~ Guitars I have known... and owned ~

Bill Hillman Guitar No. 30
Epiphone Gibson Les Paul
Serial No. 101032411

Epiphone Gibson Les Paul

Xmas 2011
click for larger images

This Christmas guitar giving must stop!
Sue-On did it again on Xmas 2011 . . . she even added a gutsy little 20 watt Fender Mustang I amp.
Gibson Les Pauls have always evaded my grasp,
but here's the next best thing - the Epiphone model. . . with Bigsby.

Here's a little game that guitar lovers might try.
After taking the photo of the guitar in our music studio
I noticed that there is a jumble of music related items in the background.

See if you can spot:
Fender Mustang I amp
Hillman Buckskin Stage Sign
Corner of a Fender Twin amp
Garnet Randy Bachman Herzog
The original Vox Wah-Wah pedal
Cry Baby Wah
Boss Volume Pedal
Link II Steel Guitar
Link II Guitar Bootjack
Hohner Piano Bass 2
Roland E-70 Synthesizer
Roland D-10 Synthsizer
Electroharmonix Mini-Synthesizer
ElectroHarmonix Electric Mistress effect box
Roland TR-707 Rhythm Composer
Marshall DRP-1 Direct Recording Pre-Amp
Hammond Organ
Wooden case containing Electronic Bagpipe Unit
Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive Pedal
Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal
Boss CS-2 Compression Sustainer Pedal
Fender Rhodes Piano
Beltone 5-String Banjo
Tel Ray Organtone FX Box
Roland Digital Syn Drums Controller
Robin's Trombone Mutes
Percussion instruments from Mexico, Greece, Australia and China
Our Free Spirit Vinyl Album
Our On Stage In England Vinyl Album - No. 9
Bodhran Celtic Drum
Mirror Image of Hillman CDs No. 11 and 12 (framed)

Meeting Les Paul
(June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)
Broadway's Iridium Jazz Club
May 2006 ~ New York City

It was a thrill to finally meet Les Paul
-- the 91-year-old guitar and tech legend --
at his regular Monday night performance in this intimate Broadway club.
We caught Les's reaction on camera when he learned I that I play a Fender Telecaster.
Our table mate Nathan's young son had the foresight to bring a pick-guard from his
Gibson Les Paul guitar which Les autographed for him.
This was almost six years before I finally added this Les Paul guitar to my guitar wall.

Les Paul's original #1 from 1952

How to Get 13 Different Pickup Sounds 
with the 2014 Les Paul Standard
Craig Anderton
The Les Paul Standard is known for setting a standard with respect to looks and playability. Now innovative electronics take the Burstbucker Pro pickups’ sonic options much further—without active electronics, batteries, or anything other than some clever pickup wiring.

The three Les Paul Standard models have the usual four knobs, but each one has a push-pull switch. These switches are the key to modifying your sonic options. In fact it’s possible to obtain 13 different, unique tones simply by choosing different switch combinations.

The Basics: All Knobs Pushed In

This gives the tried-and-true Les Paul wiring. The pickup selector chooses among neck, bridge, or both pickups. Two knobs control pickup volume, while the other two knobs control pickup tone.

The 2014 Les Paul Standard control configuration

The Sonic Seasonings of Tuned Coil Tapping

Both the neck and bridge humbucker pickups have a switchable coil tap, but the implementation is unique—hence the name Tuned Coil Tap. A conventional coil tap taps into a single coil pickup for a reduced number of windings, which more closely resembles some older pickup wiring techniques. This emphasizes the highs somewhat, at the expense of less “meat” and level. A conventional coil split turns a humbucker into a single coil pickup by switching one of the coils out of the circuit. This gives more high-end and tends to flatten out the midrange somewhat. Check out How to Use Coil Splits. As expected, coil splitting also negates the humbucker’s hum-canceling properties.

The Tuned Coil Tap can make a humbucker sound more like a single-coil, but does so by tapping through a frequency-selective network that provides a gentle midrange scoop. This makes the highs more present, but also preserves the low end so you don’t lose the fat warmth for which humbuckers are famous. (This is also why the Tuned Coil Tap is so effective with bass; in particular, the EB 4- and 5-string models benefit from Tuned Coil Tap techniques—see the article How to Get Eight Different Bass Sounds from the EB Bass.)

What’s more, because the humbucker remains electrically more of a humbucker than a single coil, hum is less than what you’d experience with a single-coil pickup. You also don’t have the same kind of level drop normally experienced with other tapping techniques.

The bottom line is by pulling up on one or both knobs to engage a tap, you now have eight possible pickup sounds in conjunction with the pickup selector switch (these all assume the neck tone control is pushed down):

    Neck only
    Neck tap
    Bridge only
    Bridge tap
    Neck + bridge
    Neck + bridge tap (bridge volume knob up)
    Bridge + neck tap (neck volume knob up)
    Bridge tap + neck tap (both volume control knobs up)

Of course, if you involve the tone controls, there are even more potential sounds. But we’re not done yet.

Phase Me, Bro!

Pulling up on the neck pickup’s tone control changes the neck pickup’s wiring to out of phase. This gives another four sonic possibilities with both pickups selected (i.e., pickup selector in the middle position).

    Neck/phase + bridge (neck tone control up)
    Neck/phase + bridge tap (neck tone control up, bridge volume control up)
    Neck tap/phase + bridge (neck tone and volume controls up)
    Neck tap/phase + bridge tap (neck tone and volume controls, and bridge volume control, up)

Although you’d expect a phase change to sound different only if both the neck and bridge pickups are selected, the Tuned Coil Tap allows for one more option. Engaging the neck Tuned Coil tap (neck volume control up) and switching the neck tone control in phase (down) chooses the neck Burstbucker’s inner slug coil, while out of phase (neck tone control up) chooses the outer screw coil.

