See inside Les Paul's heavily modded 'Number One' 1952 Goldtop in this exclusive video

Les Paul’s ‘Number One’ 1952 Goldtop Gibson goes up for auction in October. Now you can take a look inside under the hood of the prized instrument in this exclusive video with Les’s son Gene Paul and long-serving guitar tech Tom Doyle.

What’s astonishing about the instrument is the scale of the modifications made by the guitarist to his ‘Number One’ Goldtop. 

As you’ll see in the video, Les Paul took a hot screwdriver and a hammer to the existing chambers in order to create room for numerous electronic tweaks.

The additional scratchplate around the pickups hides a large cavity in which Paul sited a humbucking coil and allowed the guitarist to move the pickups up and down to find the ideal positions between the neck and bridge.

On the rear, the cavity that usually conceals the pickup selector toggle switch has been enlarged to house another humbucking coil for the neck pickup.

Les Paul's 'Number One'

(Image credit: Justin Borucki)

Interestingly, Gene Paul recalls helping to wind the coils in the basement of his house in order to aid his dad’s humbucking experiments.

Doyle also discusses the control setup on the guitar, which features a master volume and tone switch and a rotary pickup selector.

Take a look at the full video above and read our previous piece to find out more about the specs of Les Paul’s ‘Number One’.

Les Paul’s ‘Number One’ 1952 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop will be auctioned off as part of Christie’s New York's Exceptional Sales lot, which opens on October 13, 2021. Its estimated value is $100,000-150,000.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.