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1971 Gibson Les Paul TriumphGibson Les Paul Triumph bass

The Les Paul Triumph was Gibson's flagship bass guitar: both in terms of build and electronics. Naturally it had a price to match (see Gibson Triumph pricing). Design was a collaboration between Gibson and Les Paul himself. It was launched in late 1971 as a replacement to the older Les Paul bass which was available from 1969-1971. The main change was the addition of a Hi-Lo impedance selector switch. In an interview with Dave Pomeroy, Les explains...

"With a balanced low-impedance output, you could use long cables without all the problems inherent in unbalanced high-impedance lines. Gibson was keen on having the low-impedance transformer close to the amp, so we made a special cable with a transformer on the other end, which you had to have in order to use it. But if you forgot your cable, you were out of luck—so we added the switch to go from low to high impedance. I tried to talk them out of staying with the short scale, but they didn’t want to change to a longer scale like on the Fender. One position on the Les Paul Bass was meant to sound just like the Precision, and all the other settings were extra choices for the player. The Triumph sounded so good it was scary; it was the finest bass I knew how to come up with, but the kids of that time were not ready for so many options. If I could have done something different, I would have made a bass with one great sound. Simpler is better—like a water faucet"

Les Paul also narrated a protional flexi-disc for the Les Paul Recording Guitar and Triumph bass - see the 1971 Gibson Low Impedance catalogue.

Other changes from it's predecessor were cosmetic; all controls were situated on the front mounted control panel. The standard finish was natural mahogany, with white becoming available from 1975(?). This bass also featured the split diamond inlays on the headstock.

Specifications:

  • Honduras mahogany body with dark binding
  • Laminated mahogany set neck, with rosewood fretboard
  • Natural mahogany or white finishes
  • 30 1/2 inch scale (actually three eighths of an inch). 24 frets
  • Two low impedance humbucking pickups
  • Hi or Low immpedance modes
  • Body size length: 17 1/4" width: 12 3/4" depth 2"
  • Width at nut 1 1/2"

Shipping figures are very confused for this model, but are as follows:

  1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 total
Les Paul Bass 321 768 959 526 2 2       2578
Les Paul Triumph Natural         126 82 101 57 27 393
Les Paul Triumph White         80 87   23 17 207
So whats wrong with these figures - The old style Les Paul bass was still being produced in 1971, so the first years figures include some of (or even only) this model. The Triumph was first announced in 1971, but it may have been the case that it was not shipped until 1972. So Clearly from at least 1972, all Les Paul basses were the Triumph, which begs the question, why do shipping figures not count it as a Triumph until 1975. 1975 was of course the year that white finishes became available, so all basses simply labelled 'Les Paul Bass' would have had Natural Mahogany finish. The four basses labelled as Les Paul Basses made between 75 and 76 are a further anomaly. If anyone has an explanation, i'd love to hear it! Shipping figures are not available for the 1980s, but Triumph production did continue at least into the first few months of 1980.

Controls for the Gibson Triumph bass

Controls

Bass, Treble and Volume Self explanetory. The bass and treble have a very wide range.

Tone Selector Three settings: hi, normal and deep bass.

Phase Control Only works when both pickups are selected

Impedance Selector Hi for live use or Low for studio use (or live use with a Low-Impedance amplifier)

The Les Paul Triumph was capable of making a wide range of sounds; deep bass, clear midtones, and bright treble - plus a whole lot more in between. Check out a 1972 LP Triumph, and hear some more sound clips.

Rarities

Prototypes at least one single pickup Triumph exists. If you are aware of another bass like this, please get in touch

Frequently asked questions

Was the Les Paul Triumph available as a long scale? No, the Triumph was available as a short (30 1/2\") scale bass only.

What strings were recommended for the Les Paul Triumph bass? Originally the Triumph was shipped with Gibson brand 0055 strings; flatwound, medium gauge: .048, .054, .076 and .095.

What is the recommended action for the Les Paul Triumph bass? First fret: E string 2/64\", G string 3/64\", twelfth fret: E string 8/64\", G string 10/64\".

Did Gibson produce the Les Paul Triumph bass into the 1980s? There is no official data on this, however Triumph basses certainly exist from the first half of 1980.

