Following on the heels of the first “trapeze bridge” Les Pauls of 1952 and ’53, the Gold-top with wraparound bridge of 1954 and ’55 embodied the guitar as co-designers Les Paul and Ted McCarty had envisioned it: the most playable, toneful solid-body electric guitar available to the professional musician, made with a nod to more than half a century of Gibson tradition yet primed with modern innovations, and dressed in gold to indicate its status in the world. Looking toward the future, its solid mahogany back and maple top addressed rockers’ needs for tonal depths, clarity, sustain, and richness while squelching the feedback that was problematic in acoustic-electrics. Benefiting from the past, its carved-arched top, perfectly back-angled set neck with long-tenon joint, and bound body and fingerboard offered elements of longstanding Gibson tradition and quality that discerning players were still demanding in their instruments.
This is one of the very last original Gold-tops before Gibson switched to Tune-a-matic and stop-bar layout of the bridge. It has been extensively used by Richie Sambora with Bon Jovi and can be seen in the Live at Madison Square Garden DVD, 2010.
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