It might be hard to imagine, but when the Gibson Les Paul was introduced in 1952, it wasn’t an instant success. But the reign of the Les Paul guitar was not far off. The rock bands and blues outfits that got their start during the sixties and early seventies solidified the Les Paul as the go to rocker guitar.
In conjunction with Gibson’s 120th anniversary, the Gibson Les Paul Peace was released as part of the 2014 product line. This beauty pays homage to the classic flower power era and the Les Paul guitars that helped shape the sound of bands like Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Les Paul Peace is equipped with a pair of Gibson ’61 humbuckers which can produce anything from mellow soulful tones, to crisp leads. In keeping with the peace theme, the guitar is adorned with peace logos on the hemp-covered case. The word peace is also inscribed on the stop bar tailpiece in a groovy bell-bottom font.
Let’s take a look at some of the guitarists that helped make the Gibson Les Paul the legendary instrument it is today. Also, be sure to head to your local music store and try out the Les Paul Peace.
When Eric Clapton recorded the classic Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton album with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers he was merely 21 years old. Clapton’s riffs and solos on the album are classics. Songs like “Hideaway,” “All Your Love,” and “Double Crossing Time” continue to inspire guitarists all over the world. Clapton recorded his parts with his legendary 1960 Les Paul Standard, and that unique sound is one of the major reasons for the Les Paul resurgence of the mid-sixties.
When you’re the guitarist in arguably the biggest rock band of the seventies (and late sixties) people are going to take notice of what type of guitar you’re using. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin has kept to playing Les Paul guitars for most of his career. His two main Les Pauls during the Zeppelin years were simply referred to as Number One and Number Two by Page. Number One is a 1959 Les Paul that Page bought from Joe Walsh in 1969. Walsh reportedly sold the guitar for $1,200 - a more than fair price since it apparently basically covered Walsh’s travel expenses to hand-deliver the guitar. Page’s Number Two guitar is also a 1959 Les Paul. The two instruments differ in terms of wiring and thickness of the necks, with Number One having a thinner neck than Number Two.
Keith Richards has always included Gibson instruments as part of his on-stage setup, as well as in the studio. In the beginning of the Stones’ career Keef would play a Sunburst 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard, before switching to a black three-pickup Les Paul Custom in 1966.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern rock sound often revolves around the excellent slide guitar work of Gary Rossington. Throughout his many years in the band Rossington’s main guitar has been a Gibson Les Paul Standard. Gary told Gibson.com in 2012: “I always use my ’59 reissue Les Pauls. I’ve got one that’s a sunburst and one in black that I play slide on.”
ZZ Top mainman Billy Gibbons’ “Pearly Gates” Les Paul is a classic. The Sunburst 1959 Les Paul Standard has been used on all of ZZ Top’s albums. Billy was once asked by Gibson.com to describe the tone of Pearly Gates: “Divine, simply divine. Pearly was born on one of those fateful days when just everything was all right. The wood was well balanced, the glue was right, and the electronics were built in perfectly. She was waiting underneath a bed for years, just waiting to burst out of there. And I was the lucky one who was to be her conqueror.” In 2009 The Gibson Custom Shop produced a line of Billy Gibbons “Pearly Gates” Les Paul Standard guitars. Gibbons actually lent the Custom Shop his precious guitar so that they could create an accurate replica.