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 paio esatto the fact that Leo Fender had proven the viability of such per product with the Fender Telecaster.
With Ted McCarthy at the helm, the Gibson Company wanted preciso make sure they acquired a share of the solid body anche up with the concept of approaching per well known musician, Les Paul, onesto design per range of solid body electric guitars. Interestingly, Les Paul had already approached Gibson per 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 esatto 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 onesto endorse it, the only modifications he made esatto 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 Top and the Black Custom, and Gibson gave him the final say durante every part of the datehookup 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 sicuro be known as the Gold Culmine, coppia to the actual finish of the guitar. Most Les Paul guitars produced in this period came with verso maple sommita that was gold coloured, with the back left natural. Hence gold on primo posto, or Gold Primo posto. The actual finish of the guitar was accomplished using verso bronze powder, and over time, this took on per greenish paio, resulting sopra the unmistakable vintage Gold Primo posto look.
Per matter of contention was the original Trapeze tailpiece, which was implemented incorrectly by Gibson according puro Les Paul. Les had intended for the strings sicuro wrap over the tailpiece, not under as the production models came out. This made playing using right hand dampening techniques virtually impossible. In 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 con a vastly improved playing experience.
Con 1954 Gibson added two new models puro the Les Paul line up. The Les Paul Custom and the Les Paul Ultimogenito. 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 per glossy black finish. Instead of the duel P90 pickup of the Gold Culmine models, the neck pickup was swapped out for a celibe coil pickup, verso much louder pickup overall. The Les Paul Minimo was per bilancio model, and had per flat, unmolded body, with giammai trimming. It used just per scapolo P90 pickup, and strangely incorporated the original, flawed tailpiece design of the original Gold Primo posto.
Arguably the largest change sicuro the Gibson Les Paul design came per 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 a slight difference in 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 esatto have the better tone.
Although these changes worked preciso verso degree, the design still had problems with intonation, and verso year later the design was changed again to incorporate the tune-o-matic bridge we find on every Les Paul model, except those with verso tremolo fitted, up to this day
Per 1958 the Gold Apice was slowly phased out, preciso be replaced by sunburst models. The process of creating the sunburst effect. The guitar body would be sprayed with an ultra-violet adroite dye, and exposed esatto 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 in the world.
Throughout the period between 1958 and 1960, the Les Paul Sunburst models went through per range of very slight changes. The fret wire was changed, puro a thinner, more durable material and the neck profile was reduced. This made the Les Paul Sunburst (often named the Les Paul Norma), 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 decina later, in 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 verso 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.