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Well I creat this topic to talk about the Guitars History.

If you have a better place to find more information about this, post here.

The History Of: Les Paul

The Gibson Les Paul guitar went into production in 1952 and was the first solid body electric that Gibson had made. Leo Fender, although not the first person to design or build a solid body electric, had proved that there was a market for such instruments with the commercial success of his Fender Telecaster, which had first been introduced a couple of years beforehand (albeit under a different name). Now Gibson, under the presidency of Ted McCarty, wanted to make sure they didn't get left out of the market - so they approached player and guitar designer Les Paul with a view to collaborating on a Gibson/Les Paul branded electric solid body.

This must have been rather gratifying for Les Paul, as he had previously presented his ideas for a solid body electric to Gibson in 1945/46 and been promptly shown the door. As Les himself has said, "They called it the broom-stick with a pickup on it."

There are many different rumours and stories about exactly who designed what in respect of the Gibson Les Paul guitar - Ted McCarty, Les Paul & others have differing recollections as to who provided the design input for various aspects of the instrument.

Ted's version is that he and various Gibson staff had already finished designing the guitar that became the 1952 Les Paul even before they approached Les about an endorsement deal. In this account there were only two aspects of the production line 1952 Les Paul that derived from Les himself; the trapeze bridge/tailpiece and the name 'Les Paul'. In other words, the only reason that Gibson approached Les was to give the new guitar they had already designed and built added credibility by having it associated with a famous player.

Les Paul himself has said that when Ted approached him he, that is Les, quote, already '...had in mind the Gold Top standard and the black Custom.' Les refers to Gibson giving him the 'final say' on every aspect of the guitar's design. This account doesn't entirely square with the story - told later - of how Gibson had implemented his trapeze tailpiece design incorrectly.

Nor does it square with Les recalling how, when he first examined a Gold Top and a Custom, he was displeased that the Gold Top had a maple top and told Gibson that this was not what he had intended. According to Les, the Custom was supposed to have the mahagony body with maple top, whereas the Gold Top was supposed to just have a mahagony body with no maple top at all. Gibson never implemented this idea on the Gold Top.

Whatever the uncertainties about who designed what in relation to the Les Paul guitar one thing is clear - the solid body combination of maple for the top and mahogany for the back proved to be a winner.

The 1952 version of the Les Paul had a gold top nitro-cellulose lacquer finish, no serial number, a Trapeze tailpiece (designed by Les), Kluson tuners, a pair of P90 pickups, and retailed for $210. Les Pauls began to be serial numbered (on the back of the headstock) in 1953.

These guitars were officially simply called 'Les Paul' models, but quickly became known as Gold Tops due to the finish. Although most Gold Tops have exactly that, a gold coloured maple top with natural back, a few were made that had the gold finish all over. The gold finish was produced using a coat that contained bronze powder, as a result of which a greenish hue can be seen on many Gold Tops where, over time and with wear, the bronze particles in the finish have become oxidized. Two quirks of the very earliest Les Paul models are that they had fretboards with no edge binding and also lacked the rhythm/treble plastic surround on the pickup selector switch.

The Trapeze tailpiece was a rather impractical design for two reasons. If the unit was knocked the guitar could go out of tune; additionally, the strings fed underneath the tailpiece, not over it, thus making the technique of palm muting with the right hand impossible. Les himself has said in relation to this latter design flaw that when he saw the first production models with this feature he did call Gibson to tell them they'd got it wrong. He apparently explained that the strings were supposed to wrap over the bar, not under it, and that the neck was supposed to join the body at a different angle to accomodate this difference in action at the bridge. But Gibson countered that it was not practical to change the neck join angle for technical reasons, so the wrap-under design had to stay.

In 1953 the Trapeze tailpiece was changed for a new, combined wraparound bridge/tailpiece and, contrary to the account from Les of what Gibson had previously told him, the neck join angle was also changed. This made for a much better instrument all round - the action was better (i.e. lower), the tuning more stable and the previous problem of the awkwardness of right-hand palm muting was solved.

