Paul Kossoff’s 1958/59 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Paul bought this guitar sometime in the early 70s and used it until his untimely death in 1976, with a small pause that occurred during a period when the guitar was damaged. Based on the fact that he owned the guitar for the most part of his professional career, it is certainly one of the most notable Les Pauls that he ever played.

Damages, Swap with Arthur Ramm

The damage to this guitar occurred at the end of Free’s final concert in 1972 when Paul tossed it in the air and walked away as it came down splitting the headstock into two pieces.

After this guitar was damaged, Paul walked over to Arthur Ramm, who played in a band called Beckett which supported Free in early 1970. He asked him if he would be willing to swap his 1968 Les Paul Goldtop that he had laying around the dressing room for Kossoff’s broken ’59 Les Paul Standard.

Arthur agreed but instead decided to take Paul’s stripped Les Paul so he could have a guitar to use while waiting for the burst to be repaired.

Repairs, Serial Number

After the guitar was repaired by Sam Li (owner of a guitar shop located in Gerrard St, London) Paul ended up changing his mind and decided to keep it, so he talked Arthur into reversing their deal. Arthur agreed, and traveled to London with the stripped Les Paul and returned home with his Gold-top. 

It is important to mention here is that because of this damage and the repairs that were required, the serial number that was imprinted on the back of the headstock was forever lost. And, without a serial number, the year of manufacture is unknown – but it’s probably either 1958 or 1959.

Paul puts it for Sale

Even after all the repairs, and Paul asking for the guitar to be returned, he decided to put the guitar for sale in 1974, together with his stripped Les Paul. Fortunately, the band’s management stepped in and purchased it right back. From that point on, the guitar remained with Paul until his untimely death on March 19, 1976.

After Paul’s Death

After Paul died, the guitar was bought by Arthur Ramm from Kossoff’s girlfriend. Ramm owned and used the guitar for almost 40 years, and just recently decided to sell it through Bonham’s auction house. The lot is currently displayed on their website with some history and a couple of photos of the guitar – Bonhams: Paul Kossoff/Free 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard


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