The Gibson Guitars You’ve Never Heard Of

  • By Daniel Brooks @tonereport
  • December 18, 2013

1969 Les Paul Personal

The Gibson Les Paul Personal should have been a lot more popular than it eventually proved to be. It represented all of Les Paul’s personal preferences and innovations that followed after he lent his name to Gibson’s most famous and successful guitar. Ever the restless inventor, Les Paul designed his own low impedance pickups, altered the body dimensions for a slightly wider, more bottom rich tone, and added circuits and switching for different phase and tone  operations. The 11-position “decade” control chose a range of tonal signatures from almost acoustic to open humbucker sounds, and the tone switch reconfigured the controls three different ways for a vast range of options. The guitar even featured a microphone jack on the upper bout. As versatile as it was, the Les Paul Personal proved to be too complicated for most guitarists and was discontinued in 1969 after a production of only 370.


1973 Les Paul Recording

With the discontinuation of the Les Paul Personal in 1969, Gibson saved some of Les Paul’s innovations for the guitar that eventually became his favorite, the Les Paul Recording Model. Designed to be a versatile tool in the recording studio, the Recording featured the same diagonal, low impedance pickups that could deliver an impressively broad and malleable range of sounds directly to a recording console. Of course, Les Paul used his favorite recording model for live shows, a flip of a switch activated the high end of the custom low/high impedance circuitry for use with a standard amp. The Les Paul Recording Model stayed in production until 1979, with several thousand guitars created. It has come to be recognized as a highly collectable guitar with a respectable collectors price tag keeping them in the hands of those value them the most as outstanding studio tools.

With the Gibson logo on the headstock, few obscure models will go for a price that is practical for most entry level guitarists. But if you should find an old Marauder, Dusk Tiger, Melody Maker, Futura, S-1 or any of the guitars featured here, chances are good you’ll have unearthed a treasure that is well worth any reasonable price.

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  1. Michael James Walmsley

    The Les Paul Personal I played in New York came with a Switchcraft cable with a low/high impedance transformer for use with a high impedance guitar amp.
      The Les Paul Recording’s “low/high” switch was not low - high impedance…but low/high gain - LOW impedance,to match the inputs on the recording desk.
      The guitars did not have the special lead with the transformer when they were shipped to the UK,and they sounded weak…people in the UK did not know about the Switchcraft Lead with transformer…