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early burst users

jubelo

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Oct 30, 2001
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Has anyone seen any real period photos or pics in books or mags or L. P. album covers from 1958 to 1963 of any artist using a sunburst, PAFequiped,single cutaway Les Paul guitar? The first person I saw ever playing one was Keith Richard circa 1964. How about before 64, no Black bluesmen with a burst, no surf guitarists, no country pickers, no rockabilly cats, no jazz players, not even LES himself. Who bought and used these 1700 or so (now) holy grail of a guitar?
 

ToneHungry

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Dec 6, 2003
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239
Les Pauls were extremely popular here in the Carolina's in that time frame.The problem that I run into here is....most of the old-timers who still have these great relics under their beds know what they have and want a bushel of cash for them. :toobad :hmm :moon :wap
 

gmann

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May 26, 2003
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I don't remember anybody fm that time period. the 1st person I saw with a Burst was John Sebastion of the Lovin' Spoonful. This was before Bloomfield or Clapton.
 

digitrack

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Jun 24, 2004
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191
Hubert Sumlin, Howlin Wolf, among others were playing Les Pauls in the early sixties, but those original bursts and goldtops were not all that popular, which is why Gibson discontinued the line in 60 / 61 and strated using teh Les Paul name on their "solid guitar" SG. These original bursts changed hands back and forth quite often with their original selling prices in the $250- $400 range. They lost out to the more popular (and cheaper) Fender giutars during teh latye fifties, early sixties. Jazz players never made the switch from Epiphone and Gibson archtop to solid bodies, and the early rock players started with Fender. It really took Clapton, Page, Mike Bloomfield, Keith Richards, and the like to use them to overdrive the amps of the day before the popularity started to rise. I'm sure there's still some little old lady in Iowa, Tenessee, or West Virginia who has one tucked under the bed taht hasn't been touched in years. Now if only I could find her number....
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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John Catto found the earliest one I believe, quite possibly the ONLY one!

Travis and his Scratchy!

So far I have found zip, nada, zilch for pro users during the years of manufactuer,(58-60).

Travis was early 60's I believe, around 62/63 when Scratchy was recorded. He had it before then though and may have bought it new.

That is the earliest recorded Burst that we have found so far.

Robb Lawrence has some cool photo's of Les Paul playing a Burst in 59 or 60. It is at a clinic kinda thang and the guitar had tags on it still, so I do not believe it was his and was just used at that gig.

Keef was before John Sebastian. Before Mr Richards it is pretty thin.
 
D

Doug H

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In the past, here on this board we tried to come up with someone who fits a reasonable definition of "famous," but couldn't come up with a single (famous) contemporary Burst player. Not one.
 

bjewell

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May 26, 2003
Messages
693
The original Lesters were played by polka bands and were, frankly, pretty dorky guitars when they were new. Fender had beaten Gibson in the kids market, hands down. Plus there was a new Fender model every few years, so we traded "up" as they came out. What capped that was the truly horrible Fender Jaguar.

The first Les Paul I saw on stage was a P-90 Custom without a Bigsby, played by the guitar player in this GREAt band from Clevelands Murray Hill. They were named The Continentals and they were great, B-3 and everything...

The next question is: how many records actually have an original Lester on them? Compared to Teles, Strats, 335/345/355s basically zip. Except for big-hair Brit teen bands, the usual assortment of southern rock bands and the odd R&R star, Lesters don't show up much on any commercial chart.
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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I disagree with that goofy therory now as much as when you posted it before, bj;)

In early Rock, R&B and Blues there is a lot of Les Paul usage.
WTF!:wtf WTF!!

Polka bands and mystery model Fenders??? :wtf

Fender had two main models then. Tele and Strat through most of the 50's, Jazzmasters in the very end. One model each and not as popular as you make out. Few Rockers used Strats, and Tele's were more commonly seen in Country acts. They do show up in R&B and some Rock bands.

Certainly Gibson, had a bigger and more varied line of solid bodies in that same time. Even with Fenders shortscale DouSonic and Musicmasters added in. I think they had a bigger presence overall and Les Pauls had at the very least as big and visable a role as any Fender in the 50's. :hmm

Gibson certainly had a bigger more varied line.
Goldtops and Customs, with P90's and Humbuckers, Single Cutaway Specials and Jrs, Double cutaway Specials and Jrs, Sunburst Standards, Melodymakers, Flying V's and Explorers, and whatever else I'm missing as well as the very popular Hollow bodies and Semi Hollow's which are EVERYWHERE in Rock and Pop back then!:hmm

Your diverse Fender model argument is wrong.:nono

Consider, Carl Perkins, Duane Eddy, Fran Beecher, Mickey Baker, and many others used Les Pauls right through the 50's! There are Les Pauls all over Rock music back then. Hell the nastiest wildest Rock Instrumental of the Decade, Rumble, by Link Wray was a Les Paul. A sound so rude and dripping with intent it was banned! Big monster Rock Records. With big monster Les Paul tone recorded on them.:hmm

