1954 Les Paul!
The 1954 Custom Fretless Wonder
The 1954 Les Paul is one of Gibson's most popular models.
Since '52 you could buy a Les Paul Series Guitar.
As would become a signature move from Gibson, they wanted more.
The desire for a higher end variation produced the Les Paul Custom in 1954.
Perhaps by the request of Les Paul himself, a more luxurious and classy guitar was created.
He wanted a black guitar that looked like a tuxedo.
Nicknamed the “Black Beauty,” she was indeed a beautiful guitar, and came with a style that went with tuxedoed jazz players in upscale lounges…
The 1954 Custom had a mahogany body and neck, ebony fret board, and mother of pearl block markers.
The mahogany body made the guitar sound mellower than previous models’ maple capped bodies.
The pickups were P-90, and the newly designed Alnico V pickup was in the neck position.
Instead of the medium jumbo frets found on other custom models, the frets on the '54 Les Paul are low and flat, leading to the nickname “The Fretless Wonder”.
Some are confused, and take this nickname literally… there are frets on the fretless wonder; they just have a much lower profile.
The 1954 LP Custom was also the first to feature Gibson’s new Tune-O-Matic bridge.
Gibson also issued the Les Paul Junior in 1954, to bring its brand to a wider market.
This guitar was targeted at the beginners, and featured a Les Paul Junior design.
Professional guitarists fell in love with this guitar as well (tell a guitarist something isn’t made for him and see what happens).
The junior’s body was very reminiscent of the 1954 LP Custom, but stood out with its flat-top mahogany body.
Junior was finished in traditional Gibson Sunburst.
The Les Paul Junior also had a single P-90 pickup, simplified volume and tone controls, and an unbound fingerboard made of rosewood with plain dot-shaped position markers.
The main difference in the 1954 LP model from its predecessors was the fact that the neck set increased from 3 degrees to 4, giving additional wrap tail movement adjustment.
The earliest '54 Les Pauls produced issued have no serial number at all, and the remaining guitars were numbered with an “inked on” yellow paint.
There were also a few 1954 Goldtop Les Pauls mistakenly serial numbered as a 1957 guitar.
The 1954 Les Paul caught on with the professional market, and to this day, some notable guitarists favor this Gibson model, including Stevie Ray Vaughn and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.
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