Vintage Guitar Chapter 2
Gibson Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul

Gibson Les Paul

It is no exaggeration to say that modern music would not have been born without the existence of this instrument, the Gibson Les Paul, which is synonymous with electric guitars.Since its birth in 1952, it has been used by legendary musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Mike Bloomfield, Gary Moore, Randy Rose, Slash, Takahiro Matsumoto, and many more. Even today, they continue to attract unwavering popularity and admiration.

Since its release, the Les Paul has undergone specification changes and was temporarily discontinued, and each year has its own unique characteristics, but this time we would like to focus on the rare gold top Les Paul from the initial release. Please take your time to look at these gems that overwhelm you with their presence even just by looking at them.

Introducing the most representative Gibson electric guitars

Gibson ES-175

This electric guitar has reigned at the top of the jazz guitar market for more than 50 years. Known as a favorite of Jim Hall, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and others, it is a best-selling model that has never been discontinued since its introduction around 1949. Incidentally, "ES" is an acronym for "Electric Spanish.

Gibson ES-335TD

The ES-335TD, introduced in 1958, is an innovative body construction pioneered by Gibson that incorporates a center block inside the body, giving it a warm acoustic box tone and the tightness and sustain of a solid guitar, while also providing feedback protection. The guitar has a warm acoustic box tone and a tightness and sustain similar to a solid guitar. It is also known as a favorite of Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Montrose, Larry Carlton, and others.

Gibson SG

The SG (short for "solid guitar") was born in 1961 as a result of a major model change of the Les Paul. Although the model has undergone numerous specification changes, it is one of Gibson's masterpieces that has captivated many musicians, including Pete Townsend, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton, without diminishing its appeal.

Gibson Flying V

Designed in 1958 by Ted McCarty, the president of Gibson at the time, the Flying V was produced in 81 pieces in 1958 and 17 pieces in 1959, but its eccentric design was not accepted at the time, and production was temporarily discontinued two years after its release. In the 1960s, Albert King & Co. In the 1960s, it was used by famous artists such as Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Leslie West, and Ronnie Mack, and its popularity was assured. The guitar is used by Marc Bolan, Michael Schenker, Lenny Kravitz, and others, and is now known as one of Gibson's traditional electric guitars.

Gibson Explorer

Like the Flying V, the Explorer (originally named Futura) was designed by Ted McCarty and released in 1958. As with the Flying V, its eccentric looks were not well received at first, and only 19 were produced in 1958 and 3 in 1959, but production was soon discontinued. Production was discontinued soon after, and then around 19 were produced again in 1976. The Edge" was produced in 1958 and 19 in 1958, and only 3 in 1959, but production soon ceased. This is an electric guitar full of the originality of the Gibson tradition that continues to be used by all kinds of musicians, both old and new, as a guitar with excellent playability regardless of its appearance.

Gibson Firebird

The Firebird was introduced in 1963. This body shape, which is still popular today, was designed by Ray Dietrich, who had worked for the car manufacturer Chrysler and was later involved in the development of many models for Ford and other companies. The pickups are equipped with mini humbucking pickups, which have a narrow magnetic field and excellent high frequency characteristics. Many famous musicians, such as Johnny Winter and Joe Perry, have been using this pickup.

History of Gibson up to the birth of the Gold Top Les Paul

October 11, 1902
The Gibson Mandolin Guitar Manufacturing Company, a limited liability company, is established in Kalamazoo by five businessmen, none of whom is named Orville Henry Gibson, for whom the company is named. Orville Gibson retained the rights to use his name and a few mandolin patents, but had no involvement in the company's operations other than visiting the factories as a consultant and providing production advice. However, it is undeniable that the Gibson Company was founded in the 1890s when Orville Gibson opened a small workshop in Kalamazoo where he built instruments.

May 24, 1904.
The company is converted to a joint-stock corporation.
Company name changed to "Gibson Guitar and Mandolin Company".
Intonation adjustable bridge and elevated pickguard patents approved.
April 12, 1915.
The company signs a new contract to pay Orville Henry Gibson a monthly royalty, but Orville Gibson dies of endocarditis on August 21, 1918.