R&B has Lesters all over it too, and Blues, Fagedaboudit!!! Herbert Sumlin, Muddy Waters, Freddy King, Howlin' Wolf, Earl Hooker and who knows how many others were using them all through the 50's. Big Monster Blues Records. With big monster Les Paul tones on them.:hmm

Come on, Polka Bands???
How many records??? WTF!!! Les Pauls were a success and all over the pop charts. Big hits and great acts. Whadyamean they don't show up on any commercial chart?? In what universe?? Are we rewriting history now?:nono

Just because the Burst wasn't popular then, and just because in the early 60's, SIXTIES, Lesters weren't as popular for Surf, doesn't negate the popularity of the P90 Lesters at that time. And they are Les Pauls! And they be everywhere.

You know, if in your back yard it was so, don't make it so in the real world. It may very well be that you never saw much of them then, but that is maybe because of your focus and not the reality.

I didn't see any Palm Trees when I grew up. No Cactus either. Saw a bunch in the 70's though. Guess they didn't grow much before then. Same logic.
 

lpnv59

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Jul 15, 2001
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Don't leave out the "Great Gretsch Sound". Grestch, Rickenbacker and pre-Gibson Epiphones were pretty strong companies in the 50s and most players wanted an amplified hollow body it would seem.
 

55Custom

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z2010.jpg


Ex.comets57.jpg
 

John Catto

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Jul 15, 2001
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Here's one that Walter Broes passed on to me a while ago.

Johnny Horton in the late 50's or very early 60's (the 'bursts leaning against the amp)

johhnyhortonburst.jpg
 

dlmorley

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Oct 25, 2002
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Not daring to argue with big al here, but....I'd say fender ruled the roost in the late 50's......

:bh
 

LususNaturae

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Jul 2, 2003
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Link Wray played a Les Paul? And, on the rumble track?? Well that is something I never knew. If pics are available, let me know.
 

John Catto

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dlmorley said:
..I'd say fender ruled the roost in the late 50's......

Fender had a big presence but I don't think that's strictly true. I'd say that Gretsch had at least as many celebrity users as Fender (see Eddie Cochran, Cliff Gallup, Chet atkins etc. etc.) . In fact Gibson had just as many maybe more users than all of thenm the only catch was that the popular Gibsons weren't Les Pauls, rather most people seemed to be more interested in the mid to high end archtop guitars (see Scotty Moore, Hank Garland, most Western Swing Guys, Chuck Berry, almost all Jazzers not using D'Angelico's etc. etc.), Gibson were still the top company by a big mile, Leo Fender for instance loved the Western Swing guys but had more luck getting them to use his amps, steels and (later) basses than the guitars, what THEY wanted were big Gibson (sometimes Gretsch) archtops. Some Les Pauls were out there being used, Customs (BB King, the guy with Bill Haley etc.) and Goldtops, especially the trapese ones were huge with Chicago Blues players just not 'bursts thats all. Still they sold a few of the things so it just seems they were largely purchased by non-pros.
 

60pinstripe

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Nov 27, 2001
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Doc Watson played one in a Rockabilly band he had in the 50's.
Also Roy Clark!
:)
 

Dave Paetow

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Jul 15, 2001
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lpnv59 said:
Don't leave out the "Great Gretsch Sound". Grestch, Rickenbacker and pre-Gibson Epiphones were pretty strong companies in the 50s and most players wanted an amplified hollow body it would seem.

I agree, Gretsch had an impact in the late 50's. Chet was a wildly popular 'players player' back then. Cliff Gallup played some amazing shit on his Gretsch. Duane Eddy, Cochran, etc.

Addressing the original post question, actually some of the guys like BB, Carl Perkins, and others had already abandoned their Les Pauls by the late 50's. As the sales numbers would indicate, the guitar was falling out of favor with players at the time. As we now know, that was only a temporary thing!
 

DrRobert

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Jun 12, 2003
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ToneHungry said:
Les Pauls were extremely popular here in the Carolina's in that time frame.The problem that I run into here is....most of the old-timers who still have these great relics under their beds know what they have and want a bushel of cash for them. :toobad :hmm :moon :wap

If you know people that have original bursts that they bought, if you're SURE of that, take out a loan and buy one. Hold onto it and if you really have to sell, you'll make a handsome profit some day! Provenance is going to be the touchstone of these things over the coming years, and if you've got a bill of sale and a pic of the original owner in his band, you're set! If you don't want to buy em, pass the info on here, there're lots of people looking for exactly these guitars, and not concerned about a stiff price :2zone
 

MK.II

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Jul 28, 2002
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I think I remember someone (Catto maybe?) posting a while back that at one point in the '50's where Strats actually had a higher list price than Les Pauls. I don't remember if the post said that was the late 50's or not. If so, that would kill the price theory.
 
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