Julien's Auctions is proud to present Property From The Estate of Les Paul. Les Paul not only revolutionized the sound of the electric guitar, but also the technology behind modern day sound recording.
Les Paul pioneered innovative techniques with sound-on-sound recording and commissioned the first 8-track tape recorder, which would become the core technology behind multitrack recording still used today. The sale will include property equipment, memorabilia and instruments that span the entirety of Paul’s career from his days as Rhubarb Red to his weekly Monday night concerts at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. Some of the guitar and equipment highlights from the sale include:
1968 Prototype Gibson Les Paul Custom Recording Model (Est. $60,000 - $80,000). White flat top with Bigsby tail piece and note in Paul’s hand reading, “Reward this is the property of Les Paul A.K.A. Lester William Polfuss … Mahwah, New Jersey USA…” The guitar is featured on page 350 of his autobiography Les Paul In His Own Words.
1951 Fender Nocaster serial number 1751 (Est. $40,000 - $60,000). Butterscotch with black pickguard, neck date “5-10-51 T.G.”, no body date, with original thermometer case. Guitar has replaced volume and one tone pot but originals are present. This guitar was personally gifted to Les Paul by Leo Fender who signed the back of the headstock “Leo Fender.” The guitar is uncharacteristically light weighing only 7.4 pounds.
Early 1940s Epiphone Zephyr serial number 7133 – Klunker #3 (Est. $14,000 - $16,000) Blonde, electric trap door model arch top with two chicken head knobs, one volume and one a toggle switch, with bard door opening in the back and Paul’s aluminum support system which led him to use solid body construction. This is one of three early experimental models called the “Klunkers” by Paul, featured on pages 120 and 121 in his autobiographyLes Paul In His Own Words.
1927 Gibson L-5 Sunburst Cremona serial number 87230 (Est. $10,000 - $15,000) Hole drilled through the original pickguard, back re-finished, no original case. This is one of the two L-5s purchased by Les Paul, then going by the name Rhubarb Red, at Gibson in Kalamazoo Michigan with his friend and band mate Sunny Joe Wolverton in 1933. Paul discusses the trip and purchasing this guitar extensively in his autobiography. He later gave this guitar to a friend Dave Moran requested the guitar be returned to Paul upon his death.
1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (Est. $14,000 - $16,000) No serial number, Trapeze tailpiece, tuners have been changed to Grover’s, pat. Pending with original case. This is one of the very first Les Paul guitars produced. The back of the headstock is hand signed, “Les Paul.” The guitar is pictured on page 238 of Paul’s autobiography Les Paul In His Own Words.
Boss BCB-6 Pedal Effects In Case (Est. $3,000 - $5,000). Six Boss pedals including: chromatic tuner TU-2 white, super chorus ch-1 blue, digital delay DD3 silver, digital reverb/delay RV3 grey. The case also contains tools including a pair of Les Paul’s sunglasses and has all of his settings recorded on masking tape. This is the gigging case used by Les Paul during his weekly shows at both Fat Tuesdays and the Iridium Jazz Club for decades. 3 ½ by 25 by 11 inches 1955 Steinway B Grand Piano In Ebony (Est. $20,000 - $30,000) Steinway & Sons New York original piano, serial number 348128-B (NA-K1304 3035), from Les Paul’s legendary main recording studio in his home in Mahwah, New Jersey, this is the only piano used for recordings made in the house.
Early 1970s Ampex MM1000 (Est. $3,000 - $5,000) Sixteen track recording machine using two inch tape, with custom VSO, serial number 260, with AC cable and side block. Has been re-built in good condition. This was the first Ampex sixteen track machine and is one of the most sought after sixteen track machines to this day. This machine was used in the downstairs recording studio at Les Paul’s Mahwah, New Jersey home. 65 by 41 by 27 ½ inches.
Late 1960s API Recording Mixing Console (Est. $40,000 - $60,000) Twenty eight by sixteen console believed to be one of the first few made with the desireable configuration of twenty eight mic line input channels and sixteen buss. Originally a twenty-channel mixer with an eight-channel side car added later, three 12 point patch bay main console and 144 patch bay on side car. Modules include: five – 558 EQs, one – 550 EQ, four – 553 EQs, 9 – Aengus 8 band EQs, one – old school audio mic pre 580 series size, two – 525 compressors, one – 575 oscillators, one – talk back module, four – 553 EQs, sixteen buss BU meters, and an elaborate master section with buss and cue system. The board is made by Automated Processes Inc. of Farmingdale New York, one of the most notable American made mixing consoles. Original masking tape label with channel identifications in Les Paul’s hand including, “channel 1 Les Guitar.” 45 by 99 1/8 by 35 ½ inches.
Les Paul’s Touring Rig (Est. $5,000 - $7,000) Gibson LP1 guitar amplifier pre-amp controller, serial number 1038. A prototype designed by Les Paul featuring Plexiglass panel on front with “Les Paul” two channel amplifier with a normal and box switch, crossover switch, vibrola switch. Les Paul’s markings in red nail polish indicate his settings on the knobs and Plexiglass panel. Additional tape markings reading "Les Paul Road 1" and "#1 pre-amp" among others. Single fifteen Altec Lansing speaker with high frequency horn, power amp and Paulverizer attachment built into the cabinet. Topped with a Nakamichi 700, three head cassette player which Paul used to play along with tracks. This was Paul’s long-time tour rig and is features on page 291 of his autobiography Les Paul In His Own Words. Sold together with a spare Nakamichi 700 and identical Altex Lansing single fifteen cabinet. Head 5 ½ by 21 by 15 Cabinet 24 by 24 by 15 inches.
The proceeds of the auction will benefit the Les Paul Foundation established by Les Paul who was encouraged at a young age by his mother to follow his instincts regardless of how unusual or different his approach. Paul felt that establishing a foundation, which could provide that same encouragement to so many others was the best way to perpetuate the areas most important to him in his lifetime. The mission of the Les Paul Foundation is to honor and remember the life, spirit, and legacy of Les Paul by supporting music education, engineering and innovation as well as medical research. The Les Paul Foundation is an approved IRS 501(c)3 organization.
The Les Paul Estate Auction will be a moment to remember in the history of Rock 'N’ Roll. Be inspired by Paul’s innovations and see an unmatched collection of the most innovative electric guitars assembled in one place.
This special catalogue is a tribute to Lester Polfuss, the Wizard from Waukesha, Rhubarb Red or as people the world over have come to know him, Les Paul. All of the items in the catalogue are being sold to benefit the Les Paul Foundation which will work to continue Paul's legacy of education, encouragement, engineering and innovation.
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