Musical pioneer Les Paul's collectible legacy lives on through his creations



It takes a special person to define an entire movement. William Shakespeare defines theatre, Pablo Picasso defines cubism and Laurence Olivier defines acting.

In much the same way, Les Paul has come to symbolise rock and roll and many of the techniques which now dominate the music industry.

To celebrate his life and mark his birthday, he has been given his own Google Doodle today. In our own tribute, we look back at what made him such a legend.

He is rightly credited as being one of the key figures who invented the electric guitar as we now know it. His first solid-body version, called The Log, was used originally in 1940 after years of work.

After countless changes and innovations, and his collaboration with manufacturers Gibson, his guitars went on to be used by stars like Eric Clapton, The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.


This exquisite 1960 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst reached $131,450

He is also known as one of the pioneers of many revolutionary techniques which are now common place in the music and recording industry, such as overdubbing, multitrack recording, delay effects and fretting.

It is not much of a surprise then that in recent years, what have now become classic Gibson Les Paul guitars are selling for very high prices, as collectors scramble to own a piece of rock and roll history.

Even in 2005, while he was still alive, a 1959 Sunburst Gibson Les Paul was sold at Christie's for £171,000 ($268,000), setting a world record price for one of his guitars.

Another fantastic looking 1960 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst was sold earlier this year, again for an incredible $134,450, by Heritage Auctions.

The value of such guitars, many of which have either been signed by the man himself or owned by celebrities - increasing their value further - will only go up.

For serious collectors or music fans, these guitars are an important piece of history that provide fantastic investments for the future.


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