One of the more intriguing topics around the Gibson Les Paul is the Gibson Les Paul “Conversion.”
What is it? Most of the time, it’s a reference to Les Paul's made from 1952 to ’56 that have been converted to specifications in line with a late-’50s Standard, Custom (Black Beauty), or gold-top. On occasion, late-’60s gold-tops and Customs are converted, and even Les Paul Specials and Juniors are sometimes made into “’Bursts.” Maybe the most famous conversion is Peter Frampton’s ’54 Black Beauty, which had its P-90 and Alnico-magnet pickups replaced with three PAF humbuckers, effectively creating a late-style Les Paul Custom.
As you might guess, there are ethical questions involved in the act of changing a vintage instrument.
The Les Paul's from 1958 to 1960 are often referred to as the “Holy Grail Les Paul's” (i.e. the Holy Grail of electric guitars).
This is probably the most expensive type of Les Paul – and therefore the most expensive electric guitar not owned by a rock star – in existence today.
Les Paul's produced during those three years are just a few hundreds in number.
Sadly, not many survive in their original form today. Some of the best rock sounds of all time were recorded using these.
So to increase the number of guitars available and also the lower the cost, some people go the way to refurbish older guitars and to convert them into conversion "Bursts"
This conversion "Burst" Gibson Les Paul was purchased by Noel Gallagher from Oasis in 1999.
The guitar started out life as a gold-top back in 1954, the guitar was converted to 1959 Les Paul Sunburst specifications sometime in the 1970's.
The guitar has been seen on Top of The Pops circa 2000/2001, it is also featured on the poster for the 2000 tour.
Many original 50s Gibson parts, original PAFs are fitted, the top is a highly figured 200yr old piece of Maple, the guitar has traveled so it has been transported in a Gibson Gen-1 Protector case.