A history of the Gibson Les Paul

all images courtesy of Gibson.com

An Imaginative Start

Without the restrictions of a typical luthier, Jazz guitarist Les Paul envisioned a wild guitar build that featured a solid bodied stick like guitar with detachable hollow wings to form the shape of a more traditional acoustic guitar. Although both Fender and Gibson did not take a liking to his idea, the fact that Les Paul imagined a solid bodied guitar in 1940, 10 years prior to the Telecaster’s debut as the world’s first solid body guitar speaks miles in itself.

Fusion of the Past and the Future

As competition from Fender amassed huge sales with their ground breaking Telecaster, the team at Gibson began to see the value in putting a well known name to their own take on the modern electric solid body guitar. Gibson President Ted McCarty led the design team to creating a work of craftsmanship that blended the company’s history of building carved top acoustic instruments with the changing times of modern technology. The result was a solid body electric guitar unlike any other on the market.

Please visit our shopping partners for everything Gibson

Wide range of Gibson Les Paul guitars from G4m

Please take a minute to visit our shopping partners – Gear4Music – Authorised Gibson dealer

Les Paul’s Big Debut 1952

Enlisting the final input and fame of Jazz guitarist Les Paul, the company prepared for the guitar’s release in 1952. The guitar featured a pair of P-90 single coil pick-ups and a distinctive gold top body. The early years saw three bridge revisions made to the instrument as flaws found their way through McCarty’s design. The initial tailpiece style bridge made it near impossible to palm mute and the second revision held issues with intonation of each string.

The third time lucky gave way for another one of McCarty’s designs, the ‘Tune-o-matic’ that features a fixed adjustable bridge piece ideal for sustain and intonation which can still be found of Gibson guitars to this day.

A Contribution Like No Other

During the 1950’s McCarty anticipated a desire for a different type of sound from the Les Paul that the single coil P-90’s could not provide. He tasked employee Seth Lover with the job of creating a less noisy, rounder and fatter sounding pick-up. By 1955 Lover had created the Humbucker prototype and in 1957 the pick-ups began going out in Les Paul guitars. The idea was so ingenious that they knew others would instantly copy the concept. As such, the guitars of this era left the factory with a ‘Patent Applied For’ sticker and would later be highly coveted for this very reason.

A Disappointing Reception

With the 1950’s coming to a close, Les Paul sales had disappointed the marketing team at Gibson and they felt the need for innovation on their solid body guitar. The Les Paul was discontinued in 1961 for the company’s new solid body guitar, also called the Les Paul. As fate would have it the revised Les Paul was re-named after Les Paul’s disapproval as the Gibson SG in 1963. However, the original Les Paul guitar was brought back to the production line in 1968 due to high public demand.

The Legend Lives On

The Gibson Les Paul remains in production to this day and has developed a reputation as an incredibly versatile highly sought after instrument. Musicians throughout the decades have made a career for themselves with a Les Paul in their hands, from Jimmy Page and Slash to Gary Moore and Billy Gibbons, each of these guitar heroes honed their sound with a little help from their friends in Kalamazoo.

Slash – Guns ‘n’ Roses – Les Paul fan

Slash Playing a Gibson Les Paul

The legendary lead guitarist Slash can often be seen thrashing a Gibson Les Paul (photo courtesy daigooliva / CC BY-SA)

Recently listed Gibson Les Paul guitars for sale

Here’s just a snapshot of the Gibson Les Paul guitars added this week. Click the button at at the bottom to browse all Gibson Les Paul Guitars added for sale recently

Recent Posts
  • Gibson Les Paul Standard 2015 100th Anniversary In Trans Amber Mint ConditionGibson Les Paul Standard 2015 100th Anniversary In Trans Amber Mint ConditionPosted in : Gibson Les Paul Guitars Electric Guitars for sale Posted :

    Brand : Gibson Model : Les Paul Price : £1,500.00 Selller : strummer43 Condition : Used Location : Ships to : Description : Gibson Les Paul Standard 2015 100th Anniversary In Trans Amber Mint Condition Sale by : auction Bids : 0 Ends on : 2021-09-25 13:26:18 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Gibson Les Paul Guitars View this guitar on eBay This guitar comes from our selection of used Gibson Les Paul guitars for sale. The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar first sold in 1952 by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Witnessing the success of the Fender Esquire and Fender Broadcaster in 1950 (Telecaster predecessors) – Ted McCarty recruited professional guitarist Les Paul (full name Lester William Polsfuss) to develop this alternative to the Fender Telecaster. The result was the ever popular Gibson Les Paul. From the classic Les Paul EBONY version (all black with a contrasting ivory trim) to the bright SUNBURST series – Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honeyburst and even a stunning green Anaconda Burst. The Les Paul is guitar that most musicians will want to play at some time in their career. Thankfully, for the budget conscious, they also produce one under licence to Epiphone. We have a range of Epiphone Les Paul available here. For more information on the original – please visit our Gibson Les Paul history page All Gibson Guitars on eBay today Further Reading History of Gibson Guitars History of Gibson Les Paul History of Gibson ES History of Gibson SG How much is a brand NEW Gibson Les Paul? Before spending hundreds on a preowned Gibson Les Paul do some research and check the price of a NEW at Gear4Music. We often see used Gibson guitars sell for a price very close to that of a new one – sometimes more when bidding fever takes over – check prices at G4M first.

