Paul Kossoff’s 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard

Paul acquired this guitar when he was around 17 years old (circa 1967), at the time of playing in his first band Black Cat Bones. Although this is purely based on guessing – it is likely that he traded this guitar for his 55′ Les Paul Custom since that guitar basically disappeared from that point on.

There are also some stories that the Custom ended up with Clapton’s management, so if Paul indeed swapped the Custom for this one, this guitar might have been actually played by Clapton as well.

Early Years

Paul was first photographed with this guitar presumably outside of his house when he was around 16-17 years old (we’re basing this assumption on the shortness of his hair, so take it with a grain of salt).

Young Paul with a Les Paul Standard.

The photo is not of the best quality, and the woodgrain is almost invisible, so making any sort of theory crafting based on the flame of the body a useless effort. In any case, we’ll assume that this is indeed the same guitar that Paul was later photographed with when he played with the Black Cat Bones.

However, it’s important to mention that this might not be the case, as the guitar that is seen in the photo below seems to have a much more pronounced flame top. They might be two separate guitars, but as already noted, we’d need better photos to confirm that.

Paul with what is presumably the same guitar. Photo source:

Used on Tons of Sobs?

Paul owned this guitar months before he laid his hands on two of his best-known guitars (dark burst, and the one with stripped paint). That means that at the time of recording Free’s first album, Tons of Sobs, he probably used this Les Paul, if not the Les Paul Custom that he seemed to have owned around the same time.

Of course, this is again based on pure guesswork, as nobody seems to have shared any information regarding the exact set of gear used at those studio sessions. If you happen to come across any interviews from Paul, or anyone from Free talking about these studio sessions, please leave them in the comments.

What Happened to the Guitar?

As far as what happened to this guitar in the following years,  – it could’ve ended up as the famous stripped Les Paul that Kossoff used on Top of the Pops, it could be the very same guitar that had a broken headstock at one point, and then ended up with Arthur Ramm some years later, or it could’ve been sold and traded. Nobody seems to know.


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