The GIBSON LES PAUL is a solid body electric guitar that was first
sold by the
Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1952. The
Les Paul was
designed by Gibson president
Ted McCarty , factory manager John Huis
and their team, along with guitarist/inventor
Les Paul .
Les Paul was originally offered with a gold finish and two P-90
pickups. In 1957, humbucking pickups were added, along with sunburst
finishes in 1958. The sunburst 1958–1960
Les Paul – today one of
the best-known electric guitar types in the world – was considered a
failure, with low production and sales. For 1961, the
Les Paul was
redesigned into what is now known as the
Gibson SG . This design
continued as a separate guitar when the traditional single cutaway,
carved top bodystyle was re-introduced in 1968. The
Les Paul has been
continually produced in countless versions and editions since. Along
with Fender\'s Telecaster and
Stratocaster , it was one of the first
mass-produced electric solid-body guitars. Les Pauls have been used in
many genres, including rock , country , pop , soul , rhythm and blues
, blues , jazz , reggae , punk , and heavy metal .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Origins (1950–1952)
* 1.2 Mid-1950s (1953–1957)
* 1.3 Sunburst failure and resurgence (1958–1968)
* 1.4 ECL and Norlin-era (1969–85)
* 1.5 Modern Les Pauls (1986–present)
* 2 Models and variations
* 2.1 Goldtop (1952–present)
* 2.2 Custom (1954–60, 1968–present)
* 2.3 Standard (1958–60, 1968–present)
* 2.4 Junior (1954–60, 2015–present) and TV (1955–60)
* 2.6 The Paul (1978–1982)
Les Paul SG (1961–1963)
* 2.8 Deluxe (1968–84, 2005–present)
* 2.9 Dark Fire
* 2.9.1 Pickups
* 2.10 Studio (1983–present)
* 2.11 Semi-acoustic model
* 2.12 Les Paul\'s personal guitar
Epiphone Les Pauls
* 3 Signature models
* 3.2 Slash
* 3.3 Joe Perry
* 3.6 Michael Bloomfield
Les Paul players
Les Paul copies and "lawsuits"
* 6 References
* 7 Notes
* 8 Further reading
* 9 External links
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
Les Paul House of
"The Log" prototype
"The Log" (c.1940)
Les Paul's electric guitar "Clunker"
based on 1942
Les Paul prototype (refinished) with Les Paulverizer (a
triggering device for sound-on-sound performance)
Les Paul prototype (white)
Les Paul and "Clunker" (1947) ES-150 (1936)
In 1950, the ancestors of
Fender Telecaster (
Fender Esquire and
Fender Broadcaster ) were introduced to the musical market and
solid-body electric guitars became a public craze. In reaction to
market demand, Gibson
Ted McCarty brought guitarist
Les Paul into the company as a consultant.
Les Paul was a respected
innovator who had been experimenting with guitar design for years. He
hand-built a solid-body prototype called "The Log", often suggested as
the first solid-body Spanish guitar ever built. "The Log" was given
its name from the pine block running through the middle of the guitar
whose width and depth are a little more than the width of the
fretboard; conventional hollow guitar sides or "wings" were added for
shape. Although numerous other prototypes and limited-production
solid-body models by other makers have since surfaced, it is known
that in 1945–1946,
Les Paul had approached Gibson with "The Log"
prototype , but his solid body design was rejected.
In 1951, Paul, McCarty, and his team at the Gibson
began work on what would eventually become the
Les Paul Model. Early
prototypes are very similar to the final version. The new Les Paul
guitar was to be an expensive, well-made instrument in accordance with
Gibson's reputation at the time. Although recollections differ
regarding who contributed what to the
Les Paul design, it was far from
a replica of rival guitar manufacturer Fender 's models. Les Paul
logo on headstock
Additionally, Gibson's president
Ted McCarty stated that the Gibson
Guitar Corporation approached
Les Paul for the right to imprint the
musician's name on the headstock with the intention of increasing
sales; in 1951, Gibson presented Paul a nearly finished instrument for
approval. Subsequently, McCarty claimed that design discussions with
Les Paul were limited to the tailpiece and the fitting of a maple cap
over the mahogany body for increased density and sustain, which Les
Paul had requested reversed. However, this reversal would have caused
the guitar to become too heavy, and Paul's request was refused. Paul
states that the original Custom should have had the maple cap and the
Goldtop was to be all mahogany. The Custom did not appear on the
market for another two years following the introduction of the
Goldtop; it is possible that Gibson had planned a full model range of
guitars (with a roll-out over the course of several years) at the time
when initial specifications were being set. Les Paul's contributions
to the guitar line bearing his name were more than cosmetic, but
certainly included them. For example, Paul specified that the guitar
be offered in a gold finish, not only for flashiness, but to emphasize
the high quality of the Gibson
Les Paul instrument. The later-issue
Les Paul models included flame maple (tiger stripe) and "quilted"
maple tops, again in contrast to the competing Fender line's range of
car-like custom color finishes.
