Celebrating Les Paul’s birthday and his classic guitar

Last year, we lost the legendary Les Paul, who passed away at the age of 95. Even if you don’t play a Les Paul guitar, every musician owes a big debt to Paul’s inventions.

Just try to imagine what the world be like without electric guitar, and multi-track recording.

Today the Les Paul is the most recognized guitar in the world, and the ’59 Les Paul is the most valuable vintage guitar, which prices ranging from $100-500,000 (some have even put the ’59’s value as high as $750,000.) 

A number of great players have ’59s including Eddie Van Halen, legendary session musician and Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Billy Gibbons, Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick, and more. 

Lukather and Van Halen bought theirs back in the ’70’s when the prices were in the $4-6,000 range, and they’ve clearly proven to be great investments. (In fact, it was the ’59 Les Paul that first launched the vintage market way back in the sixties.)

But it’s not the just the money value of these guitars. The ’59 Les Paul was the peak of Gibson’s development of this guitar, and like fine wine, guitars sound better with age as the wood matures.

With today’s technology, a guitar can be reproduced down to the micrometer with computers, and many guitar companies are reproducing classic guitars, as well as reproducing the personal guitars owned by Jimmy Page, Van Halen, etc.

If you ask what made the ’59 Les Paul special, it’s a complete package. After several years of development, the sound, the look, the feel, and the technology all came together beautifully.

As Norman Harris, owner of the reknowned Norm’s Rare Guitars, puts it, “They hit it right on the nose.”