The mods and myths of Les Paul's 'number one' Goldtop

Gibson Les Paul 'Number One'
(Image credit: Justin Borucki)

Nobody alive knows more about Les Paul’s ‘Number One’ 1952 Goldtop than Tom Doyle. After watching Tom, an accomplished guitarist and luthier, perform live in the mid-60s, Les invited him to become his personal tech. The term ‘tech’, however, falls somewhat short of describing what Les, with his tireless urge for tinkering, had Tom do for him. 

“First of all, Les didn’t like to sleep,” Tom says. “I would be there until six o’clock in the morning working on guitars and I’d say, ‘Les, I got to go home’. And he’d say, ‘Okay, we’ll work on this tomorrow.’ I mean, it just never stopped. He just had so many ideas: he would think of them, dream of them constantly. 

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.