    more about this Gibson Les Paul
  • 2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional - Heritage Cherry Sunburst2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional – Heritage Cherry SunburstPosted in : Gibson Les Paul Guitars Electric Guitars for sale Posted :

    Brand : Gibson Model : Les Paul Price : £1,600.00 Selller : prosper_spicasse Condition : Used Location : Ships to : Description : 2009 Gibson Les Paul Traditional – Heritage Cherry Sunburst Sale by : buy it now Bids : Ends on : 2021-10-17 11:08:53 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Gibson Les Paul Guitars View this guitar on eBay This guitar comes from our selection of used Gibson Les Paul guitars for sale. The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar first sold in 1952 by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Witnessing the success of the Fender Esquire and Fender Broadcaster in 1950 (Telecaster predecessors) – Ted McCarty recruited professional guitarist Les Paul (full name Lester William Polsfuss) to develop this alternative to the Fender Telecaster. The result was the ever popular Gibson Les Paul. From the classic Les Paul EBONY version (all black with a contrasting ivory trim) to the bright SUNBURST series – Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honeyburst and even a stunning green Anaconda Burst. The Les Paul is guitar that most musicians will want to play at some time in their career. Thankfully, for the budget conscious, they also produce one under licence to Epiphone. We have a range of Epiphone Les Paul available here. For more information on the original – please visit our Gibson Les Paul history page All Gibson Guitars on eBay today Further Reading History of Gibson Guitars History of Gibson Les Paul History of Gibson ES History of Gibson SG How much is a brand NEW Gibson Les Paul? Before spending hundreds on a preowned Gibson Les Paul do some research and check the price of a NEW at Gear4Music. We often see used Gibson guitars sell for a price very close to that of a new one – sometimes more when bidding fever takes over – check prices at G4M first.

    more about this Gibson Les Paul
  • Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018 Ebony P90 🔥 Stunning Rare Electric Guitar!Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018 Ebony P90 🔥 Stunning Rare Electric Guitar!Posted in : Gibson Les Paul Guitars Electric Guitars for sale Posted :

    Brand : Gibson Model : Les Paul Price : £1,369.00 Selller : rarecandy89 Condition : Used Location : Ships to : Description : Gibson Les Paul Classic 2018 Ebony P90 🔥 Stunning Rare Electric Guitar! Sale by : auction Bids : 0 Ends on : 2021-09-21 18:46:20 Time Remaining : Parent Category : Pre-owned Gibson Les Paul Guitars View this guitar on eBay This guitar comes from our selection of used Gibson Les Paul guitars for sale. The Gibson Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar first sold in 1952 by the Gibson Guitar Corporation. Witnessing the success of the Fender Esquire and Fender Broadcaster in 1950 (Telecaster predecessors) – Ted McCarty recruited professional guitarist Les Paul (full name Lester William Polsfuss) to develop this alternative to the Fender Telecaster. The result was the ever popular Gibson Les Paul. From the classic Les Paul EBONY version (all black with a contrasting ivory trim) to the bright SUNBURST series – Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Honeyburst and even a stunning green Anaconda Burst. The Les Paul is guitar that most musicians will want to play at some time in their career. Thankfully, for the budget conscious, they also produce one under licence to Epiphone. We have a range of Epiphone Les Paul available here. For more information on the original – please visit our Gibson Les Paul history page All Gibson Guitars on eBay today Further Reading History of Gibson Guitars History of Gibson Les Paul History of Gibson ES History of Gibson SG How much is a brand NEW Gibson Les Paul? Before spending hundreds on a preowned Gibson Les Paul do some research and check the price of a NEW at Gear4Music. We often see used Gibson guitars sell for a price very close to that of a new one – sometimes more when bidding fever takes over – check prices at G4M first.

    more about this Gibson Les Paul

Quick Links – Gibson Guitars for sale

The quick links provided below provide easy access to the most popular Gibson guitar styles and models.

History of the Gibson iconic guitars

To find out more about some of the most iconic Fender guitars – please use the links below

Gear4Music – authorised dealer for Gibson Les Paul Guitatars

Wide range of Gibson Les Paul guitars from G4m