Anyone who has played one of the original 1700 or so Les Paul Standards built from 1958 to 1960 belongs to one of the most exclusive guitar clubs. Members include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield, Mick Taylor, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Gary Moore, Paul Kossoff, Marc Bolan - rock's royalty, in fact.
The single-cutaway Les Paul harked back to Gibson's L-5C, and yet its solid mahogany and maple body exudes a tone so classy that it remains a holy grail. It wasn't until 1966 that Eric Clapton realised its full potential. Had you bought one in 1968 for £400, today you could exchange it for a house... or three.
Price then: £280
Price now: from £80,000 skywards
Best new equivalent: Gibson Custom VOS 1959 Les Paul Standard (£3499)(BUY: Thomann | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music)
Mid-price choice: Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top (£429)(BUY: Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | GuitarGuitar | Coda Music)
Budget buy: just buy the Epi!