The hang tag shadow on vintage Les Pauls

Today’s blog article is just about some little detail you might have noticed on Mark Knopfler’s vintage Les Pauls. I wrote a blog post about the fading red dye on old Les Pauls some time ago, so it is something like common knowledge that the old Les Pauls from the late 50ies came in a colour called cherry sunburst and the red faded when exposed to sunlight, resulting in a lot of colour variations with names like honey burst, tea burst, or “unburst”.

But maybe you have asked yourself why many old Les Pauls – like Mark’s 1958 – have more red left at a particular place , near the pickup selector toggle switch? The reason was the hang tag – a little piece of cardboard listing some features of the Les Paul that was attached to the toggle switch on new guitars. When the guitar was in a shop window or at some other place where it was exposed to sunlight, the hang tag caused a shadow that preserved the red dye under it. On some Les Pauls you can see exactly one position of this hang tag, on others you might have several shadows due to varying angles of the hang tag.

A vintage Les Paul with the hang tag they came with when new
The hang tag with some original Les Paul pics (picture courtesy of Eric Ernest)

The features listed on the hang tag were:

Greater Tonal Range

More Brilliant Performance

Longer Sustaining Quality

Easier Playing Action

The hang tag shadow on Mark’s 1958 Les Paul

4 thoughts on “The hang tag shadow on vintage Les Pauls

  1. Ingo, your level of analysis and commitment to research is unnerving, I hope you see a psychiatrist (if you feel the need)!
    Seriously, great info mate, I’d never would have known a factoid like this – Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

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