1953 Gibson Les Paul - '59 Conversion with Sticker PAF's and OHSC

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Just in! As close as some of us will ever get to owning a real '59 Burst- this converted '53 has all the coveted mojo you would expect from a mid-century Gibson!

Purchased at Willie's Guitars about 4 years ago, we have learned a lot about this guitar from them and Kenny Rardin formerly of Solid Body Guitars. As stated, this was a conversion done in the late-70s using a combination of Gibson parts, replacement Grover tuners, and original parts. The most notable change is the headstock, which is a complete replacement. The veneered top dons a juicy, faded Iced Tea style burst with a properly worn nitro finish- an all honest relic! Only a little over-spray is seen here and there (mostly on the neck). As the 70s skinny neck craze took hold, it seems the owner of this guitar at the time of the conversion was inspired to reshape the baseball bat into something a little more "with the times". It's a super fast, super comfy neck, and narrower than your typical Gibby. The taller frets allow for some seriously gymnastic feats (in the spirit of Jimmy Page) if you're into hammer-ons and register leaps. Weighing in at a featherweight 8.5 lbs- there's little not to love about this guitar!

Inside you'll find the holy grail of pickups- real late 50s PAFs which take this guitar to the next level for a conversion model. At some point the covers were removed and then placed back on (for an open face look, or for verification), so note the extra bit of solder and slightly wrinkled edges. The wiring harness is by no means original, but gets the job done with old Bumblebee caps and what looks to be 1 x CTS 500K pot from 1976, and 2 x late 60s Gibson pots (CBA-811-1053 code). The neck pickup is one of the finest humbucker examples we've ever laid ears on! Bright enough to cut with voice leading, but a mellow and smooth sound that finds the sweet spot of any amp with ease. High gain liquid leads or smooth and muted jazz tones are all in the tone control! And the bridge pickup... well, the bridge pickup should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It stings with the best of em and excels with overdrive, bearing that signature stab that's all too familiar when you plug in to a Marshall or a Super Reverb. We probably don't need to tell you the middle position is funky, quacky, and straight up butter. Across the board all positions are supremely dynamic, and are best played with a softer touch where you can find it.

The original Lifton case is included, but the guitar will ship in a newer brown hardshell Gibson case. The Lifton is as photo-worthy as the guitar with stickers for Harley Davidson, Marshall Amps, and all-access passes for Whitesnake (1987), The Firm (1985), and Robert Plant (1985)!

We could talk about this guitar all day- but if you have any further questions feel free to call the shop or write us a message and we'll respond promptly with any info you need on this fine instrument!


Year: 1953

Brand: Gibson

Model: Les Paul

Weight: 8.5 lbs

Case: Gibson TKL Brown Hard Shell and Original Lifton Case


- This conversion was done sometime in the 1970's. Everything besides the wood has been modified to meet the specifications of a '59 Burst, while using 70s Gibson parts and other miscellaneous pieces.

- The headstock was replaced at the time of the conversion. There is a distinct lip where you can see the new headstock grafted onto the neck. The headstock broke again sometime AFTER the conversion, which left some visible scars.

- The top has a flame maple veneer, which was added to cover the filled holes of the wraptail. The cracking around the current tailpiece is only the veneer, NOT the original maple cap.



  • Body Wood: Mahogany
  • Body Shape: Single Cut 
  • Body Style: Solid Body
  • Color: Sunburst
  • Finish: Nitrocellulose
  • Pickguard: Original, Re-cut for PAF shape



  • Neck Wood: Mahogany - Replaced headstock
  • Neck Profile: Reshaped - Narrow C-Shape
  • Neck Joint: Set
  • Neck Finish: Nitrocellulose 
  • Fingerboard: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Nut Width: 1.65" Bone
  • Scale: 24.75"
  • Radius: 12"
  • Frets: 22 - Narrow Tall 80% height (Refret likely done more recently, post-conversion)
  • 1st Fret Neck Depth: 0.854"
  • 12th Fret Neck Depth: 0.921"
  • 12th Fret Width: 1.959"
  • Fretboard Inlays: Original Cellulose Trapezoid
  • Action: .06"
  • Strings: 10-46



  • Pickups: 2 x Late 50s Sticker PAF's
  • Controls: 2 x Volume, 2 x Tone - All look to be CTS pots
  • 3-Way selector (Non-Original) - Original poker chip, Original switch tip



  • Bridge/Tailpiece: Gibson ABR-1 (Non-Original Vintage 70s) with Stoptail (Lightweight Aluminum, non-Gibson)
  • Tuners: Grovers (Non Original, Vintage)
  • Knobs: Amber (Vintage, Potentially era-correct)
Very Good