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1972 Gibson showcase brochures
1972 Gibson showcase brochuresIn 1972 Gibson produced a series of 'Guitar of the Month' brochures, each dedicated to one of their high end models, the Les Paul Recording guitar, L5-CES, ES-175D, Super 400-CES, ES-355TD-SV and Byrdland. Each brochure was a single sheet folded into four panels, with details of the instruments themselves, their features, musical purpose, and a little history behind the development of each guitar. Only the Les Paul Recording was a new model; the others were all well established in the Gibson line. Follow the link to see scans and further information on these leaflets and other Gibson guitar catalogues from the CMI and Norlin periods.
1966 Kalamazoo KB-1 bass
Kalamazoo KB-1 bass Gibson assembled these 30 1/2" scale Kalamazoo KB-1 basses in their electronics plant in Kalamazoo, MI - separate from the main Gibson plant. They used the same components and hardware as on the Gibson EB bass series; but with a pre-painted masonite body and a bolt-on maple neck; a very different construction to Gibson's usual output. Initially the KB bass had a Mustang-shaped body (see the 1966 Kalamazoo KB-1, left), which was soon redesigned with the classic SG shape (see the 1967 Kalamazoo KB-1, right). Have a listen to sound clips of this bass here.
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Gibson Les Paul
Solid body single cutaway electric guitar

Gibson Index | Gibson Les Paul
Les Paul Custom | Les Paul Deluxe | Les Paul Junior / TV | Les Paul Standard

Gibson Les Paul Reissue (1986)The Les Paul guitar is probably the most recognised, and copied guitar design, along with the Gibson SG and Fender stratocaster and telecaster. It was developed by the famous jazz guitarist Les Paul, who not only played, but also invented instruments. Gibson had resisted solid-bodied guitars whilst Rickenbacker had a solid body twenty years earlier, and Fender had recently launched the esquire and broadcaster (which became the telecaster). In 1952 Gibson responded to public demand and with Les Paul created a guitar carrying his name. It has been in production (on and off) for the last 50 years.

Click on the images for more details of some of the Les Paul models

1970 Les Paul Custom (high impedance) 1970 Les Paul Deluxe (high impedance) 1970 Les Paul Personal (low impedance) 1970 Les Paul Professional (low impedance)
Les Paul Custom Les Paul Deluxe Les Paul Personal (low impedance) Les Paul Professional (low impedance)
1975 Les Paul Recording guitar 1977 Les Paul Standard 1977 Les Paul Artisan 1980 Gibson Les Paul Artist
Les Paul Recording guitar (low impedance) Les Paul Standard Les Paul Artisan Les Paul Artist

Keith Richards advertises the Les Paul
The 1975 Les Paul catalogue featured Keith Richards playing a Les Paul Custom
 
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Just about every famous guitar player has played one, though it is particularly associated with Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Eric Clapton (Cream), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Slash (Guns and Roses). Keith Richards appeared on the cover of the 1975 Les Paul catalogue with an LP custom.

The Les Paul came in several variations. The first was produced in 1952 as the 'Les Paul Model'. It had a mahogany body and neck, with a gold finished maple top (gold top), Gibsons first solid body. It was regularly upgraded throughout the 1950s, and many would argue that it was at its pinacle in 1958. It had had two soap bar P90 pickups from 1952, however in late 57 they were replaced by standard Gibson humbuckers. Cherry sunburst became the standard colour rather than the goldtop, and to differentiate itself from the other Les Paul models, it was renamed the Les Paul Standard.

The single pickup Les Paul Junior was launched in 1954. One again this was a mahogany instrument, both body and neck, but without the carved maple tops of the other Les Pauls. It was the only model not to change its pickup to a humbucker in 1957. A limed-mahogany version was also available (at a slightly increased price, and was known as the Les Paul TV.

1955 saw the two pickup custom (the black beauty), which again started out with single coil pickups, but became a three humbucker model in '58. By 1960 the whole range was redesigned - it was given a new double cutaway shape (todays SG) however Les Paul did not approve, and his name was removed from these guitars.

Public demand for Les Paul guitars precipitated a reissue in 1968; they sold well and have been available ever since

The Les Paul Special 55 was reissued in 1975, and the Les Paul Pro Deluxe, another guitar based on the 1950s models was first launched in 1976.


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Gibson 1961 "Les Paul" SG Electric Guitar Cherry MC

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UK ebay listings

Toggle Switch Plate for Les Paul/SG type Electric Guitar. Brushed Steel Effect.

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There are 3 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
Cherry Sunburst Comment left 14th August 2012 09:09:33
Is there a best Les Paul? I mean surely the 1958 Les Paul Standard *should* be, but is it really any better than a 1968 or even a 2008? My 72 LP Custom absolutely rocks, but it's only worth 2k apparently. Best damn geetar i've ever touched.
James E Sampson Comment left 11th May 2013 06:06:43
I have an original 53 and a half Gibson Les Paul without the trapeze, with case that I'm trying to sell. Not restored still plays great, has that cool green stain all across the body. My father bought it in 53, played 25 years on that same guitar. Kills me to part with it but it was made to play not sit on display. If you would like pictures I will send pictures of guitar and case. I need to know its true value SN 3-2236.
Alan Totten Comment left 28th June 2013 08:08:35
Hi there, I have a Les Paul with an inked on number 8 7772. I think it is supposed to be a Custom Shop 58 reissue but theseller also said prehistoric, R8 and goodwood era which sounds like gobbledgegook to me. Could you please confirm what I've got? Do you need photos? Thanks Alan

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