This is an iconic guitar in the history of Aussie pop rock. It was owned by a founding member of one of Australia’s most successful and high profile bands of the swinging 70s. It was used on countless recordings, tours and TV appearances over many years. If you were a watcher of the ubiquitous ABC music show Countdown, particularly in the early years, you would have seen this guitar. It was the go-to instrument for one of the most respected & well-loved guitarists in Australia before he sadly left us a few years ago.
Like the Les Paul Standard, the Les Paul Custom was replaced with the SG body style at the end of 1960. The original Les Paul and Les Paul Custom were not brought back until 1968. Upon its reintroduction, the Les Paul Custom differed from those of the ’50s in number of ways – the headstock was a slightly steeper angle, the control cavity in the body was cut in a different manner, and the neck tenon was longer. Starting in late 1969, the Custom also adopted a multi-ply body construction with a Maple top like the Les Standard, where the original Les Paul Custom used an all Mahogany body. Other changes include the introduction of a neck volute and a ‘Made in USA’ stamp on the back of the headstock.
However, this one is from earlier in ’69, and features a one piece body, not the pancake, and no neck volute.
And because this is relatively famous guitar, we actually do know of its entire provenance and some changes made to this instrument over the years.
They include –
Gold Grover tuners fitted in 1998
Professional refret – late 90s
Replaced gold Gibson ABR bridge (original in the case)
Black witches hat knobs replaced with gold Gibson top hat knobs
Pickup covers removed (one remains in the case)
Switch tip replaced
The most significant change was a subtle slimming of the neck. The original chunky neck profile was carefully reduced to resemble that of the 1960s Epiphone Casino also played by the owner at the time. The back of the neck was refinished in perfectly matching gloss ebony. This work was carried out by respected Melbourne luthier Merv Cargill. And an excellent job it is – without actual knowledge of this work having been done, you’d be hard pressed to know about it at all. The lacquer matching is perfect, and the neck now feels like a 1960 Les Paul neck – kinda medium C profile, not thin at all, and nothing like the baseball bat profile of some ’58 and ’59 reissues.
Neck thickness is now –
1st fret = 20.5mm (13/16”)
12th fret = 23.8 mm (15/16”)
Other standard features include –
2 x Gibson T-Top Patent No. humbucking pickups
3 piece mahogany neck
22 medium jumbo frets
3 pickup selector
LP Custom split diamond headstock inlay
Gloss Ebony finish
Frets are in great shape with lots of life left. Its two original Gibson humbucker pickups have nice strong outputs of 7.6k and 7.8k. All wiring appears to be original and unmolested.
Serial number 8849xx actually checks out to 1968
Pot date codes are 13769xx = 1969
And this one has no volute, and no Made In USA stamp, making it less common and more collectable than other later ’69 LP Customs.
This one is a great player, and it has been well played. It has some dings, marks and tarnishing associated with 50 years of player wear. But there are no other cosmetic issues and certainly no structural problems.
Most importantly, it plays great and sounds fantastic. The pickups are rich, tonally complex, and sound good at any volume setting.
This guitar has made some significant music over many years, and deserves a new appreciative home. It has stories to tell, and lots more miles in the tank.
Comes in its original Stamford hard case in reasonable condition, complete with remnants of dozens of luggage tags bearing testament to the thousands of journeys taken by this exceptional guitar.