Les Paul's "number one" guitar headed to auction

Publish Date
Wednesday, 18 August 2021, 5:00PM

Les Paul changed the world of music when he revolutionized the modern-day solid-body electric guitar, and now his personal favorite instrument is headed to auction.

Les designed what became the versatile and ubiquitous Gibson Les Paul guitar in the 1940s. By the 1960s, the instrument had become iconic in its own right, coveted by guitarists all over the world.

After partnering with Gibson, the lifelong tinkerer Paul continued to suggest design improvements and troubleshoot aspects of the guitar's performance and durability for decades.

The 'Number One' Les Paul guitar featured in Christie's Exceptional Sale on Oct. 13 in New York was, to Les, as close to perfect as a guitar could get.

"This was the most historically significant, valuable, pivotal and important guitar to my father, his crowning achievement," said Gene Paul in a statement.

Les, a GRAMMY-winning jazz musician, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and National Inventors Hall of Famer, designed the Les Paul as a solution to an ever-present problem for guitarists of his time: being heard.

Though his initial attempts to make a deal with Gibson to mass produce his design were rebuffed, Gibson reconsidered after Fender launched its Esquire and Broadcaster solid body guitars in 1950.

Gibson luthier Ted McCarty created the first Les Paul based on Paul's design, and a sudden wealth of options in the marketplace set of a solid-body guitar craze that eventually led to the creation of rock and roll music.

"This guitar, Les's 'Number One,' is the one that started it all," Gene added.

The 'Number One' Goldtop Les Paul is being sold by Les' son Gene Paul and Les' longtime guitar builder, engineer and producer Tom Doyle.

For more about Les' 'Number One,' go to the guitar's official website here.

This article was first published on iheart.com and is republished here with permission