The 1952 Les Pauls featured two
P-90 single coil pickups, and a
one-piece, 'trapeze'-style bridge/tailpiece with strings fitted under
(instead of over) a steel stop-bar.
The guitar made its public debut when Paul used it onstage in June,
1952, at the Paramount theatre in New York. On July 24, 1952, at a
special musicians clinic at the
Waldorf-Astoria hotel, it was
previewed by prominent guitarists such as
Tiger Haynes , George Barnes
Mundell Lowe ,
Tony Mottola , and
Billy Mure . The clinic preceded
NAMM Show held at the
New Yorker hotel starting July 27,
where the guitar was first received by the general public at Gibson's
exhibit in rooms 611 through 615.
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"Patent Applied For" (PAF ) pickups on a
Les Paul Standard
Tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece
Les Paul model was introduced in 1953. Called the Les Paul
Custom, this black guitar with gold-plated hardware was dubbed the
"Black Beauty". Various bridge and tailpiece designs were added in
1953 and 1954, including the popular
Tune-o-matic bridge. The Goldtop
and Custom models continued without significant changes until 1957. In
P-90 pickups were no longer offered on Les Pauls. New humbucker
pickups designed by
Seth Lover in 1955 (U.S. Patent 2,896,491 )
debuted on Les Pauls in 1957. This innovation in pickups became the
flagship pickup design most associated with Gibson. Many other guitar
companies followed suit, outfitting their electrics with versions of
the humbucking pickup.
SUNBURST FAILURE AND RESURGENCE (1958–1968)
Les Paul Standard Reissue Peter Green (1970)
Jeff Beck (1968)
In 1958, the
Les Paul saw its first major design change. A new model,
called the Standard, retained most features of the 1957 Goldtop.
However, Standards featured a cherry-red sunburst finish. These
guitars were priced higher than the Goldtop models, but lower than the
Customs. At this time, Gibson instruments were marketed toward an
older, jazz-oriented audience rather than young burgeoning guitarists.
As a result, over the three-year period of production, only c. 1,700
Standards were made.
These Les Pauls were considered to be too heavy and old-fashioned,
and they initially did not find favor amongst guitarists. In 1961,
Gibson stopped producing the traditional
Les Paul in favor of a
lighter redesign which was later called the SG . The mid-1960s,
however, brought a resurgence of interest in the
Les Paul Standard. In
Rolling Stones '
Keith Richards began using a sunburst, 1959
Les Paul Standard – becoming the first "star-guitarist" to play a
Les Paul on the British scene. The guitar, outfitted with a Bigsby
tailpiece, served as one of the guitarist's prominent instruments and
provided the first impetus to the use of Les Pauls during the British
blues boom. In 1965,
Eric Clapton began using Les Pauls because of
the influence of
Freddie King and
Hubert Sumlin , and played a 1960
Standard on the groundbreaking album
Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
. In America,
Mike Bloomfield began using a 1954
Les Paul goldtop
while touring with the
Blues Band, and recorded most
of his work on the band's East-West album with that guitar. A year
later, he traded it for a 1959 Standard with which he became most
identified. By 1967,
Jerry Garcia of the
Grateful Dead was using
P-90 pickup-equipped goldtops or black custom models,
which he used through 1968. Concurrently, artists such as Peter Green
Jeff Beck ,
Paul Kossoff , and
Jimmy Page began using sunburst Les
Paul Standards in the late 1960s. Responding to this influence and
increased pressure from the public, Gibson reintroduced Les'
single-cutaway guitar in July 1968, and the guitar remains in
ECL AND NORLIN-ERA (1969–85)
Chicago Musical Instruments
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1969 Standard (refinished) 1974 Custom Sunburst
In 1969, Gibson's parent company (
Chicago Musical Instruments ) was
taken over by the conglomerate ECL. Gibson remained under the
control of CMI until 1974 when it became a subsidiary of Norlin
Musical Instruments. The pancake-like layers, seen on the edge of
cross-banding, multi-piece body in Norlin Era
These ownership changes, often called the "Norlin Era", caused Gibson
products of the time to decline in quality.
Les Paul designs were
altered and a reinforced upper neck volute to decrease headstock
breaks was added. Neck woods were changed from one-piece mahogany to a
three-piece maple design. The body was also changed from one-piece
mahogany with a maple top to multiple slabs of mahogany with multiple
pieced maple tops. This is referred to as "multipiece" construction,
and sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "pancake" body. The
expression "pancake body" actually refers to a body made of a thin
layer of maple sandwiched between two slabs of mahogany, with a maple
cap. The grain of the maple was placed at 90 degrees to that of the
mahogany. The "pancake"-like layers are clearly visible when looking
at the edge of the guitar. This process is also known as
"crossbanding", and was done to make use of less expensive and more
readily available thinner mahogany. Crossbanding was phased out by
In this era, Gibson began experimenting with new models, such as the
Les Paul Recording. This guitar was generally unpopular with
guitarists because of its complex electronics. Less noticeable changes
included, but were not limited to, optional maple fingerboards (added
in 1976), pickup cavity shielding, and the crossover of the ABR1
Tune-o-matic bridge into the wide "Nashville" bridge. During the
Les Paul 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.
