Gibson Les Paul

In 1952, Gibson enlisted recording star and inventor Les Paul to help design a solid-body guitar to compete with Fender’s Telecaster. The result was t...Read more

In 1952, Gibson enlisted recording star and inventor Les Paul to help design a solid-body guitar to compete with Fender’s Telecaster. The result was the iconic Gibson Les Paul; a single-cutaway, solid-body electric guitar with a mahogany body and neck, and maple cap. It originally featured two single-coil P-90 pickups with a trapeze tailpiece all wrapped up in a luxurious gold finish.

Gibson president, Ted McCarty played a huge part in the design and development of the Les Paul over the years introducing various changes like a new wrap-around tailpiece in 1953 and a different neck angle 1954 which improved playability. Gibson also released the Les Paul Custom around this time, nicknamed the “Black Beauty” due to its glossy black finish, ebony fingerboard, gold hardware, extra binding and adornments. This was also the first model to be fitted with the new stopbar tailpiece and Tune-O-Matic bridge.

To complement their higher-end guitars, Gibson introduced affordable and simplified student models, the Les Paul Junior and Les Paul Special in 1954.

1957 was a significant year for the Les Paul (and electric guitars in general) due to the introduction of the innovative “Patent Applied For” (or PAF) Humbucker pickup designed by Seth Lover with the purpose of cancelling the 60-cycle hum inherent with single-coil pickups. The new full-bodied rich sound of the Humbucker would be embraced by rock musicians for decades to come.

From 1958 to 1960, Gibson produced the highly-revered Sunburst finish to the Les Paul range. Most guitar collectors would agree the 1959 Les Paul Burst is the Holy Grail of collectable guitars. Due to their beautiful flame maple tops and relatively low production numbers, these guitars would become the most sought after guitars ever fetching upwards of $300,000. This iconic solid-body electric has been made famous by players such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Billy Gibbons, Slash and, of course, Les Paul himself.

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