Les Paul’s Les Paul”

1953 Gibson Les Paul By Michael Laiacona

The story:

I'd always been a fan of Les Paul, not just because he is an amazing guitarist and entertainer but also because he is an inventor and innovator who is responsible for many of the advances in instrument and electronic technology.

Back in my MXR days, I used to regularly send Les our guitar effects boxes because I figured that he would be interested in the new technology. Then when I started Whirlwind, I continued to send him our new guitar cords for the same reason.

In the late seventies, I was invited to a party at one of Whirlwind's dealers in Maryland. When I arrived, they said that there was someone in the back room that wanted to meet me. So I went in the back and who was standing there but the one and only Les Paul! Why would Les Paul want to meet ME!

He told me that a lot of people sent him things but that they usually wanted something from him in return. “You gave me all that stuff over the years but never asked for anything. Why?” I explained that I had always admired him and considered him the father of the solid body electric guitar and just thought he'd find my stuff interesting.

So Les grabbed this old brown case and opened it up and here was this '53 Les Paul Goldtop. “It's yours. Gibson had given me some of these back then and I still have a few, so I picked you out a good one.”

To say I was floored is an understatement! Here was Les Paul giving ME one of his personal guitars!

I asked him to autograph it and he spied one of those buzzer engravers on a nearby workbench and etched what you see in the photo below into the back of the headstock. (“Bonnie” is the late Bonnie Gardner, one of my original partners in Whirlwind.)