Gibson, Les Paul Custom, 1957 - Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)


Les Paul Custom
Serial Number: 
7 8376
The Story Behind

The Gibson Les Paul Custom is a higher end variation of the Gibson Les Paul guitar. It was developed in 1953 after Gibson had introduced the Les Paul model in 1952.

The Gibson Les Paul was introduced in 1952, and was originally made with a mahogany body and a 1" thick maple cap, mahogany neck with rosewood fret board and two P-90 pickups. The guitar was only available in a gold finish. In late 1953, a more luxurious version was introduced, most probably on specific request by Les Paul himself, as he wanted a more luxurious and classy looking guitar. He requested a black guitar as he wanted it to "look like a tuxedo". Nicknamed the Black Beauty, the guitar had a mahogany body and neck, ebony fret board, and mother of pearl block markers inlays in the fret board. The "Split Diamond" inlay on the headstock was taken from the carved archtop Super 400, which was the top of the Gibson line. The pickups were a P-90 in the bridge position and an Alnico V pickup, newly designed by Seth Lover, in the neck position. The frets are low and flat, as opposed to the usual medium jumbo frets found on other Les Paul customs, and the guitar soon was given the nickname "The Fretless Wonder". The 1954 Les Paul Custom also saw the introduction of Gibson's new bridge, the ABR-1. The new Custom also shipped with a different case from the Standard, using a black and gold case instead of the brown and pink case that was the top-of-the-line case for the Les Paul Standard models. This was to be the case until the Custom was replaced and discontinued (though a similar black case was used with the LP/SG Custom models).

In mid-1957, Gibson began to equip the Les Paul Custom with the new PAF (Patent Applied For) pickup designed by Seth Lover. Most Customs have three PAFs, though there are a small number that have the traditional two-pickup configuration.

This is another Richie Sambora guitar he owned and used. Richie collected the classic Gibson guitars by choosing them carefully. So all those guitars are great examples of how those guitars should look and sound.

Here it can be heard with other Gibson Les Paul guitars in the TYS Collection:

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