The Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar is one of many variations of the standard and very popular Les Paul. This model is probably the more expensive ones in the Gibson catalogue, and is intended for players or collectors looking for a superior quality instrument. It was designed by notable guitarist and inventor Les Paul, who worked with Gibson to produce the original version in 1952.
The base Les Paul guitar was a response to the Fender Telecaster, which had pioneered the single body electric guitar design that was sweeping the rock, country and blues music scenes. The Les Paul had some differences, such as the strings being attached differently than other guitars. The Les Paul also differentiated itself by coming in many boldly colored designs.
From the start, the Les Paul Custom guitar was designed with a more formal look in mind. It provides a completely black finish, which where it got its nickname the Black Beauty. Les Paul said the design was inspired by a tuxedo. Its top was mahogany, rather than the maple top of the standard edition. Starting in 1957, the Custom came fitted with Gibson’s new humbucker type of pickup, which gave the guitar a thicker, warmer tone.
Today’s Customs also have an ebony fretboard, which gives them a more sharp sound. The frets themselves are also lower than standard frets, giving the Custom a second nickname: the fretless wonder.
Many famous guitarists have used a Les Paul Custom guitar throughout the years. Examples include The Edge of U2, Ace Frehley of Kiss, James Hetfield of Metallica, and the legendary Jimi Hendrix, to just name a few.
A brand new Custom costs over $5,000. No longer strictly the Black Beauty, this guitar is also available in other colors and finishes such as Cherry Sun Burst and Antique White, among others.