Early Les Paul guitars to be sold at auction

Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:50pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Guitars, a piano and early recording machines belonging to the late Les Paul, who pioneered the design of solid body Gibson electric guitars, are to be auctioned in June in Beverly Hills, Julien's Auctions said on Monday.

Memorabilia, instruments and personal effects that belonged to Paul's estate will be auctioned on June 8-9, on what would have been the rock-n-roll icon's 97th birthday. Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94.

Some of the top lots include Paul's vintage guitar collection, including a 1968 Prototype Gibson Les Paul Custom Recording Model, with an estimate of between $60,000-$80,000, and a 1951 Fender Nocaster serial number 1751 with an estimate of between $40,000-$60,000 that was personally gifted to Paul by Leo Fender.

On the lower end, buyers will have the chance to bid for a case brought by Paul to his weekly gigs at New York City's Iridium Jazz Club for decades that includes six Boss pedals and a pair of Paul's sunglasses and all of his settings recorded on masking tape. It has an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.

Other items include a early 1970s 16-track recording machine, a longtime tour rig and a grand piano used by Paul in his recording studio in his house in New Jersey. Some of the items Paul referred to in his memoir, "Les Paul In His Own Words."

Paul, known as the father of the electric guitar, was a dominant force in the music business. He produced one of the first solid body electric guitars and commissioned the first 8-track tape recorder, revolutionizing the way music is produced.

He and wife Mary Ford enjoyed a string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s that included "Mockin' Bird Hill" and the influential "How High the Moon," which featured some of Paul's recording innovations, such as multi-layered tracks.

Paul played regular gigs right up until his death.

The auction will be held in Beverly Hills and will be preceded by a 10-day free public exhibition.

(Reporting By Christine Kearney, Editing by Jill Serjeant)