MODERN LES PAULS (1986–PRESENT)
Les Paul Custom Florentine
In January 1986, Gibson again changed ownership and began
manufacturing a range of varied
Les Paul models. The 1980s also saw
the end to several design characteristics, including the volute and
maple neck. However, because of consumer demand, the Gibson Les Paul
guitar is available today in a wide array of choices, ranging from
guitars equipped with modern digital electronics to classic re-issue
models built to match the look and specifications of the guitar's
earliest production runs from 1952 to 1960.
In 1986, to respond to the high demand for vintage models, Gibson
formed a "Custom Shop" division. Originally, the Shop began producing
accurate reproductions of early Les Pauls as well as one-off orders.
Today, the Custom Shop produces numerous limited-run "historic-spec"
models, as well as signature artist models. The first Custom Shop
artist guitar was the 1996 Joe Perry Les Paul.
MODELS AND VARIATIONS
Les Paul guitar line included two models: the Standard
(nicknamed the Goldtop), and the Custom (which offered gold 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 multiple
price-points and market levels.
1952–53 Goldtop with trapeze bridge 1953–55 Goldtop
with stopbar bridge 1955–57 Goldtop with
Tune-o-matic bridge and
stopbar tailpiece 1957–58 Goldtop with PAF pickups
Goldtops, the first
Les Paul model, were produced from 1952–1957.
Early 1952 Les Pauls were not issued serial numbers, did not have
bound fingerboards, and are considered by some as "LP Model
prototypes". However, later 1952 Les Pauls were issued serial numbers
and also came with bound fingerboards. Interestingly, the design
scheme of some of these early models varied. For instance, some early
Les Pauls were fitted with black covered P90 pickups instead of the
cream-colored plastic covers that are associated with this guitar. The
weight and the tonal characteristics of the Goldtop
Les Paul were
largely due to the mahogany and maple construction.
In 1953, the trapeze tailpiece was dropped, and a new stopbar design
was added. This design combined a pre-intonated bridge and tailpiece
with two studs just behind the bridge pickup. This increased the
sustain of the Goldtop noticeably; however, the intonation and string
height adjustability were limited. A new design, the Tune-o-matic,
replaced the stopbar in 1955. It consisted of a separate bridge and
tailpiece attached directly to the top of the guitar, combining an
easily adjustable bridge with a sustain-carrying tailpiece. This
design has been used on most Les Pauls ever since. The tuners were
produced by Kluson .
CUSTOM (1954–60, 1968–PRESENT)
1954 Custom with P90 pickups. 1960 Custom reissue with PAF
pickups. Main article: Gibson
Les Paul Custom
Les Paul Custom features gold hardware, multilayer binding
including the headstock, ebony fingerboard, real mother-of-pearl
inlays and two or three-pickup layout. 1950s Customs were
all-mahogany, rather than the mahogany-with-maple-cap of the Goldtop.
The original Customs were fitted with a
P-90 pickup in the bridge
position and an Alnico V "staple" pickup in the neck. In 1957, the
Custom was fitted with Gibson's new PAF humbucker pickups, and later
became available with three pickups instead of the usual two. The
Les Paul Custom was discontinued in 1961 and its name
transferred to the custom version of the then-new
Gibson SG .
In 1968, Gibson reintroduced the
Les Paul Custom as a two-pickup-only
model. The headstock angle was changed from 17 degrees to 14, and a
wider headstock and a maple top (in lieu of the original 1953-1961
mahogany top construction) were added. White and two sunburst finish
options were added to the color palette in 1974. Also new in 1974 was
the optional TP-6 fine-tuner tailpiece, allowing for micro-adjustment
of string tuning from the bridge. The mahogany neck was replaced with
a three-piece maple neck in 1975 (though mahogany still saw limited
use) with this change lasting till around 1982. Popular colors, such
as wine red and "silverburst," were added in the 1970s and '80s.
Gibson currently produces several Custom models with various finishes
STANDARD (1958–60, 1968–PRESENT)
Flame maple § Gibson
Les Paul Standard Paul
McCartney playing a 1960 left-handed cherryburst
Gibson Custom 50th Anniversary 1959
Les Paul Standard (2009)
In 1958, new Standard model retained most specifications of the 1957
Goldtop, including PAF humbucker pickups, a maple top, and a
tune-o-matic bridge with a stop tailpiece or Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
. The gold color used since 1952 was replaced by a cherry-red version
of the Sunburst finish long used on Gibson's flat-top and archtop
acoustic and hollow electric guitars. Since the maple cap was now
visible, tops were made either with a solid "plaintop" piece of maple
or two bookmatched pieces of figured (curly or quilted) maple. To
differentiate from the earlier Goldtop model, the new
Les Paul was
referred to as The
Les Paul Standard. Specifications during 1958–60
varied from year to year and also from guitar to guitar. Typical 1958
Les Paul Standard necks had a thicker neck, thinner frets and lower
fret height, which changed during the course of 1959 to develop into
typical 1960 necks with a thinner cross-section and wider, higher
frets. The cherry dye used on the 1958–59 models faded rapidly
from ultraviolet light exposure, so in early 1960 Gibson switched to a
new, fade-resistant formulation which was also less translucent and
slightly more orange; this is sometimes called the "tomato soup
burst." Original production of the Standards lasted from 1958 to early
1961. Only about 1,700 of these early models were made and have
subsequently become highly valuable.
