While Les Paul remains deeply influential as a guitar player, perhaps his greatest legacy will be his contribution to the evolution of electric guitars. By 1951, Les Paul was a respected guitar player, and he was known as a bit of an innovator, too. He had experimented with the solid body electric guitar concept for years, so Gibson president Ted McCarty approached him that year to discuss a collaboration. The result was the Gibson Les Paul Model, which remains one of the most influential and forward-thinking electric designs ever conceived. Since the 1950s, it has been the flagship of Gibson's electric lineup.
In 1978, Gibson brainstormed a special way to commemorate 25 years of success with the Les Paul model, and the milestone also coincided with 50 years of Les Paul's career in show business. The result was the 25/50 Anniversary—a limited edition model that is essentially a tricked out Les Paul Custom. It features a carved Flame Maple top, 2 humbucker pickups, a coil-tap switch (cutting-edge tech for the late '70s), a tune-o-matic bridge, and the recently unveiled TP-6 tailpiece (those fine tuners were also cutting-age at the time).
In tribute to the archtops Les Paul played before his signature model, the 25/50 Anniversary has the same slashed-block inlay as the 1940s Super 400. On the peghead, it has an elaborate mother-of-pearl 25 over 50 inlay, and it has high-end cosmetics all around. Mother-of-pearl Gibson inlay, abalone side position markers, Double-bound body with fancy purfling, gold hardware, brass nut, gold truss rod cover, etc.—it's dressed to the nines! It even has gold-plated tuners that have regular metal Keystone buttons (so they won't tarnish over time). Ultimately, only 1842 of the 25/50 Anniversary model were ever produced.
This 1978 Gibson Les Paul is in remarkably clean condition for its age. It shows absolutely minimal play wear, and the gold plating on the hardware has held up beautifully over time. There is a slight finish scuff in between the two tone knobs, and, the fingerboard binding shows the fret tangs on the edges (see photos). But other than that, it's pretty much pristine. It has smooth, low action, and it delivers powerful rock-n-roll tone. The coil tap lends some nice versatility, too. In addition being a highly-collectible commemorative model, the 25/50 Annivesary is also a really nice Les Paul that sounds and plays like it should. This one includes its original hardshell case.