|1952 Gold Top Les Paul|
Popular guitarist Les Paul had a lot of input with the design of his signature instrument.
He had been experimenting at the Epiphone factory, when it was in New York, by taking apart and putting together guitars and adding pickups to them.
Fender had introduced the first mass produced electric guitar in 1950, the Telecaster. In 1951, Ted McCarty consulted with Mr. Paul to design a classier version of a solid body electric guitar.
television show and according to Les, reflected his showmanship. His next choice was black, since it went well with the uniform for jazz players, a tuxedo. The original Goldtop was in production from 1952 to 1958. The original models were scaled down versions of Gibson’s archtop line.
The Les Paul was sleek and slim. It had a maple cap over its mahogany body, purportedly to increase sustain. Les Paul’s signature was inscribed on the headstock. The original version came with a set in neck, a one-piece trapeze bridge/tailpiece and twin P-90 pickups. The earliest models were unbound. Later in 1952 binding was added, as were serial numbers. Some of the early models were fitted with black pickup covers, rather than the usual cream coloured covers.
Gibson ES-295. This instrument also first appeared in 1952. As with most all Gibson guitars of that era, the model number indicated the retail price. We can see where Les Paul got some idea of what he wanted his signature model to look like.
In fact, Les Paul’s wife and vocalist, Mary Ford, played an ES-295.
Scotty Moore favored the ES-295.
The drawback on the original models was the combination trapeze bridge/tailpiece. It did not allow for individual string intonation.
|1959 Mary Kaye Stratocaster|
She was actually descended from Hawaiian royalty.
This was the first custom guitar that Fender ever produced. Fender has reintroduced it on several occasions. An original Mary Kaye is a highly sought after collectors item.
Prince’s Custom Shop Gold Stratocaster. The man formerly known as Prince and now currently known as Prince had this guitar created to kick off his Welcome2 America Live Tour. It was later auctioned off by Prince.
Lewis Hamilton. Mr. Hamilton plunked down a cool $100K to purchase the instrument. All proceeds went to children’s charities.
Fender Shoreline Gold. This is not actually a guitar, but a custom paint that was offered by the Fender Company as early as 1959. I have seen this finish on Stratocasters, Jazzmasters, and even on Fender’s electric mandolin.
This was the Les Paul Signature guitar and it looked somewhat like an ES-335 with a gold top. The upper bout was rounded like on a 335, however the lower bout was…similar to a Les Paul's cutaway.
It also had a built-in transformer that permitted plugging straight into the console, like Les did or played straight into an amp. It was an interesting, but not popular instrument. Jack Casady plays the bass version of this guitar.
Jack Casady signature bass guitar. Cassidy was bass player for a number of popular bands, such as Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.
In 1985 he found a short scale bass at music store and began using this Gibson bass version of the Les Paul Signature model, then known as the Les Paul Bass. In the earlier part of this decade Casady worked with Epiphone to produce his signature model, The JC Bass.
|Helen Vanderlin 2009 Winner|
New Zealand Gold Guitar