Gibson 1954 Les Paul Custom VOS
Gibson 1954 Les Paul Custom VOS

1954 Les Paul Custom VOS, LP-Shaped Guitar from Gibson in the Custom Shop Les Paul series.

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tjon901 08/04/2011

Gibson 1954 Les Paul Custom VOS : tjon901's user review

« P-90 Black Beauty »

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The Black Beauty was Gibsons first super high end solid body electric guitar. They took the 1953 design and put a new and improved bridge on it. This was the first guitar with a tune-o-matic on it. It also was the first Les Paul to have the now famous black paint job. Les Paul wanted his guitars to come in two colors Gold and Black. This guitar is built like a Les Paul should be. It has a 1 piece non chambered mahogany body. The Les Paul Customs did not have maple tops. It has a big fat mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard. The fretboard has 22 frets. It has the big custom headstock with the split diamond inlay. The pickups in this guitar are the 2nd generation P90s with the improved magnets. The controls are typical Les Paul with a volume and tone for each pickup and a 3 way on the upper part of the body.


This guitar certainly feels like it is from 1954. It has the 50s style neck which some people love and some people hate. I dont like it personally but I have big enough hands that I can play it fine. Some people with smaller hands cant stand these necks. These guitars were also called fretless wonders because of their super low action provided by their super low frets. If you dont have a good setup these features can make these guitars almost unplayable. These guitars are not as heavy as you would expect. If Gibson can make these with 1 piece mahogany body guitars that are non chambered but not heavy why do they have to chamber their other guitar to make them lighter?


This guitar also sounds like it is 1954. With the P-90s in the Les Paul you get a unique tone that you dont get with most Les Pauls that have humbuckers. P-90s have a more twangy tone like a single coil but they also have some low end warmth like humbuckers. They have a vintage output but they can still rockout. Because they have a bit of warmth along with the single coil bite they do great overdriven tones. A lot of heavy records from the 60s and 70s were done with P-90 pickups because of this. They have the bite of a single coil with some humbucker warmth thrown in to keep them from being too harsh with overdrive. They are good for cleans also. Many jazz guitars still use P-90s for the perfect jazz tone as well. They are good overall pickups. Since they are single coils they will still give you some 60 cycle hum so be aware of that.


No one really buys these Les Paul Customs to play them. Unless you are a big rockstar you arent going to take a 5k guitar out on a gig with you. These guitars Gibson are putting out are pretty much halo guitars that will go in someones collection so he can resell it in 20 years. This is a shame because they are a part of guitar history and great guitars at their base level. There are cheaper options out there if you want a Les Paul with P-90s like the 60's or 50's Tribute Les Pauls which you can get for less than 1000 dollars now. If you just gotta have a 54 Custom here it is, get your wallet out.