Production ended when, in 1961, Gibson redesigned the
Les Paul to
feature a "double cutaway" body, which has subsequently become the
Gibson SG. Because of high demand, Gibson resumed production of Les
Paul Standards in 1968.
JUNIOR (1954–60, 2015–PRESENT) AND TV (1955–60)
Main article: Gibson
Les Paul Junior 1958 Junior 1959 TV
(Junior DC in TV Yellow)
In 1954, the
Les Paul Junior debuted, targeted the beginning or
student guitarist. The Junior is characterized by its flat-top "slab"
mahogany body, finished in sunburst. It had a single
simple volume and tone controls, an unbound rosewood fingerboard with
plain dot-shape position markers , and a combination bridge/tailpiece
unit similar to the Goldtop.
In 1955, Gibson launched the
Les Paul TV model, which was identical
to the Junior except for the name and a fashionable contemporary
"limed oak" style finish, later more accurately named "limed
mahogany". This natural wood finish with white grain filler often aged
into a natural wood or dull yellow appearance, and eventually evolved
into the opaque mustard yellow, popularly called "TV yellow". The
model was not, as a popular myth says, to avoid glare from old TV
cameras, but a modern look and a name to promote "The Les Paul
Special Singlecut in TV Yellow
Special Doublecut) Recent Les Paul
Special Faded Main articles: Gibson
Special and Gibson
Les Paul Doublecut
Special was released in 1955, featuring a slab body, two
P-90 single coil pickups, and was finished in a color similar
to TV Yellow (but not called a TV model).
In 1959, the
Special was given the same new double-cutaway body shape
as the Junior and the TV received in 1958. Around this time, Les Paul
decided to discontinue his affiliation with Gibson; the model was
renamed "SG Special" in late 1959. However, when the new design was
applied to the two-pickup Special, the cavity for the neck pickup
overlapped the neck-to-body joint. This weakened the joint to the
point that the neck could break after only moderate handling. The
problem was soon resolved when Gibson designers moved the neck pickup
farther down the body, producing a stronger joint and eliminating the
THE PAUL (1978–1982)
Gibson The Paul See also:
Gibson The Paul
A single sharp cutaway Les Paul-style walnut body, set walnut neck,
22-fret ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, walnut headstock
overlay with gold Gibson logo (1978-1981) or Gibson logo branded into
the headstock (Firebrand, 1981-1982), three-per-side tuners,
tune-o-matic bridge, stop tailpiece, two exposed humbucker pickups,
four knobs (two v, two tone), three-way pickup switch, chrome
hardware, available in Natural Walnut finish, 24.75 in. scale, 1.6875
in. nut width, mfg. 1978-1982. It included such high end items as the
Grover tuning keys and the
Tune-O-Matic bridge. Affectionately called
by some, "The Coffee Table Burst" because of its natural finish.
LES PAUL SG (1961–1963)
Gibson SG 1962
Les Paul Standard (SG Standard )
In 1960, Gibson experienced a decline in electric guitar sales due to
strong competition from Fender's comparable but much lighter
double-cutaway design, the
Stratocaster . In response, Gibson modified
Les Paul line. For 1961, the
Les Paul was thinner and much lighter
than earlier models, with two sharply pointed cutaways and a vibrato
system. However, the redesign was done without Les Paul's knowledge,
and he hated the design, so he asked Gibson to remove his name. The
single cutaway designed retained the "Les Paul" name until 1963 when
Les Paul's endorsement deal with Gibson ended. Without a contract,
Gibson could no longer call its guitars "Les Pauls', and it renamed
them "SGs" (for "Solid Guitars").
DELUXE (1968–84, 2005–PRESENT)
1972 Deluxe with mini-humbuckers 1969 Deluxe
The Deluxe was among the "new" 1968 Les Pauls. This model featured
"mini-humbuckers", also known as "New York" humbuckers, and did not
initially prove popular. The mini-humbucker pickup fit into the
P-90 pickup cavity using an adaptor ring developed by
Gibson in order to use a surplus supply of
The Deluxe was introduced in late 1968 and helped to standardize
production among Gibson's U.S.-built Les Pauls. The first incarnation
of the Deluxe featured a one-piece body and slim three-piece neck. The
multipiece body (a thin layer of maple on top of two layers of
Honduran mahogany) arrived in 1969. In late 1969, a reinforcing neck
volute was added. 1969 Deluxes feature the Gibson logo devoid of the
dot over the "i" in Gibson. By late 1969/early 1970, the dot over the
"i" had returned, plus a "Made In USA" stamp on the back of the
headstock. The Deluxe could be specially-ordered with full-size
humbucker pickups; such full size versions of the Deluxe were
"Standard" spec. By 1975, the neck construction was changed from
mahogany to maple, until the early 1980s, when the construction was
returned to mahogany. The body changed back to solid mahogany from the
pancake design in late 1976 or early 1977. Interest in this particular
Les Paul model was so low that in 1985, Gibson canceled it. In 2005,
the Deluxe was re-introduced.
