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Spencer Murphy
Les Paul Classic
Milwaukee, WI
The Winning Essay

The 2015 Les Paul Classic is more than the broomstick with pickups attached to it you saw your grandfather playing in those restored pictures from the 1940s. It may be a Classic, but I can guarantee your grandparents have never seen a finish with colors that burst like this Seafoam Green. The only thing restored in this guitar is the signature sound you’ve come to expect from an original Les Paul. What has made the Les Paul such a desirable guitar remains in the new line-up. Forget about the ten cent ceramic magnets the old folks told you they glued to make their first electric guitar. With the coil splitting option, the classic tones created from these ‘57 humbucker pickups will get your grandparents on their feet dancing like the first time they heard Chuck Berry. Though you may not be the electronic musical technician of previous generations in your family, this guitar provides technological accessories capable of reproducing the sounds of past greats or experimenting to create an original, distinctive tone. Don’t forget the built-in Turbo Boost that you can flip on when your drummer decides to bang over your solos while you’re trying to impress the girl whose skirt slides up her shin (grandad warned me about them) at the dive bar you play at on Sunday nights. My Les Paul Classic is the perfect blend of the pure sound and look your grandparents learned to love with the futuristic technology of guitars that tune themselves. Chet Flippo of Rolling Stone stated in a 1975 interview that Les Paul rebuilt all 200 guitars that he owned. The Classic is a fitting tribute to the man behind the guitar who dedicated a lifetime to improving the solid body electric.
Scott Malech
Les Paul Studio
San Marcos, CA
The Winning Essay

My dear friends at Gibson- It's me, Lester, Les Paul! You see when I left the stage in 1992, I came back as a dog! My name is Tucker, and I'm a Tibetan Terrier. Life is good as a dog! I missed you! I miss the days when we would laugh and tell stories. We created something really special together. From the first workings of "the log", to see what the Les Paul Gibson is today is amazing. We made history, and it's still the finest electric ever made. No one knows or appreciates this more than I do. The other day my owner bought his first Les Paul, a stunning red studio model. He's so proud of it and gleams each day when he gets home and puts her in his arms. He might be in love! He has other guitars, but I've never seen him like this. It's encouraged him to practice more and boy does he need it! It's refreshing to see him getting better each day. Then it hit me. Sure, we made a great guitar. Some of the world's greatest musicians choose Les Paul. It's stood the test of time. What I treasure most is that we made a guitar that makes the average player want to be better. Any guitar that makes you want to play more is a beautiful thing. I'm so proud that it brings joy to so many. We literally changed the music world, and people's lives. Is there anything better? Magic. Thank you for believing in me so many years ago, for upholding the integrity of the line that only Gibson could, for all the great models and improvements, and ultimately for changing the world with me. Your friend, Les PS> I saw Chet the other day. He's a poodle!
Deborah Brown
Les Paul Traditional
Athens, GA
The Winning Essay

My Gibson story began in the mid 1980's. My husband, Stephen, and I bought two used Gibson acoustic guitars. A 1968 B-25N (serial#910288) and a 1974-75 J-50 (serial#D344360). We did not play guitar, but had hopes of learning. The years went by, life got in the way, we carried those guitars with us through many moves. In 2010 Stephen passed away from melanoma cancer. It took me a few years, but I finally decided to learn to play those guitars and that brings me to my 2015 Les Paul. I've always loved rock & roll and blues, so what else but to also learn to play electric guitar! So, here I am - a 60 year old grandmother - who loves to rock out! I am having the time of my life! This beautiful Les Paul is the culmination of my dreams. I am still learning to play, but what a fun ride it is! Of course, there was no question that I was going to get a Gibson - I wanted the best. I'm deserving. This guitar is giving me such pleasure. Life has been hard, but music has been very healing for me. I take out this guitar, practice, and the time slips away. My heart is happy and at peace. Then when I get that riff it's so rewarding. The sound that the Les Paul has was always in my head. I could pick out a Les Paul even before I played and I love it! I feel like it's serendipity that this opportunity came to my attention and I was able to get a Les Paul that will be in my family, handed down to my grandson, because I'm the very cool grandma that is going to teach him to play music and I LOVE THIS GUITAR! Thank you!
Becci Ceithamer
Whitewater, WI
The Winning Essay

I LOVE my Gibson Les Paul that I will never play. I am a grandmother that has joyfully purchased many instruments/music lessons, yet I cannot read music or play any instrument. I am a dancer with weekly dances with live musicians and a great appreciation for music! My grandson is a well mannered very good student headed for medical school, raised by a single mom, but very shy, quiet and withdrawn...until music. I have witnessed music transform his life and seen him perform on stage classical to rock, sing and play instruments. It has brought him out of his shell and brought him joy. I purchased an acoustic when he requested to learn guitar and got him excellent lessons. I hear beautiful music every single day and then came a request for an electric guitar. A year of research discovered that there is a HUGE difference from one guitar to another and the different features that contribute to the sound. A good electric guitar is very expensive and I live on a very small income. When I came in to Guitar Center to purchase strings I heard about your exciting contest. I asked his teacher about the guitar. The teacher's exact words were: "There is absolutely no way you can go wrong with ANY Les Paul". He deserves the best. On June 9th we went to Guitar Center and I heard him play it. It took draining all accounts and cash I had, but we went home with a very beautiful Gibson Les Paul! I don't think I can sufficiently explain how I love my piece of guitar history or the joy it has brought me. Every single day I listen to the beautiful singing and sounds of my Gibson Les Paul 100 that I will never play.
Christopher Phillip
Les Paul Traditional
Clearwater, FL
The Winning Essay

