Why don't more famous artists play Les Paul Customs?

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by crazytrain513, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    Just out of curiosity. There's no right answer here -- unless you have quotes of course :rofl:.

    Yes, a lot of artists HAVE played Les Paul Customs for a song or two here and there -- I saw Slash playing a Les Paul Custom for "You Could Be Mine" at Pinkpop 2015 on YouTube which is what sparked this question. His tone didn't change noticeably which got me thinking about this. And of course, everyone knows Jimmy Page has played one from time to time.

    But it seems most of these artists gravitate towards the Standards almost exclusively. Why is that?

    There's an argument that Custom's don't have THE Les Paul tone. But how true is this, really?

    In my experience, my Standard and my Custom are wired identically and with the same pickups and while they do sound slightly different, I think EQ'ing can rectify that to a degree where, when the drummer kicks in, no one would notice.

    What say you? And if you provide your own preference, please providing your reasoning!

    Again, all in good fun here. :cheers2:
     
  2. cherrysunburst00

    cherrysunburst00 Senior Member

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    That is a good question. Two things that come to my mind are 1)some players just think Customs are too gaudy; too much bling? 2)Perhaps somehow related to 58-60 Standards frequently thought of as "the holy grail"?
     
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  3. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    Interesting point on the gaudyness.

    In my opinion, I've always found the black Les Paul Custom to be a sort of understated instrument, almost elegant. Slash's in the video had all the hardware switched out to chrome and had the pickup covers removed with exposed double-blacks.

    With the white LPC, I could see the "gaudy" factor measuring up.

    I personally have always found the AAA @ AAAA flame tops to seem more "gaudy" for lack of a better word (no offense to anyone as I own one such culprit).
     
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  4. Gargamel647

    Gargamel647 Gold Plated Member Premium Member

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    I have a few reissues and customs. I tend to play the reissues more because they are lighter. Maybe your seeing them play reissues and not new standards? My standards tend to weight 8-9 lbs. Customs 9-10lbs and reissues 7-8lbs
     
  5. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    Also interesting. I'm sure that's a possibility but I'm not even talking "currently" as much as I am over the years, you know?

    Jimmy Page, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Gary Richrath, Joe Perry, etc. They've always seemed to prefer the Standards.

    And my Custom weighs 9.1 pounds which was actually lighter than my solid body Trad I used to own :hmm:
     
  6. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    And then in the 70s, seems more people played the Customs all of a sudden, despite them being so much heavier and arguably, less consistent in quality (again, just broad generalizations here)
     
  7. marsten

    marsten Senior Member

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    I think Cherry hit upon two really good points plus I might add that at least the early 70's ones I played a fairly low fret wire. That may have been a deterrent for some players.

    However some of my favorites players used customs as their main guitar. Mick Ronson, Steve Hackett, Jan Akkerman, Randy Rhoads. Heck if Page had not has his black beauty swiped he might of kept using it more and more. Hard to say :)
     
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  8. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    Fretwire, very good point!

    Hm, Page could've always bought another one too though, right?

    And in Led Zeppelin's reunion show in 2009, he did play a Custom for one of two songs, but always resorted to his Standards.

    I just find this so interesting!

    One of the best examples of "more expensive doesn't always mean better"

    Note: Randy is my favorite player, followed by Slash, and I ironically always preferred Slash's tone.
     
  9. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
    I bet the Fretless Wonder thing had something to do with it..not ideal for big searing rock bends...
     
  10. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    But all these artists ended up having customization or custom-models made for them anyways right? They could afford to have Gibson make them one with bigger fretwire if that was the issue :hmm:

    I apologize for playing Devil's Advocate. Just seems it hasn't been addressed much on the forums & I've genuinely always been very curious about this.
     
  11. Kris Ford

    Kris Ford Senior Member

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    Of course they could.
    But maybe it's because of what was popular at the time?
     
  12. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    The Custom was produced in far fewer numbers during the 50's, and had 3 pickups for a period. Plus the cost too as shown above
    So the old guitars were much more available as the sunburst. Clapton really set the whole thing off of course.

    In the 70's the Custom was the only easily available model with full humbuckers. To get a Standard then was like hens teeth for a good portion of time, and to shoehorn in a humbucker into a deluxe required body mods.

    But the tone of the Custom suited itself more to 70's hard rock better than the mellower tone of the Standard.
    And most artists of the day weren't in the position to get Gibson to 'make them' anything. Even international touring artists barely made any money. It was the suits that made it all.
     
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  13. Veeing Fly

    Veeing Fly Senior Member

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    Because they aren't as enlightened as you or me.
     
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  14. kherman

    kherman Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
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  15. SkaneatelesLake

    SkaneatelesLake Senior Member

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    Hmmmmmm, well, I guess my mind went right to two of my favorite players: First, Steve Gaines of Skynyrd is maybe my favorite player. He played a black Custom on some of my favorite songs. Second and more obvious: Peter Frampton. Nothing else needs to be said of him. Throw in Rhoads and you have three as good as any three.
     
  16. Progrocker111

    Progrocker111 Senior Member

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    70s in fact was the decade of Custom domination. So much rock, hardrock or progrock bands have been using Customs (especially Norlins)... As i am a dedicated 70s progrock freak, i am often wondering, how much especially less known European bands played 70s Les Paul Customs during that time.
     
  17. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    I don't know the answer. But I do know why I no longer own a Custom. As time went on I gradually leaned more and more towards the blues. I find the attack on the burst more subtle and fitting for what I'm looking to do now. I had a few Customs, white RR style and a natural, both were heavy. They did have that sonic fat attack which worked well cranked through a Marshall when I was doing that.
     
  18. crazytrain513

    crazytrain513 Senior Member

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    Personal reasoning more than welcome!

    So the tones are different enough in your opinion that they are not interchangeable?

    Every guitar is different of course, but I hear people say bursts are better for blues because they are "mellower".

    I always found that interesting because my Custom and Standard are pretty close in sound but if I was splitting hairs, my Custom is actually slightly mellower than my Standard (my Standard is the bright and brash one).
     
  19. Death Incarnate

    Death Incarnate Premium V.I.P. Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    Tons of people play Customs. Including two of my favorites.

    [​IMG]
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  20. alnico59

    alnico59 Premium Member

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    I wouldn't describe my Standard's as "mellower". They are actually brighter and handle the cleans more to my liking for the less gained out tones. The Custom's I've owned had that slightly darker, I call it fat, tone that tames a cranked Marshall. I'm sure a Custom with T-Tops or some A5 PAF's would work for me too.
     

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