In 1978, the
Les Paul Pro Deluxe was introduced. This guitar featured
P-90 pickups (like the original 1952-1956 LPs) instead of the
"mini-humbuckers" of the Deluxe model, an ebony fingerboard, maple
neck, mahogany body and chrome hardware. It came in ebony, cherry
sunburst, tobacco sunburst or gold finish. It was discontinued in
GIBSON DARK FIRE
Solid, Single Cut
A Burstbucker 3 humbucker at the bridge,
P-90 H at the neck, and a
piezoelectric built into the bridge.
Exclusive nitrocellulose finish consisting of dark red on the Maple
body top; glossy finish on body top and headstock face, satin finish
The Gibson Dark Fire, a variant of the Gibson Les Paul, was an
electric solid body guitar produced by
Gibson Guitar Corporation . It
was a second generation Robot
Guitar , using an updated version of the
Powertune self-tuning system produced by Tronical Gmbh . The Dark Fire
also introduced Gibson's Chameleon Tone Technology, a system
consisting of onboard electronics designed to simulate various guitar
tones. Additionally, the guitar included an audio interface called the
Robot Interface Pack or RIP.
The Dark Fire had one Burstbucker 3 humbucker in the bridge position,
P-90 H at the neck, and a special Tronical-designed piezoelectric
tune-o-matic sat in the place of the bridge. The Burstbucker 3 and
P-90H were selected via the three-way selector switch. The
piezoelectric could be activated via the MCK, blending the magnetic
and piezoelectric together under a standard 1/4" guitar cable. Gibson
supplied a TRS stereo cable that allowed the piezo signal and the
magnetic signal to be split between two different amps.
See also: Gibson
Les Paul Studio Studio 2001 Studio
The Studio model was introduced in 1983, and is still in production.
The guitar is intended for the studio musician; therefore, the design
features of the "
Les Paul Studio" are centered on optimal sound output
and not on flashy appearance. This model retains only the elements of
Les Paul that contribute to tone and playability, including
the carved maple top and standard mechanical and electronic hardware.
However, the Studio design omits several stock Gibson ornamentations
that do not affect sound quality, including body/neck binding. The
first Studios from 1983 to 1986 were made with alder bodies rather
than mahogany/maple. The current Studios come with a chambered
mahogany body with either a maple or mahogany cap. The entry level Les
Paul Studio "faded" has a weight relieved mahogany body and top and a
Gibson also offered the Studio in a "standard" model. This variant
was adorned with neck and body binding, ebony fretboard and sunburst
paint job. All Studios at the time had dot fretboard markers and a
Gibson released the ES-
Les Paul in 2015. It is a semi-acoustic model
with f-holes and two Alnico humbuckers. The neck is mahogany, but the
sides and back are laminated maple and poplar. A mahogany block runs
throughout the body to increase sustain.
LES PAUL\'S PERSONAL GUITAR
Les Paul playing his customized
Les Paul Recording guitar
Until his death in August 2009,
Les Paul himself played his personal
Guitar onstage weekly in New York City. Paul preferred his
1971 Gibson "Recording" model guitar, with different electronics and a
one-piece mahogany body, and which, as an inveterate tinkerer and
inventor, he had modified heavily to his liking over the years. A
Bigsby-style vibrato was of late the most visible change although his
guitars were formerly fitted with his "Les Paulverizer" effects.
EPIPHONE LES PAULS
Special II Les
Paul Ultra II
Epiphone Company makes around 20 models of the Les
Paul, most are similar copies of Gibson-made models. Made in places
outside the U.S., the
Epiphone Les Pauls are made from more commonly
available woods using less expensive foreign labor and have less hand
detailing than the Gibson models, and, as a result, sell for a lower
Guitar Co. has been owned by Gibson Guitars since the
Epiphone also makes several less common models of the
Les Paul such
Les Paul Goth,
Les Paul Ultra/Ultra II,
Les Paul Prophecy, and
Les Paul Tribute Plus.
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Jimmy Page with a Goldtop Classic Premium, one of his many Les
Pauls Main article:
Jimmy Page § Signature models
Gibson has produced three
Jimmy Page signature models . The first was
issued in the mid-1990s. It is based on a stock sunburst Les Paul
Standard. In 2005 the Gibson Custom Shop issued a limited run of Jimmy
Page Signature guitars based on Jimmy Page's 1959 "No. 1". Several
years later, Gibson issued its third
Jimmy Page Signature guitar, this
one based on Jimmy Page's #2, issued in a production run of 325
Slash with one of his signatures in 2007
Slash has collaborated with Gibson on eight signature Les Paul
The first of these guitars is the Slash "Snakepit"
Les Paul Standard,
which was introduced by the Gibson Custom Shop in 1996, based on the
smoking snake graphic off the cover of Slash\'s Snakepit 's debut
album and a mother of pearl snake inlay covering the length of the
ebony fretboard. Production was limited to 100. Gibson Slash
In 2004, the Gibson Custom Shop introduced the Slash Signature Les
Paul Standard, a guitar that Gibson has used ever since as the
"standard" non-limited edition Slash Les Paul. In 2008, Gibson USA
released the Slash Signature
Les Paul Standard, an authentic replica
of one of two Les Pauls Slash received from Gibson in 1988. It has an
Antique Vintage Sunburst finish over a solid mahogany body with a
maple top. Also in 2008, the Gibson Custom Shop introduced the Slash
Les Paul Standard. This guitar is a replica of his 1987
Les Paul Standard.
