Sunday, November 14, 2010

Gold Standard

A 1952 ad for Les Paul's answer to Fender's Telecaster. 
In the early '50s, Gibson made an effort to woo jazz players away from its competitor Fender by hiring Les Paul to develop a solid-body electric. They promoted their new instrument with full-page ads in various jazz magazines, touting its "wonderful tone" and featuring inventor Lester (and occasionally the long-suffering Mary Ford) along with the instrument. Jazz string players were not impressed (with the single exception of Jim Hall, as far as I can determine), and Gibson soon switched its promotion to the emerging rock 'n' roll field. If you were prescient enough in 1953 to pick up a "Goldtop" for its asking-price of $250, you could pull down a cool $25K for it in today's collectors's market. Now that's a sensation!

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