Electric Guitar 101 (Part 4 – Les Paul)

Welcome to Part 4 of your 6 part series designed to pull the curtain back and give you everything you need to know when it comes to buying your first (or next) electric guitar. Today we’re going to be looking at my personal favorite: the Les Paul.

These guitars were named after their inventor (Les Paul) and are one of the oldest and most iconic electric guitars in the world. Les was best known as a jazz musician who was known for experimenting with all kinds of innovative sounds and styles of recording. Les had always wanted a solid body electric guitar that had a very specific and unique sound that he just wasn’t able to achieve with the guitars that were currently on the market.

Les approached a company called Epiphone with his idea for the guitar dubbed “The Log”, but it wasn’t what he was looking for. Les would spend the next few years trying to make his dream guitar a reality, and in 1948 he went to Gibson guitars with his plan.

At first Gibson showed very little interest in producing his guitars, until their top competitor Fender began producing their own sold body electric guitars known as the Esquire. At the point, Gibson decided to take Les Paul’s plan and run with them and it didn’t take long for the Les Paul to become one of the top selling guitars in history.

So let’s take a look at what makes this guitar so special.

The Les Paul is a solid body electric guitar that has been used in basically every genre, but it is the guitar you think of when you think of rock. You see it a little bit in country, especially modern country where they’re playing Southern rock.

The two sets of humbuckers, heavy body weight, and mahogany wood give these guitars their iconic sound.

Scale length: The neck has a little bit shorter scale length, which means you won’t have to stretch your fingers as far to play certain chords. This also makes them more comfortable in your hands.

Pickups: The pickups have a very full, round sound, and the wood has a lot of sustain to it as well.

Tremolo bridge: They generally don’t have a tremolo bridge. They have more a fixed bridge, which they call a “Tuneomatic”, however there are some models that come with a tremolo.

Not only were these guitars designed to get rid of feedback, but they have an incredibly fat and thick tone that you simply can’t get from Stratocasters or Telecasters.

In rock history, you can see the Les Paul being played by guitarists like Jimmy Page, Slash, ACE Frehley, Paul McCartney, Pete Townsend, Zakk Wylde, and yours truly.