lespaul A 1954 Les Paul Gibson guitar known as “Black Beauty” has sold at auction for $335,500.

Guernsey’s auction house says the six-string instrument with gold-plated hardware set the standard for other Les Paul Gibson guitars.
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Paul was a jazz, country and blues guitarist. He made frequent modifications to his basic guitar over the years, refining the sound.

Paul, whose hit songs include How High the Moon, played his instruments in concerts, recordings and on the Les Paul and Mary Ford television show. He died in 2009.

There was no pre-sale estimate for the “Black Beauty” guitar, and Guernsey’s could not provide the name of the buyer.

The auction record for a guitar belongs to the Fender Stratocaster that Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. It sold for $965,000 in 2013.

Paul collaborated on his original design with Gibson after the guitar maker approached him about making an electric guitar bearing his name.

The auctioneer calls it the most significant electric guitar ever made.

Years ago, Paul gave the instrument to his friend, guitar technician and builder Tom Doyle of Wantage, New Jersey.

Guernsey’s president, Arlan Ettinger, said the Les Paul guitar is considered a “Holy Grail” among musicians because it gave birth to thousands of instruments that bear his name.

Les Paul Guitar Auctionlespaulblackbeauty320

[Ed’s note: I thought this news story would be of some interest, since a lot of hard rock guitarists play Les Pauls. Of course one of my favorites, John Sykes, has played a 1978 model Gibson Les Paul Custom for decades, and in 2006, Gibson released a “John Sykes” model signature Les Paul, based upon this guitar.]

source: The Associated Press via Page Six of the New York Post

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  • garry duncan on

    Les Paul made a cameo in The Firm’s Satisfaction Guaranteed video, at Jimmy Page’s request

  • Greg Wright on

    Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts bought it. Story on indystar.com

  • Mark Ellis on

    Certain guitars are associated in my mind with certain artists. For the Gibson ES 335 it was always Ted Nugent, Malcolm Young, and a guy the oldsters will remember, Alvin Lee from Ten Years After. For the Gibson S-G, of course it was always Angus and Iommi. Hendrix=Fender Stratocaster (left handed with the low strings at the bottom, if I remember correctly). The Les Paul was the grandaddy because of its fat tone and sustainability. I associate Page with that guitar, although many used it, including Peter Frampton going all the way back to the Humble Pie days. EVH showed up with something new: the Charvel, and the historic dominance of Gibson and Fender–while still very much in play, was now challenged by a new generation of solid body axes. Over the early years of hard rock, a surprising number of bassists opted for the Fender Precision.

    • James K. on

      Actually, Uncle Ted played and still plays a Gibson Byrdland. Trust me, those guitars suck. I played a used one once at Heart of Texas Music and not only did it have a tiny neck but when played through a great tube amp pushed into overdrive, that thing was a feedback nightmare. It gave me a whole new respect for Ted because he used that beast beautifully. All it did for me was give me a headache. And I don’t think I remember seeing Malcom Young play an ES-335 but I could be wrong. He’s mostly known for playing a Gretsch, like a Jet or a White Falcon.

    • Harry Taint on

      Malcolm played a Gretsch, not a Gibson.

  • Ron Heath on

    My Homey from Detroit Uncle Ted played and still plays a Gibson Byrdland…

  • James K. on

    I usually say about those high end auctions that some people have more money than sense, but I’m such a guitar geek that if I had that kind of cash to throw around I’d bid on a guitar like that in a heartbeat. My dad died in 1999 and by that time he had long since retired from playing in country bands and had narrowed his guitar collection down to three vintage instruments that will always stay in my family and never, ever be sold no matter how much they are worth: A 1959 Fender Stratocaster, a 1963 Fender Telecaster and a 1962 Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. My brother got the Strat, which he still has and plays, I got the Tele, which I still have and play all the time, and our mom got the Gretsch. My mom kept the Gretsch its case under her bed because she said it made her feel safe and that my dad was watching over her. When she passed away a couple of years ago, we gave that guitar to my uncle (my dad’s brother) and he said it’ll be with him the rest of his life and after he passes away it’ll be given back to my brother and me. I’ve heard that vintage guitars are a good financial investment but my family will never find out for ourselves because the three vintage guitars we have will always be kept with us. And we are very happy with that.

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