In the late 50’s and early 60’s, guitar manufacturers began to fully understand the visual impact guitarists wanted their instrument to have, creating a race to design instruments that looked radically different from anything yet seen.
In the early 1950’s, Gibson and Fender were duking it out for electric guitar supremacy. The Gibson Les Paul fought valiantly against Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, but as the 1960’s rolled in, the tide began to shift in favor of Fender. Gibson’s Les Paul, despite its incredibly high quality, was prohibitively expensive and perceived as old-fashioned… especially compared to new Fender arrivals like the Jaguar, Jazzmaster, and Mustang.
Eric Clapton. Paul McCartney. Slash. Jimmy Page. Pete Townshend. Jeff Beck. The Gibson Standard has been the instrument of choice for some of rock and roll’s all-time elites.
Apart from a few very rare instances, you have not seen Queen’s legendary guitarist Brian May without his custom “Red Special” guitar.