‘Low impedance for High Performance’
This is the slogan used by Gibson on launching the Les Paul recording on the guitar playing world in 1971.
A development of the Professional, the Recording retained many of the feature ( low impedance pickups, more advanced equalization section) whilst including some improvements such as an internal transformer to match impedance for amps and consoles and a lighter construction. The original brochure included a flexi disc narrated by Les Paul, with music by Bruce Bolen that demonstrated the wide variety of tonal options available.
A manual was included to explain the functiuonallity of the instreumtn. In essence it is as follows -
- Bass, Treble and Volume Self explanatory. The bass and treble have a very wide range, but most importantly work independently from each other, dialing in more treble does not affect the level of bass, and vice versa
- Decade Control This eleven position switch tunes or alters the treble harmonics. Produce "biting" or "silky" highs with simplicity.
- Phase Control Only works when both pickups are selected.
- Impedance Selector Hi for live use or Low for studio use (or live use with a Low-Impedance amplifier).
- Tone Selector Three settings: 1, 2, and 3. This switch does not actually change the tone produced by the instrument per se.. it acts as a bypass, inactivating certain controls - hence allowing quick and reversible changes between settings that would otherwise be impossible particular in a live setting. In position 2 (middle), nothing is bypassed. All controls function as described above. In position 1 the pickup selector switch and treble and bass controls are inactive - both pickups are selected by default. In position 3 only the treble and bass controls are bypassed. These controls are explained in detail on pages 2 and 3 of the Les Paul Recording owners manual.
Its heyday came in 1973 with shipping figures peaking at 1759. It remained in the catalog until 1979 with the last few instruments being shipped in 1980.
This guitar is in excellent shape showing very little signs of wear. There are the odd knock and bumps but nothing too extensive. The finish is often mistaken for Walnut but is in fact a clear coat over the pancake British Honduran Mahogany body. The marks on the front are finish blemishes and not holes from a an additional tailpiece.
The three piece Britsih Honduran Mahogany neck is in great shape, again not showing much in the way of wear. The ebony fretboard and original frets are in fine condition with plenty of life left in them.
Plastics and hardware look good with only a little damage to the cover on the bridge pickup. The original harmonica bridge is still present and in great shape.
Electrically everything seems to be present and solder joints look undisturbed.
The guitar comes with its correct hardshell case.
In the great tonal hall of fame, it feels as though the low impedance pickup has been overlooked somewhat, though fans of pristine clean will surely be intrigued by the possibilities. The various switching and tonal options available do yield a wide variety of tones including a total bypass of all the tone controls. It may look like the work of a madman but spend a little time with this guitar and it will reveal its potential.
A closet classic from the mind of Lester Paulfus. Grab it before it gets away.