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Original '70s construction techniques bring to life this '76 Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop, based on a guitar originally played by Pete Townshend on stage and now displayed in London's Victoria & Albert Museum. Pete's beloved DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker joins two Mini-Humbuckers for modded tone. Limited to 150 units only!

Tonal Evaluation

In the first guitar shop I ever worked at, there was a '74 Les Paul Deluxe hanging behind the counter that I would play every day on my lunch break. It was one of the first guitars I ever really fell in love with, so I am quite familiar with what an old LP Deluxe feels and sounds like. Since I was working in Kalamazoo at the time, I had the opportunity to play lots of vintage Deluxes, and none of them measured up to the one behind the counter. I hate to turn my back on an old friend as good as that '74, but I like this Pete Townshend Signature even better.

So, how did this Les Paul Deluxe manage to unseat a vintage guitar as my favorite mini-humbucker monster? It's simple: it sounds vintage. In my experience, a lot of old Les Pauls have a dry, airy sort of resonance to them. The bass frequencies are powerful, and the midrange is punchy, but you don't hear a whole lot of overtones once the maple and mahogany become warm with age. These big, woody-sounding guitars make magic through overdriven amplifiers, because that strong fundamental produces lots of even-order harmonics (root, third, five, octave, tenth). These overtones are pleasing to the ear, of course, but the way they stack together means that you can play with lots of gain and have everything remain clear and musical without any harshness. This Pete Townshend has that magic vintage quality to the lows and mids, but that's only the beginning of why it's special.

The other archetypical classic Les Paul sound is that brighter, Telecaster-on-steroids sound with a wetter harmonic response. Certain LPs get a really resonant piece of maple for the cap, and that makes the high-end pop like none other. This Pete Townshend Signature also has that sort of exceptional frequency response in the trebles. The high frequencies are lush and chimey when you play softly, but holy guacamole do they ever snarl when you dig in! I've always loved the aggression and attitude and swagger of Pete Townshend's playing, and this guitar captures the nastiness and rudeness of his sound quite nicely. So, this guitar gives you the best parts of two iconic Les Paul sounds, but it combines them in a way that creates a wholly new, unique voice.

The other thing that makes me love this guitar so much is the electronics setup. Instead of a second tone knob, there's a blend knob for the Dimarzio Super Distortion in the middle position, and you can turn that Dimarzio into a single-coil with the flick of a wrist. This gives you a truly ridiculous array of tones. Middle position with the coil tap engaged? Glorious chime and quack. Bridge position with a little bit of Super Distortion added in? Now you have a little girth beneath the twang. Bridge volume at 7, Super Distortion volume at 10? Beefy but crisp. Guitars with a million different switches and modifications usually aren't my thing, but it was such a delight fiddling with this guitar that I might change my tune. Every single sound I found was awesome, and that is the sign of a true workhorse.

I think I could probably make it through any gig or recording session in just about any genre with only this guitar. Such a combination of versatility and true-to-vintage sound makes this a truly scary axe. Fans of The Who will loves this LP, but so will just about anyone who enjoys rocking and/or rolling.


Brand Gibson
ModelPete Townshend '76 Signature Les Paul Deluxe
Finish ColorGoldtop
Weight9.09 lbs
Top WoodMaple
Body WoodMahogany w/walnut stripe
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeRounded
Neck Dimensions.810 1st - .940 12th
Fingerboard Radius12"
Fingerboard InlaysTrapezoid
Nut MaterialTektoid
PickupsMini Humbuckers (neck and bridge), DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker (middle)
Controls2 Volume, 2 Tone, 3-way Toggleswitch, Middle Pickup Engage Switch
TunersButton Kluson
CaseHardshell Case

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Serial Number: 160072421

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