Les Paul was a very successful musician in the ’40s and ‘50s, but it wasn’t his music that made him a legend. Rather, it was his development of the solid-body electric guitar with guitar-maker Gibson that led to the invention of the Gibson Les Paul in the early 1950s — arguably the most iconic and influential instrument in rock & roll history. Now, the very first Gibson Les Paul, Paul’s personal “Number One” guitar, is heading to auction.
The Gibson Les Paul “Number One” is the earliest approved production model of the storied guitar, and it was personally owned and used by Paul himself. Once it entered the market, the Gibson Les Paul had an outsize effect on popular music in the mid-to-late twentieth century, with it being the guitar of choice for rockers like Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Slash, and countless others. The Gibson Les Paul “Number One” guitar is being sold by Paul’s son, Gene Paul, and the late musician’s longtime guitar builder and producer, Tom Doyle. Christie’s will be bringing the instrument to auction at The Exceptional Sale on October 13 in New York, where it is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $150,000.