Gibson Les Paul Guitars www.gibson-accoustic-guitar.com
The Gibson Les Paul is a solidbody electric guitar originally developed in the early 1950s. The Les Paul was originally designed by Ted McCarty and endorsed, named and used by then popular jazz/pop guitarist Les Paul.
Gibson Guitar president 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 to benefit his own music.
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. Les Paul is often credited with inventing the solid body electric guitar, and his involvement with the Gibson models was more or less just a happy accident.
When he was a teenage performer he tried amplifying an ordinary acoustic guitar so that he could be heard by the audience. The feedback that resulted was finally eliminated by attaching the neck of an Epiphone guitar onto a block of wood. This was so strange looking that Les' musical talents were not taken seriously so he attached wings to the side of the wood so that it resembled a conventional guitar shape.
The moving force behind the financial and artistic success of the Les Paul guitar was the desire of the Gibson Guitar Corporation to market a solid body model electric guitar under the name of an established guitarist. By this time, the early 1950's, Les Paul was the most popular electric guitar player of the time.
It would be a great triumph for Gibson to snare the endorsement of this guitarist who had conceived and made his own electric guitar which had become the basis for a solid electric guitar sold by his friend, Leo Fender. Eventually, after recommending some changes to the appearance of the new Gibson guitar, Les Paul allowed it to be released under his name.
There are a couple of design elements that stand out in the Les Paul range of guitars. The strings on a Les Paul guitar are mounted "hollow body style" on top of the guitar instead of passing through the body as is common with other brands of solid body guitars. This is merely a stylistic distinction, not affecting the sound of the guitar.
The characteristic warm tone of the Les Paul guitars is due to the types of wood chosen by Gibson for these models. As we should expect from a guitar endorsed by the man whose own guitar design was nicknamed "the log", Les Paul guitars are also heavier and thicker than other solid body guitars.
Both Les Paul and the Gibson corporation were fans of starting with substance and piling on heaps of style, so most Les Paul model guitars feature flashy inlays on the neck and headstock.
The original Les Pauls had two single coil pickups. In 1954 a second-generation Les Paul was introduced that had the tune-o-matic bridge. And in 1957 the pickups were changed to double coil "humbucking" pickups. The Les Paul had a three position selector switch for the pickups.
Later a third double coil "humbucking" pickup was added. The Gibson Les Paul has been offered in a wide range of ornamental variants, customizable hardware and several electric pickups. The sixty cycle humming that was a problem with older guitars was completely removed by the humbucking pickup available for the Les Paul.
Les Paul's contributions to the guitar line bearing his name were stated to be cosmetic. For example, ever the showman, Paul had specified that the guitar be offered in a gold finish, not only for flashiness, but to emphasize the high quality of the Les Paul instrument, as well.
The later-issue Les Paul models included "flame" and "quilted" (tiger) maple finishes, and once again contrasted the competing Fender line's range of car-like color finishes.
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