The Birth of the Gibson Les Paul Guitar
(From the Gibson Les Paul; The Illustrated Guide to the Guitar That Changed Rock)
No other electric guitar’s birth is shrouded in as much myth,mystery, misinformation, and even obsession as that which accompanies the early history of the Gibson Les Paul.
A big part of the problem lies in the fact that the two names that came together to put their stamp on that iconic instrument—Gibson and Les Paul—have often told very different stories of the development of the model.
If you listened to Les Paul talk about it during his lifetime, you’d conclude the guitar was mostly his idea, other than the parts Gibson got wrong earlier on; from Gibson’s perspective, it was mostly a Gibson project, with Les Paul’s name n the headstock.
Likely the reality lies somewhere between the two.
Whatever the case, there’s no doubt that Les Paul the artist suggested that Gibson build a solidbody electric guitar before any such beast was successfully in production with an established manufacturer, and that the resultant instrument was heavily steeped in Gibson’s form and style.
And that solid body electric guitar has become the world’s most valuable standard production model of its type on the vintage market.