But although this was an improvement on the previous design, it still had its limitations in respect of intonation and was replaced the following year with the separate tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece that have remained a feature of the most popular Les Paul models ever since (though some vintage Les Pauls were fitted with a Bigsby B7 vibrato). The tune-o-matic bridge, designed by Ted McCarty, allowed for individual intonation adjustment for each string.

In 1954 Gibson also launched two additional versions of the Les Paul - the Les Paul Custom ($325) and the Les Paul Junior ($99.50).

The Les Paul Custom had an ebony fretboard as opposed to the Gold Top's rosewood, more elaborate bindings on the guitar body and headstock, gold plated hardware and a black finish, acquiring it the name 'black beauty' amongst some players. It was also actually the Custom that was first fitted with a tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece, these units only later being added to the Gold Top. The Custom was also sometimes called the 'fretless wonder', due to the fact that the fret wire used was flatter and wider than on the Gold Top, which, combined with an ebony fretboard, made it seem easier to play.

The Custom was fitted with a standard P90 pickup in the bridge position but a newly designed single coil pickup in the neck position. The new pickup was visibly different from a P90 in that the polepieces were rectangular; it was also louder than a P90. Known as the Alnico pickup due to its use of aluminum/nickel/cobalt alloy, the unit was designed by Seth Lover.

The Les Paul Junior was more of a budget version of the Les Paul, having a flat, uncarved mahogany body with no binding, a single P90 pickup, plus the old wraparound combined bridge/tailpiece that would continue to be used on the Junior even after it had been dropped from the Gold Top.

Some Les Paul Juniors were made with a blonde/yellow finish instead of a sunburst, and these Juniors were referred to as the Les Paul 'TV' models - perhaps because they were supposed to look good on black and white television. A further variant on the Les Paul Junior was introduced in 1955: the Les Paul Special ($182.50) - basically a two pickup version of the Junior, but otherwise identical. In 1956 a smaller version of the Junior was manufactured - the Les Paul Junior 3/4. This guitar had a scale length (distance from bridge to nut) 2 inches shorter than that of a standard Les Paul (24 3/4 inches).

In 1957 another design change took place with the replacement of the single coil P90 pickups for the hum-cancelling 'humbucker' pickups. These were designed by the engineer Seth Lover, who sought a way of eradicating the 50/60 cycle mains hum and other interference that single coil pickups like the P90s, the Alnico and the Fender pickups all produced.

His design idea, like many great ideas, was essentially very simple; take two pickup coils instead of one and wire the two coils in series and out of phase so that the hum cancels itself out. The result of producing a pickup in this way was, however, not merely that the hum was gone, but also that the sound was different. Humbuckers generally produce a higher output signal and also a mellower tone with fewer treble frequencies.

The Seth Lover designed humbuckers fitted to the 1957 Les Pauls came to be known as PAFs; this was due to the fact that they were designated as 'Patent Applied For' pickups. The patent for these was applied for in 1955 and granted in 1959, but Gibson still continued to label these as 'PAFs' for at least another three years.

Gibson seemed to be in no hurry to apply the patent number to their pickups even after the patent was granted in the USA. And when they did finally get around to showing the patent number on the sticker underneath the pickup, they quoted the wrong number! Even in 1962 a Gibson humbucker with patent number sticker bore the number 2,737,842.

The correct patent number for the Seth Lover designed humbucking pickup was in fact 2,896,491. The number shown on the pickup is actually a patent for a Gibson bridge, not a pickup at all. It might be deduced from this that Gibson were not about to help the competition to copy their pickup design by telling them which patent to go and look up at the US Patent Office!

Although the first Les Paul Customs had two pickups, a P90 and an Alnico, when P90s were swapped for PAFs on Gold Top and Custom models the Custom was then made with three of the new PAFs, the guitar acquiring an additional middle pickup.

Original PAFs from the 50's can vary signficantly in terms of their tone and output. Arguments rage as to the reasons for this, but one credible explanation is that the machines Gibson used to wind the coils around the pickup's magnets did not have an automatic cut off at a set number of turns. Consequently, the machine's operator would manually stop the process when they judged that it was 'done', causing some PAFs to have more windings than others. Differing effects of the passing of time on the magnets could also be a factor.

