Origins of the Gibson Les Paul
The Fender Telecaster, which was introduced in 1950, greatly expanded the guitar’s range and created a craze for electric guitars. As a reaction, the Gibson Guitar company collaborated with Les Paul who was well known for being a guitar inventor, to create a solid body guitar design. Based on the old Gibson hollow body electric guitar models, the first Les Pauls had a glued-in neck and embraced a far more traditionally curved shape than the Telecaster. Les Paul was also responsible for the distinctive coloring and finishing that the guitars are famous for.
Les Paul Models
The Les Paul line originally had two models: the regular Goldtop model and the black finish Custom model that featured upgraded hardware. The design has kept evolving ever since the first models were conceived, and new models sprang forth that targeted all price ranges and guitarists of all skill levels except for complete novices. Les Paul models include the Goldtop (1952-58), the Custom (1954-60), the Junior (1954-60), the TV (1955-60), the Special (1955-60), the Standard (1958-60 and 1968-2008), the 2008 Standard (2008-), and the 1961 Les Paul G. Other older models include the 1968 Deluxe, the 1983 Studio, Les Paul models made by the Epiphone company that is owned by Gibson, the Robot Guitar – which features computerized controls and features auto standard tuning, the Gibson Dark Fire, and the Gibson Dusk Tiger.
Les Paul Signature Models
Some of the most popular and best selling Les Pauls come from its signature model range. The Slash model features Slash’s custom neck profile and customized pickups and hum buckers. The Appetite for Destruction Les Paul was released in 2010, which has the Slash modifications as well as a mahogany back and maple top, and Slash’s signature on the head stock.
The Jimmy Page signature model is one of the most popular Les Paul models. Jimmy page used his distinctive sunburst number one Les Paul throughout his Led Zeppelin and later career and contributed greatly to the guitar line’s iconic status. Page was well known for playing a double necked EDS-1275 model during his performances of classics such as The Song Remains the Same and the iconic Stairway to Heaven. Three Jimmy Page signature Les Paul models have been produced, the first of which was issued in the 1990s and was based on his number two Les Paul. The second signature model was released in 2005, which replicated Page’s number one guitar accurately. A third signature model was released recently, which was a more accurate reproduction of Page’s number two guitar.
Apart from Slash and Jimmy Page, other signature models such as the Peter Frampton signature model, the Gary Moore signature model, the Michael Bloomfield signature model, the Pete Townshend signature model, and signature models bearing the names of Ace Frehley, Billy Gibbons, Buckethead, Sammy Hagar, Billy Joe Armstrong, Zakk Wylde, and Neal Schon have alos been released.
Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and the Les Paul has been imitated by various guitar makers ever since it was first launched. This has led to several lawsuits around the world, and there are sure to be many more in the future.