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"The first of these guitars to be owned by a rock star was the 1959 Sunburst. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones bought it in 1964, and it was his main instrument until 1966. Eric Clapton also gave that same model great exposure during the 1960's. Soon Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were also using this great guitar model, along with many other stars of the period."



A popular guitarist at the time, Les Paul collaborated with Ted McCarty when they designed the Gibson Les Paul guitar. It was a solid body electric instrument, and the early 1950's was when it was originally developed.

Paul had his own personal Les Paul Guitar until he died in August, 2009. He played weekly on stage in New York City, always preferring his 1972 Gibson, which was his "recording" model. It was a mahogany body made up of one piece of wood, and it had different electronics to it. These were modified by himself, and there were many visible changes of the guitar.

This guitar line was originally two separate models, the regular model and the custom model. The regular had the nickname of "Goldtop", and the custom one had a more formal finish in black, and upgraded hardware. Eventually, they came in all prices, which made them very popular among all types of performers. They even had a model for the novice, and it was called the Melody Maker. Although it was not branded with the Les Paul name, the body followed the same design of the true Les Paul.

Many characteristics distinguish this line's design. There is the body shape and design, and the strings are always mounted on top of the body of the guitar, instead of through it. The color selection is also magnificent, and the variety consists of Ebony, Fire Burst, Wine Red, Classic White, and Alpine White. They also come in a selection of different finishes and decorations. And even the hardware has an array of options to choose from. The interesting choices of electric pick-up options available ultimately impacted the very sound of electric music.

The first of these guitars to be owned by a rock star was the 1959 Sunburst. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones bought it in 1964, and it was his main instrument until 1966. Eric Clapton also gave that same model great exposure during the 1960's. Soon Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were also using this great guitar model, along with many other stars of the period.

Many other guitar companies copied the Gibson Les Paul models for the humbucker pickup feature. The 1950's models offered thicker tones of the pickups, and these had been designed by Seth Lover in 1955. The innovation became standard, and other guitars companies manufactured copycats. Eventually, different variations came about, but today the 1958 - 1960 Les Paul guitars are among the most desirable guitars in the music world.

By 1969, the Gibson had changed ownership and started to make a wide range of different types of models to suit many user needs. It was the end of the volute and maple neck, along with some other classic design characteristics. Available today, there are many model choices, from modern digital equipped guitars to the classic re-issues.

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The Epiphone Company is owned by Gibson, and they presently make about twenty models of the Les Paul guitar. They are constructed of wood that is commonly available and do not have as much hand detailing as the original Gibson models. They also sell at a reduced price as a result.

Epiphone makes a beginner model called the "Special II". It is made of basswood with a thin veneer top, a bolt on the neck, and it has more simplified electronics. Having a higher quality finish and a mahogany body, the next style is the "100". There are also some standard styles, such as the Standard Plain Top and the Plus Top, which body have the solid mahogany body and the maple veneer with carved top.

There have been many Signature models created, such as the Slash Model. It features the pickups of other styles and has a profiled Slash custom neck. There is also a Peter Frampton Signature Model. He used this guitar from his Humble Pie days, and all through his solo career, and the guitar is also shown on the cover of two of his albums. There were also signature models by Gary Moore, Pete Townsend, and Jimmy Page. Modified by Alan Rogan, Townshend's guitars were heavily customized. They were used on stage and with the Who in the studio. Page also had three signature models produced. The first, in the mid-90's was taken from the stock Standard of the time and modifications were made.

More signature models were made for Ace Frehley of Kiss, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and the Buckethead Signature Model was created, along with many others.

The Gibson Les Paul is an icon among rock stars and other music enthusiasts. It has been around for fifty years so far, and it will probably continue its popularity for another fifty years, or longer, as a classic.









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