Tom Doyle - Les Paul's guitarman of 45 years
tells the real truth about The Gibson White Custom

Russ Paul "Les Paul Jr." confirms & authenticates
The White Custom from Les Paul's Autobiography

Tom Doyle - Les Paul's personal luthier, guitar tech, sound engineer and friend of over 45 years, proudly holds Les Paul's White Custom Guitar and Les' Autobiography that features the very same guitar. Tom authenticated this guitar 100% as being THE ONE that Les Paul experimented with, played in his home and posed with for his one and only autobiography - "Les Paul... In His Own Words". Talk about your history!!! Visit Tom Doyle's Website here...

This guitar is indeed the Les Paul White Custom from the cover of the book and many other promotional photos from that time100%. No ifs, ands, or buts… We have contacted the photographer Wolf Hoffman, that took the photos for the autobiography and affirms this to be the guitar. He spent 10 days with Les in his home, and following him everywhere for that time period and knows this guitar well. You see… this guitar has been re-fretted by Gibson for Les’s personal tastes… and as you know, a factory fret job has the binding over the frets, and with a post facto re-fret job the frets will be above the binding and there will be no binding on the frets. Take a good look at the guitar in all of the photos and the guitar from the book. Also a keen eye will notice the inlays – their shape, color, patterns, characteristics and so on… they match perfectly. 

More importantly, I know Tom Doyle personally, have been to his home, his shop, used to go to Fat Tuesdays on Monday nights with him to go watch Les play (back in the day). I even met Les a few times at Tom’s shop, and Tom brought us over to Les’s home to visit with him back in the 80’s.  Do you know who Tom Doyle is? If not, Google the search term Tom Doyle Les Paul. Tom has been Les Paul’s personal friend, personal luthier and guitar tech, sound engineer, and consultant for 45 years… a constant companion, helper, co-designer, tech, and more importantly, a good friend to Les over the years. Tom inspected this guitar and also 100% affirms the instrument as the guitar Les used all the time for practicing in his home, playing and experimenting with different high impedance pickups with and the guitar he personally chose to use for the cover of his autobiography, “Les Paul – In His Own Words”. There was no doubt, he was 100% sure. (Read part of Tom's Letter Below)

Lastly, when we contacted The Estate Sale to discuss this guitar and make arrangements for its delivery and so on… The party who we spoke to interrupted by saying, “ Wow! Do you know what guitar you just bought? This is the guitar on the cover of Les’s Autobiography!!!” He then went on to explain about that there were only 3 Gibson White Customs in Les’s entire collection of this type. One still had all of the original Gibson Factory stickers on it and original factory frets, the other a 1988 Custom had been played somewhat but again still had its original factory frets and very plain and non-descript inlays with no real pattern to them. Moreover… only one had been re-fretted, marked as such on the notes on the case, and perfectly matched the pattern and design of the mother of pear inlays. He continued, “I had the book in front of me and all of our photos of this guitar next to me and I’m comparing… and it’s the same guitar!” Then as we have mentioned, he explained that with all that was going on, the daunting task of categorizing all of the items, etc… this one just seemed to fall off the radar somehow. He then said he wished he could have bid on this one… etc, etc… you know the rest.

This guitar is very special, very important, has perfect provenance, and will prove to be very important in the grand scheme of things as Les Paul’s personal guitar that he chose to use for the cover of his book.

This is from a letter we received from Tom Doyle – Les Paul's guitar tech, engineer, and friend for 45 years!

Les' guitar is certainly well documented and with it being on the cover of the book ‘Les Paul- In His Own Words’ you can't go wrong. It is hard to believe that some of Les' guitars went for so little, but in that way, it has been a benefit to you in this history connected guitar. To have Les think to use this beautiful white custom on the cover of his ultimate book is saying a lot. Les never did anything without a purpose, and I'm sure this classy guitar was a  personal endorsement to Gibson from him and what Gibson did for his career. What a way to keep the Legacy alive! Also, you should know that Les and the Cochran Brothers were working on the book at that time and I'm sure there was something said at the time to Gibson about a beautiful White Custom Les Paul that should be on the cover. As in good business… it would be a wise move.

At the same time, Les was constantly experimenting with pickups, always looking to improve the normal humbucker. I would see him playing this white guitar at the house on some Mondays when I would come to pick him up to go to the Iridium. Most humbucking pickups have good midrange and highs but lack clarity on the lows. This was an ongoing quest for any pickup manufacturer. Les felt he may have been able to solve this problem and would experiment in this area for years. You see, he had great low end sound with his low impedance pickups.  

