Les Paul's Favorite Les Paul Guitar

(Gibson) With input into some of the world's most iconic guitars, you may think Les Paul's favorite Les Paul would be a "legendary" one. An original '52 Gold Top, maybe? Or a sunburst '59 Standard? But no. Les Paul's favorite was the Les Paul Recording model of the 1970s. It never sold particularly well. But to Les himself, it was the ultimate Gibson Les Paul.

In the "SG years" of 1961-'68, Les Paul didn't have much input on Gibson electrics. But when the Gibson/Les Paul relationship resumed from 1968, new models were soon on the horizon. Single-cut Standards and Customs were back, in the 1970s there'd be the Les Paul Signature.

But Les had his eye on the ultimate recording guitar, and he wanted low impedance pickups. In 1969 Gibson produced their first Low Impedance Guitars the Les Paul Personal and Les Paul Professional Guitars but they replaced in 1971/'72 by Les's ultimate: the Gibson Les Paul Recording model.

"For years I've worked to produce a multitude of distinctive guitar sounds," said Les at the time. "The hang-up was to obtain everything in one guitar. Now I'm not talking about gimmickry, I'm talking about the real McCoy - authentic guitar sounds, the type of highs that can rip your ears off, the type of bass response that's clean and clear. Every note must be balanced and offer maximum sustain."

From a distance, the Recording was shaped like a Les Paul Standard. But it was very different. It had two Low Impedance humbuckers, stacked and angled. It was designed to sound best when plugged into a mixing desk at (Low Impedance setting). When used with a regular amp, you had to engage the inbuilt impedance transformer. Controls were relatively complex Volume, Treble, Bass, "Decade," Microphone Volume, Pickup Selector, Tone Switch and Phase Switch on its large inlay panel.

The Decade switch was designed to "tune"/alter treble harmonics, for "biting" or "silky" highs. And the Decade switch was feasibly the start of a guitar culture joke: although called the Decade, the selector switch had one more position. It actually went up to 11.

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Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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