“Leo wanted me to be partners with him, for it to be the Fender guitar – the Les Paul Fender”: Les Paul was once approached by Leo Fender to work together on a solidbody electric guitar

Les Paul (left) and a Fender Stratocaster headstock
(Image credit: Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images / Future)

The Les Paul is arguably the most recognizable and iconic electric guitar to ever feature in Gibson’s lineup, but had history panned out slightly differently, it might not have been a Gibson model at all – it could have been a Fender.

That sounds totally wild on paper – especially given the fact Gibson and Fender are two of the biggest brands out there, and two historical competitors – but the ‘Les Paul Fender’ actually came rather close to happening… sort of.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.