This was a problem with high impedance humbuckers and has always been there.  The country pickers were more leaning toward the single coil Fender world. That's because of the clarity on the bass frequencies and highs. Les wanted to make a humbucker a better version toward the country player as well. I know this to be a fact because of the many High Impedance coils that he had been experimenting with. The other interesting thing is that Les would not mess up this guitar by chopping it up. The reason I believe was, it was used for many  promo  pictures to come and some that were taken later as you have seen. Les' playing on this guitar was to try to analyze how to solve the low end muddiness. Hope this helps with understanding just why and how this guitar became as important as it did.” 

Your Friend, Tom Doyle    

Les Paul was a prolific musician, designer, engineer, inventor, raconteur, a very successful business man, and nothing less than a living legend. He invented the modern multi-track recording system that is still used to this day, and of course he designed, invented, and refined the solid body guitar that bears his name… The Gibson Les Paul.  

When Les Paul passed away in 2009, the entire musical community around the world mourned a great loss, but celebrated a great man and relished in all the great accomplishments that he left as his legacy to the world. The Gibson Les Paul Guitar will forever be his gift to us all, and the Les Paul Custom is the pinnacle and culmination of that dream… The best part of his imagination and ingenuity come to life with precision engineering and craftsmanship with the help of the fine people at Gibson Guitars. 

The Les Paul Foundation along with Les’s son Russ, and others close to Les decided to liquidate his estate and donate all of the funds generated from the sale of “The Property From The Estate of Les Paul” to the Foundation in order to continue his legacy, his wishes and dreams of supporting musical education, engineering and innovation, as well as medical research. The sale included equipment, memorabilia, personal effects and instruments that span the entirety of Paul's career from his days as Rhubarb Red to his weekly Monday night shows at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. 

It took thousands of man hours to pack, transport, unpack, go through each lot, photograph, categorize and describe, build and publish the catalogue, and then ultimately display all of these items for public viewing. Over a year of hard work from a very large team of experts and assorted professionals from many fields were needed in order to bring this auction together. Inevitably with such a huge task at hand, mistakes and oversights were made. Some items were confused, miscategorized, notes and labels misread, and some guitars misunderstood for what they actually were, where they came from, and their actual provenance and importance. After the auction was over, and as the staff was packing up all of the displays, putting away all of the valuable guitars and cleaning up… a glaring oversight was discovered!  

One of the guitars, a 2002 Gibson White Custom Les Paul with gold hardware which was offered as “just another guitar” amongst many of the lots, turned out to be one of the most special and significant pieces in the entire auction. This guitar was Les Paul’s personal guitar… the one he played quite often in the last remaining years of his life, and specifically had re-fretted to his personal tastes and spec by Gibson NYC - through Gibson’s Artists Relations Rep Jimmy Archey. But most importantly and significantly… this was the very guitar Les Paul posed with for the cover of his autobiography, “In His Own Words” just before he passed away!  “Had we understood at the time what this guitar was and how important it will ultimately be to Les Paul’s final legacy and its real collectable value, the guitar would have sold for significantly more than it did… but no one recognized it for what it was at the time… with all that was going on”, according to the good people who directed and managed the auction.



This guitar was owned and played regularly by Lester William Polsfuss… known to most around the world as Les Paul, to his friends as “Red”. The inventor of the modern electric solid body guitar. This guitar was part of his personal collection... He liked and played it so much that posed with it for the cover of his Official Biography, “Les Paul – In His Own Words”.


This exquisite Les Paul Custom was owned and played by Les Paul himself and was actually part of his personal collection... until he passed away in 2009. This guitar is 100% authentic and was purchased from Julien's Auctions, who was proud to present Property From The Estate of Les Paul.

Les Paul basically invented this solid body electric guitar that bears his name - and he not only revolutionized the sound of the electric guitar, but also the technology behind modern day sound recording. Les Paul pioneered innovative techniques with sound-on-sound recording and commissioned the first 8-track tape recorder, which would become the core technology behind multi-track recording still used today. The sale included property, equipment, memorabilia. and instruments that span the entirety of Paul’s career from his days as Rhubarb Red to his weekly Monday night concerts at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City.    MORE INFO HERE...

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