June 1915.
Lester William Polsfuss, after whom "Les Paul" is named, is born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The company builds a three-story factory building at 225 West Parsons Street in Kalamazoo, where it had been earning income since 1909. This is the Kalamazoo plant that would be Gibson's home until 1984.
Lloyd Lohr, one of Gibson's most important men, joins the company as an acoustic engineer. Lloyd Loar is the man who innovates the archtop, f-holes, elevated fingerboard, tone bar (bracing), etc., of the instrument. He is said to be the man who laid the foundation for electric instruments, and in 1924, after leaving Gibson, he built the prototype of the electric double bass.
February 27, 1923.
Patent for the truss rod system is granted. The application was filed in 1921, and it is said to have been designed by Ted McHugh, a developer at the very early Gibson Company. A catalog from the time claims that "Gibson instruments are the only instruments with truss rods," indicating the high precision of the instruments.
The L-5, Gibson's first archtop guitar with an F-hole, is introduced.
Flat-top guitars are added to the Gibson lineup. The first models are the L-0 and L-1.
Late 1930s
Two classic guitars, the GS-85 and GS-35, are introduced. By the start of World War II, Gibson was the market leader in flat-top guitars.
Lester William Polsfus, a guitarist active mainly in Chicago, asked Chicago guitar maker Larson Brothers to make a guitar with a 1/2-inch maple top and no f-holes. He suggested putting two pickups on this guitar. This idea of Les's popularized the two-pickup guitar.
Gibson introduced its first electric instrument, the steel-bodied Hawaiian guitar. Later, a wooden Hawaiian guitar was introduced, but no official model name was given at the time.
January 1936
The EH-150, an electric Hawaiian lap steel guitar with a single pickup in the style of Charlie Christian (the founder of the jazz guitar), a solid curly maple body, and volume and tone, is introduced. The inexpensive EH-100 followed.
Gibson introduces its first electric archtop guitar, the ES-150; Gibson also begins making bodies and necks for the National and Varco guitars in the 1930s and 1950s; the ES-150 and ES-250 electric guitars are used by Charlie Christian. In the early 1940s, musicians such as Lester William Polsfuss, George Burns, Herb Ellis, and Billy Bauer penetrated the electric guitar market, accelerating the shift to electric instruments. However, the U.S. entry into World War II at the end of 1941 forced the cessation of electric instrument production.
Lester William Polsfus, who had been researching solid guitars since the 1930s, built a guitar with a four-inch square wood neck and an Epiphone hollow body cut in half on either side. He brought this guitar, which he called "The Log," to Gibson around 1946, and the company called it "a broom handle with a pickup on it. In the same year, Seth Lover, known as the developer of the humbucking pickup, joined Gibson.
CMI (Chicago Musical Instrument Company) purchased Gibson. On May 18 of the same year, Maurice H. Berlin, founder and president of CMI, became an executive of Gibson. General Manager Guy Hart remained, and John Adams, who had been president since 1902, left the company. The Kalamazoo factory is still used as the production base.
Late 1945.
The post-World War II period brings increased demand for musical instruments, and the Gibson Company becomes a thriving business, with more than 40 employees continuing to build instruments full time. One of the major changes in electric archtop guitars is that spruce tops and maple backs, which had been made with veneers, are now made with laminated maple (plywood with other boards in between the maple boards).
Ted McCarty joins Gibson. He becomes president in 1950 after Guy Hart retires. Ted McCarty was a brilliant man who dramatically increased the number of employees by 10 times, sales by 12.5 times, and profits by 15 times during his tenure at Gibson. Les Pauls, ES-335s, Explorers, Flying Vs, and other models were also made during Ted McCarty's tenure.
With the introduction of the Broadcaster (renamed Telecaster around 1951), introduced to the world by Leo Fender in 1948 by Fender, Ted McCarty began building real solid guitars. Then, Lester William Polsfuss was introduced to the curved-top solid guitars designed by Walter Fuller and others on the Gibson staff. Ted McCarty says that the reason for the curved top was to differentiate the guitar from the carving machine, which was not available at Fender at the time. The resulting solid guitar was equipped with a combination bridge (trapeze bridge/tailpiece) designed by Lester, and Lester agreed to play no other guitars than Gibson guitars in public and signed a consulting contract.
How High The Moon
The duo song "How High The Moon" by Lester William Polsfuss and singer Mary Ford reaches #1 on the U.S. charts that year, and "The World is Waiting for the The World is Waiting for the Sunrise" reached #2.
The Les Paul Gold Top, Lester William Polsfus' signature model, is introduced. The price at the time was $210. The gold finish is based on Lester's opinion that "gold means rich, expensive, and the best. Thus begins the history of Les Paul, the world's most famous guitar.