The Gibson Les Paul is one of the primary guitar models produced by the Gibson guitar company. It is a solidbody, single cutaway design that typically features two humbucker pickups. Models that feature single coils or three humbuckers are not uncommon either. The flagship model, the Les Paul Standard will cost around US$3000-$3600 / GB£1800-£2500
Popular Guitarist Les Paul was commisioned by the Gibson corporation to help design a new solidbody design. He agreed, however the amount of insight he offered is a matter of debate, as it is reported he had little to do with the guitar's design.
The most common body design of the Les Paul is an carved top, single cutaway model. There are versions that sport double cutaways, but these are less popular.
For electronics, there are two tone knobs, and two volume knobs, one for each pickup. Due to the lack of coverage on the front of the body, a plate on the back allows access to the electronics. The knobs originally were made of bakelite, but are currently constructed from plastic. The jackplate is located on the side of the body that is nearest the knobs. The carved top is a seperate piece that the rest of the body. A typical combination is a mahogany body with a maple top. The body may or may not have binding along the edges of the body, depending on which model it is. Gibson usually reserves pickguards to only a select few models (fitted), however almost all USA Gibsons include an unfitted one in the case. When one is included, they are teardrop shaped, and bolted to the top of the guitar (under the end of the fingerboard, when viewing the guitar in playing position), with an additional support bolted to the side of the body. The pickguard doesn't make contact with the body except for these two places. The bridge is made up of two pieces, the "Tune-O-Matic" bridge, and the stopbar. The stopbar is an alternative to a bridge, such as a Bigsby tremelo, and does not thread the strings through the body like a Floyd Rose Tremelo. The strings are secured at the stopbar, and are threaded over the Tune-O-Matic, to continue up the neck to the headstock.
The earliest Les Pauls used single coil pickups, which were eventually replaced with a pair of PAF (Patent Applied For) humbuckers. The PAF humbucker design,invented by Gibson engineer Seth Lover in 1955, is the most prominent, and many varieties (including reproductions of the PAF's) are used today. There are models (production, and aftermarket modifications) that fit a third humbucker between the original two. The pickup selector is usually located near the "top" of the body of the guitar, above the neck.
A neck of the common Les Paul features a rosewood fretboard*, mahogany neck, and trapezoid shaped inlays. The neck is painted to match the color of the body. The neck is glued, rather than bolted to the body.
* During a period circa 2011-12, Gibson used Baked Maple as a alternate fretboard wood on several Les Pauls, due to problems sourcing rosewood. 2013 has saw the traditional rosewood fretboard return on all Les Paul models.
The colors of a Les Paul are very exotic when compared to SG models or rival Fender models. Whereas the SG or Stratocaster might favor a single color, the Les Paul is often colored with dramatic sunburst. The Heritage Cherry Sunburst is among its most famous finishes, after guitarists like Jimmy Page, Slash, and Noel Gallagher had maintained its style over the years. When a single color is used for a Les Paul, it is usually black, white, or a dark red. Natural wood finishes are also available.
The headstock is usually ebony with a 3-a-side design, and it is the same one used for the SG, and Gibson's hollowbody models. The truss rod is concealed by a plate, like most Gibson models, and etched on top of this plate is the particular line of the Les Paul, whether it is a Studio, Custom, etc. Custom Shop Les Paul's sport the famous "split diamond" inlay between the tuning heads. Like other Gibson's, the headstock is "bent" from the neck.