Title: Les Paul Guitars - What Makes Them S pecial? Word Count: 524 Summary: The Les Paul collection of guitars have always been as stylish and inn ovative as the guitarist and invent or they were named after. Keywords: Les Paul guitars Article Body: The Gibson Les Paul guitar was conc eived at the very beginning of elec tric guitar history and has held it s place at the forefront of guitar technology ever since. The two key elements that make the Les Paul gui tars special are the vision of Les Paul himself, an eminent guitarist and enthusiastic inventor and the f act that the Gibson guitar company has always held extremely high stan dards of excellence for its instrum ents. Les Paul is often credited with inv enting the solid body electric guit ar, and his involvement with the Gi bson models was more or less just a happy accident. When he was a teen age performer he tried amplifying a n ordinary acoustic guitar so that he could be heard by the audience. The feedback that resulted was fina lly eliminated by attaching the nec k of an Epiphone guitar onto a bloc k of wood. This was so strange look ing that Les' musical talents were not taken seriously so he attached wings to the side of the wood so th at it resembled a conventional guit ar shape. The moving force behind the financi al and artistic success of the Les Paul guitar was the desire of the G ibson Guitar Corporation to market a solid body model electric guitar under the name of an established gu itarist. By this time, the early 19 50's, Les Paul was the most popular electric guitar player of the time . It would be a great triumph for G ibson to snare the endorsement of t his guitarist who had conceived and made his own electric guitar which had become the basis for a solid e lectric guitar sold by his friend, Leo Fender. Eventually, after recom mending some changes to the appeara nce of the new Gibson guitar, Les P aul allowed it to be released under his name. There are a couple of design elemen ts that stand out in the Les Paul r ange of guitars. The strings on a L es Paul guitar are mounted "hollow body style" on top of the guitar in stead of passing through the body a s is common with other brands of so lid body guitars. This is merely a stylistic distinction, not affectin g the sound of the guitar. The char acteristic warm tone of the Les Pau l guitars is due to the types of wo od chosen by Gibson for these model s. As we should expect from a guita r endorsed by the man whose own gui tar design was nicknamed "the log", Les Paul guitars are also heavier and thicker than other solid body g uitars. Both Les Paul and the Gibso n corporation were fans of starting with substance and piling on heaps of style, so most Les Paul model g uitars feature flashy inlays on the neck and headstock. The Gibson Guitar Corporation has m ade many models under the Les Paul brand. Featuring names like Classic , Supreme, Standard, Studio Bariton e, Studio, Goddess, Menace, New Cen tury, Vixen, Special, Doublecuts an d Melody Maker, each one has its ow n individual sound. Between 1969 an d 1979 Gibson even marketed a range of Les Paul bass guitars. The Gibs on Les Paul guitars have also been imitated by other companies such as Ibanez and Tokai. The legal wrangl es surrounding these attempts at co pying Les Paul guitars have only ad ded to their collectibility.