A True 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom!
Posted on June 25 2021
I'm thrilled to be the next owner of this true 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar! The black Les Paul Custom is one of the most aesthetically pleasing guitars ever made, in my opinion. I'm always a Gibson guitar buyer but I'm especially looking for Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1950s and 1960s. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar.
Or if you're looking for help with Gibson guitar dating, check out how to date a Gibson Les Paul guitar.
One of my favorite books about Gibson Les Paul guitars is The Les Paul Legacy (both The Early Years and The Modern Era). The Modern Era book begins with the reintroduction of the Les Paul series in 1968 after its discontinuation in 1963. One relevant line from Page 11 reads, "After the trade show, the original batch of 500 (400 Standards and 100 Customs) took three months to complete."
The serial number of this Les Paul Custom is listed in Gibson's shipment log as having shipped from Kalamazoo, MI on October 3, 1968, which puts it squarely in the first 100 Les Paul Customs after the reintroduction. Les Paul Customs from this batch of guitars are so uncommon that I was unable to find a picture of one in that book. Having the scan of the shipment ledger is nice to help with how to date a Gibson Les Paul, but not always necessary. In this case, it's pretty special!
This 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom exhibits all the cool early reintroduction features including the one piece Mahogany neck with no volute, mid 1960s Gibson pearl logo with dotted "i", long neck tenon, one piece Mahogany body with Maple cap, straight walled control cavity (likely routed before the Maple cap was glued), and thin cutaway binding. Not only that, but this one also has the distinction of being a factory Grover tuner guitar and never had the waffle back gold Kluson tuners. The potentiometer codes read "137 6745" which indicates that they were made by Chicago Telephone Supply during the 45th week of 1967.
I purchased this 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom from its sole owner since 1974. I found it to be in completely original condition except for a changed switch tip, changed pickguard mount screw, changed Nylyon saddles to metal, updated capacitors, and replaced output jack plate with metal. I was pleased to find that the original patent number stickered full size humbucking pickups have undisturbed solder on the covers and wiring.
The measurements of this 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom rather surprised me a bit. It weighs 10lbs 4oz which is certainly on the heavier side of 1960s Gibson Les Pauls. The neck profile measures .87" at the first fret and 1.12" at the 12th! It's a pretty interesting measurement since the first fret measures about what a 1959 Les Paul might measure, but the 1.12" 12th fret measurement is much larger.
I used to own a 1969 Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty Fret-less Wonder) that I bought from a very good friend of mine. It looked just like this guitar in the photo. The year I bought it was around 1975 when my Gibson ES150 was stolen in NYC. The Les Paul was a great guitar to play, although I do like higher frets as it was a little difficult to get under the strings to stretch them. I sold it in 1991 for only $400 (which seems incredibly low now), but this was pre-internet for me and the price seemed reasonable at the time as it was really beat up by the time I sold it. I do miss it and definitly, in retrospect, should not have kept the guitar…