Les Paul Custom 25/50 Anniversary Guitars 1978
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Tony Elder / Steve Jackson
Black Dot Music
This “Tobacco Sunburst” Kalamazoo made Les Paul Custom “25/50 Anniversary”. Solid mahogany body with highly flamed two-piece, book-matched carved maple top. Three-piece flamed maple neck with two walnut strips, a nut width of 1 11/16 inches and a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches. The neck has a very fast medium profile with a volute at the top. Bound ebony fretboard with original brass nut, 22 original jumbo frets and inlaid pearl split-block position markers (split into three on the first, fifth, ninth, and fifteenth frets and split into two on the seventh, twelfth and seventeenth frets) and abalone side dot inlays. Headstock face with inlaid pearl “Gibson” logo and pearl “Les Paul 25/50” banner. Bell-shaped brass truss-rod cover engraved “Les Paul / Anniversary”. Serial number “73128166 / 0507” impressed into the back of the headstock with “Made in U.S.A.” below it. Individual Schaller-style “Gibson” gold-plated tuners with bell-shaped silver-metal buttons. The body of the guitar has seven-ply binding on top and five-ply binding on bottom, the headstock has five-ply binding, and the neck is single-bound. Two Gibson Series Vll humbucker pickups with outputs of 8.0 k with black plastic surrounds. Five-layer black over white plastic pickguard. Four controls (two volume, two tone) and two by two-way coil tapping switch on lower treble bout plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. The potentiometers are stamped “137 7828” (CTS July 1978). Black plastic barrel-shaped ‘speed’ knobs. Nashville-style ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic bridge and separate TP-6 fine tuning stud tailpiece. All hardware gold-plated. This guitar is in near mint (9.25) condition, with only a few miniscule belt buckle marks on the back. Housed in the original Gibson black ‘Protector’ hardshell case with maroon plush lining with one catch broken (8.50).
This popular Kalamazoo production run totaled 1,106 guitars in 1978 and 2,305 in 1979 (a total of 3,411). Figured maple was the norm for all 25/50s models. Some were outstanding… Our guitar is the 507th 25/50 that was built…
“Gibson 25th Anniversary Les Paul, 1979. This special-order model featured a flamed maple top and Super 400-style fingerboard inlay. The peghead ornamentation commemorates the Les Paul Custom’s 25th anniversary and Les Paul’s 50th anniversary as a performer” (George Gruhn and Walter Carter, Electric Guitars and Basses: A Photographic History, p. 159).
“25th Anniversary Les Paul: limited edition to mark 25th anniversary of model, 50th anniversary of Les Paul’s career, carved maple top, 2 humbucking pickups, coil-tap switch, black barrel knobs, tune-o-matic bridge, TP-6 tailpiece, bound fingerboard and peghead, slashed-block inlay, brass nut, 25 over 50 inlaid on peghead, metal keystone tuner buttons, gold-plated hardware, cherry sunburst, black, wine red or natural finish, regular serial number and limited edition number on back of peghead, at least 1842 produced. Available by special order (some with 1978 number): 1979” (Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars, p. 220).
“The 25/50 model was issued to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Les Paul model (a year late, since 1977 was actually the 25th year), and the 50th anniversary of Les Paul’s career in the music business. The 25/50 model is a distinctive model in the Les Paul lineage for many reasons, including the unique and intricate pearl and abalone “25/50″ headstock inlay design, creative use of silver and gold hardware combinations (e.g., the tuners are gold with silver buttons), abalone side dot marker inlays, beautiful flamed maple top, five piece flamed maple neck, split block parallelogram inlays (one of only two Les Paul production models to sport these inlays), large control cavity, gold truss rod cover inscribed with ‘Les Paul Anniversary’, brass nut, and a coil tap mini-switch (one of the few production Les Pauls with a coil tap until the Jimmy Page Les Paul was introduced). In addition to the above unique features, the 25/50 had multi-ply binding on the front and back of the body and the front of the headstock, a volute, Nashville bridge with TP-6 fine tuning tailpiece, black speed knobs, Schaller style ‘Gibson’ tuners, and Series VII pickups.”
The Les Paul 25/50 was available in tobacco sunburst, natural, wine red, and black. The original price was around $1,200…