1 December 2011

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History of the Gibson Les Paul Deluxe

The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe is one of the most recognizable and iconic guitar brands in rock music, having been the favorite of rock legends such as Pete Townshend of The Who. The Les Paul has guitar has seen many incarnations and signature models based on the customizations made by notable guitarists, and demand for it is always high irrespective of the economy. Named after iconic jazz guitarist Les Paul, this range of guitars has been at the forefront of music for well over fifty years.

The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe is one of the most recognizable and iconic guitar brands in rock music, having been the favorite of rock legends such as Pete Townshend of The Who. The Les Paul has guitar has seen many incarnations and signature models based on the customizations made by notable guitarists, and demand for it is always high irrespective of the economy. Named after iconic jazz guitarist Les Paul, this range of guitars has been at the forefront of music for well over fifty years.


The Les Paul was created in response to the introduction of the Fender Telecaster in 1950, which created a huge craze for electric guitars among musicians. The Gibson Guitar Corporation collaborated with Les Paul in developing a traditionally curved, solid body guitar that was significantly different in design from the Fender Telecaster models. The resulting guitar was given Les Paul’s name and has been at the forefront of guitar music ever since.

Several models of the Les Paul were developed in the initial years; these included the Goldtop, the Custom, the Junior, the TV, the Special, and the Les Paul Standard. Les Paul guitars were known for their distinctive colors and finishes. Vintage Les Pauls have become collector’s items, with 1959 Les Pauls often being sold for prices between $200,000 and a quarter of a million dollars. Among the many superb models of the Les Paul, was the Deluxe.

The Les Paul Deluxe was initially introduced in late 1968. The Deluxe model had mini humbuckers, which were also colloquially known as New York humbuckers. The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe was the guitar model which helped Gibson standardize the production among the US-build models. The initial Gibson Les Paul Deluxe had a solid, single piece body and a three piece neck. The year 1969 saw the introduction of the “pancake” body – which consisted of a slim layer of maple wood mounted on dual layers of mahogany.


Another feature that was added to the Gibson Les Paul Deluxe in 1969 was a small “volute”. The Deluxe models that were made in 1969 had the Gibson logo without the dot above the “i” in the name. This was a temporary phase in the design of the Gibson logo.

By early 1970, the “i” was dotted again, and the back of the head stock featured a stamp proclaiming “Made in USA”. The period from 1975 through the early 1980s saw a shift from mahogany to maple in the construction of the neck. From the early 1980s onwards, the neck was again constructed out of mahogany. The period between 1976 and 1977 saw the pancake design being dropped in favor of a solid mahogany design. This proved unpopular, and this innovation was swiftly consigned to the annals of history.

1978 saw the emergence of the Gibson Les Paul Pro Deluxe, which had innovations such as an ebony fingerboard, a mahogany body, a maple neck, chrome hardware, and P-90 pickups instead of the mini humbuckers of standard models. This unique model was available in Gold, Cherry Sunburst, Tobacco Sunburst, and Ebony finishes, and was unique in that it was first launched in Europe rather than in the US. Production of this model was stopped in 1982.


The Deluxe model became sidelined by the mid 1980s, resulting in Gibson canceling the line entirely in 1985. It was reintroduced after 20 years in 2005, due to resurgence in interest and popularity because of the Gibson Les Paul Deluxe’s association with Thin Lizzy and Pete Townshend of The Who.

Today, the Deluxe is a much sought after model, and older models in good condition can fetch high prices.




About Today's Contributor:
Samet Bilir is model train passionate. You can check his blog for toy news, pictures, videos, and reviews, such as toy trains and LEGO airplanes.



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