Les Paul 1968

The gold is getting that lovely slight greenish look that is so beautiful with its age. The photos may not show it perfectly, but it’s gorgeous.



My Less Paul

I am now putting this lovely guitar on the market. (Please note that we are in North Carolina)
This is a guitar for the person who wants to use it, it’s a players guitar for someone who is serious about their music. It’s a musicians guitar.

The rhythm pickup may need a wire to be soldered more securely (easy fix), but otherwise in amazing shape. Read all about it below.

1968 or is it?

This true story of my Less Paul is a bit unusual but it seems to have been verified, at least to my satisfaction. I bought the Less Paul back in 68 when I was Freshman in high school. I got it in Belleville, NJ at a very popular music store (really big place like a warehouse) called Mascara Music.

I loved this guitar right from the start but didn’t know how special it was. I began to notice that every other Less Paul had hum-buckers, but mine had soap bars (P90 pickups). Being so young I liked the look of the hum-buckers but still never traded the guitar for them. I just held on to my version and played it everywhere.

Skipping ahead 20 or more years I found myself playing some of the best blues clubs in NYC, Hoboken, and the other cool spots in NJ. One of my blues playing friends looked at my guitar and said he believed it was one of a small group of Less Paul bodies that were cut for P90 pickups in 1958 and then put aside in storage, not having been assembled. The story goes on to say that these 1958 bodies were then pulled out in ten years later, in 1968, and sold with the P90 pickups. Most 68 Gold Tops say Deluxe, or possibly Standard on the head stock, but mine does not say either, Just Les Paul, and Model. Also the weight of every 1968 Gold Top I have played is no where near as heavy as mine. And mine has the soap bar P90’s. Serial number on head stock is from 1968, but it was probably stamped during the finish production. #528929. The frets are beautiful, wide, smooth, with tons of life left in them. The finish front and back is excellent for a guitar of this age. Back of neck, gorgeous.

One very interesting night in NYC

Now, while this is all very good, here’s the real kicker about this guitar. I was playing in NYC one night at the famous Chicago Blues club. It was a great night with people really loving the blues we were playing. I also remember that a group of dancers from Alvin Ailey were there dancing all over the floor – it was really quite cool. Then out of nowhere (and again this is all true) a tall thin guy in his late 50″ s with really long hair comes up to me during a break and says, “hey man, I bet you think that’s a 68”. To which I said, “yes I do.” He asked if he could see the side and back of the guitar which only took a few seconds. Upon looking at the wood he smiled and said, “I built this guitar in 58.” He told me that he worked for Gibson Guitars custom division but in 1958 they built some Less Paul’s that were held on the rack and re-issued in 1968 with the P90’s instead of the more common Hum-buckers. “This guitar is really a 58” he said.

What are the chances of a complete stranger that worked at Gibson, repeating the same story as my friend did before him? Pretty rare. This guy remembered the actual piece of wood, and I know that’s possible, even likely, because I was also a cabinet maker years ago and I remembered pieces of wood just like I would remember someone’s face.

So there it is, a pretty unusual story, of which I don’t have any paper work to prove, or any more details to offer. The “pots” are stamped with both dates, or at least it looks that way; which is another interesting detail. The wood is much denser and heavier than newer guitars as well.

So is it both 58 and 68 combined? I fully believe that it is. Either way it’s one of the most amazing sounding Less Paul’s I have ever heard. It has a super rich deep tone that is perfect for blues or any type of music you might choose to play. It can reach into beautiful trebles, or with a great amp turned up a bit it actually screams and roars. On the other hand it can also make a sweet sound unlike anything else I have ever heard. This is a true virtuoso of a guitar with a great and varied voice.

As a 68′ it has incredible value; but if it’s also a 58′, well … that’s pretty amazing.

This guitar is priced at $18,000. (I’ll happily hear reasonable offers.)

Email me at john@johnstrazza.com
Thanks for reading.

John Strazza

Serious inquiries only.

Here are more photographs.


Glamour shot! … color is not accurate


This shows the belt buckle marks on the back right in the only spot they occurred. Otherwise the back is quite beautiful.


New Les Paul case by Gator. Very nice, very safe, and a perfect fit for this guitar – love it!

Hardly any cracks in the finish of this guitar. Some wear spots and other normal wear of course. But the finish is very good for this age.


Head stock.