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  1. #1
    Jesse Segovia

    Opinions on 1989 Gibson Les Paul Custom 3 Pickup?

    I'm Les Paul'ed up again! I had a 1976 3 Pickup Black Beauty but sold it in the late '80s, since I was only playing my Cherry PRS Standard at that time. I regretted it constantly and knew someday I'd get that same model guitar back again when I had a chance. I finally found a good replacement, a 1989 3 Pickup Black Beauty which is UPS'ing its way to me right now.

    Some questions about this particular guitar:

    1. What's the general opinion on '89 Customs? Good? Better than the '70s Norlins? 'Same as current Customs?

    2. Gibson support says this guitar (and my '76) has a carved Maple top and three PAFs. They say only '50s Customs and recent reissues are all Mahagony. This is news to me - is this common knowledge?

    3. The '89 (and the '76) probably has a three-piece carved top and not a two piece, right?

    4. My '76 had a very slim (but wide) neck on it - I loved it. But every recent Custom I've played has a thick neck on it, and a friend who owns an '89 Custom says his also has a very thick neck. What's the history behind Black Beauties and their neck widths?

    5. Opinions on how to set up the guitar? Leave it the way it is, all black plastic (except for the white selector switch tip) and black barrel speed knobs? Replace the knobs with the tapered black knobs the original Customs came with? I think I'm leaving the pickup covers on this time (removed 'em all on the '76).

    Oh, and here's the guitar. From the pictures it appears to be in pretty good shape:

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member TedB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Birmingham, AL
    AFAIK, this guitar has a 2-3 piece maple cap.

    Neither this guitar nor your '76 have 'PAFs'.

    FYI: Gibson did make a special 35th Anniversary Custom in '89 that was a 3-pickup model. It has a medium width neck, one piece mahogany top (no maple anywhere), reprp 'PAFs' and 'vintaged' binding, knobs, Klusons etc.

    The current Historics are 1-piece mahogany body.

  3. #3
    Jesse Segovia
    Originally posted by TedB

    Neither this guitar nor your '76 have 'PAFs'.
    Not original '50s PAFs, but reissue or PAF style guitars. This is what Gibson support says about both the '70s and '80s 3 Pickup Customs.

    The fellow selling my guitar says he pulled the pickups and they say PAF on the back. I'll know for sure when I get it.


  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member ScreamingTrees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Los Angeles
    Looks sweet! Congrats and welcome back to the LP world. Let us know how she sounds when ya get her.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Ed Driscoll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Silicon Valley, California
    Originally posted by Jesse Segovia
    Not original '50s PAFs, but reissue or PAF style guitars. This is what Gibson support says about both the '70s and '80s 3 Pickup Customs.
    I wonder if those are the pickups that Tim Shaw designed. Do a search on "Shaw pickups" on this site, and you'll read all about them. My 1983 Custom came with little lightin bolt "Pat. Applied For" stickers on the pickup rings, which (I'm pretty sure, based on previous threads) signified the Shaws.

    By the way--great looking Custom you've acquired!

    Last edited by Ed Driscoll; 04-06-03 at 02:57 PM.

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