In 2010, Gibson released the Slash "Appetite"
Les Paul Standard as a
tribute to Guns N\' Roses ' debut album,
Appetite for Destruction ,
which resembles the Kris Derrig built 1959
Les Paul replica Slash used
for the recording of the album. Production was limited to 400, with
100 aged guitars signed by Slash, and another 300 finished with the
Custom Shop's VOS process.
Joe Perry playing his signature "Boneyard"
Gibson has issued two signature
Les Paul guitars for Joe Perry of
Aerosmith . The first was developed in 1996 and was customized with an
active mid-boost control, black chrome hardware, and a translucent
black finish. It was replaced in 2004 by a second, more visually
distinctive Les Paul, the "Boneyard" Les Paul. This guitar is
characterized by Perry's custom "Boneyard" logo on the headstock and a
figured maple top with a green tiger finish, and is available with
either a stopbar tailpiece or a Bigsby tailpiece.
Gary Moore created his own signature
Les Paul in the early 2000s,
characterised by a yellow flame top, no binding and signature truss
rod cover. It featured two open-topped humbucker pickups, one with
"zebra coils" (one white and one black bobbin). In 2009, Gibson
Gary Moore signature guitar, the Gibson Gary Moore
BFG Les Paul. The
Gary Moore BFG is much like their previous Les Paul
BFG series, with the added styling of Moore's various 1950s Les Paul
Peter Frampton '54 Custom
A replica of the three-pickup "Black Beauty"
Les Paul Custom used by
Peter Frampton as his main guitar from his days in Humble Pie through
his early solo career was introduced through the Gibson Custom Shop in
2012. Frampton's original guitar was a 1954
Les Paul modified
extensively. His famous guitar was presumed lost in a South American
plane crash in 1980, but was returned to Frampton in 2011.
Gibson used hundreds of photographs of the late blues guitarist's
instrument to produce the limited-edition Bloomfield signature. The
company produced one hundred Bloomfield models with custom-aged
finishes and two hundred more with the company's VOS finishing in
2009. They reproduced the tailpiece crack on the aged version, plus
the mismatched volume and tone control knobs and the "Les
Paul"-engraved truss rod cover on both versions, while including a
toggle switch cover. The headstock was characterized by the
kidney-shaped Grover tuning keys installed on the guitar before
Bloomfield traded for it.
Roger Daltrey max-width:269px"> Ace Frehley
with his 3-pickup
Les Paul Custom Billy Gibbons
Les Paul Goldtop
Ace Frehley (KISS ) signature model (released in 1997 and
re-released in 2012) has three double-white DiMarzio pickups, a cherry
sunburst finish (AAAA), a color image of Frehley's face in his Kiss
make-up on the headstock, mother-of-pearl lightning bolt inlays, and
Ace's simulated signature on the 12th fret. A Custom Shop run of only
300 guitars were built with DiMarzio PAF, Super Distortion, and Dual
Sound pickups. The production run model was only built with DiMarzio
Super Distortion pickups. This was one of Gibson's best selling artist
runs. The more recent 2012 "Budokan" model, intended to pay tribute to
the guitar used during the KISS' first trip to Japan in 1977, features
mother-of-pearl block inlays (no signature at the 12th fret), Grover
machine heads with pearloid banjo buttons, and a grade A maple top.
Billy Gibbons of
ZZ Top has a signature model and pick-up based on
his famous "Pearly Gates " 1959
Les Paul Standard.
Eric Clapton playing a
Les Paul in 1987, on the right of George
Clapton played a 1960 Standard as a member of John Mayall and the
Bluesbreakers as well as in the early days of Cream . The guitar was
said to have been stolen while Clapton was preparing for the first
Cream tour in 1966, following the recording of
Fresh Cream , and was
long considered an iconic instrument by Clapton's fans. Gibson
announced production of the Clapton 1960 Standard, also nicknamed the
"Beano Burst", in 2010. Gibson says the instrument "accurately
Eric Clapton personally feels his 1960
Les Paul should
be", with Clapton consulting on the design of the guitar. Production
is limited but all feature period-correct hardware, two Gibson
reproduction PAF humbucking pickups, and subtly figured "antiquity
burst" maple tops.
