Les Paul's 'Black Beauty' Gibson prototype set for auction
One of music history's most important guitars is heading to auction with Guernsey's.
A sale next month will offer guitar legend Les Paul's own prototype Gibson guitar, known as 'Black beauty'. Described as "the very instrument that made rock and roll possible", the guitar is the prototype for all Les Paul models produced by Gibson to this day.
The guitar was initially known simply as the Les Paul Black Custom when it was delivered from the factory in early 1954. It featured refinements on earlier instruments including a new tune-o-matic bridge and stoptail piece system, finer inlays and binding around the entire guitar.
Les Paul played the guitar for twenty-two years, constantly modifying and tweaking the instrument to achieve the exact sound he wanted. The in 1976 he gifted the guitar to his personal luthier, guitar technician and close friend Tom Doyle, who has kept in his private collection for almost forty years. Now Black Beauty is set to be auctioned for the first time in its history.
A Guernsey's statement reads: "Some 60 years after it was made for Les Paul, this guitar transcends its inherent importance as a collectable item, a historical musical instrument, and as an amazing piece of memorabilia for fans of the man who made rock and roll a reality."
Although the auction house have yet to place an estimate on the guitar, some experts have already suggested it could easily bring a seven-figure sum.
Other items up for sale from Doyle's remarkable collection will include Chet Atkins’ legendary prototype Gretsch guitar known as 'Dark Eyes'; Les Paul’s own stage stool from Fat Tuesday’s in New York City; an original Ampex recording machine from Les Paul’s home studio; and countless pieces of memorabilia from Paul's career including live recordings and handwritten set lists.
The Guernsey's auction takes place in New York on February 19.
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