The Gibson Les Paul was first produced early con 1952, the Les Paul was the very first solid body guitar esatto be produced by the Gibson Company, and was created due onesto the fact that Leo Fender had proven the viability of such verso product with the Fender Telecaster.
With Ted McCarthy at the helm, the Gibson Company wanted to make sure they acquired verso share of the solid body anche up with the concept of approaching verso well known musician, Les Paul, onesto design a range of solid body electric guitars. Interestingly, Les Paul had already approached Gibson durante 1945 with some designs and ideas for an electric solid body guitar, and had been ridiculed by Gibson.
There is some ambiguity over just who designed which parts of the original Les Paul, with Les Paul himself telling per very different story to the Gibson employees at the time. Per the Gibson version of the story, the company had already completed the design of the 1952 Les Paul before Les was approached puro endorse it, the only modifications he made onesto the design were bridge and the name itself. The story told by Les himself is a little different, he tells that he already had the ideas for the Gold Vertice and the Black Custom, and Gibson gave him the final say mediante every part of the design process.
Although it was Jimmy Page who finally put the Gibson Les Paul firmly on the map
The original Les Paul design later came onesto be known as the Gold Primo posto, coppia to the actual finish of the guitar. Most Les Paul guitars produced in this period came with per maple apice that was gold coloured, with the come funziona littlepeoplemeet back left natural. Hence gold on apice, or Gold Culmine. The actual finish of the guitar was accomplished using per bronze powder, and over time, this took on verso greenish coppia, resulting con the unmistakable vintage Gold Vertice aspetto.
A matter of contention was the original Trapeze tailpiece, which was implemented incorrectly by Gibson according sicuro Les Paul. Les had intended for the strings esatto wrap over the tailpiece, not under as the production models came out. This made playing using right hand dampening techniques virtually impossible. Sopra 1953 Gibson finally decided that Les was right, and changed the tailpiece, as well as the angle that the neck joined the body. This resulted durante verso vastly improved playing experience.
Durante 1954 Gibson added two new models preciso the Les Paul line up. The Les Paul Custom and the Les Paul Minimo. The Les Paul Custom featured an ebony fret board, and the finish of the guitar was somewhat more detailed. It also featured gold coloured pickups and other hardware, and a glossy black finish. Instead of the duel P90 pickup of the Gold Top models, the neck pickup was swapped out for a solo coil pickup, a much louder pickup overall. The Les Paul Inferiore was a bilancio model, and had verso flat, unmolded body, with per niente trimming. It used just a scapolo P90 pickup, and strangely incorporated the original, flawed tailpiece design of the original Gold Primo posto.
Arguably the largest change to the Gibson Les Paul design came mediante 1957, when the P90 pickup was replaced for the humbucker pickups. Designed by the technician Seth Lover, these offered per much higher sound output and verso far fuller tone with less treble. These pickups eventually become known as PAF’s as they were patent applied for. Because the PAF pickups were handmade, some pickups would be slightly different, either the person manufacturing them would add more or less windings, or there was per slight difference sopra raw materials. This meant that the Les Paul sound would be subtly different between individual guitars and this lead puro musicians coveting those extras special guitars that seemed sicuro have the better tone.
Although these changes worked onesto per degree, the design still had problems with intonation, and verso year later the design was changed again onesto incorporate the tune-o-matic bridge we find on every Les Paul model, except those with a tremolo fitted, up puro this day
Con 1958 the Gold Culmine was slowly phased out, puro be replaced by sunburst models. The process of creating the sunburst effect. The guitar body would be sprayed with an ultra-violet affairee dye, and exposed sicuro varying levels of ultra-violet. Again, not 2 guitars came out exactly the same, making some more cosmetically pleasing than others. These early sunburst models are now among the most sought after guitars sopra the world.
Throughout the period between 1958 and 1960, the Les Paul Sunburst models went through verso range of very slight changes. The fret wire was changed, sicuro a thinner, more durable material and the neck profile was reduced. This made the Les Paul Sunburst (often named the Les Paul Standard), the most playable of all the Les Paul models produced since the inception of the design. This is another reason why these sunburst models are so eagerly sought after Oddly enough, the sunburst Les Paul models were not particularly successful at the time they were first introduced. There were only around 1,700 of them actually produced and they were dropped form the Gibson product catalogue entirely mediante 1960.
It was not until almost a decade later, per the late 1960s that the sunburst model became popular, and it was frequently used by influential guitar players of the age. Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton both used a Les Paul Sunburst alongside their more usual fender Stratocaster.
Modern Les Paul guitars follow the same exacting manufacturing process, making them one of the most well put together instruments available. The design has changed very little from the original sunburst days, and the finish is reproduced using modern materials, puro create a guitar that appears almost vintage, straight out of the autorimessa. Still popular with guitar players across all styles, the Les Paul sound is distinctive and powerful.