There is some debate about who actually designed the solid-body, arch-topped Gibson Les Paul, which was introduced with a trapeze tailpiece as a Goldtop in 1952. To hear the guitarist Les Paul tell it, he was the man responsible for his namesake, pushing his prototype on Gibson executives as early as 1940. But guitar author and collector George Gruhn believes the great musician may have had little do to with the electric guitar's final design, and historians generally give Gibson president Ted McCarty most of the credit.

The collectibility of Les Pauls varies greatly, depending on their vintage and finish. Of the original Standard models, the first Sunbursts are the most sought-after vintage Les Paul electric guitars, especially the ones made from 1958 to 1960. Les Pauls from these years were also the first to use humbucking pickups, which gave the guitars a rich, hum-free tone and lots of sustain. Some Les Paul Customs from 1957 had three humbuckers.

In addition to the Standard and Custom models, Gibson also marketed a Les Paul Junior in the mid-1950s, which was essentially a less expensive Les Paul with a single pickup. A lighter-colored "TV" model of the guitar was also produced (it was thought the guitar’s yellow/butterscotch tone would not glare when performers were shown playing them on television). The two-pickup Les Paul Special was also sold as a bargain model.

Today we regard the Les Paul Standards and Customs from the late-1950s with no small degree of awe—like Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters from that decade, they are truly iconic instruments. But by 1961, the Les Paul’s single-cutaway, arch-topped body had been replaced by a flat, double-cutaway, “pointed horns” body that in 1963 was renamed the SG. Guitars made in the interim had the words “Les Paul” on the peghead, so they are often referred to as SG Les Pauls.

The Les Paul Standard was reintroduced in gold in 1968, thanks in no small part to the notoriety it achieved by being the guitar favored by Eric Clapton when he had been a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. That same year, the Custom made its return. In the years that followed, these guitars and even the less-expensive Epiphone models that imitated them were embraced by some of the best guitarists in rock. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin played a Les Paul, as did Pete Townsend of The Who. So did rock’s most discerning iconoclast, Frank Zappa.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Les Paul Forum

The Les Paul Forum

If you're into Gibson's Les Paul models, or even curious, this is your site. Chock full of useful reference data, p… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitars Info

Vintage Guitars Info

This great reference site features detailed sections on vintage guitar makers, including Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gr… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Want to see all the old brochures and ads for your favorite vintage axe? Check out this great site, which showcases… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Gibson Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Les Paul Junior Electric Guitar*2006*Gibson Les Paul Studio Premium Plus Electric Guitar Excellent ConditionGibson Les Paul Traditional P90 Ohsc (s09039780)2013 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro Ii Amazing Curly Maple Top Seymour Duncan'sGibson Usa Lpj Les Paul Margasa Custom Guitar Project, Chocolate FinishEpiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Gold Top 6 String W/warwick Rockcase2016 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Iced Tea W/ Seymour Duncan Antiquity Set Nr!!2004 Gibson Custom Shop - Les Paul Custom - White - Awesome!!!Gibson Les Paul Standard 2016 High Performance Cherry Sunburst Electric Guitar2011 Gibson Les Paul 1959 R9 Dapra Carmel Burst Fade - No Reserve!Gibson Les Paul Studio Worn Brown Electric Guitar*2007*no Reserve* (repaired)Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro 6 String Electric Guitar - EbonyEpiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Royale White & Gold2013 Gibson Les Paul 50s Tribute P90s Vintage Burst! Beautiful No Reserve! 1958 Harmony H1215 Archtop W / Vintage Les Paul Bridge & Grover Tuner No ReservGibson Les Paul R9 Historic Lpr-9 Ultra Lightweight 1959 Reissue No ResGibson Les Paul Traditional Electric Guitar2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Model Honey Burst Plain Top Electric GuitarPaul Reed Smith Gibson Les Paul -gauge Guitars Singlecut Electric Guitar2005 Gibson Les Paul Double Cut, ChamberedEpiphone Les Paul Standard 100 Electric Guitar2013 Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar Epiphone Les Paul Standard Pro Cherry Sunburst 2015Epiphone Studio Les Paul Electric Guitar - Black (lot 2068)Epiphone Tribute 2010 Les Paul Standard Gibson Les Paul Studio Lite 19941998 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Japan Gibson Headstock Style, Case Orville Rare2006 Gibson Les Paul Custom Left Handed**no Reserve**Hohner 1970's Mij Les Paul "lawsuit" Model Electric Guitar Free Shipping1986 Black Gibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar With Gibson CaseGibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar 2003Gibson Les Paul Studio 2002 Bigsby Electric GuitarLes Paul Custom Matt Heafy Signature, Blacked Out.w/ Epiphone Hard CaseAlpine White Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koren Made1959 Les Paul Junior Double Cut Tribute-featherweight Tone Monster W/ Gibson BagGibson Usa Black Reptile Skin Les Paul Hardshell CaseEpiphone Les Paul 1960's Tribute Plus Blue1995 Gibson Les Paul Special Converted To Humbuckers No Reserve 1956 Gibson Les Paul SpecialEpiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Plustop Pro Electric Guitar Desert BurstPaul Reed Smith Gibson Les Paul -gauge Guitars Singlecut Electric GuitarGibson Custom Shop '68 Les Paul CustomEpiphone Les Paul Standard Electric GuitarGibson Usa Les Paul Standard Hp Aluminum Hardshell Case American Heavy Duty!Epiphone Les Paul Limited Edition Custom Electric GuitarGibson Usa Les Paul Standard Hp Aluminum Hardshell Case American *heavy Duty*Gibson Usa Les Paul Traditional Hp Aluminum Hardshell Case High PerformanceGibson Les Paul Dc Standart Electric GuitarEpiphone Les Paul Special-ii-ltd Right Handed 6-string Electric Guitar Black2003 Epiphone By Gibson Les Paul Classic Electric Guitar Gibson Usa Les Paul Less + 100th Gold Hardshell Case AmericanLes Paul Guitar Neck Mahogany Neck Blank Luthier ProjectGibson Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar 70's National-valco Lp-477 (les Paul) Bass, Made In Japan2005 Gibson Les Paul Studio, With Dimarzio Pickups And Original Hardshell CaseEpiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro Electric GuitarGibson Humbucker Pickups From 04 Les Paul - Ready To RockGibson Usa Les Paul High Performance Gig Bag Case Black Padded Lightweight Case1973 Les Paul Custom 1988 Heritage Les Paul