Gibson Les Paul Artisan

artisan.gif (13593 bytes) My collecting habits tend to go through phases: Throughout the '80's and early '90's my collection was reduced to about 4 pieces, and I wasn't really getting anything new. But this '76 LP Artisan started a whole new round of purchases when I bought it from a dealer in Germany in 1994.

The Artisan was originally intended to be a top-of-the-line Les Paul model, when it appeared in 1976. It is heavily ornamented on the headstock and ebony fretboard. It has three humbucking pickups (later, a two-pickup version was added), and some came with the TP-6 fine-tuning tailpiece. The Artisan has a three-piece walnut top, and mine has some nice wood grain to it. I prefer this walnut finish to the ebony finish which was also available.

The Artisan was never really successful and never got any real endorsements. The only major guitarist I can recall being seen on stage with an Artisan was Dave Davies of the Kinks. The Artisan is a rather heavy guitar. It comes with a humungous volute, a lump of wood right where the neck joins the headstock, originally designed to strengthen that area prone to cracks. Like all three pickup Les Pauls, the switch activates the bridge pickup in treble position, the bridge and middle pickup in the middle posistion, for that out-of-phase sound, and the neck pickup alone in the rhythm position. The middle pickup has no individual volume or tone controls.