Foundation to Auction off Les Paul Guitars and More!

In an April 16, 2012 blog post, the Les Paul Foundation announced that in celebration of the anniversary of Les Paul’s 97th birthday, Les Paul guitars, equipment and personal items will be auctioned June 8-9 of 2012, with proceeds from the auction going to fund the Les Paul Foundation.

Items in the auction include equipment, memorabilia, personal effects and instruments from his early years, as well as his weekly performances at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club.

This auction is going to be an awesome and unique opportunity for both fans and collectors of Les Paul memorabilia to obtain these priceless gems that were once used by the late, great Les Paul.

The collection of Les Paul has been curated in part by Dave Belzer and Drew Berlin, collectively known as The Burst Brothers, two of the most respected and recognized vintage guitar authorities in the world today. Both Dave and Drew have always shared a love of “Bursts”, the nickname given to Gibson Les Paul Standards built between the years 1958 thru 1960, and it was their love of these guitars that eventually led to them becoming known as “The Burst Brothers”. Their extensive knowledge of vintage guitars and amps, combined with their passion for playing and their talent for finding rare guitars have made them a trustworthy and reliable resource in the vintage industry. Dave and Drew have been an intricate part of building the vintage guitar collection for the Les Paul Estate auction with Juilen’s Auctions of Beverly Hills.

Among the items for auction include:

1968 Prototype Gibson Les Paul Custom Recording Model

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


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
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, 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, patent 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.


BCB-6 Pedal Effects In Case_Home of Les PaulBoss 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 and pictured above.


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” x 41” x 27 ½ “.


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 ½ inches.


Les Paul Touring RigLes 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 featured 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 ½ by 21 by 15 Cabinet 24 by 24 by 15 inches.

The auction will be held on June 8th and 9th in Beverly Hills, California and will be managed by Julien’s Auctions.

More details about when the event goes live, and how to register to bid live or by phone can be seen by visiting Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills Gallery.

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