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Images from the Everist Gallery

NMM 5916.  Electric guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1952.
Les Paul model (all-gold finish).  No serial number.
Board of Trustees, 1995

Note: Click on any image below to see a larger image.

NMM 5916.  Electric guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1952.

Les Paul's impact on the history of the electric guitar cannot be underestimated. An early advocate for electrified amplification, his home-made "log" guitar, combining the body of an archtop with a central solid wooden section, solved the problem of feedback that plagued early hollow-bodied electric guitars. Gibson's Les Paul model, introduced in 1952, is one of the great classic designs that remains in production to this day.

The solid-body Les Paul guitar, made from mahogany with a maple veneer, originally came in a gold metallic finish on the top with a clear lacquer on the back or, more rarely, with an all-gold finish, as on NMM 5916. The 1952 instruments feature a modified version of the trapeze tailpiece-bridge combination that Les Paul (Lester Polfuss) patented in 1952. However, disputes with Gibson resulted in the strings being wrapped under the upper tailpiece bar rather than over the upper side, as Les Paul intended. This caused the strings to be difficult to damp with the player's hand, so it was replaced in 1954 with a top-mounted bridge and string holder.

Front, Back, and Side Views

NMM 5916.  Electric guitar by Gibson, Inc., Kalamazoo, 1952. Bass side Treble side Treble side

Front and Back Views of Body

Front of body Back of body

Fretboard and Peghead

Fretboard Front of peghead Back of peghead

Control Knobs

Controls, view 1 Controls, view 2

Bottom of Guitar

Bottom view

Literature:  Gruhn Guitars Monthly (October 1995), pp. 6-7.

"Enthusiastic About Electric Instruments," Cooperative Connections (February 2009), p. 15.

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