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Gibson Les Paul Guitars: Raising The Standards Of Excellence | Teach Yourself Guitar Now

Gibson Les Paul Guitars: Raising The Standards Of Excellence

Rock and roll exploded in popularity throughout the 1950s United States, prompting legendary folk and jazz guitarist Les Paul to conclude that rock and roll should be embraced as more than a passing fad.

Like his creation of the first Spanish-style solid body guitar in 1940, Les Paul proved again to be a musical Nostradamus, and it was only a matter of time before the Gibson Guitar Corporation translated Les Paul’s brilliance into guitar form. The Gibson Les Paul was unveiled in 1952, and immediately rocked the music industry with sky high standards of design, playability, and versatility unseen in previous electric guitars.

How The Gibson Les Paul Came To Be

Les Paul’s first pitched his solid body “Log” guitar to Gibson in 1941, but the company expressed doubts about the guitar’s ability to combine a premium tone with sustained resonance. When Gibson realized the growing popularity of solid body guitars a decade later, they asked Les Paul to expand on his idea; so began the process of creating the first Gibson Les Paul electric guitar.

Separate pieces became one of a larger purpose, as Gibson gradually constructed a perfectly refined wooden body. P-90 pickups, a solid mahogany body with a maple top, and a glued in mahogany neck were the primary visual and audio features that launched the first Les Paul into immediate popularity. The Gibson Les Paul was far from complete, and had a long road to travel to become the standard bearer for guitar sound and design.

The trapeze-style bridge was replaced in 1954 with the now-standard Tune-o-Matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece, increasing sustain and allowing the individual tuning of each string. The classic Gibson P-90 pickups were replaced in 1957 with twin Seth Lover Patent Applied For humbuckers that effectively eliminated all feedback that had perplexed Gibson guitar makers since the Les Paul’s inception. These Burstbucker pickups produced a rich sound with the warm, sustained tone that had defined the original Les Paul.

How The Les Paul Got Its Unique Look

With an upgraded sound and tone, Gibson Les Paul creators were now free to focus on the guitar’s aesthetics. For the first time, the Les Paul’s maple top was coated with a semi-transparent cherry sunburst finish that immediately enhanced the beauty of the guitar. Two carefully crafted upgrades to the look and sound of the Gibson Les Paul led to a meteoric rise to prominence as the best guitar on the market.

From the moment in 1964 that Keith Richards decided to sport a 1959 sunburst Les Paul, the iconic guitar has had an unmatched influence on some of rock’s greatest guitarists. Billie Joe Armstrong, Sakk Wylde, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Slash are just a few of the best guitarists that love Les Paul guitars enough to create their own signature model.

The years of improvements and refinements have treated the Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul well, and the current version is undoubtedly the best one ever created in Gibson’s factories. Talk to a Les Paul enthusiast, and you’ll understand exactly why Gibson Les Paul guitars are, and forever will be, the best guitar you’ll ever play.

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