Paul Kossoff’s 19?? Gibson Les Paul Standard (Natural, Stripped)

This stripped-down Les Paul Standard was most famously used by Paul on Top of the Pops on “Alright Now”, and during the Isle of Wright gig in 1970.

Paul Kossoff playing the stripped/natural Les Paul at Top of the Pops.
Paul playing the stripped/natural Les Paul at Top of the Pops.

Story of the Stripped Les Paul

Much of this guitar’s history is still unfortunately a mystery. It was allegedly originally a late 50s burst with a Bigsby tremolo, which Paul (or more likely someone who owned the guitar prior to him) stripped down to the bare wood and then refinished with some clear coat. 

The guitar also seems to feature a brown finish on the back of the body which would indicate that it was originally a gold top and not a burst, but the residue left from the original paint around the control knobs seem to point towards sunburst after all. Also, the highly pronounced”tiger” strips on the maple top would indicate that a piece like this would’ve been used on a sunburst model by Gibson.

Usage

Paul used this guitar from 1969 up until 1974 when he sold it for mere 550 pounds ($830 then, or around $4,000 in today’s value) to Mike Gooch. The story was also confirmed by one of our visitors, who was kind enough to let us share some of it here:

In 1974 I worked temporarily, on the night shift at Safeway’s Supermarket, Walton-on-Thames. I had packed up working on a market garden and had been accepted in the police force so this was a fill in job. A couple of the guys I worked with were forming a band, one I believe was Mike Gooch. His parents had died and left him a large sum of money. He bought an MG Midget and just drove around the country staying in hotels.

When the money got short he started work in the supermarket. One night he bought the Les Paul in and I had a strum on it. He told me how he’d bought it from Kossoff. Apparently he was in a terrible state when he bought it from him. I thought Mike said he’d paid £450 for it but I’m trying to remember back 42 years.

LewendonA

There’s some talk that the guitar was once again sold just a couple of years back through Christie’s auction, although we haven’t been able to find anything official on their website. It briefly belonged to Arthur Ramm from late 1972 to late 1973, when Paul swapped it for Arthur’s refinished Goldtop after he broke his Les Paul Standard at the end of Free’s last gig.

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