Julien’s Auctions, the world’s premier entertainment and celebrity estate auction house and the Les Paul Foundation have partnered for an auction of extraordinary property and collection of guitars, equipment and musical artifacts from the legendary musician, engineer and inventor Les Paul. The auction event will take place on June 8-9, 2012 in honor of what would have been Paul’s 97th birthday. (June 9, 2012).
Les Paul, born Lester Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915, was on his way to making his mark on the history of 20th Century music at an early age. He was born with an inquisitive streak that he described as, “…curiosity and I got a double dose of it. I’ve never stopped trying to figure out what makes things work or how to make things work better.” It was this curiosity that spurred his lifelong quest to find the perfect sound in his instruments, recordings and performances.
His efforts produced one of the first solid-body electric guitars, which went on to become one of the most widely played and recognized guitars in the world, the Gibson Les Paul. 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 multi-track recording still used today.
Paul was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his achievements in 2005 and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2006.
Paul has also been widely lauded for his contributions as a performer and recording artist. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum honored Paul at an induction ceremony in 1988 giving him the title of the “Architect of Rock n’ Roll
The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted Les Paul and Mary Ford’s recording of “How High the Moon” in 1979. Paul was also honored with the Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1983 and with a Special Merit Technical Grammy Award in 2001. Paul received three Grammy Awards for Best Country Instrumental, Chester And Lester in 1976, Best Rock Instrumental, 69 Freedom Special in 2005 and Best Pop Instrumental, Caravan, in 2005.
The sale will include equipment, memorabilia, personal effects and instruments that span the entirety of Paul’s career from his days as Rhubarb Red to his weekly Monday night shows at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.
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.
1927 Gibson L-5 Sunburst Cremona serial number 87230 Pictured below left. (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, who 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 1Ž2 by 25 by 11 inches
1955 Steinway & Sons Grand Model B in Ebony Est. $20,000 - $30,000) Steinway & Sons serial number 348128 (Case #K1304 3035) New York Music Room grand model B piano 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. Steinway records indicate that the piano was completed on August 22, 1955 and delivered to the home of Les Paul and Mary Ford in New Jersey on August 25, 1955.
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 1Ž2 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 desirable 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 VU 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 1Ž2 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 indicated 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 Nakimichi 700, three head cassette player which Paul used to play along with pre-recorded 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 Altec Lansing single fifteen cabinet. Head 5 1Ž2 by 21 by 15 Cabinet 24 by 24 by 15 inches
June 8, 2012 - Session I at 10am PST and Session II at 2pm PST
June 9, 2012 - Session III at 10am PST and Session IV at 2pm PST
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