The 1953-1957 Gibson Les Paul Custom, with its classic black finish and intricate pearl inlay, is one of our top picks among the 5 Les Paul models from the 1950s. It was the top of the line solid body electric guitar that Gibson made during the decade that spawned rock and roll. Guitar collectors (like myself) try our best to keep at least one 50s LP Custom in nice playing condition in our collections. 

Jump to the Les Paul Custom information you're looking for:
How much did a Les Paul Custom cost in the 1950s?
How many Les Paul Customs did Gibson make in the 1950s?
What does it sound like? Hear an actual 1950s Les Paul Custom!
Considering selling? I'm on the hunt for another Les Paul Custom

As a Gibson Les Paul guitar collector, I'm always looking for nice examples of vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars. If you're considering selling your guitar, I'd like to take a look at it. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson guitar. 

If you're looking for a guitar expert's opinion on dating a Gibson, check out How to date a Gibson Les Paul

One of my favorite books for more information on vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars is The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy by Robb Lawrence. It has great history on Les Paul the guitar player and the line of guitars he inspired. 

vintage Gibson Les Paul Custom made in the 1950s with black finish

How much did a Les Paul Custom cost in the 1950s?

The best place to research the price of a Les Paul Custom in the 1950s is Gibson's own price list from that era (or for modern pricing of a vintage Les Paul check out Les Paul Values). The scan below is from the Gibson price list from 1955 which was the second year of the introduction of the Custom. The Custom was nearly 50% more expensive than the next Les Paul option (the Goldtop or Standard). That's because the Custom was Gibson's very highest end solid body electric meant for the most experienced players. The 1955 Gibson Price List scan below shows that a Les Paul Custom was priced at $375.00 in the mid 1950s. 

Gibson Les Paul Custom Price in the 1950s

How many Les Paul Customs did Gibson make in the 1950s?

Gibson kept fairly accurate production records for the guitars shipped between 1937 and 1980. While the records aren't perfect, we can safely assume that about 1,200 of the first version of the Les Paul Custom were shipped from Gibson between 1953 and 1957. The second version of the Les Paul Custom featured three humbucking pickups instead of the AlNiCo V/P-90 two pickup version. It was introduced in mid 1957.

If you think you have one of the 1200 mid 1950s Les Paul Customs and are looking for a buyer then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson.

Two versions of the Gibson Les Paul Custom in the 1950s

What does a 1950s Gibson Les Paul Custom sound like?

Here is a video my friend and I made of a 1955 Gibson Les Paul Custom which came through the shop recently. You can really hear how the AlNiCo V staple pickup sounds in comparison with the standard P-90 bridge pickup. The AlNiCo V pickup has a rich, high fidelity sound without being thin or sharp. The P-90 is a little less rich than the staple pickup, but does everything the player needs for a great bridge pickup sound. You can hear it on the video below.

I am currently looking for another 1950s Gibson Les Paul Custom: Sell a Gibson.

Gibson's catalog listing for the 1950s Les Paul Custom

This is a scan of the original advertisement for the Gibson Les Paul Custom from a catalog from 1955.

Gibson Les Paul Custom catalog scan from 1955

You can check out other Gibson Les Paul guitars from the 1950s here:

Gibson Les Paul Goldtop 1954

Gibson Les Paul Special 1956

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1960

Gibson Les Paul Collector

As a Gibson Les Paul guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for all versions of the Gibson Les Paul range from the 1950s. I'm especially looking for a nice example of a mid 1950s Gibson Les Paul Custom like this guitar. If you're curious about how much I would value your Gibson Les Paul at then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson. You can send pictures of your 1950s Gibson Les Paul to the contact information below for me to check out. I'd be happy to help with dating and identification as well. 


John Shults

Looking to sell?

Do you have a similar guitar you would like to sell, or get appraised?
I would love to take a look! Please contact me today!