Gibson Les Paul Custom ( 1954 - present )
Nicknamed : Black Beauty
During the early 50s gibson went through some crucial changes on the les paul goldtop model with their hardware and electronics ,
their guitars had an intonation problem until the tune o matic bridges was invented by ted mcarty in 1954 .
The tune o matic bridge allowed individual string tonation and adjustments which was incorporated on a new model called the gibson les paul custom nicknamed the black beauty because of its elegantly black finish ....
In 1954 the gibson les paul custom guitar was introduced with a single cutaways ,22 fret bound ebony fingerboard , raised black bound pickguard , multi bound mahogany body with a carved top ,
gold hardware ,tune o matic bridges with stop tailpiece and optional bigsby vibratoes ( see top pic to the left ) , 2 single coil pickups ( alnico v & p-90 ) , block inlays on fingerboard and were made in black finishes .
In 1957 gibson replaced the 2 single coil pickups with 3 humbucking pickups ( see top pic to the right courtesy of vintageoneguitars.com )
these gibson guitars were considered very prestigious but did not sell well until the demand got stronger during the sixties forcing the gibson company to make reissues ( with minor changes ) in 1968 .
In 1961 gibson changed the body to an sg type body with 2 pointed cutaways , gibson decided to discontinue the name " les paul custom " in 1963 on these guitars and continue production under the name " gibson sg custom " until 1980 .
During the 60s the original single cutaway model was in high demand , therefore in 1968 the gibson company introduced the gibson les paul custom reissue with a single cutaway , one piece body/neck , maple top, 2 humbucking pickups , black finish , no neck volute and were made only in 1968 .
In 1969 Gibson decided to continue their line of les paul custom reissue models with a 3 piece mahogany/maple body , very similar specs like the 68 reissue except were made in various finishes and are still going strong today, 2 or 3 pickups were optional troughout the 70s , and 80s .
Throughout the years these gibson guitars were endorsed and played by numorous rockstars and famous guitar players such as eric clapton , jimmy page , ace frehley , zakk wylde , pete townshend , marc anthony , santana , randy rhoads and jimi hendrix ...just to name a few .
Gibson also issued some anniversary & historic models of their les paul custom guitars during the 70s, 80s, and 90s which were in addition very succesful .
The prices below are according to 4 different price guides , in my opinion from 1954 to 1959 les paul custom guitars can be sold for more due to demand vs supply. Also , the les paul custom guitars with no factory bigsby tend to sell for more .
Vintage Price Value For 2009 :
1954 - 1957 > $50 000 to $55 500 ( single coil , bigsby optional )
1957 - 1960 > $85 500 to $110 000 ( humbuckers , bigsby optional )
1961 - 1963 > $25 500 to $36 000 ( sg body)
1968 - 1969 > $8 000 to $9 000 ( reissue 1 piece body )
1968 - 1969 > $6 000 to $7 000 ( reissue 3 piece body )
1970 - 1999 > $1 600 to $2 500 ( prices vary according to features/specs )
1954-1957 > Avg Upward Trend Of 38% a Year since 2000
1957-1960 > 41% 1961-1963 > 28% 1968-1969 ( reissues ) > 23%
Note : Les paul custom guitars with PAF's can be sold for a considerable amount , I've seen a 1957 custom sell for more than what they are worth in the price guide ... keep in mind that the early models are rare and collectors are willing to pay big time for these guitars .
The gibson les paul custom guitars from 1954 to 1960 along with the flying V , gibson explorers , les paul standards and the late 50's goldtop models ( humbuckers ) are some of the most sought after vintage gibson guitars by collectors and players today.
You can find used or vintage Gibson Les Paul Custom Guitars For Sale on ebay , however I recommend you read the descriptions carefully before you bid or buy .
Important Note : Due to the overwhelming amount of comments on this blog i cannot answer all the questions although id love to . You can still post questions hopefully some of our viewers can help you out ... Thank You
Gibson Les Paul Custom ( 1954 - present )