1971 Les Paul Triumph
Have a closer look at a Les Paul Triumph

1971 Les Paul Low Impedance catalogue
Triumph catalogue appearances

Les Paul Triumphs in action
Les Paul Triumphs in action

Les Paul Triumph adverts and reviews
Les Paul Triumph adverts and reviews


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US ebay listings

NEW CASE FITS GIBSON EB2; EPIPHONE RIVOLI, Triumph II / Zenith BASS GUITAR

Current price: $79.99
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Time left: 5d 4h 51m
GIBSON TRIUMPH BASS MADE IN 1977 WITH EXTENSIVE ELECTRONICS PACKAGE-USED W/CASE

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Time left: 5d 6h 39m
1992 Gibson LPB-1 Les Paul Bass, ex. cond., all orig., with orig. padded gig bag

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Time left: 6d 4h 20m
1970 Vintage Gibson Bass Tuning Machines EB-1 EB-3 Les Paul Triumph Tuners Logo

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1960s Gibson Volume Knob- Top Hat Reflector Style For SG Es-335 EB Les Paul Bass

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GIBSON AEROSMITH LES PAUL BASS GET A GRIP GUITAR PINUP AD

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Vintage 1977 Gibson Triumph Les Paul Recording Bass w/ OHSC - Free Shipping

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Early 70's Gibson Les Paul Triumph Bass Guitar w/ Gig Bag - Vintage

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1994 GIBSON AEROSMITH TOM HAMILTON LES PAUL BASS GUITAR PINUP AD

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Time left: 20d 7h 43m
1971 Gibson Les Paul “Triumph” Bass (#GIB0217)

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1970 Gibson Les Paul Bass & Sexy Woman Featured on Collector's Envelope

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Gibson Les Paul Standard Model Les Paul Bass Ebony Fret Board With Hard Case

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1990'S GIBSON LES PAUL BASS CASE GENUINE GIBSON LES PAUL BASS CASE GIBSON CASE

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See more results on eBay here


UK ebay listings

NEW CASE FITS GIBSON EB2; EPIPHONE RIVOLI, Triumph II / Zenith BASS GUITAR

Current price: £47.59
buy it now
Time left: 5d 4h 51m
Gibson Les Paul Bass Guitar

Current price: £795.00
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Time left: 6d 3h 21m
1970 Vintage Gibson Bass Tuning Machines EB-1 EB-3 Les Paul Triumph Tuners Logo

Current price: £118.98
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Time left: 15d 9h 13m
1960s Gibson Volume Knob- Top Hat Reflector Style For SG Es-335 EB Les Paul Bass

Current price: £26.44
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Time left: 16d 22h 28m
GIBSON AEROSMITH LES PAUL BASS GET A GRIP GUITAR PINUP AD

Current price: £4.75
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Time left: 17d 10h 7m
Early 70's Gibson Les Paul Triumph Bass Guitar w/ Gig Bag - Vintage

Current price: £1130.34
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Time left: 20d 4h 23m
1994 GIBSON AEROSMITH TOM HAMILTON LES PAUL BASS GUITAR PINUP AD

Current price: £4.75
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Time left: 20d 7h 43m
1970 Gibson Les Paul Bass & Sexy Woman Featured on Collector's Envelope

Current price: £2.97
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Time left: 22d 11h 35m
1986 GIBSON BASS IV CASE -- made in USA -- fits also LES PAUL BASS

Current price: £199.00
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Time left: 24d 23h 41m
1990'S GIBSON LES PAUL BASS CASE GENUINE GIBSON LES PAUL BASS CASE GIBSON CASE

Current price: £118.98
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Time left: 28d 11h 50m
See more results on eBay here

There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Col Custer Comment left 9th November 2012 05:05:20
Looking for a Gibson hard shell case for my 1974 Les Paul Bass. Can anyone help?
Paul K. Comment left 26th December 2012 19:07:27
this is a very good page for the recording triumph bass. glad I found it . I still own my original 1973 model I bought in 1973 in original case . thanks for all information. Paul
Fred Comment left 6th June 2013 18:06:26
I have a very rare one in Black,Gibson does not have production figures for it at all.....Love it.

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