Gibson Les Paul 25 / 50 Anniversary

Tobacco Sunburst

lp2550.gif (16369 bytes) Since this 25/50 Anniversary Les Paul was released in 1977, I have always wanted to own one. I remember seeing the original ads for this guitar in a British guitar magazine I used to subscribe to, called "International Musician". The ad had Mr. Polsfuss casually sitting on a bench, holding an ebony finished 25/50 across his lap and grinning. Boy, did I want me one of those. Alas, financial constraints that a high school kid like me was subjected to, made me buy a used Flying V as my first ever Gibson. Those were the days.

Well, my wish finally came true when a dealer I used to buy lots of guitars from, Dave Rogers (he seems to be focusing more on new instruments, now) had this fine example. Let me walk you through the features. First, note the unusual cut block inlays which, to my knowledge remain unique to the 25/50 to this day. Second, the tuners usually are a two-colored blend of gold and chrome-plated parts. The headstock bears a special 25/50 logo, the numbers commemorating the 25th anniversary of Les Paul guitars (1952-1977), and Les Paul's 50 years of being in the recording industry (give or take a few years-who cares!). The center seamed tops on the tobacco sunburst and natural finished examples usually showed some nice flame, and I assume that the abony finished examples were plain.

The neck of the guitar is a 5-piece construction of what seems to be maple with two strips of ebony in the middle. The maple bits are highly, highly figured. There is a rather large and bulky volute on the back of the neck. Note also the mini-toggle switch. This is totally original. Similar to the ES-347 of that period, this toggle switch turns off the second humbucking coil of the pickups. That gives you a nice, biting single-coil type sound.

If you ask me, 25/50's are really underrated guitars nowadays, being listed at around $1,200-$1,400 in vintage guitar ads. They are fine, well-made (for that period) guitars and very versatile to play, especially if you're into ebony fret boards.