naked black beauty!

Les Paul Custom Historic ‘57 Custom Reissue Antique Natural

Once in a while we come across a guitar that is so rare, that it is hard to track down exactly what we are looking at. Case in point, this drop dead gorgeous Les Paul Custom. The first thing we noticed was that although the serial number and accompanying papers put it aa a ‘57 Reissue Black Beauty (LPB-7), it was certainly not wearing its formal black attire. The finish appeared to be an original ‘50s style limed mahogany, the same finish that made the original TV Yellow Juniors and Specials so, well, special.

Limed Mahogany was a designation that Gibson used, but was eventually referred to as TV Yellow, due to either its similarity to TV cabinets of the time, or the fact that the light yellow color showed up as white on television, but didn’t over dazzle the current video technology, as actual white would do. Unlike some later versions of TV Yellow that tend toward opacity, this more original version of the finish is very transparent, and shows off all of the consistent tight grain of the mahogany. When queried about this particular instrument, the friendly and helpful folks at Gibson Support, said it was recorded as “Vintage Natural”, and confirmed that nickel hardware was original, unlike most LP Customs’ gold hardware.

The body is just one lovely piece of mahogany, top to bottom. Les Pauls are typically associated with a maple cap, but the original ‘50s Customs (Black Beauties) were mahogany through and through. This lends a little warmer tone than maple, and has been done by Gibson on a various Les Paul releases over the years. This is the first time we have ever seen a “limed” mahogany though, and it is extremely cool.

As is often the case with Customs, the thing is kind of a beast at 9 pounds, 10.6 ounces. Some think a Les Paul should be heavy, others disagree. I guess that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

Action above the ebony fretboard and mother of pearl blocks, is typical Les Paul effortless, and the sound from the ‘57 Classic pickups is clean and clear at low volumes, crunchy and articulate when dimed. Once again, there is disagreement, but my personal tastes run towards the open, airy, low output sound that made those PAF humbuckers the gold standard of electric guitar sound.

Regardless, we are quire enamored of this rare and unusually beautiful ‘57 Les Paul Custom reissue. Feel free to contact us with any questions, or with any further information. Thanks for reading, and have a good one.

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