In another series on the evolution of the iconic guitars of the modern rock era, British website Music Radar recently ran a feature running through the history of the Gibson Les Paul Custom.

Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty

When the Les Paul Custom was first launched in the mid-1950s Gibson billed it as “the ultimate in a solid body guitar.” As the Music Radar article points out, while the original Les Paul, launched in 1952, “was relatively modest in terms of decoration at the time,” it set the stage for the production of a more elegant version, resulting in the launch of the Les Paul Custom in 1953. Referred to as the ‘Black Beauty,’ the article describes it as “a guitar that looked like it meant business,” with its ebony finish, gold-plated hardware and split-diamond headstock (among other premium features).

The article also chronicles how the new Alnico V pickup designed by Seth Lover for Gibson made its solid body debut on the Les Paul Custom, as well as Lover’s game-changing development of the humbucker pickup, which featured in Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Goldtops from 1957 onwards.

Read the full article on Music Radar here. For more details of the Les Paul Custom in all its modern-day finishes and current configuration, go here.