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Les Paul Bass Guitar - A Brief History of the Les Paul Bass Guitar

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Most musicians have heard of the Gibson Les Paul guitar. It has been a fixture in the guitar world since 1968, and is still one of the most popular and most played guitars in the world. However, Les Paul also manufactured bass guitars. These electronic bass guitars were modeled much like the Les Paul guitar which was the first solid body electric guitar and was designed by the musician and inventor Les Paul. The Les Paul bass guitar has an interesting history all on its own. The Gibson Les Paul Company discontinued and re-continued manufacturing bass guitars several times over the years until it found a niche in the bass guitar world.

Gibson Les Paul began manufacturing bass guitars in 1969. The first Les Paul bass guitar featured a mahogany body and neck. It was a short scale bass, much like the EB0 and EB3 models of the Les Paul guitars. It also had a low impedance circuitry and was mainly designed to record in the studio.

This model was available through 1971, at which time it was remodeled and renamed to Les Paul Triumph. The main difference in this model was that it was high impedance. Otherwise, however, this model was very similar to the original.

A hollow body version of the Les Paul bass was released in 1973. This model was named the Les Paul Signature. It had a completely new look, including a long scale and double cutaways. Both the Signature and the Triumph were then discontinued in 1979.

The Gibson Les Paul Company did not make a bass guitar again until the 1990’s. The first release of a Les Paul bass guitar in the 90’s was a version of the Standard model. It featured Bartolini electronics, but most musicians can recognize it because it has no pickup selector switch. Other models that were manufactured at this time featured long scale basses and a single cutaway. Les Paul bass guitars increased in popularity in the 90’s as many famous musicians began playing them. Momentum increased and Gibson Les Paul released a 5 string bass in the 90’s as well. The body of these were made of maple, but the neck was still mahogany. They had a 20 fret ebony fingerboard with black hardware.

The most recent model to be released by Gibson Les Paul had a chambered body, and was lighter than other models. It was released in 1997 and also featured a three-way pickup selector switch. Many musicians found this bass guitar to be ideal. However, Gibson Les Paul discontinued manufacturing all bass guitars in 2006.
Les Paul bass guitars are known for a classic rock style and sound. Since these bass guitars have been discontinued so many times over the years, it can be hard to find one. They can be found on some auction websites, or vintage music stores, but in general, they are hard to come by. Needless to say, their rarity also increases their value and some Les Paul bass guitars can be found at auctions for $1,500.00. They have a good reputation for retaining their value and sound, and are considered to be good investments.

For musicians that can’t quite afford to spend the money on a classic Les Paul bass guitar, the Gibson Les Paul Company does offer a line that is significantly cheaper. This is the Epiphone Les Paul Special bass guitar. It retails for about $499.00 and is still in production today. It features a 22 fret rosewood fingerboard, a mahogany body and is available in jet black. In recent years, many popular rock musicians have been seen playing this bass guitar, which has resulted in an increase in popularity.

Gibson Les Paul bass guitars hold a special place in many bass guitar players’ hearts. Les Paul himself invented these, and they were the first electric bass guitars to be sold. Although Gibson Les Paul has manufactured bass guitars sporadically since 1969, they are not manufactured currently, and can be hard to find. Some can still be found on auction sites; however, they can be quite expensive. Les Paul bass guitars are known to retain their sound and their value, so the extra cost is worth it to some bass guitar players. They can be a prized part of any musical instrument collection.

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