This unusual model has a mahogany back, sandwiched sides and one-piece mahogany neck, with a cap (the face) of what appears to be walnut , all of this stained walnut. According to our Beloved Wikipedia (paraphrased and edited): In this era [1971 to 1980] Gibson began experimenting with new models such as the Les Paul Recording. . . . The Recording featured low-impedance pickups, many switches and buttons. . . . Less noticeable changes included, but were not limited to, maple fingerboards [that occurred in 1976], pickup cavity shielding, and the crossover of the ABR-1 Tune-o-Matic bridge into the modern day Nashville Tune-o-Matic. During the 1970s, [this] body shape was incorporated into other Gibson models, including the S-1, the Sonex, the L6-S, and other models that did not follow the classic Les Paul layout.
What’s interesting is that Les Paul, himself, used this model guitar. Whenever we saw him – and we saw him at Fat Tuesdays and also Iridium, he played one. Les said, in an interview: “The one I'm playing; it happens to be a Les Paul Recording and it's not the most popular one of the Les Paul line for many reasons. But that particular guitar is the type of guitar that gives me the sound that I want without any equalization and all the problems you have with all the other guitars -- with all the voodoo stuff on them. I don't have any of that. I just go right into the port and do my thing and we just make the album. There's no equalization at all. Nothing. It's a 1971, a brown one. I also have a black one that was one of the first prototypes made of what they call the Recording guitar due to its low impedance device. The black one's so good that I'm afraid to take it down to the club because if I leave it on that stool it would be gone in a minute.”
Here’s what “vintage-guitars.blogspot.com” has to say about this unusual model electric (this is paraphrased and edited): Gibson Les Paul Recording (1971 -1980): In 1969 Gibson introduced two guitars with low impedance pickups. These were called the Les Paul Professional and the Les Paul Personal. Although the idea sounded great these were short lived and off the market after 2 years in production. In 1971 Gibson introduced the Les Paul Recording with higher expectations. It had integral transformers to make the output impedance compatible with normal high impedance amps, it had a single cutaway bound mahogany body , two slanted low impedance pickups with the Gibson logo in relief on the black plastic covers, and the fingerboard was made of rosewood, bordered in glossy black celluloid and inlaid in 10 positions by small pearl blocks. They had twin high/low impedance selector switches. . . and most of the early models were made in walnut finishes.
The Les Paul Recording guitars were fairly successful and led to the making of the Les Paul Signature and, in 1973, the Triumph electric bass. These guitars, however, never became household names like the Deluxe, Standard and the Custom. The Gibson Les Paul Recording model is considered vintage and historical. They were discontinued in 1980.
If you are seeking something extraordinary, something that allows for outstanding versatility (it has more knobs and switches than you’re apt to find on any other electric guitar of this brand) this can easily become your favorite instrument, as it did for Mr. Paul. Features include an black overlain headstock bordered in crème-black-crème black, having the five-part large triangle and rectangle “Les Paul Custom” or “Super 400” style headstock decoration inlaid in mother of pearl. Below this is a white bordered bell-shaped truss rod cover etched “Les Paul” in script and “RECORDING” in white block letters. The face is likewise bordered in three-ply with black celluloid binding around just the top. The back is contoured at the bass waist so that the player’s chest is ergonomically pleasured.
The fretboard has 16 frets to the body and 21 frets total, plus a half a fret on the lower treble end. Each of the angled, oblong black pickups are surrounded by an oblong metal frame; the Tune-o-Matic bridge appears chrome-plated (with virtually no hint of oxidation) and is vertically adjustable as well as allowing individual length for proper intonation. The tailpiece is stop (you stud!) and chrome-plated also. Now let’s talk about the D-shape control plate in the lower treble quadrant. Let us count the controls: “Volume” at the top, then, semi-circularly down the treble edge, “Decade” (yep, that’s what it says), “Treble” and finally “Bass.” On the bass side of the plate are a two-way toggle for “Phase” (In/Out), two-way toggle for “Output” (Hi/Lo), three-position large toggle for “Tone” (“1, 2, 1”) and below that a pickup selector (F/R) and the output jack. Its tuners are six individual “Gibson” logo sealed-backs with tulip buttons; two strap buttons are provided. Everything about this guitar is original including the case. It does show minor signs of use and wear, but is, on the whole, a happy, original, fully playable instrument suitable for decades of professional entertainment.