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NGD: 1956 Les Paul Custom

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Hello all,

I just got a 1956 Les Paul Custom. It's a bit of a mongrel, but she's very cool. Somebody routed the guitar for humbuckers at some point, but that's no big deal for me. When I want P-90 tone, I have a 1959 Les Paul Junior that fills that bill nicely. This will be a work in progress as I can source the correct parts. I have a set of the Waffleback Klusons on the way, and I'm waiting for a gold ABR. As far as pickups go, I'm going to replace the Tim Shaws that came in it with a set of early Patent Number pickups I have.

Anyway, I am going to restore her to her former glory as I can. I'm beyond stoked.

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jimmi

Active member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,847
Hello all,

I just got a 1956 Les Paul Custom. It's a bit of a mongrel, but she's very cool. Somebody routed the guitar for humbuckers at some point, but that's no big deal for me. When I want P-90 tone, I have a 1959 Les Paul Junior that fills that bill nicely. This will be a work in progress as I can source the correct parts. I have a set of the Waffleback Klusons on the way, and I'm waiting for a gold ABR. As far as pickups go, I'm going to remove the Tim Shaws that came in it with a set of early Patent Number pickups I have.

Anyway, I am going to restore her to her former glory as I can. I'm beyond stoked.

72DA05B2-6648-48D7-AB7D-EE14A6D4BBCA-8553-000004F96DFF1FEA_zps19031ced.jpg
I have an 80s gold abr1 sitting in the original packing. I grabbed it off the shelf when I worked in a music store back then to install on a guitar I ended up selling. Found it when we moved. Hit me up on the other forum if you are interested.
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Thanks, Jimmi. I appreciate the offer, but I've already bought one. I'm just waiting for it to arrive. This guitar is going to need a lot of attention. Frets are gone, so that's first on my list. Then a refinish. She's been refinished before, and badly at that. It's THICK. Then, I'll put the rest of the correct hardware on her. I realize the collector value is shot, but this should be a fun project though, with a great player as a result.
 

MapleFlame

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
14,032
Great project. I have been looking for the all mahogany version myself.
 

jimmi

Active member
Joined
Oct 8, 2012
Messages
1,847
Thanks, Jimmi. I appreciate the offer, but I've already bought one. I'm just waiting for it to arrive. This guitar is going to need a lot of attention. Frets are gone, so that's first on my list. Then a refinish. She's been refinished before, and badly at that. It's THICK. Then, I'll put the rest of the correct hardware on her. I realize the collector value is shot, but this should be a fun project though, with a great player as a result.

All cool. Just thought I might be able to help out the restoration :)
 

woody-89

Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2007
Messages
855
Awesome! Was this the one that was at GC for a steal? If so you're a lucky man! - I was very tempted by it..
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Awesome! Was this the one that was at GC for a steal? If so you're a lucky man! - I was very tempted by it..

Yes, that's the one. It needs quite a bit of work, but I think it'll be awesome when I'm finished.
 

RAB

Active member
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
2,110
My original 2 PAF 1959 LP Custom was one of my favorite guitars, sounded awesome so I predict great tone from your humbucker '56!
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Thanks for the kind words gents. It was probably just paranoia, but I was a little afraid the tone might be muddy because I've never owned a Custom before. I didn't know how the lack of a maple top would work with low output pickups. There is definitely a different tonal spectrum, but I really dig it. I find myself playing it with both pickups a lot more than my Standards. It almost has a bit of a "honk" in the middle position. Man, I just love old wood. :)
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Hello all,

I do have a small update. I removed the chrome (I think) covered Shaws, and replaced them with a set of early "Non-T" Patent number pickups. I was able to score a really nice set of aged gold humbucker covers. I must say, I love the tone...smooth on the neck, and crunchy in the bridge.