Although the PAFs were now being fitted to the Gold Top and Custom Les Pauls, P90s continued to be used on the Juniors, TVs and Specials. These latter guitars underwent some cosmetic modification when, in 1958, the Junior acquired a double cutaway body, and in 1959 the same change was made to the Special.

The neck pickup on the double cutaway Special was later moved further away from the neck after it was realised that with the neck pickup cavity so close to the new top cutaway the neck join area had been seriously weakened.

Another version of the Special was also made available in 1959 - the 3/4 size version. This had the same reduced scale length of the 3/4 size Junior.

A further change would take place to the Les Paul Gold Top's design in 1958; the gold top finish was replaced with a cherry red sunburst. This produced what have subsequently become the most sought after (and expensive) Les Pauls of all time: the 'bursts'.

Often referred to as 'Les Paul Standards', this description is not technically correct. At the time this model was named by Gibson simply as a 'Les Paul'; the description 'Standard' was never used by Gibson in any official literature until at least 1960. To call a 50's Les Paul Sunburst a 'Les Paul Standard' is, strictly speaking, to use an anachronism. However, as with the use of the term 'Gold Top', it does provide a convenient label.

Many of Gibson's late 50's red Sunbursts were sprayed with an ultra-violet sensitive dye and over time with exposure to sunlight often faded to a uniform brown known to collectors as 'unburst'. The tendency for the red dye to behave in this way is the reason why late 50's Les Pauls can now be seen in a variety of red and brown sunbursts.

The extent to which the Sunbursts faded to brown depended not just upon how much UV exposure they'd had but also when they were made. The models from circa 1959 tend to have the red dye that was most susceptible to this effect; models from around 1958 can also be seen faded to brown but less so than those from the following year. Most 1960 models were finished with a red dye that was almost impervious to fading and are often still a cherry red sunburst. A few Les Pauls from the vintage era can be found with an all over, no sunburst, cherry red finish.

By: www.ultimate-guitar.com

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The History Of: Fender

For more than forty years, Fender guitars and amps have had a great influence on the way the world writes, listens to, and plays music.

In the 1940's, a Californian inventor named Leo Fender had made some custom guitars and amps in his radio shop. Soon, Leo would create the world's very first instrument amps with built in tone controls.Leo's vision was that of better guitars for everyone. With his knowledge of existing technologies, he knew he could improve on amplified hollow-body instruments,so he did. In 1951, he introduced the Broadcaster, the prototype solid-body guitar that would eventually become the fine Telecaster. The Tele, as it became known, was the first solid-body electric guitar ever to go into commercial production. Soon to follow the Tele were the Precision Bass guitar in 1951, and the Stratocaster in 1954.

In 1965, because of poor health, Leo Fender sold his company to corporate giant CBS. Over the next 20 years, Fender experienced some large growth. But as time wore on, CBS's lack of commitment and real understanding of music and musicians was becoming obvious.

In 1981, CBS recruited a new management team to "re-invent" Fender. William Schultz was soon named President, and was supported by William Mendello and Kurt Hemrich. They developed a five-year business plan based on the idea of increasing Fender's position in the marketplace by drastically improving quality and making a significant commitment to research and development. This association continued until CBS decided to divest itself from the non-broadcast media business.

In 1985, a group of workers and investors led by William Schultz purchased the company from CBS. This sale put Fender in the hands of a small group of musically dedicated people who had committed their lives to crafting the world's best guitars and amplifiers.

The team had to start from scratch, there were no buildings or machines included in the deal. They owned just the name, the patents, and the parts that were left over. Supported by a core group of loyal employees, dealers and suppliers - some of whom had been with the company since Leo Fender began making guitars and amplifiers - Bill Schultz and his colleagues started to re-build an American icon.

Initially, Fender imported their guitars from offshore manufacturers who had proven their ability to produce affordable, viable instruments. But the quest for even more control over quality soon led to the construction of Fender's flagship domestic factory in Corona, California. Eventually, Fender would build a second modern manufacturing facility in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, with the goal of being able to build quality instruments and offer them at more budget-oriented prices.

