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.
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
Gibson Les Paul on the Market 🎸
In the realm of electric guitars, the Gibson Les Paul stands as a titan. Introduced in 1952, the Les Paul has become synonymous with rock and blues, its solid mahogany body and dual humbucking pickups delivering a thick, sustaining tone. Legends like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, and Gary Moore have wielded Les Pauls, contributing to the guitar’s iconic status. A small selection of new and second hand Gibson Les Paul guitars for sale today.
Gibson Les Paul Modern Electric Guitar Faded Pelham Blue. This guitar is available now for £2,299.00. The seller is located in GB. The condition of this instrument has been listed as New. This guitar is being sold by a seller with the …Read More
Gibson LES PAUL CLASSIC P90 black. This guitar is available now for £1,495.00. The seller is located in GB. The condition of this instrument has been listed as Used. This guitar is being sold by a seller with the user name vibrocaster2…Read More
Gibson Les Paul Junior. This guitar is available now for £1,250.00. The seller is located in GB. The condition of this instrument has been listed as New. This guitar is being sold by a seller with the user name zephyrguitars75. For mor…Read More
2018 Gibson Les Paul Tribute light Flame Top. This guitar is available now for £950.00. The seller is located in GB. The condition of this instrument has been listed as Used. This guitar is being sold by a seller with the user name srw…Read More
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History of the Gibson iconic guitars
To find out more about some of the most iconic Fender guitars – please use the links below
- A short history of the Gibson Les Paul guitar
- A short history of the Gibson ES guitar
- A short history of the Gibson SG guitar
This article was written with reference from the following websites.