In case you haven’t been keeping a scorecard, this all adds up to a total of thirteen distinct sounds just by switching the Tuned Coil Tap and Phase switches.

Pure Bypass—and How to Switch Between Two Presets

We’re still not done. Pulling up on the bridge tone control initiates Pure Bypass, which connects the bridge pickup directly to the output jack—no intervening volume or tone controls, so because there’s absolutely zero pickup loading from the controls, you’re getting the maximum bridge pickup level and tone possible at the output. This is ideal for leads, but also lets you have a particular “preset” control setup with your neck, bridge, volume and tone controls—perhaps something that’s optimized for rhythm guitar—then switch between this sound and the full-on bridge pickup sound with Pure Bypass.

So there you have it: the Standard’s sonic roster. This makes the Standard fantastic in the studio (especially the model with Min-ETune) when you want to get various iconic guitar sounds without having to use electronics or outboard gear, but for live performance, being able to do all your switching by simply pulling or pushing knobs keeps things simple on stage. Pretty cool.


1. Most Blues begin, "Woke up this morning."

 2. " I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, 'less you stick something nasty in the next line, like " I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."

3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first two lines right, repeat them. Then find something that rhymes ... sort of: "Got a good woman - with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher - and she weigh 500 pound."

 4. The Blues are not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch; ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevys and Cadillacs and broke-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft,  skidoos, an' state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.

6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis. That's the cut-off.

7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in St. Paul or Tucson or San Diego is just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't  get no rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cuz you're skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg cuz an alligator is chomping on it is. Losing your leg to necritizing fasciitis is not the blues. Losing your leg to a shot-gunblast from yo' woman is.

 9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster. Go down to the Greyhound bus-station.

10. Good places for the Blues: a. highway  b. jailhouse   c. empty bed  d. bottom of a whiskey glass
    Bad places: a. Ashrams  b. gallery openings c. Ivy League institutions d. golf courses  e. Hooters

11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, 'less you slept in it. If you wore a backwards baseball cap, even one time, you're disqualified for life.

12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:  a. you're older than dirt  b. you're blind  c. you shot a man in Memphis  d. you can't be satisfied
     No, if:  a. you have all your teeth b. you were once blind but now can see  c. the man in Memphis lived.
 d. you have a retirement plan or trust fund.  e. you use a blow-drier

13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Gary Coleman could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

14. If you ask for water and Baby give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
 a. wine  b. whiskey or bourbon  c. muddy water  d. black, black coffee (NO cappuccinos)
    The following are NOT Blues beverages:  a. mixed drinks  b. kosher wine  c. Snapple  d. sparkling water  e. Gatorade

15. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, and dying lonely on  a broken-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or getting liposuction or listening to Shania Twain.

16. Some Blues names for women:  a. Sadie  b. Big Mama  c. Bessie d. Fat River Dumpling

17. Some Blues names for men:  a. Joe  b. Willie  c. Little Willie  d. Big Willie

18. Persons with names like Sierra, Sequoia, Auburn, Rainbow, Skip,  Jennifer, Jason, Murray, Bosley, Shania, Madonna, Cher, or Engelbert can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

19. Make your own Blues name (starter kit):  a. name of a physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.)  b. first name (see a above) plus name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, etc.)  c. add last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)  For example, Blind Lime Jefferson, or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc.  (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")

20. I don't care how tragic your life is: you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues. You best destroy it. Fire, a bottle of Mad Dog spilled on the keyboard, or get out a shotgun. Maybe your big woman just done sat on it. I don't care. Get rid of it. And don't ever sing about it.

THE GIBSON STORY by John Einarson
On October 10, 1902, Kalamazoo, Michigan USA-based mandolin maker Orville Gibson founded the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co, Ltd. In 1936 it would create the first commercially successful electric guitar. Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, used and popularized by Charlie Christian. In 1952, Gibson introduced its first solid-body electric guitar, the Les Paul, which became its most popular guitar to date and the guitar model of choice for rock musicians worldwide. The guitar was originally offered in Custom, Standard, Special, and Junior models.

In 1958, Gibson produced two new designs: the eccentrically shaped Explorer and Flying V. These "modernistic" guitars did not sell initially. It was only in the late 1960s and early 70s when the two guitars were reintroduced to the market that they sold well. 

Between 1976 and 1984, production of Gibson guitars was shifted from Kalamazoo to Nashville, Tennessee. The Kalamazoo plant kept going for a few years as a custom-instrument shop, but was closed in 1984.

Gibson's factories were raided in 2009 and 2011 by agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In November 2009, authorities found illegally imported ebony wood from Madagascar. A second raid was conducted in August 2011, during which the FWS seized wood imports from India that had been mislabeled on the US Customs declaration. Gibson Guitar Corp. filed a motion in January 2011 to recover seized materials and overturn the charges, which was denied by the court.

Gibson also owns and makes instruments under brands such as Epiphone, Kramer, Maestro, Steinberger, and Tobias. A former competitor, Epiphone, was purchased by Gibson in 1957 and now makes competitively-priced Gibson models, such as the Les Paul and SG, sold under the Epiphone brand,

On May 1, 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (because their instruments had become way too high priced for the average guitar player), and announced a restructuring plan to return to profitability by closing down unprofitable consumer electronics divisions such as Gibson Innovations. The company exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2018.

(Work in Progress)

Gibson Les Paul – The Most Iconic Electric Guitar
Wikipedia Entry
Epiphone Les Pauls
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Vintage Guitars Info

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