Paul Kossoff , of Free and Back Street Crawler , favored a 1959 Les
Paul Standard. In 2011–12, Gibson's Custom Shop made a reproduction
of Kossoff's Standard, featuring a so-called "green-lemon" flametop,
two-piece carved maple top, mahogany body and neck, Custom Bucker
humbucking pickups and kidney-bean shaped Grover tuners similar to
those Kossoff had installed on the instrument. 100 Kossoff models were
made to resemble the guitar at the time of Kossoff's death in 1976,
with another 250 in a VOS finish.
LES PAUL PLAYERS
List of Gibson players
LES PAUL COPIES AND "LAWSUITS"
Les Paul imitations in the 1960s and 1970s, such as
those made by
Harmony Company , and Greco
differed from Gibson's designs, with different electronics and even
bolt-on necks, in the late 1970s some Japanese companies came very
close to perfecting copies of the original 1958-1960 Standards.
A lawsuit was brought by the Norlin Corporation (the parent company
of Gibson) in 1977, against Elger/Hoshino U.S.A. (manufacturer and
distributor, respectively, of Ibanez) over use a headstock shape and
logo, both considered similar to the Gibson designs. However, the suit
was based on an Ibanez headstock design that had been discontinued by
1976. The case was officially closed on February 2, 1978. Those
mid-1970s guitars later became known as "lawsuit era" guitars.
ESP Guitars makes several guitars based on the
Les Paul design. The
Edwards and Navigator lines are made in Japan in the vein of the late
1970s and 1980s guitars from Tokai ,
Burny , and Greco, complete with
Gibson style headstocks.
Heritage Guitars , founded in 1985 by four long-time Gibson employees
when Gibson relocated to Nashville, continues to build guitars at the
original factory in
Kalamazoo, Michigan . Many of their models are
inspired by Gibson's late-1950s/early-1960s sunbursts and Customs.
In 2006, Gibson lost a lawsuit against
PRS Guitars , Gibson claiming
PRS was infringing on the
Les Paul shape and design. The court's
decision allowed PRS to reintroduce single cutaway versions of its
In 2008, Gibson lost the trademark for the
Les Paul in
According to the court, "Les Paul" has become a common noun for
guitars of a certain type. The lawsuit began when Gibson sued
Musamaailma, which produces Tokai guitars, for trademark violation.
However, several witnesses testified that the term "Les Paul" denotes
character in a guitar rather than a particular guitar model. The court
also found it aggravating that Gibson had used
Les Paul in the plural
form and that the importer of Gibson guitars had used
Les Paul as a
common noun. The court decision will become effective, as Gibson is
not going to appeal.
* ^ Ian Courtney Bishop (March 1990). The Gibson
Guitar from 1950
(2nd ed.). Bold Strummer. pp. 3. ISBN 978-0-933224-46-9 .
* ^ Jim Henke. "In the Museum: The
Education – Inside the Classroom. The
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and
* ^ "
Les Paul Electric
Guitar "Clunker" – Modified 1942 Epiphone
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from
the original on January 19, 2012.
* ^ "1942
Epiphone Broadway". archtop.com.
* ^ Les Paul; Michael Cochran (2005).
Les Paul – In His Own
Words. Russ Cochran.
Les Paul (1988). Little Black Box (video). (a triggering device
for live performance effects)
* ^ A B Wheeler, Tom (1992). American Guitars. Harper. p. 140. ISBN
* ^ Freeth, Nick; Charles Alexander (2004). Ray Bonds, ed. The
Illustrated Directory of Guitars. Barnes & Noble, Inc. pp. 290–293.
ISBN 0-7607-6317-8 .
* ^ Lawrence, Robb (2008). The Early Years of the
Les Paul Legacy:
1915–1963. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 304. ISBN 978-0634048616 .
* ^ A B Duchossoir, Andre (1998). Gibson Electrics: The Classic
Years. Hal Leonard. pp. 42–44. ISBN 0-7935-9210-0 .
* ^ A B 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul: Half a Century of the
Greatest Electric Guitars by Tony Bacon. Backbeat Books, 2002. ISBN
0879307110 pg 21
* ^ Burrluck, Dave (September 2007). "'The Keithburst Les Paul'".
Guitarist Magazine: 55–58.
* ^ Bacon, Tony. (2002). "50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul: Half a
Century of the Greatest Electric Guitars". Hal Leonard Corporation.
pp. 39. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
* ^ Bacon, Tony (2000). Electric Guitars:The Illustrated
Encyclopedia. Thunder Bay Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-1-59223-053-2 .
* ^ Bacon, Tony (2002). 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul. Backbeat
Books. pp. 38, 50. ISBN 0-87930-711-0 .
* ^ Moseley, Willie G. (February 2012). "The Gibson Les Paul
Vintage Guitar . p. 60.
* ^ Pittman, Aspen (2003). The Tube Amp Book. Hal Leonard. pp. 66,
69–70. ISBN 978-0-87930-767-7 .
* ^ Maloof, Rich (2004). Jim Marshall, father of loud: the story of
the man behind the worlds most famous guitar amplifiers. Hal Leonard.
pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-87930-803-2 .
