Gibson Guitars 1550-07 GUS User Manual

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The first postwar Gibson electrics followed the prewar concept of an electric guitar as
a conventional acoustic archtop with a pickup installed on the top. Gibson added a second
pickup to the ES-300 in 1948 and then became the first company to offer a three-pickup
model with the introduction of the ES-5 in 1949.

Although the advantages of a solidbody guitar had been known to Hawaiian steel guitarists for
almost 20 years, it took the persuasive powers of Les Paul, the world’s most famous guitarist
in the early 1950s, to convince Gibson to make a “Spanish style” solidbody. Gibson designed
the new model with a carved top, not only to give it the look of a traditional archtop—a style
invented by Gibson—but also to make it difficult for other makers to copy. Les, who had been
playing a homemade solidbody guitar, nicknamed The Log, since 1941, specified a maple top
cap to increase sustain, coupled with a mahogany back to lighten the weight. Les also speci-
fied the famous “Goldtop” finish.

The Les Paul Model debuted in 1952. The bridge and tailpiece were upgraded when Gibson
introduced the patented tune-o-matic bridge in 1954, and the original single-coil pickups were
upgraded with the introduction of Gibson’s patented humbuckers in 1957. Otherwise, the orig-
inal Les Paul is essentially the same guitar today as it was when it was introduced.