Les Paul guitar by Gibson


The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. The Les Paul was designed by Ted McCarty in collaboration with popular guitarist Les Paul, who Gibson enlisted to endorse the new model.

The Les Paul guitar line was originally conceived to include two models: the regular model (nicknamed the Goldtop), and the Custom model, which offered upgraded hardware and a more formal black finish. However, advancements in pickup, body, and hardware designs allowed the Les Paul to become a long-term series of electric solid-body guitars that targeted every price-point and market level except for the complete novice guitarist. This beginner guitar market was filled by the Melody Maker model, and although the inexpensive Melody Maker did not bear the Les Paul name, its body consistently followed the design of true Les Pauls throughout e ach era.

Beyond shaping and body design, there are a number of characteristics that distinguish the Gibson Les Paul line from other electric guitars. For example, in a fashion similar to Gibson's hollow-body instruments, the strings of Les Paul guitars are always mounted on the top of the guitar body, rather than through the guitar body, as seen in competitor Fender's designs. The Gibson also features a variety of colors, such as Wine Red, Ebony, Classic White, Fire Burst, and Alpine White. In addition, the Les Paul models offered a variety of finishes and decorative levels, a diversity of hardware options, and an innovative array of electric pick-up options, some of which significantly impacted the sound of electric music. For instance, in 1957, Gibson introduced the humbucker which revolutionized the sound of the electric guitar, and eliminated the 60-cycle noise which had previously plagued guitars with single coil magnetic pickups.

In 1964, The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards obtained a 1959 sunburst Les Paul. The guitar, outfitted with a Bigsby tailpiece, was the first 'star-owned' Les Paul in Britain and served as one of the guitarist's main instruments through 1966. In 1966, Eric Clapton also recognized the rock potential of the late 50's Les Paul guitars (particularly the 1958–1960 Standard sunburst models), and gave them wide exposure. He began using Les Pauls because of the influence of Freddie King and Hubert Sumlin. Soon artists such as Peter Green, Mike Bloomfield, Mick Taylor, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page began using the Gibson model. These 1950's models featured the thicker, more sustaining tone of Gibson's humbucker pickups with the original units known as 'Patent Applied For' (or PAF) pickups.

Gibson Les Paul guitar


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'52 Les Paul Goldtop reissue
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The Les Paul
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