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The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy 1915-1963 Hardcover – March 1, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Prominent guitar expert, player and photojournalist Robb Lawrence wrote the original byline for Guitar Magazine's popular 'Rarebird' column on vintage guitars. He began his association with Les Paul in 1972 and has been his West Coast concert tech for many memorable shows. Their association has included work on The Wizard of Waukesha, a 1978 film about Les Paul and the recent 2001 Grammys tribute film.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonrd Corp; illustrated edition edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634048619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634048616
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Mend on March 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After weathering many delays Robb's book finally sees the light of day and boy, was it worth the wait. Thoughtfully written and impecably researched, this book is to be included among the best guitar reference tomes of Tom Wheeler, Richard Smith, and Nacho Banos.
The biography section in entertaining and informative, but the guitar section is where this book really throws down the goods. Awesomely photographed and interspersed with interviews and info. I have seen and read just about every vintage guitar book and was delighted to view many prototype guitars and details never seen in any book. The wonderful up-close pictures of "Pearly Gates" and "Hot'Lanta" were highlights.
Sections on Les Paul amps, Customs, Juniors, Specials, and 45 pages of '58-'60 Les Paul Sunbursts in all of their glory...it's all here.
Do not hesitate to get this book, you will not be disappointed!
Robb Lawrence has certainly raised the bar with this book and I eagerly await volume II. Bravo Robb!!!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, Ive been researching and studying Les Paul guitars and the man, since my first LP guitar in 1971. I read this book cover to cover, including all the fine print in the reproduced Gibson ads of the day. The title "the early years" may confuse some at first-this isn't about ancient history, or ancient music, as the photo of a young Les Paul may infer, but simply about the early years of the guitar's development and production. It does, however, give an great overview of Les Paul as well, which I found crucial in the bigger picture, not only of the guitar, but pop music and Gibson as well. Lawrence's history of Les is really interesting, informative, and inspiring. And, its still relevant, not only due to Les's contributions to recording, but also to the spirit of a marriage of creativity and technological curiosity.

Mr. Lawrence has provided a unique and colorful overview of both subjects. Mr. Lawrence was, as I understand things, Les's west coast gutitar tech. That alone provides credibility and provenance few others have, as well as objectivity apart from Gibson or Les himself. Further, Mr. Lawrence, beyond his luthier background, is a player. Another useful perspective.

Simply, the book has great photographs of the 'original' Les Paul line up, as well as historical development information. It is organized and easy to digest, and, most importantly, a good read. It has pictures of Les Paul guitars, some unique in all the world, none of which I've seen before, anywhere.

Not a technical tome, nor a cork sniffers guide, but rather a superlative tale of history of the instrument. And better still, a tale that appears to give the perspective of the times, i.e.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Man, oh man, this book is a complete guitar geek's (who loves Les Paul guitars) seven course epicurean delight.
The book is beautifully done, inside and out. I love how they imprint the hard covers on many books like this these days with what would have otherwise been printed onto a separate dust jacket. Don't get me wrong, I'm a book lover and love a good, pristine dust jacket, but I'm still loving the cover of this book - especially since I know I'll be reading this book over and over in the coming years.
Contains Lester's life story and then the Les Paul guitars (along with what's needed of Gibson's history) story and Les Paul amps story up until the early '60s when Les' contract ran out and the SG guitar continued on where the Les Pauls used to exist.
Lots of prose to give us many details, and lots of photos to back everything up.
If you don't care that the P90 pickup have fillister head pole piece screws, this book might drive you crazy with detail, and you might not want to read it, but I know I'll read it a second time within the next couple of weeks because I know there's lots of interesting material I didn't "catch" on my first read. Kinda how you might watch an intricate movie a second time soon after seeing it the first time because you know that you couldn't have possibly absorbed every detail on the first viewing.
I ordered the other "half" of this book, The Modern Era of the Les Paul Legacy: 1968-2009, when I got through with this one. I wait with great anticipation for that one to arrive.
On my first read, I did not see one single misprint, misspelled word, or reference to an incorrect page in this book. Sadly, that is impressive, because even some of my favorite recent non-fiction books have some boo-boos. Kudos to the editors for this.
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Format: Hardcover
I really wish it were possible to review products at Amazon without assigning a rating, because pinning a number of stars on The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy: 1915-1963 is no easy task.

It must be said right off the bat that the book is a veritable treasure trove for fans of Les Paul and the famous solidbody guitar that bears his name. The images alone are worth the price of admission, and the author brings a unique perspective to the book that's deeply appreciated. The book is extremely well-written; there's no denying it.

Unfortunately, though, it's extremely poorly edited. I searched for an editor to blame -- it's hard to fault Robb Lawrence, because even the best of writers need an editor -- but I could find no such credit. As a result, newer fans will often find themselves lost in the course of reading the text. Sometimes lesser-known information is presented matter-of-factly on one page, only to be explained sufficiently four pages (or two chapters) later, as if it were being introduced for the first time. It's as if Lawrence wrote the book in chronological order, then someone else cut-and-pasted paragraphs into chapters by subject, without ever going back to tidy up the text.

Honestly, though, that's the only blemish on an otherwise brilliant and one-of-a-kind book. None of the other texts on Les or the Les Paul model guitar come close. The layouts are unparalleled, the images are simply breathtaking, and the personal anecdotes are priceless.

Seriously, though, Robb? If you're reading this, please find an editor before releasing the second volume! The quality of work you're putting into this project deserves that last 5% of polish.
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