In 1987, Fender acquired Sunn, a storied line of amplifiers whose past endorsees have included The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. This started Fender's re-entry into the amplifier business by making accessible Sunn's manufacturing facilities in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Fender has always recognized the importance of an open-door policy for the professional musician. When artists first started requesting specific features for their guitars, they were accommodated on an individual basis. These relationships led to the formalizing of Fender's custom operation in 1987. Today, the world's greatest guitarists work with the renowned Fender Custom Shop in Corona, California, to create their dream instruments. Recently, Fender has added amplifiers to the list of custom-made instruments that can be produced at the Custom Shop in Corona.

In 1991, Fender moved its headquarters from Corona to Scottsdale, Arizona. From here, administration, marketing, advertising, sales and export teams oversee the operations of Fender's satellite facilities around the world, which now include the locations in the United States (California, Tennessee, New York and Rhode Island), as well as international operations in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico London, England Dusseldorf, Germany Suresnes, France Brussels Japan Korea and China.

Also brought to Scottsdale at this time was Fender's Amplifier and Pro Audio Research & Development. With guitar amplifiers, Fender sets the standard for sound and value. In late 1992, the Amp Custom Shop was opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, to offer custom and limited editions of professional amplifiers for working musicians.

Noticing that country music and acoustic guitars were increasing in popularity, Fender expanded upon its acoustic guitar line. The company has become the exclusive North American distributor of the great Manuel Rodriguez line of nylon-stringed guitars, which have been hand-made in Spain by the Rodriguez family since 1905. These additions have put the company in an excellent position for growth within the acoustic guitar market.

Founded in a loft in New York City in 1952, Guild Guitar Company continues to be known for its quality instruments and exceptional value. Faced with financial troubles in the early 1990's, Guild management decided to sell the company. Fender bought Guild in 1995, signaling a return to ownership by a group of people dedicated to producing the finest value in American-made acoustic and electric guitars. Today, Guilds are still being produced at its historic, 60,000 square-foot facility in Westerly, Rhode Island.

1998 would prove to be a banner year for Fender. With Fender amps once again enjoying a very strong presence in the market place, it was now time to dust off the Sunn line of amps. R&D had spent the previous three years studying the original Sunn products and developing prototype models that faithfully replicated the trademark Sunn sound. The timing was great, and Fender introduced the new Sunn line of amps to an immediate industry acclaim.

In 1998, Guild expanded its Custom Shop in Nashville, Tennessee. First opened in 1996, the new Guild Custom Shop has an 8,000 square-foot , climate controlled facility near downtown Nashville that allows a great deal of extra space for production and storage of raw materials.

Guild also brought to light the DeArmond guitars in 1998. Fender purchased the DeArmond brand of instrument pickups in 1997, then combining the company with Guild to produce an alternative line of high quality, affordable guitars and basses that are crafted after Guild designs. The guitars are built and assembled in Korea before being sent back to Corona, where they are fitted with American-made DeArmond pickups. Following their successful test runs in European and Asian markets, DeArmond guitars were introduced to American and Canadian consumers and received instant acclaim as an exceptional value.

But the biggest event for Fender in 1998 was the opening of its new top notch manufacturing facility in Corona. The 177,000 square-foot facility was constructed on a nineteen acre site, with over half of that space set aside for future development, and is the culmination of a vision that at times seemed distant, if not impossible. The line of American-made Fender guitars are built solely at the Corona factory, which is able to make over 350 guitars each day. In addition, the Corona facility utilizes the innovative UVOXÔ system, which combines ultraviolet light, a special scrubber process, and a carbon bed absorption system to help ensure that the air exiting from the factory is 95% clean. The new factory is not only a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, but a tribute to how a group of modest artists, when they set their minds to it, can create the "impossible".

The Fender Custom Shop also has some room at the new facility. Over 50 artisans now work at the Custom Shop, offering the world's greatest custom made instruments to professional musicians, as well as a complete line of hand-made replications of classic Fender models. Also, the amp Custom Shop was brought back from Scottsdale and folded into the guitar Custom Shop.

Also, a new 70,000 square-foot addition was finished at the Ensenada facility. The extra space was brought forth to boost amp quality, performance, quantity, knowledge, and distribution.

During the past decade, Fender has grown drastically in sales and stature. The company manufactures and distributes virtually everything that a guitarist (and bassist)needs to perform, from the guitar, strings and accessories, to the top notch audio products including amps and live sounds and effects. Today, Fender is a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of all sorts of guitars and amps.

