My first good electric guitar was a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Standard. Serial Number 00235651. I bought the guitar used for $300 in Toronto in 1978. I was 21 years old. I had started on a used Hagstrom Swede and sold that guitar to pay for the Les Paul. Swedes are now being built again. They look like nice instruments. But I never really bonded with the Swede. I really wanted a Les Paul.
The Les Paul has aged pretty well. At 35 years old, the instrument is pretty much mint with a few minor nicks and dents. However, I did some questionable mods to the instrument in my early twenties: swapped out the original pickups for some DiMarzio humbuckers. I’m not even sure which ones. I decided that gold accessories would be nicer than nickel. Out went the bridge and tailpiece. And out went the tuners. And the saddle posts. Replaced with something else. I was not as fussy about tone back then so I assume I just picked out whatever components were on the shelf.
After all of these years, I have found myself going back to humbuckers. My current first instrument is a Les Paul inspired design, the Collings CL Deluxe. Awesome guitar. But I find myself picking up the Les Paul more often these days. It is still way too heavy for an old guy like me. But I love the way it feels in my hands.
My friends at Lauzon Music in Ottawa will help me to do some restoration work on the Les Paul. We’ll swap out the tuners, bridge and tailpiece. We’ll dress frets. Check electronics. And complete a setup for the instrument.
My hope is that this guitar will stay within my family for many years to come. And that one of my grandchildren will discover the joy of music through this instrument.
My first love is a 1963 GIbson J-50 acoustic my aunt purchased brand new in Kingston, Ontario. It survived my uncle James’ hard-strumming bluegrass (damage still evident) and years in Calgary when my Uncle Bob took off with it. I inherited it in 1991 and after some expert restoration by Rufus, it sings a sweet song. I have had a number of acoustic guitars but ‘The Gibson’ (as its known in my family) just feels the best in my hands. Til death do we part.