Gibson Les Paul Custom 1958

John Shults

Posted on March 13 2023

Gibson Les Paul Custom made in 1958 in black finish with three pickps

Gibson's Les Paul Custom made in 1958 is one of the pinnacle years for the model since its introduction in 1954. The 1958 Les Paul Custom has the perfect combination of fat neck profile, three patent applied for humbucking pickups, and the option for a stop bar or the Bigsby tailpiece. This example from 1958 is one of my favorite vintage guitars I've played. At about 9 lbs it was not a light guitar, but it was certainly light compared to most Les Paul Customs. 

As a Gibson guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest Les Paul guitars made in the 1950s. If you're looking for help with finding out how old is my Gibson Les Paul then check out Les Paul Serial Numbers. Or if you're considering selling a Gibson then you can contact me here: Sell a Gibson.

How many Les Paul Customs made in 1958?

How much did a Les Paul Custom cost in 1958?

Check out another Gibson Les Paul Custom here: 1960 Gibson Les Paul Custom.

1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom in original yellow and black case

How many Les Paul Custom guitars did Gibson make in 1958?

Gibson kept comparatively good records of all the guitars it produced and shipping from the 1930s to the 1970s. While not all of the surviving shipment ledgers are accounted for, most of the production total records are still in Gibson's possession. The surviving records indicate that at least 256 Les Paul Customs were shipped in 1958. It's not clear how many of the Les Paul Customs came equipped with the Bigsby tailpiece since the production totals don't list them separately. 

It's interesting to consider the value of the Les Paul Custom with 256 produced compared to the value of a Les Paul Standard from 1958 with at least 434 produced. Vintage guitar values are established as a result of the relationship between supply and demand. The supply of Les Paul Standards from 1958 is significantly higher than that of the Customs, but the value is also significantly higher. I am currently looking to buy both Les Paul Standards and Customs made in 1958. You can contact me here to sell a Gibson

1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom headstock with Custom inlay

How much did a Les Paul Custom cost in 1958?

Gibson produced price lists each year which listed pricing for each model for a given production year. I was unable to find a copy of a price list from 1958, but the 1957 and 1959 price lists both indicate that the price of a Les Paul Custom was $375.00 and the Fautless case was $47.50. The premium price for the Custom was at least 50% higher than that of Les Paul Standard. 

Gibson Les Paul Custom price in 1958

Three Humbucking Pickup Les Paul Custom switching and wiring

Gibson made a strange decision in 1957 to update the Les Paul Custom model not just to humbucking pickups, but to add a third pickup in the middle. The three pickup Les Paul Custom toggle switch still only has three positions, but it doesn't work in the way you might think. The rhythm position selects only the neck pickup, the treble position selects only the bridge pickup, but the middle position selects both the middle pickup and the bridge pickup. The strangest thing about the wiring is that the bridge pickup has its magnet facing the opposite direction from the other two pickups which give the the middle position that quacky out of phase sound.

I've not yet seen any period Gibson literature from the 1950s that addresses the out of phase middle position, but I suspect that the quacky tone may have been popular during that time period when amplifiers were generally much darker sounding. The quacky middle may have been the cut that some players were looking for. Gibson used the out of phase middle position sound again on the Stereo wired ES-345 and ES-355 guitars during the following year in 1959.

Three patent applied for PAF pickups in the 1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom 

Gibson Les Paul Custom 1958 Important Measurements

One of my goals as a guitar collector is to track the measurements of each 1950s Les Paul guitar that make them special. This data allows us to compare the Les Paul production years to find the perfect combination of features. 

1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom 8 3812 measurements:

Weight: 9.3 lbs / 4.2 kg

Neck profile: 0.91" deep at the first fret and 1.01" deep at the 12th fret. This is a fat mid 1950s profile which was slightly slimmed for the 1959 production year. 

Pickup resistance readings: Neck pickup = 7.13k ohms, bridge pickup = 7.39k ohms. The middle pickup resistance is not measurable without removing it from the harness. 

1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom control cavity

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