Fender became the world leader by designing the sounds we hear and creating quality products. As Fender made its way through the 1990's and into the 21st century, its management team is maintaining Fender's 1st rate status through a winning combination of business acumen and a love of music.

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There's a great book by Ivor Mairants called 'My Fifty Fretting Years' and he knew all the great guitarists. B)

Thanks. Here is more about the Guitar, the instrument. But that is good information.

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Thanks. Here is more about the Guitar, the instrument. But that is good information.

Thanks. I like reading about the classical and how Torres from Spain made the first full size modern day classicals. One was owned by Tarrega who died in 1909. They of course are worth a mint now.

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that's history

More about the Fender Stratocaster:


Yep, the Strat is my nephew's fave guitar and he's had tons of makes. I like to see the old Strats on Antiques Roadshow when they remove the neck to see the year. One woman had a consecutive serial number pair of National brass/nickle plated resonators valued at $6,000 each. :) There's been a few old Gibsons and Martins too.

Some of the better classical makers are Fleta (Spain), Herman Hauser (Germany, Segovia played one), and the current 'king' I guess you could say is Thomas Humphrey (New York) and he has one model that goes for $30,000!! :blink::huh:

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Yep, the Strat is my nephew's fave guitar and he's had tons of makes. I like to see the old Strats on Antiques Roadshow when they remove the neck to see the year. One woman had a consecutive serial number pair of National brass/nickle plated resonators valued at $6,000 each. :) There's been a few old Gibsons and Martins too.

Some of the better classical makers are Fleta (Spain), Herman Hauser (Germany, Segovia played one), and the current 'king' I guess you could say is Thomas Humphrey (New York) and he has one model that goes for $30,000!! :blink::huh:

I would like to see some photos...

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Ovation Guitar

The Ovation Guitar Company, a holding of Kaman Music Corporation, is a guitar manufacturing company based in Bloomfield, Connecticut, USA. Ovation primarily manufactures acoustic guitars.

Ovation guitars are differentiated by their composite synthetic bowl, rather than the traditional wooden back and sides of the modern acoustic guitar as produced by luthiers starting in the late 18th century. Ovation has also produced solid body electric guitars. A lower-priced version of the bowl-back Ovation design, known as the Applause Guitar, has also been produced.

Developed starting in 1966 and introduced as the 'Balladeer' in February, 1967, Ovation has sought to bring modern materials and construction techniques to guitar building.

Ovations reached the height of their popularity in the 1980's, where they were more often than not seen during live performances by touring artists if acoustic guitars were being played. Their low feedback and ability to cut through other band instruments made them ideal for playing alongside electric guitars and drums.

Since the 1980's they have remained popular with studio musicians, but are less frequently seen on stage.

[edit] Innovations

Leaf HoleCharles Kaman gained extensive knowledge of composite plastics as an engineer designing rotor blades for helicopters, working with Igor Sikorsky. He reasoned that the negative effects of vibration in wooden rotors were in fact a positive in acoustic instruments that required controlled resonance to produce pleasing musical tone. As a guitarist as well as an aerospace engineer, he developed the round-backed composite-body Ovation guitar as a way to produce uniquely modern instruments.

The extensive number of models, many of which are collectible by virtue of their obscurity, are still mainly distinguished by one or two characteristics: the aforementioned synthetic bowl and early use (1971) of preamps, onboard equalization and piezo pickups. Such features made Ovations particularly attractive to live acoustic musicians who constantly battled feedback problems from the high volumes needed in live venues.

A mid-1970s Kaman Ovation 1612-4 Acoustic Electric Guitar, next to a lute.The first Ovation guitar was developed in 1966 by Charles Kaman, an aeronautical engineer and successful industrialist. Born in 1919, his interest in the guitar developed at a young age, and as a teenager he often played gigs with bands in the Washington D.C. area where he grew up. He received his bachelors degree in aeronautical engineering from the Catholic University of America in Washington, and then worked on helicopter design as an aerodynamacist at United. Eventually he founded his own helicopter design company, the Kaman Corporation, in 1943.

