Aerosmith's Joe Perry: "I’ve played some ’59 Les Pauls that frankly didn’t feel that good or sound that good"

Joe Perry performs live onstage with Aerosmith
(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

1959 Gibson Les Pauls are generally acknowledged to be the cream of the crop of the vintage guitar market.

Extremely rare and sought-after, they're spoken of like great mythical beasts, and often fetch the equivalent of a nice house when put up for sale in good condition.

According to Aerosmith electric guitar hero Joe Perry, though, their actual sound and feel doesn't quite line up with their legendary reputation 100 percent of the time.

Speaking to Total Guitar as part of its new, Les Paul-themed issue, Perry said, "I’ve played some ’59 Les Pauls that frankly didn’t feel that good or sound that good.

"As an investment," he went on, "they’re always going up, but I’ve had the chance to play two or three side by side and some of them don’t sound the same as the others."

Of all of the well-known '59 Les Paul stories in guitar lore, Perry himself is the subject of one of the most famous. Facing hard times after he left Aerosmith in 1979 (he would, of course, re-join the band a few years later), Perry sold his beloved Tobacco Burst '59 Les Paul, only to see it end up in the hands of Aerosmith aficionado Slash many years later.

Slash loved the Les Paul, and for a number of years stubbornly held onto it, before finally surprising Perry with the return of the guitar at the latter's 50th birthday party.   

When asked by Total Guitar what made that particular '59 example so special, Perry said, in part, "It’s a combination of so many things and they just got it right."

To read the full interview with Perry – in which the guitarist also discusses the signature Les Pauls he's released with Gibson over the years, and what inspired him to choose Les Pauls in the first place – pick up a copy of the April issue of Total Guitar over at Magazines Direct.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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