested the guitar at store on an tube amp and like the way it sounded, if it were for sale i would of taken it instead 🙁
If i can get my hands on a cellphone or camera can show how it looks like 🙂
Nice guitars btw 🙂