I love my Les Paul 100 because it sounds and feels like no other guitar ever can or will. I love its unmistakably perfect solid mahogany body and the precision-engineered balance between its body and its neck. I love the brilliant power and clarity of its pickups and how easy it is to slide my picking hand down to a volume knob to dial in the dynamics of a delicate diminuendo or the fortissimo force of a power-chord rock anthem. But most of all I love my Les Paul 100 because Les Paul said to me it was the only guitar on earth that deserved to have his name on it. It’s been 15 years since I met Les for the first and only time. He was already halfway through his septuagenarian decade, and most every Monday night he would pick up his Gibson Les Paul and lay down some sweet jazz and bebop melodies at Fat Tuesday’s nightclub in Manhattan. Few people can truthfully say that they have applauded for one of the world’s most talented inventors and the most famous item he invented. But beyond witnessing the timeless power of the Gibson Les Paul, I witnessed its possibilities in the hands of its creator. “Don’t worry,” I would have hopefully joked with Les if he was alive for his centennial. “I would take on inventor Henry Ford in a drag race. I would dare inventor John Harvey Kellogg to a cornflake-eating contest. But I would never think I could outdo you.” I can imagine Les smiling back at me, and then winking good-naturedly and saying, “Too bad I didn’t invent the cornflakes because I would already have you two out of three.”
Greg Nemeth
Les Paul Les Plus P-90 Gold Top
Cleveland, OH
The Winning Essay

I chose the only Les Paul 100 offered with P-90's -- Goldtop Les Plus. Had trouble eating, sleeping, and focusing from the time I ordered it to the time it arrived. The words "Les Paul" drifted through my brain thousands of times. Finally it arrived -- I almost ambushed the delivery guy. There was no way I was going to test drive this baby on a wimpy practice amp. Had to blast it through my old-timey tube amp (coincidentally a Gibson Invader GA30-RVT) to get the full effect. "And what happened then? Well in Cleveland they say that Mr. Gregg's balls grew three sizes that day." Or I grew a new set. Or something. Man, the sound exploded out of those speakers. This was probably the closest I would get to hearing what Les heard in the early days. My ears are tainted -- they've been innundated with electric guitar sounds all my life. To be the first guy to hear this, Les must've fell out of his chair. It was as if he discovered a new planet. Like Armstrong walking on the moon or Columbus setting foot in the new world. A long way from a phono needle shoved in the headstock. But not only is this guitar an awesome tribute to the predecessor of the modern Les Paul we all know and love, it's a one-of-a-kind marriage of classic and modern technology. Try adjusting the nut height on a '55 Gold Top -- ha ha. I've messed around with some alternate tunings before occasionally but the GForce makes it so easy to switch tunings in seconds. Lots more exploration to come! The best is the little hologram of Les waving at me as I rip out some killer licks. The basement superstar rides again!
Ben Willardsen
Murray, UT
The Winning Essay

Dearest LPM, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! Les Paul’s birthday? Forget that – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! You are the embodiment of tradition and innovation wrapped up in one big translucent black gut-punch. As soon as I open the “let’s send Spock to the Genesis planet” case and pull you out, I know your ’61 humbuckers are going to blast me into sonic places unknown. You, my friend, are very sneaky. Hidden behind your headstock is the secret of a good gig. A button press and a strum and the tuning elves go to work. Why should I spend time staring down at a pedalboard when I could be checking out the “hotties” in the crowd? Your innovations don’t stop there. Bye-bye nut files! Hello Allen wrenches. After the gig I can quickly adjust you without cutting into “fraternizing” time with the aforementioned “hotties” and my favorite libations. The front of your headstock carries Les’ signature of approval. I’m absolutely sure that he would approve. (Mary Ford would have approved too – if she could get half of the royalties). Les was never one to sit back and accept the status quo. Pushing the boundaries was his style and style is what you have for sure. Is it me or you that the ladies in the crowd were checking out? Let’s not answer that question. Your thick, chunky neck is made of dreams. Whenever I grab your neck it is like Thor grabbing his hammer to go to battle. There is no question how it will end. What the crowd can’t see is the back of your neck. Why, it’s Les himself waving to me as if to say “I’ve done all I can - it’s up to you to carry on!”
Tyler Nitzke
SG Special
Milwaukie, OR
The Winning Essay

My First Gibson by Tyler Nitzke Ever since I was a we little lad, Gibson SG is the one I never had. I’ve owned many guitars throughout my life I might’ve found one I love more than my wife. Ibanez, Schecter, and Fender you’re okay. When I shred this new SG you’ll all be in dismay. I know what you’re thinking, you’ll just play in Drop-C. See this G-Force™ tuner? An alternate tuning PhD. I stayed home from work the day she arrived. My passion for rocking soon to be revived. The FedEx guy rang, I sprung up with joy. It felt like Christmas when I was a boy. Opened the case, there she was in all her glory. Couldn’t wait to hear her sing and tell a beautiful story. Everything was perfect, the look and the feel. Cranked to 11 so the neighbors could hear her squeal. I played for hours like back in the day. Blues, metal, country, it was a music buffet. Legato, tapping, sweeps and pick trills. Chickin’ pickin’ that’d even give Les Paul thrills! Fingers were hurting but I didn’t care. I’ll sit here and play until I lose all my hair. But it was getting late, the kids were in bed. Tonight we rest, tomorrow we woodshed. Do I love my new SG? You bet your ass I do. This thing is a beast it belongs in a zoo! I’m so excited to finally own such an iconic guitar. I dub thee SG the Guitar God Czar!
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