Rock Guitarist Love Affair
By Team HC |
by Anne Erickson
There’s nothing quite like the look, feel and, of course, sound of a Les Paul. The Les Paul is truly the full package, and that’s why it’s the guitar of choice for countless rockers, from up-and-comers to veterans. Check out quotes from rockers who make the Les Paul their No. 1 pick.
What makes Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell a Les Paul guy?
“I think it’s a real simple design. The most enduring design elements are simple. It’s got a perfect feel and balance for me. I like the way it sits on my body. For me, I started on a Les Paul and went through years of playing other guitars and just came back full circle to what was more natural to me.”
Slash has a longstanding relationship with the Les Paul.
“I did go through a trial-and-error period where I tried out lots of different guitars, but within a couple of years I was right back to the Les Paul. From that point it’s stayed with me ever since. I have other guitars—and I love a lot of them—but I’m most at home on a Les Paul. It’s interesting: most of the time I would even rather make a Les Paul do the things those other guitars do. From the get-go, the Les Paul spoke to me.”
Aerosmith's Joe Perry has his “Holy grail guitar,” and it’s a Les Paul.
“I’m still looking for a ’68 Goldtop. The first Les Paul I bought was a ’68 Gold top. Now that’s a sought-after Les Paul, but I only paid $300 or $400 for it at the time. I’d love to have that guitar back — especially looking like it did before I scraped the gold off of it. I’ve got a couple of Goldtops that are close, but that particular guitar is the one. One of the rumors is that after they stopped making Les Pauls in ’60 or ’61, and then started making them again in ’68, Gibson had a lot of parts left over. If that’s true, a lot of those pieces of wood were just sitting around the factory and got used. And the pickups were great.”
Rise Against’s Zach Blair says the Les Paul is pure rock ‘n’ roll.
“For me, the Les Paul is the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitar of all time. If you’re not playing a Gibson guitar and you’re playing this kind of music, whether it’s punk, metal or anything grounded in rock ‘n’ roll, you’re not really doing it right. I don’t think professionally I’d every play anything else.”
Faith No More's Jon Hudson is drawn to the Les Paul for a variety of reasons.
“It’s the construction and sound of it. With this material, the wood and neck construction and scale length really yields a different sound all together, and I just gravitate towards that. I pretty much get everything I want with it, so I’m very satisfied.”
The Sword's John 'J.D.' Cronise says Les Paul is “the pinnacle.”
“They have a very full, warm, thick sound that’s traditionally been what I prefer. They’re known for low action and small frets that are really easy to play. They’re just really comfortable. As far as I’m concerned, the Les Paul design has never been topped. It was perfect from the beginning, and it’s the perfect guitar, and nobody has ever really come close to topping it. The Les Paul is the pinnacle, and that’s why I have more Les Pauls than anything else.”
Photos by Anne Erickson
Anne Erickson holds years of bylines in Gannett Media publications, as well as music magazines Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge and more. She also hosts radio shows with iHeartRadio and has been syndicated in Seattle, Dayton, Central Coast California and beyond. Anne is a loyal Spartan and holds a Master’s degree from MSU. She resides in Lansing, Michigan.