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 But by 1961, the Les Paul’s single-cutaway, arch-topped body had been replaced by a flat, double-cutaway, “pointed horns” body that in 1963 was renamed the SG.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, the 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 for 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    

1954 Gibson Les Paul Junior Jr Tv Sunburst P-90 Special Vintage Electric GuitarUsa Gibson Les Paul Junior Special Jr. 2012 Tv YellowGibson Les Paul Model Studio UsaGibson Les Paul Traditional Pro*2011*transparent Cherry*no Reserve*Gibson Custom Shop Collector's Choice "the Babe" Aged Les Paul 59 60 Reissue Nr!Gibson Les Paul "goldtop" 2006 Reissue Electric Guitar Heritage H-157 Electric Guitar Made In Kalamazoo Mi Les Paul1953 Gibson Les Paul Ga 40 Amp (ga40 Guitar AmplifierGibson Les Paul Standard - Near Mint!Gibson Usa Les Paul Lpj Body & Neck Project Guitar Chocolate SatinGibson Usa Lpssvmch1 Les Paul Slash Rh Electric Guitar Vermillion*2013 Gibson Les Paul 1958 Reissue Gloss Washed Cherry Guitar R8 Cutsom ShopHeritage H140 Black Ohsc Les Paul Strings2010 Gibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar W/ Hardcase And Strap "wornbrown"2005 Gibson Les Paul Studio, Worn Brown, Emg Humbuckers **very Nice**Gibson Les Paul StandardGibson Les Paul 50's TributeSuperb Original 1954 Vintage Gibson Les Paul Junior Ga-5 Amp No Reserve2005 Gibson Cherry Burst Les Paul Standard Plus - Lp6+ & Case 1959 Les Paul Body Old Honduras Mahogany And Killer Eastern Flame Maple CapGibson Les Paul Wood Body Electric Guitar, Right Handed, Yellow, With Gig Bag*1979 Gibson Les Paul Standard Tobacco Burst2007 Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop - Excellent!Gibson Les Paul 1960 Standard Electric Guitar Desert Sun Burst 2012 Year Model2013 Gibson Bill Kelliher Explorer! Golden Axe! Les Paul Standard Inlays! VGibson Custom Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar UsaGibson Les Paul Standard Limited Edition Pacific Reef BlueGibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar - Sweet Wine RedGibson Les Paul Special FadedElectra Les Paul Solidwood 6 String, Cherryburst, Omega, Flame Maple TopVintage 50's Gibson Les Paul Ga-40 Tube Amp Amplifier Gibson Les Paul 50's Tribute Gibson 2006 Black Les Paul Studio Body & NeckGibson Les Paul Studio2013 Gibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar - Honey Burst W/ Hard Shell Case 1955 Gibson Les Paul Conversion W/case -2013 Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop Vos 58 Reissue Electric GuitarGibson Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Les Paul Jr. Electric Guitar W/ohscGibson Les Paul CustomBarely Used 2012 Gibson Les Paul Junior Special Electric GuitarGibson 2013 Fireburst Les Paul Lpj Body & Neck1970s Japan Lawsuit Les Paul Copy Excellent Original Guitar Greco Burny Tokai??Epiphone Les Paul Pro Fx Plus Top Electric Guitar W. Floyd Rose And CaseEpiphone Les Paul 1002007 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black BeautyEpiphone Les Paul Bass Guitar Les Paul Epiphone Custom 2pu Black W/ Hard Case- Sn#u06101230- Usa Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop ProLemonburst 2013 Gibson 1959 Les Paul Reissue 1959 R9 Outstanding !!Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plain Top Electric Guitar Ebony W/hard CaseGibson Les Paul 1960 Historic Reissue - W Joe Bonamassa Pickups1998 Gibson Les Paul Studio2013 Gibson Lpj €'03 Gibson Epiphone Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar White Fantastic No Reserve!!2000 Gibson Historic Collection 1957 Les Paul Gold Top Aged Model2006 Gibson Les Paul Jr JuniorEpiphone Les Paul Standard Sb Flames Nice LqqkGibson Les Paul Standard 2008 Electric Guitar Sunburst2006 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar - Ebony Black - Right Handed1997 Gibson Les Paul Dc Studio Guitar Rare 24 Fret Ohsc Nice!