the Paul

the Paul

Jonathan Robinson - Thank You Joey and Piggly Wiggly

In this Guitar Gavel podcast I am grateful to have Jonathan Robinson as this week's guest. Jonathan is a prolific guitar player and has a pretty long professional career singing/playing/writing music in Charleston, Nashville, and from his home turf in eastern North Carolina.

Jonathan has an incredible guitar journey and some of the stories along the way include ripping it for hours at a time on Broadway in Nashville, playing at the Ryman Auditorium, and his band basically losing all of their gear when their RV burned down. Thanks for taking your time to watch (or listen)!

Gibson introduced “the Paul” in 1978, a dressed down and more affordable version of the Les Paul. It was essentially the precursor to the LP Studio that came out five years later.

The main functional difference from a LP is the Paul’s 3-way switch is above the controls and behind the tailpiece. The body is not as thick either, cutting down on some weight.

The Paul Standard’s were made of walnut and had Gibson’s T-Top pickups with an ebony fretboard. There was also a Deluxe version made of Mahogany.

In 1980 Gibson introduced the “Firebrand” line-up and the Firebrand Les Paul replaced “the Paul”.

1979 Gibson the Paul

The logo was branded into the headstock instead of the gold silkscreen and some came with a pickguard. They were generally made of mahogany and several colors were available in addition to a natural finish.

Otherwise, it’s “the Paul” rebranded, or re-firebranded

Termination of the Firebrand LP (with discrepancies) was either 1985 or 1986.

Gibson reissued “the Paul/Firebrand” in 1996, known as The Paul II. The 3-way switch was moved to its normal position and it had a fancier carved top. Still, it’s a no frills USA LP that is lighter and more budget-friendly.

The Paul II was discontinued in 1998. Given the very limited run, arguably this could be a niche Gibson collector’s piece years from now.

A friend of mine, Matt Charnoski of GABA Music Works, questioned if there was a decent backstory to this model. I think the first run can be summed up with “Norlin”. The reissues of the late 90s are perhaps just a blip on the trial and error radar, but it’s a solid offering and a lighter alternative to most modern LP’s.

Lighter on the wallet too!

1996 The Paul II Specs: Mahogany body and set mahogany neck, Rosewood fretboard, 490R and 498T pickups

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.