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1996 Gibson Les Paul Classic Goldtop, 1960 Reissue

No collection complete without a Goldtop.  Hardly neglected, but definitely beautiful, this Classic carries all the hallmarks and tone of one of Gibson's most iconic guitars.

See & Hear It In Action




Les Paul Classic





Serial  Number

6 2560

Number of Frets







Mahogany with Maple Top


Gibson Deluxe Schaller


Seymour Duncan SH-55N

Seymour Duncan SH-55B


Gibson Tune-O-Matic


Gibson Stopbar Tailpiece

Scale Length


Full Length


Further Information:

  • The Gibson Les Paul Classic, launched in 1990, was a reissue based on the 1960 Les Paul - a slim neck profile, narrow headstock, thin cutaway binding, aged yellowish fingerboard inlays, inked-on serial number, nickel hardware, vintage-style logo and aged binding on the body & neck, and ceramic magnet pick-ups.

  • In many ways, it was too good a reissue - and some felt a closer match to the original Les Paul than the Historic Collection '59 Reissue, marketed at nearly double the price of the Classic. 

  • Following a few iterations of the Reissue, and further differentiations with Classic Plus and Classic Premium Plus models, in 1993 Gibson changed the decal on the headstock of all Classics from "Les Paul Model" to "Les Paul Classic." With a widening of the binding in the cutaway later that year, this finally differentiated the Classic from other Les Paul models in a way which would avoid confusion or exploitation. 

  • One other thing that differentiated it was an italicised and lightly etched "1960" on the pickguard between the pick-ups.  That is, if you can find it.  It took me more than 20 years to notice the etched imprint that a previous owner had rubbed away to obscurity.  It's there - it just takes a certain type of daylight, as rare as a solar eclipse, to find it ;-).

  • This guitar has always sounded sweet, with all the tones of early-day Les Pauls.  The spec maintained that the 90s Classics came with Gibson's 496R/500T Ceramic Humbuckers.  Those clearly didn't hit the right tone and sound for that same previous owner, who replaced them with some very special Seymour Duncan SH-55s,  jointly built and hand-signed in the 90s by Seymour Duncan and Seth Lover.  Seth Lover is the man.  In 1955, while working with Gibson, he invented something that would change the world for every guitarist thereafter: the humbucking pick-up.  The very one that for 5 years bore the sticker with the now-mythical words "PATENT APPLIED FOR" - the original PAFs.  He died in 1997.  But his impact on modern music lives on.  On behalf of every guitarist on the planet, past, present and future, "We are not worthy!" 

  • So, in the spirit of confusion, I think it's fair to throw another name into the reissue pot: the very unique Les Paul Classic Lover, in recognition of those wonderful pick-ups.  A unique and massive-sounding guitar that's almost impossible to put down once you plug it in!

Sources & Links
  • 1996 Gibson Catalogue: Classic vs Classic Plus vs Classic Premium Plus - spot the difference! Sourced from the very wonderful The World Of Musical Instruments Brochures
  • The Les Paul Forum: For the full story behind the early efforts to differentiate the Classic and Reissue models.
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