Out of the dozens and dozens of companies that have been created in order to manufacture the electric guitar, only two of them have remained as viable enterprises
- Gibson and Fender. Fender continues to create wonderful instruments like the Stratocaster and Telecaster; Gibson, 50 years later, still designs maybe the single most important guitar ever built: the Les Paul Standard.
The history of that guitar (one that has been played by everyone from Billy Gibbons and Jeff Beck to Eric Clapton and Slash) and of the Gibson company, is told here in terrific detail. The author is a highly recognized authority on the history of the Gibson guitar, and in Million Dollar Les Paul he talks about the evolution of the guitar, the workmanship, the musicians who played it, its collectibility and its legacy.
He has conducted interviews with many of the leading Gibson players, including a revealing chapter with ZZ Top beardsman Billy Gibbons. Additionally, Bacon provides insights about into the instrument's handling by the big three: Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton.
In 1958, you could have purchased a two-pickup/three-color sunburst Les Paul Standard for about $280; they stopped building them just two years later because nobody bought them. Approximately 1,500 were constructed. You would now pay, easily, 1000
times that amount.
This is great book that explores a lot of history without sounding like a history book. Author insights and musician anecdotes make it read more like a novel.