Gibson Les Paul Custom – U.S.A. – 1954


Electric Solid Body Single cutaway guitar


Mahogany body and top, mahogany neck

Ebony fretboard

P90 and Alnico 5 single-coil pickups


Gibson introduced a second model after the Goldtop, the all-black Custom, which came to be known as the ‘Black Beauty’. The Custom was the first guitar to feature the Tune-O-matic bridge. Designed by Ted McCarty, the director of Gibson, the bridge had six saddles that were adjustable in length.
To distinguish the Custom from its predecessor, the body received a mahogany top and an ebony fingerboard. The most notable difference, however, was that the Custom’s bridge did not mount a P-90 but an Alnico 5 magnet with a high output. This gave the instrument more power than with the P-90, using Alnico 2 magnets.
In 1957, the Custom was revised and the single-coil pickups were replaced with three of Gibson’s new PAF humbuckers (‘Patent Applied for’). The three-position switches of the previous models were retained, but in the center position, the middle and bridge pickup became active.
The Goldtop was discontinued in 1958 and Custom in 1961. The Les Paul series merged into the Solid Guitar-series or ‘SG’, as it became known.

Last updated on 12 May 2020
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