I wasn't able to install the Klusons and gold ABR yet. I'll do that when I get her refinished. I'm just waiting to get my 68 Standard back before I ship off the Custom. Anyway, I'm getting there. Here she is as of today. I'll check back as I mark the items off the list.

FA390585-680D-4187-8077-343F529B7B9A-23583-00000DBF320ADD57_zpsfc5a2942.jpg
 

DANELECTRO

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2003
Messages
6,209
Looks like a killer player! :wow Are you sending it to HM for the refin? They did an aged makeover on a Historic BB a while back that looked amazing. Did the guitar come from the CG in Cincinnati? I hadn't been there in a while and I stopped in last week and there was no vintage gear at all.
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
I got it from GC Hollywood. I'm not sure where I'm going to send it yet. My 68 Standard is at RS Guitarworks right now getting an aged Goldtop finish. If they do a good job, I may take it there, since they're close. However, HM is definitely still in the running. It all kinda depends on who has the shortest backlog. I know Kim does spectacular finishes. Next task is to get a refret. The tiny "Fretless Wonder" frets have been replaced at least once, and she's in dire need of another refret. I'm planning on playing it until I get my 68 back. Then, I'll send off the Custom for a killer re-fin.
 

Rev.WillieVK

Active member
Joined
Jul 26, 2002
Messages
9,268
However, HM is definitely still in the running. It all kinda depends on who has the shortest backlog. I know Kim does spectacular finishes. Next task is to get a refret.

FWIW The real-world-honest completion time at HM is 4-6 months, depending on how busy they are and what work you are having done. Kim stays in touch with you throughout the process, and has been known to throw in little things to make it 'right'.

Highly recommended! :dude:
 

rays44

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2001
Messages
2,902
Wonderful guitar. Congrats. I have a straight '56 and always wanted a version like yours with hb's. Funny, this thread would have a thousand posts if it were a burst conversion. Oh what little love for customs. :salude
 

Brad737

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
99
Hello Gents,

I finally have some good news to announce...

My 1956 Les Paul Custom Resurrection is finished!!!

As I said, when I got the guitar, it was in really poor condition. First off, she was basically unplayable due to totally worn-out "Fretless Wonder" frets. I had a set of jumbo stainless steel frets installed. I know they aren't "correct", but with the value already greatly diminished, I did exactly what *I* wanted...not some nameless potential collector years down the road. At the same time, I had the fretboard Pleked. (sp?) All I can say is that she plays better than any other Les Paul I've had the pleasure to play, really effortless, and totally slick.

Next, I was lucky enough to find a KILLER sounding pair of "Real Deal" vintage PAF pickups. The neck is creamy goodness. (BTW, The clean neck tone on this Lester is my wife's favorite. She keeps asking me to go back to that sound...) The bridge is awesome. It's kind of hard to describe. It has a bit of that ZZ Top "sizzle" but with the very faintest hint of a cocked wah sound. Really unique, but fantastic. I don't know if this is because it doesn't have a maple top, or because it has PAFs, or what. But with both pickups on, it almost has a bit of a honk to the tone. It's the first Les Paul where I've really liked the tone with both pickups on at the same time (except for guitars wired for the Green/Moore out of phase sound).

Lastly, she had some damage to the body...most notably, a not-so-great headstock repair. I sent her to Kim at Historic Makeovers for a total refinish. Kim made some fantastic repairs. The headstock repair is almost invisible, and stronger than ever. I asked for weather checking to the lacquer, and very light aging...I just want her to look like she would if she'd been taken care of these past 58 years.

All in all, this project cost a LOT more than I'd planned, but it was a labor of love. It also took the better part of a year. I couldn't be happier.

Without further ado, here she is:

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J.D.

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
9,741
Looks great, and I'm sure Kim and co really nailed it.

I'm digging that block logo EVH 1/2 stack shown in the OP. I had one many years ago and to me it was an exceptionally good sounding amp made even better with a few tweaks (=C= tubes and adjustable bias mod).
 
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