While Les Paul remains deeply influential as a guitar player, perhaps his greatest legacy will be his contribution to the evolution of electric guitars. By 1951, Les Paul was a respected guitar player, and he was known as a bit of an innovator, too. He had experimented with the solid body electric guitar concept for years, so Gibson president Ted McCarty approached him that year to discuss a collaboration. The result was the Gibson Les Paul Model, which remains one of the most influential and forward-thinking electric designs ever conceived.
In the late-'60s—when the traditional LP shape came back into production—Gibson reintroduced the Les Paul Custom as a two pickup deluxe model with an Ebony fingerboard, fancy inlays, and fancy trim. In the '70s, the Les Paul Custom became one of the most consequential Gibson models of the decade. It is an icon of Classic Rock.
This 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom captures all the vibe and mojo you could want from a vintage LP, and it has been customized in just the right ways. In its original Ebony finish—with no shortage of patina on the 7-ply binding—this guitar looks the part. It has been outfitted with a MIJ tune-o-matic bridge that is the proper spec with a wire retainer, and it's a substantial upgrade from the original Norlin-era bridge. It also has modern Gibson-branded Kluson Deluxe tuning machines, a new nut, and the Ebony fingerboard has been refretted.
For pickups, this '78 sports a Seymour Duncan '59 in the neck position and Seymour Duncan Jeff Beck in the bridge. The is a popular configuration that produces powerful humbucker tones—true to the original PAF characteristics, but a hotter in the bridge to push your amp. This guitar has everything you could want from a good Les Paul. Singing sustain, smooth around the edges—it's a formidable instrument that does the LP thing in spades.
This '78 Les Paul Custom has been played hard, so it is worn in all the right places (see photos). This is a real relic. The neck is worn and played-in, and the setup is fast and inviting. This would be a reliable battle axe for any gig, but the vibe and character will be hard to replace in your guitar rack at home. All in all, it's a very cool Les Paul. It includes a red-lined Norlin-era case.