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Gibson Les Paul Still Going Strong 60 Years Later

Updated on August 31, 2012

The Log

The Gibson Les Paul was first introduced in 1952, and continues to be a top selling guitar today. Many famous rock artists and musicians play, or have played Gibson Les Pauls. Among them are: Jimmy page, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Kirk Hammett, Gary Moore, Ace Frehley, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, Paul Kossoff, and Neal Schon among others.

Even Eric Clapton, and Jeff beck, who are primarily Fender Strat players, have been known to play Les Paul's. Even today many musicians famous or not use the Les Paul as their main Guitar.

Les Paul was a music pioneer, and his career spanned Over 80 years. He was also an inventor, and was a major innovator in the recording process. He was one of the first to use overdubbing in music recording, among many other recording techniques that are still used today. He also made one of the first solid body guitars. He called this "The Log" Which just had a 4 x 4 block of wood in the center with a pickup and a bridge on it, with two Halves of an ES- 150 on either side to make it look more like a real guitar.

The Log
The Log
1953 Les paul Goldtop
1953 Les paul Goldtop | Source

Les Paul Goldtop

When Fender came out with the Telecaster, and it was a big success, Gibson sought out to build its own solid body guitar. They decided to hire Les Paul as a consultant to help design this new guitar, and what they came up with an early version of the Les Paul. This guitar was a high quality, expensive guitar that was built like a tank. It had P-90 coil pickups, and a set glued in neck. It had a mahogany body with a maple top, and they gave it gold top color and called it the "Goldtop". These early guitars are some of the most coveted guitars today.

1954 Les Paul Custom
1954 Les Paul Custom | Source

Black Beauty

The Les Paul custom came out Two years after the first gold tops were made. These featured new upgraded pickups, hardware, and an all black look, they called this guitar "the Black Beauty" and many musicians still play these today.

Around this time they also introduced a less expensive model called "The Les Paul Junior". It had the same body shape as the original Les Paul but was thinner and painted with a basic sunburst finish. They also came out with Les Paul TV, which was also a less expensive model, but had a double cutaway body and was finished in Yellow. Both these guitars were geared towards beginners, but were made so well that many professionals used them.

Fender Vs. Gibson

In 1961 Fender came out with the Stratocaster and they were selling well. In order to compete, Gibson totally remodeled the Gibson Les Paul Giving it a thinner body, with each side of the body having pointed horns, thus making it lighter and more affordable.

Les Paul didn’t like this new style, and asked that his name come off the endorsement of the guitar. They eventually changed the name to "Gibson SG". The "SG" Meaning "solid guitar", and they are still sold to this day. They eventually reintroduced the original Les Paul Goldtop, and Les Paul Custom in 1968, because many rock n roll's up and coming players were playing these original guitars that were first made.

1962 Les Paul
1962 Les Paul | Source

Still Going Strong

The Gibson Les Paul is still going strong today with no signs of slowing down. A true sign of something great is something that is popular even after a long time. This year The Les Paul has been around for 60 years, and shows no sign of slowing down. The man, Les Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94. He was still performing a week before he died, and had a Les Paul in his hand at this performance, and the Les Paul guitar like the real Les Paul will have a long and satisfying life.


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