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1954

Gibson Les Paul Custom Black (1st year)



- year: 1954-1957, 1957-1960, 1961-1963, today
- shape: single cutaway
- construction: Neck set
- body: carved mahogany top, mahogany back, multiple bound top and back
- neck: mahogany
- fingerboard: single bound ebony fingerboard and peghead, block fingerboard inlays, low "fretless wonder" frets
- logos and serials:
-- front of headstock: Gibson pearl logo, 5-piece diamond peghead inlay
-- back of headstock: early examples have no serial number, later 1954 models have yellow "inked on" SERIAL NUMBER "4 XXXX"
- electronics: one black P-90 pickup in bridge position, one Alnico V pickup in neck position, both pickups have black covers.
- hardware: Tune-o-matic bridge, stop tailpiece (Bigsby vibrato optional), gold plated parts
- colors and other features: Black finish
- notes: Even though the Les Paul Custom was the top-of-the-line Les Paul model, it has far less value today than it's cheaper cousin, the Les Paul Standard. Players feel the additional pickup, inlays, body binding, and gold plating makes the guitar "more show than go".


1954
Gibson Les Paul Goldtop (2nd Series)

In 1954 the case for the Les Paul Standard now had a curved top, echoing the carved maple top of the guitar. Note there were a handful of 1954 Goldtops made with the serial number starting with "7". This is confusing as the "7" would otherwise mean 1957 (and a 1957 Goldtop would have a Tunematic bridge). This was no doubt a mistake by Gibson, and the pot source/code can be checked to verify the correct year. I would estimate less than ten of these 1954 Goldtops with a 1957 serial number exist. Some 1954 have the "Gibson" peghead logo moved further from the top edge of the peghead

1954
Gibson Les Paul Junior (1st year)

    Available: 1954 to present
    Collectibility Rating: 1954-1960: B, 1961-1963: C-.
Originally sold as Gibson's least expensive, single pickup, student solidbody model (it was replaced as the least expensive solidbody Gibson in 1959 by the Melody Maker). Also 3/4 scale versions of the LP Junior were made by special order in the 1950s, but are fairly rare (rarity is a good thing in this case, as 3/4 scale Les Paul Juniors are not very desirable due to their smaller size; also the body of the 3/4 scale Juniors is usually made of Maple, not Mahogany).
1954 Les Paul Junior introduction specs: Mahogany single cutaway slab body, 1 soapbar P-90 pickup with black cover, stud tailpiece/bridge combo with the string looping over the bridge, dot fingerboard inlays, 24.75" scale, single ply black pickguard, gold logo, "Les Paul Junior" silkscreened on peghead in gold, nickel plated parts, 2 color yellow to brown sunburst finish, brown back and neck finish. Pickup location very close to the bridge. Short threaded bridge post inserts which often lean forward and can even crack the wood between the bridge posts and the pickup, yellow "ink stamp" serial number on a dark brown back.

1954
Gibson Les Paul TV (1st year)

Available: 1954 to present
Collectibility Rating: 1954-1955 (3/4 and/or maple): C+, 1956-1960 (mahogany full scale): B+, 1961-1963: C.
The "TV" model is essentially a Les Paul Junior with a yellowish/beige translucent finish. Allegedly, this model was created because on a black and white TV screen, the Les Paul Junior model in sunburst looked very dark and difficult to see. The lightness of the TV finish made the guitar stand out on the screen. This model follows the same basic specs as the Les Paul Junior model; only the color and peghead designation is different. Was still sold as basically a single pickup student model guitar. The except to this rule are 1954 and most 1955 model Les Paul TVs. For the first year or so of production, the Les Paul TV model was 3/4 scale and used a *maple* body. By 1955 the model changed to full scale but still retained the maple body. By 1956 the body was mahogany and full scale. The late 1955 full scale mahogany version is the most desirable as the sound is much fuller with a long scale and mahogany body.
1954 Les Paul TV model introduction specs:
*Maple* single cutaway slab body, 3/4 scale, mahogany neck meets body at 14th fret, 1 soapbar P-90 pickup with black cover, gold "barrel" knobs, single ply black pickguard, stud tailpiece/bridge combo with the string looping over the bridge, dot fingerboard inlays, gold logo, "Les Paul TV model" silkscreened on peghead in gold, nickel plated parts, "TV" beige finish.

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