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 But by 1961, the Les Paul’s single-cutaway, arch-topped body had been replaced by a flat, double-cutaway, “pointed horns” body that in 1963 was renamed the SG.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

Pristine Gibson Usa Les Paul Studio Deluxe Iii Electric Guitar Honey Burst 20152015 Gibson True Historic Murphy Aged 1959 Les Paul Reissue Vintage Lemon BurstEpiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional Pro Electric Guitar -no ReserveGibson Les Paul Standard Plus Electric GuitarGibson Les PaulGibson Les Paul Standard Burgundy 1975 W/original Hard Shell CaseGibson Les Paul Studio Electric GuitarGibson Les Paul Melody Maker 20031998 Gibson Les Paul Standard Honey Burst Guitar1970-1975 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop Guitar With CaseStellar Mercury 001 Elite Electric Guitar Green Flame ~ Les Paul Body StyleGibson Les Paul Custom No Reserve....lp Body Mahogany Body Les Paul Project Relic, DisttressedNo Reserve! Orville Les Paul Standard Cherry Sb Long N Tenon Fujigen Japan Made2001 Gibson Les Paul Studio Plus2014 Les Paul Traditional Electric Guitar Heritage Cherry SunburstEpiphone Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar'87 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty With Case 3 Pickups1994 Gibson Les Paul Classic Goldtop 60's Slim Neck No Reserve Auction @ $0.99Epiphone Les Paul Plustop Pro/fx Electric Guitar - No Reserve2004 Gibson Les Paul StandardEpiphone Les Paul Standard Model Black Electric Guitar W/case *no Reserve*Gibson Les Paul Traditional Desert Burst W/ HscRare Gibson Vintage Humbucker & Tuners Bridge Les Paul 490r 496r 500t 490t Paf?Gibson Les Paul Studio 2014 Electric Guitar HoneyburstGibson Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar Wine Red 1999 With Hard Case Made In Usa2007 Gibson Les Paul R9 Vos 1959 Historic Custom Shop2006 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Ebony RefurbishedAgile Al-2000 Hsbf Les Paul Al2000 Honeyburst W/ HscGibson Les PaulGibson Les Paul Classic Electric Guitar - Rh, 6-string W/ Case2012 Epiphone Les Paul Standard With UpgradesEpiphone Goth Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar1992 Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus Vintage Sunburst Great Shape + Ohsc!!Gibson Les Paul Special Guitar1976 Gibson Les Paul Standard Tobacco Burst No Reserve!Epiphone Les Paul Wine Red Electric GuitarGibson Cs Les Paul Long Scale Green Tea Burst Electric GuitarGibson Les Paul Traditional Electric Guitar 2011 W/ Hard CaseEpiphone Le Les Paul Custom Pro100th Anniversary Guitar W/case NaturalEpiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Electric Guitar, Ebony, With Gold Hardware2011 Usa Gibson Les Paul Studio 60's Tribute Worn Gold Top, Lefty Near Mint Nice Gibson 2001 Usa Les Paul Studio Model Electric Guitar W/hardcase No Reserve2012 Gibson Les Paul Studio Fireburst Electric Guitar - Made In UsaGibson Les Paul Studio 2016 Solidbody Electric Guitar W/ Hardshell Case - As IsJoe Perry Custom Shop Les Paul 1996 Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst Electric Guitar - Excellent2013 Gibson Usa Les Paul Gold Top Vintage Gloss Guitar, Margasa Custom + HdscEpiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar, Honeyburst Finish1953 Les PaulEpiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Electric Guitar, Alpine White, With Gold HardwareEdwards Made In Japan Les Paul No Reserve Nice TopVintage 1981 Gibson American Les Paul The Gibson Sonex With Hard Case No ReserveGibson Usa Les Paul Studio Flame Top 8 Lbs 11 Oz!Vintage Epiphone Les Paul Pee Wee 6 String Small Electric Guitar1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty With Original Case (no Reserve)Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Electric Guitar, Alpine White, With Gold HardwareEpiphone Les Paul Studio Electric Guitar - Worn Cherry - Excellent Condition!Epiphone Les Paul Tobacco Burst Project GuitarEpiphone Afd Slash Les Paul Special Ii