The Kaman Corporation soon became involved in many aspects of science however, branching off into nuclear weapons testing, commercial helicopter flight, the development and testing of chemicals, and helicopter bearings production. This highly successful company now brings in over half a billion dollars annually.

However, much of this success must also be attributed to the company's decision to produce musical instruments. In the early 1960's, financial problems due to the failure of their commercial flight division forced them to consider expanding into new markets, such as entertainment and leisure. Coincidentally, Charles Kaman, still an avid guitar player, needed to have his Martin guitar repaired due to a warped neck. When he brought the guitar into the C.F. Martin Company to have it fixed, the president of the company, Fred Martin, offered him a tour through his guitar factory.

Upon touring the factory, Kaman observed with surprise that the guitars were being manufactured with hammers and animal glue. Having worked with extremely advanced woodworking equipment in his years as a helicopter engineer, he instantly saw a means for improvement. He offered Martin the chance to sell his company, which was the top producer of guitars at the time, and Martin refused. A short while later he offered again with the statement that he planned on entering the field with superior technology if he was again refused. Martin turned him down once again, and the Ovation guitar company was born.

Armed with years of design experience, Kaman at once set about creating a guitar that would not only be of a better quality in terms of structure but also in terms of sound. He designed it with a rounded-bowl back to improve the flow of sound through the guitar and developed a new top bracing system that was more durable. Kaman broke even more with tradition by building the guitar with both synthetic materials, such as fiberglass, and with natural woods such as sitka spruce. His theory was that by adding synthetic materials he would achieve a better quality and consistency of sound. The success of Ovation Guitars proved the traditional belief, that only guitars made solely out of the finest woods were good, to be wrong.

Charles Kaman also created one of the first successful electric-acoustic guitars, and the solid-body guitar soon evolved as a result. Kaman's fusion of synthetic materials and an aerodynamic shape produced an instrument that revolutionized the guitar industry as well as changed the face of music.

In 1972, Ovation introduced one of the first production solidbody electric guitars with active electronics, the Breadwinner (the 1963 Burns TR2 had active circuitry, but did not receive widespread attention or sales). The odd but ergonomic shape of this guitar and its deluxe model, the Deacon along with the FET preamplifier made this a popular studio guitar with numerous artists including Steve Marriott of the Small Faces. The model failed to gain widespread popularity, however, and production of the Breadwinner/Deacon line ceased in 1980.

Ovation made several other solid body models up until the mid 80s. Many of these guitars have become collector's items since only a few thousand were made of each model. Guitars such as the UK II which featured stereo output and custom made pickups that featured 10,000 winds each and coil tap switches that would instantly change the humbucker into a single coil pickup. The Ovation Ultra GP, their take on a Gibson Les Paul (and actually priced higher than the Gibson) was produced in an edition 250 units before discontinued.

Other Ovation innovations include composite tops and multiple offset sound holes on guitar tops, pioneered in the Adamas model in 1977.

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Some of my fave You Tube classical guitarists.

'Canarios' by Angel Romero

Ida Presti's Right Hand Technique (sound only and she was one of the best ever)

'El Noi De La Mare' by John Williams

(Song by Tarrega's student Miguel Llobet)


'Study In B Minor' (Sor) by Julian Bream

'Minuet' Jean Philippe Rameau by Segovia (he was in his 80's here and at the Alhambra in Spain)


'The guitar is an orchestra in itself'---Beethoven


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My nephew had one of these (he goes through guitars like cigarettes) :D

National 'Reso-Lectric'



Well now I find a image of my guitar (first one). Is a Epiphone Les Paul Studio Guitar II



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Well now I find a image of my guitar (first one). Is a Epiphone Les Paul Studio Guitar II



That's really nice. The body reminds me of my friend Dave's old Gibson but I can't remember the model. My nephew let me borrow his 1962 Gretsch 'Tennessean' to begin on. It was a great old guitar. :)


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That's really nice. The body reminds me of my friend Dave's old Gibson but I can't remember the model. My nephew let me borrow his 1962 Gretsch 'Tennessean' to begin on. It was a great old guitar. :)


I like the style. And it would be better with a Jack Daniels... All Tennessee style...

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