Les Paul Guitars

Les Paul

The Legendary Les Paul, singer, songwriter and hot guitarist, pioneered the solid bodied electric guitar that revolutionalised music in the middle of the 20th century and made the whole rock'n roll thing possible. So revered was Les Paul in the music industry, he has a stand alone exhibit in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, an honour accorded only to the few.

Born in Wisconsin in 1888, Paul became interested in music as a young boy, when he learnt the harmonica. He then moved on to the banjo and finally the guitar, his greatest love. While still a boy, he invented a neck held harmonica, so he could accompany himself on the guitar and by the age of thirteen, he was already working as a professional country music singer, guitarist and harmonica player.

The one and only Les Paul. Photo from stereogum.com
The one and only Les Paul. Photo from stereogum.com

The Log Guitar

Thus began a long career in the music industry which included radio shows, recording and playing country music and jazz with the likes of Rube Tronson's Texas Cowboys, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Mary Ford, rhythm guitarist Jim Atkins (brother of Chet) and many other notable artists

Not completely satisfied with the standard electric acoustic guitars of the time, Les began to experiment on his own in the 1940's, occasionally almost electrifying himself in the process. Paul came up with the highly innovative Log Guitar, constructed in the Epiphone guitar factory, which was basically a chunk of wood with strings and a pick-up

Les Paul's famous Log Guitar
Les Paul's famous Log Guitar
Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Electric Guitar with Deluxe Hardshell Case (Worn Brown)
Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded Electric Guitar with Deluxe Hardshell Case (Worn Brown)

A beautiful, natural wood grain guitar with a warm, worn look to inspire mellow playing

 

Gibson Les Paul Guitars

Les Paul began his association with Gibson in 1952, when a new version of his solid body guitar was built, in collaboration with Ted Mc Carthy, whom Paul had sought out to help with the design. Along with Fender's Stracocaster and Telecaster, the Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable electric guitars in the world.

Les Paul had approached Gibson with his original design a decade earlier but the company only became interested when Fender's Stratocaster took off and began a craze for electric guitars. However when they finally got together it was agreed that they would produce a guitar that would be a quality, well-made instrument, in keeping with the Gibson tradition.

Characteristics

The Gibson Les Pauls had a few distinguishing characteristics that separated them from the opposition; such as the string mounting, which is always mounted on top of the the guitar body, rather than through it, an innovative selection of electric pick-up options and a variety of finishes and colours.

Built with an eye for the studio musician, the contemporary Gibson Les Pauls are known for their harmonic and sonic capacities. They have a comfortable, rounded neck profile and Burstbuster Pro pick-ups, which have been designed specifically for new Les Paul standards.

According to Gibson's own blurb:

The Burstbucker Pro Neck is wound slightly less than the original PAFs, while the Burstbucker Pro Bridge is slightly overwound for increased output. The Burstbucker Pro pickups are also wax potted to allow loud volume pressures with minimal feedback. As with all Gibson pickups, every part is precisely manufactured at Gibson USA in Nashville, Tennessee, insuring tight, seamless fittings, and superior workmanship.

Ephiphone Black Beauty. Also known as the "Tuxedo Giutar" because it is dressed to kill.
Ephiphone Black Beauty. Also known as the "Tuxedo Giutar" because it is dressed to kill.

Epiphone Les Paul Guitars

The Ephiphone Les Paul guitar range was introduced as a lower priced altenative to the Gibson versions. Ephiphone is, in fact, a subsidiary of Gibson and the guitars are manufactured at a lower cost in Asian countries where labour costs are reduced.

There's several models in the range, from the modestly priced Standard to the top of the range. limited edition 1959 Les Paul standard, of which less than 2000 were produced, and plenty more in between.

The beauty of the Epiphone Les Pauls is the wide range, so that you can buy according to your budget - beginning low or moving up into the low thousands.

Lower priced Les Paul's make for a great first guitar. Just ask Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame who purchased one at the start of his career journey.

Of his original invenion, Les Paul said:

“I wanted something very dense, something that would sustain long and more pieces of wood that would be soft, sweet, for more of a mellow sound.”


More by this Author


Click to Rate This Article
working