Gear of the Month 2012
March: 1968 Gibson Les Paul Custom Reissue Black Beauty Fretless Wonder
The 1969 Custom models switched to a three-piece mahogany body with a maple cap and a three-piece mahogany neck. The rest of the features on this seminal reissue are a direct nod to the 1957 Custom—except the reissue had gold Grovers while the original ’57 had Deluxe Kluson tuners, the headstock pitch is 14 degrees instead of 17, and it has amp-style volume and tone knobs. According to 1968 Gibson shipping ledgers from Kalamazoo, this model was one of the first ’68 Les Paul Customs made available to the public following their introduction at the June 1968 NAMM Show in Chicago. Gibson only built 433 of these particular instruments. The Black Beauty and Fretless Wonder were nicknames given to this instrument because of its rich, contrasting body color and low, nearly undetectable frets. Its original price tag was $325—a whopping $100 more than the Les Paul.