I dated a woman at the age of seventeen who turned me onto playing guitar and since that time spent many hours practicing followed by playing in two bands along with jamming on stage countless times. One of the first lessons learned was to get well manufactured guitars and learned this by purchasing a few dudes so I invested in my first Les Paul.
While dating another woman she said I should take lessons for music theory and said try this person out. At one lesson I asked about “where should I go to find a good guitar?” He gave me a music store which I want to the next day and most had spent three to four hours trying out several Gibson Les Paul guitars but none of them felt right to me. Several weeks later I went back as the sales person said more Les Paul’s were coming in.
Shortly after entering the store I spotted a Gold Top Les Paul, went over and plugged it into a Marshall amp. From first time in my hands it felt great but spent time trying it out. I made a decision to purchase it, eight-hundred dollars which was a good deal of money at the time but knew I needed it.
Left the store and went to my teacher and asked him what he thought of it. He said it was an excellent purchase but pointed out two cracks in the finish and recommended that I trade it for another one (and there was another).
Back in my van to the music store, told them about the crack and they immediately gave me the other Les Paul. Went back to my teacher and he played it for about one minute and said, go get the other one back and forget about the crack.
Went back to the music store and told them I wanted the first one back. They said, sorry we sold it. Now it was less than one hour, how could they sell it that fast? I refused to believe it and said I was not leaving until they gave me back the first guitar (yes it was a gamble), planted myself down on the floor at the front door and within thirty minutes they said, we apologize, it is still here and here you go.
I have so many hours into this guitar and became a part of me over the years and happy I made my stand at the music shop.
Now fast forward to 1994 when I moved to Oregon and drove across country leaving my family to begin a new and get them to Oregon one I had a place for them. Shortly after settling in I brought the LP to a local music shop to have it checked out. The manager said it will take a few days to work on it. One week goes by, nothing, two weeks go by and nothing so I went over there and the manager is standing there and says “we have a problem with your Les Paul”, pauses and then says while smiling “Milo (the guitar tech) has fell in love with it and could not bare for it to leave the shop. Milo must had heard the chatting and came out with it in a tight embrace.
He went on to inform me that this was like no other Les Paul and was surprised that I could had the luck to purchase it. First off (something I kind of knew) he said the action is like no other coupled with the overall feel and sound. Next he said the appraisal marked it at around $11,000 and told me why. I told him about the story of how it was purchased and his thought was they made a mistake to sell it and that was the reason for them taking it back no questions asked.
About one year ago I purchased a special Les Paul for $4,000 which is an excellent guitar with many tonal options but put against the old Gold Top there is no comparison, hands down the Gold Top is the winner.
About a year after purchasing the Gold Top I purchased a Gibson ES-335 which has no story other than I sold it yesterday for $1,500 to Guitar Center. It took one hour to appraise because it was classified as a vintage guitar. They even went and took a picture of the serial number on each of the pickups. I thought they would offer $500 as I paid $800 and figured that is that. At one point he comes out and says “How much do you expect to get, $1,500 or $2,000?” I said I have no clue, just hope it gets a good home. The final offer was $2,200 which means more likely than not it will sell for about $3,000. While going through the process one of the regular sales person was chatting with me telling of her ordering a new Gibson and said, I did see you looking at my ES-335, you should try it out. Long story short I truly believe she has turned away from what was to be to my ES-335.
Now I am down to two Les Paul’s, a Strat and a Telecaster, all great guitars. Gibson says something like “if you take care of this guitar it will last several generations” in the owner manual and I believe this is so true. Not to say Fender is or other companies are not on par with Gibson but for me I favor Gibson.