Few names are as familiar to music lovers as “Les Paul”. In 70 years, these electric guitars have become a staple of rock n’ roll. And yet, they were not destined to be so successful. While losing ground to competitor Fender, the luthier teamed up with famed musician and inventor Les Paul to develop his own solid body guitar. A particularly difficult task, according to Tom Doyle, long-time luthier, engineer and music producer.
“Les took his idea to Gibson and they initially rejected it, but Les was stubborn. He held fast to his ideas and beliefs, knowing that one day they would see the light. Les kept tinkering and inventing, and making his concept better and better. Then finally after about 10 years, and after a lot of trial and error, the good people at Gibson presented this guitar to Les. He was smitten and he was overjoyed…and the rest, as they say, is history,” he explained.
The instrument in question is none other than “Number One”, the first prototype of a “full body” electric guitar approved by Les Paul. It will go under the hammer on October 13 during the next “exceptional sale” of Christie’s in New York. The auction house estimates that it could bring between 100,000 and 150,000 dollars (about 5 to 7.5 million pesos).
However, the bids could rise higher given the rarity of the lot offered.
“In any creation story, there are always multiple protagonists, but the name Les Paul ranks at the top when it comes to electric guitars,” said Kerry Keane, consultant at Christie’s and musical instrument specialist. “This guitar physically embodies his endless passion that produced the most iconic musical instrument in popular culture.”
In recent years, other Gibson Les Pauls have done well in the auction market. A prototype guitar from 1982 sold for $180,000 (over 9 million pesos) in 2012 at Julien’s Auctions. J.B.
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