Les Paul's Gibson Black Beauty up for auction at Guernsey's

One of the most important guitars in music history, the Gibson Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty" will be offered by Guernsey's in New York on February 19.


The original Les Paul signature model from Gibson was created when the company approached the pioneering musician in the early 1950s, hoping to build a guitar suited to his playing style and use his name to promote it.

However, the initial models - released in 1952 -  didn't meet Les Paul's exacting standards, and he demanded they rebuild another improved model before he lent his name to the guitar. The result was the Gibson Les Paul Custom, also known as the Black Beauty.

Considered the first "official" Gibson Les Paul, it was delivered to the guitarist in early 1954. It was constantly tweaked and tuned by Paul until he last used it in 1976, having played it on almost every episode of the Les Paul and Mary Ford Show.

It was then given to Paul's good friend and luthier Tom Doyle, who has kept it to this day.

Also starring in the auction is Chet Atkin's legendary prototype Gretsch, known as "Dark Eyes", one of two one-off models the company made for Atkins. It led to the production of his signature model for the mass market.

Other items include Les Paul's stage stool, his recording machine from his home studio, as well as handwritten set lists and Mary Ford's music stand.

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