* ^ "
Jerry Garcia guitar history". Dozin.com. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
* ^ White, Forrest (1994). Fender: The Inside Story. Backbeat
Books. pp. 180–181.
* ^ Bonds, Ray, ed. (2006). The Illustrated Directory of Guitars.
Barnes & Noble/Salamander Books. p. 376.
* ^ Dirks, Rebecca; Egolf, James. "A Modern History of the Gibson
Custom Shop". Premier Guitar. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
Les Paul Custom Classic, Gibson.com
* ^ Duchossoir, A. R. (1998). "
Special & SG Special".
Gibson Electrics: The Classic Years: An Illustrated History of the
Electric Guitars Produced by Gibson Up to the Mid-1960s. Musical
Instruments Series (revised ed.). Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 210.
ISBN 978-0-79359210-4 .
* ^ Burrows, Terry (2013). 1001 Guitars To Dream of Playing Before
Die. Universe. p. 262. ISBN 978-0-7893-2701-7 .
* ^ Freeth, Nick. The Complete
Guitar Encyclopedia=2012. Parragon.
p. 56. ISBN 978-1-4454-9313-8 .
* ^ Prown, Pete (June 2015). "F-Hole with Soul: ES-Les Paul".
Vintage Guitar . p. 124. access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ "Epiphone: A History". Epiphone.com. Retrieved 24 February
* ^ "
Les Paul Studio". Epiphone.com. Retrieved
February 23, 2012.
* ^ "
Epiphone Ultra II". Epiphone.com. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
* ^ A B Drozdowski, Ted (2008-04-08). "From 1988 to 2008, Slash\'s
Les Pauls Through the Years". Gibson.com. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
* ^ "Slash Signature
Les Paul on SlashParadise". Slashparadise.com.
November 10, 2012.
* ^ "Gibson USA Slash Signature
Les Paul Standard". Gibson.com.
Retrieved April 30, 2011.
* ^ "Gibson Custom "Inspired By" Slash
Les Paul Standard".
Gibson.com. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
* ^ "Gibson USA Slash "Appetite"
Les Paul Standard". Gibson.com.
Retrieved April 30, 2011.
* ^ "The
Guitar That Saved Rock N\' Roll". Gibson.com. 2010.
Retrieved July 25, 2011.
* ^ "
Ace Frehley "Budokan"
Les Paul Custom". Gibson
* ^ Rob Power (June 8, 2006). "Gibson lawsuit ends with PRS
victory". MI Pro. UK: Intent Media.
* ^ Tuomo Pietiläinen (Sep 5, 2008). "Käräjäoikeus tuomitsi
Les Paul -kitaran yleisnimeksi" . Helsingin Sanomat (in
* ^ Original "The Log" was exhibited at
Country Music Hall of Fame
, Nashville. A replica of "The Log" (loaned from
Les Paul Foundation)
have been exhibited on "
Les Paul Experience" permanent exhibition at
Waukesha County Museum.
* ^ This
Les Paul prototype was refinished in cherry sunburst from
original goldtop, pickups are replaced with his lo-impedance type, and
Bigsby vibrato tailpiece is installed. This guitar have been
exhibited on "
Les Paul Experience" permanent exhibition at Waukesha
* ^ This
Les Paul prototype (white) has an appearance similar to
Les Paul Personal model because its pickups were replaced by
the low-impedance type, however, the existence of trapezoid-type
bridge/tailpiece imply that it is early Les Paul.
* ^ In the summer of 1952, Gibson
Les Paul Goldtop was priced at
* ^ This guitar (1953 Goldtop exhibited at FUZZ
Guitar Show 2008)
was used by
Carl Perkins on many of his early "
Sun Records "
* ^ "10 Most Valuable Guitars",
Vintage Guitar (2010) , mentioned
on:Paul Schille (Dec 17, 2010),
Vintage Guitar Releases List of 10
Most Valuable Guitars, TheGiggingMusician.com
* ^ A B Greenwood, Alan; Gil Hembree (April 2011). "25 Most Valuable
Vintage Guitar . pp. 38–40.
The 1958–60 Standard is one of the highest priced vintage guitar
models on the market, ranked at # on the 2011 Top 25 published by
Vintage Guitar , and worth between $225,000 and $375,000.
Guitar Man: The Genius of
Les Paul (Library Binding).
Edwin Brit Wyckoff. Enslow Elementary (April 2008). ISBN
* 50 Years of the Gibson Les Paul: Half a Century of the Greatest
Electric Guitars (Paperback). Tony Bacon. Backbeat Books 1st edition
(April 26, 2002). ISBN 0-87930-711-0
* Million Dollar Les Paul: In Search of the Most Valuable
the World (Paperback). Tony Bacon. Jawbone Press 1st edition (2008).
* "Review: A riff on robotics with self-tuning guitar". U-T San
Diego. Retrieved 23 April 2015. – Gibson Dark Fire
* "Bob Marley The Father of Music". p. 148. – Gibson Dark Fire
* Wilson Rothman. "Gibson\'s Dark Fire:
Les Paul Reborn as RoboCop".
Gizmodo. Gawker Media. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
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