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Gibson Les Paul Standard

Updated on October 18, 2011

The Standard Guitar

This is, literally, the standard by which most Gibson electrics (and other electric guitars) are measured. Hence, the name. But why is it the standard? Yes, it's one of the most-used in rock-and-roll history. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Slash, Steve Howe of Yes, all used or still use this great electric guitar. Aside from being the guitar of choice for rock stars, the sound from this solid-body musical instrument is as close to one-of-a-kind as there is.

Gibson Les Paul Standard Guitar

For those interested in a newer Les Paul Standard, plan on spending about $2,300 or somewhere in that range. Be advised that the Gibson company Web site shows the Standard as discontinued. But, never fear, the truth is the guitar aces at Gibson have a 2008 Les Paul Standard that reportedly improves on the solid-body electric guitar that came before.

1988 Gibson Les Paul Standard

(c)maury.mccown at
(c)maury.mccown at

Here's the lowdown on a Standard. The top is carved maple, the back is mahogany. The mahogany neck can be rounded (1950s style) or slimmer and tapered (1960s style). Width at the nut is 1.695 inches. Try out the rosewood fingerboard on the 24¾-inch neck (22 frets). The Standard generally has nickel-plated hardware and the "stopbar" tailpiece, tune-o-matic bridge, gold top-hat knobs and, in the newer models, BurstBucker Pro pickups (Alnico V magnets).

Available colors in the Gibson catalog are Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Goldtop, Lightburst, Desert Burst, Ebony, Trans Amber, Honey Burst, Root Beer, Latte' Crème and Iced Tea.

As mentioned earlier, the "original" Les Paul Standard has, according to the Gibson Web site, been discontinued. The company has "replaced" it with a 2008 Standard.

What's been improved? Some players might say the Standard can't be improved. But here are the details. The 2008 Les Paul Standard (suggested retail price $3,899) has an "enlarged neck tenon for maximum wood contact," and a new, asymmetrical neck, according to the Gibson folks. The Grover tuners have an "improved" 18:1 gear ratio. Computer-controlled dressing of frets reportedly makes this one of the cleanest electric guitars around.

Check with a retailer or guitar-setup man and ask about the "improved" tailpiece and bridge. Retailers will probably send you one of the new Standards for about $2,400. A Standard in limited quantities, without the 2008 in the name, can be had for about $2,000 to $2,300 now. But this model might become a desired guitar in the near future.

This is the new guitar that carries on the tradition of the Standard introduced by Les Paul and Gibson in the early 1950s. The very early models, 1952 or thereabouts, had some details that a few players don't care for. But when a vintage guitar hunter gets into the 1955-1959 range, the collectibility rating gets into the A range. Prices are generally set by what the avid collector/player wants to pay, but a true late-50s Les Paul Standard may set you back twice or three times the cost of a new, reproduction.

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    • knell63 profile image

      knell63 8 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Classic guitar, so sad to hear of his death last week.

    • profile image

      Epiphone Sheraton Guitar 8 years ago

      Great Guitar. I especially love the quilted tops.

    • parkerk393 profile image

      parkerk393 8 years ago from Arlington, Texas

      This really is a fantastic guitar. I love them so much, I just can't afford one. Great hub.

    • profile image

      Bob 8 years ago

      Hello again Julie Ann. You have got to to be the Queen of the Les Paul blogs! Lots of great blogs with tons of great info. My Les Paul blog is here...