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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    This week, I celebrate 10 years on the Vintage section of the LPF.

    Mostly, I lurked, as I was playing vintage Fenders, but eventually I managed to get my very own 50s LP.

    So here is a tribute to my favourite Les Paul model.

    Often forgotten, misunderstood but mysterious, the Alnico Customs from the 50s haunted me for years. Only last year did I finally manage to get a 1956 and the honey moon is still going strong.

    So let's have a thread that celebrates these unique guitars. :slash:

    Please post info and pics only of Alnico Customs...I will be updating the thread with photos from my archives as we go along.



    The shipping totals...



    There are some '53s too, not sure where they come under...Gruhn had one for sale for a while, and I remember it being on the heavy side.

    A data sheet of some sort, singing the praises of being a Fretless Wonder...






    Here is my '56



    Last edited by zhivago; 08-28-19 at 01:03 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    A closer look at the "Staple" pickup...





    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:30 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    A bit of porn to get us going properly



    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:31 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Anatomy of a custom...I came across these pictures so many years ago...and it some ways they have almost killed me by intensifying my desire for one of these...so here we go...

    Anatomy of a 1954 model...












    To be continued...
    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:43 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    part 2...















    Final part of the anatomy coming up...
    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:46 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    ...and finally, part 3...















    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:48 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Here's Phil X rocking out on one...

    A pretty good representation of what they sound like...

    Last edited by zhivago; 03-08-15 at 01:02 PM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread












    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:54 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Rare, or what?

    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 05:56 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    This thread would be nothing without Keef's Custom...







    For many years I wondered what year it was...

    the actual guitar is featured in the Rolling Stones gear book...here are a couple of scans I made...the guitar is a 1957, so one of the very last Alnico Customs...



    Closeup of the caption...



    and the closest shot I could get of the serial number...



    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:01 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    this thread also needs some Les...







    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:07 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Catalog shot...with closeups...





    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:09 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Chuck...





    ...and Jimi...






    :slash:
    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:12 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    a 1955...I think it belongs to one of the members here...













    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:15 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Here's another '56...one owner guitar, apparently...it was a package with the amp

    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:16 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  16. #16

    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Lovely stuff!

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Great thread. I had a 56 about 10 years ago. Excellent guitar. Extremely lightweight. I foolishly sold it off to Scott Silver at Chicago Music Exchange in pursuit of another guitar. Every time I see a vintage custom I check it out, hoping it's my old guitar. If so, I'm buying it back!

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner and Moderator CDaughtry's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Great Thread!!!

  19. #19

    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    awesome photos- thanks-Chuck Hammer

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    I love them!
    This is a song from the new album, it's a deep meaningful song this one... No, it's not whiskey in the fucking jar... Philip Lynott

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member rbig80's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread


    Cool Thread, Luther Grosvenor played one in Spooky Tooth

  22. #22
    Burst Detective! zorglub!'s Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Classy model... thanks!

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member MS 57's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Here is a 1957 that I used to own, # 7 3125 13 numbers from Keith´s :


  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    As the owner of a 2003 version of one of these guitars, I would like to ask if 'those who know' could say whether the modern version of the 'Staple Alnico' pickup sounds the same (or similar) to the originals on the 1950s guitars.

    Thanks. Crint.

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member VGNut's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    GREAT Thread !!!

    Thank you for all the effort putting this together to recognize a model that is KILLER !

    my 56 and 57


  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Good to hear everyone is enjoying the thread!

    I will post more pics in the future

    With regards to comparing an '03 Historic's neck pup to a vintage example's, I think there definitely is a difference. I used to actually own an '03 Historic before this one.

    The pickups are close, but there are differences for sure.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  27. #27
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Truly my favorite of all the Gibson Les Pauls....I personally love the all mahogany build and love an ebony fretboard. As for players...I will always think of Les Paul himself as the main player for this model. So while he may have loved the recording model, I think of the BB when I think of him. His playing on some of those YouTube clips with a BB is pretty remarkable. He really was a hell'uv a player. Others that come to mind quickly are Kossoff, Richards, and Pat Martino.

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Here is a 1955

    Part 1...









    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:22 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Part 2...













    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:24 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  30. #30
    All Access/Backstage Pass Progrocker111's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Classy, sexy and great sounding guitars. Keep showing more photos!
    My diagnosis is: Hiwatt and Norlinphilia


    2014 Gibson Les Paul Junior 1957 Custom Shop
    1972 Hiwatt DR103, 1972 Hiwatt SE4122

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Will do, plenty more in my archives
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Anatomy of a 1955 Les Paul Custom...very pic heavy, so I will break this into a few posts...

    Super-detailed!









    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread











    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread



















    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:32 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread













    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:35 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread













    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:39 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread


















    phew! had to be done!
    Last edited by zhivago; 12-19-18 at 06:43 AM.
    Guitars: '56 Les Paul Custom, '63 SG/LP Custom, '61 Jazzmaster, '43 000-28, '15 ES-345,
    Amps: Matchless Lightning, Zvex Nano amp
    Pedals: Centaur, BJFE, Analogman, Zvex, Maxon, Way Huge

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member P.Walker's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    easily my favorite les paul model...something about the black color with the alnico and the p90...bigsby would be cool also...overwhelmed by the great photos. thanks!

  39. #39

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member Cliff Gress's Avatar
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    Re: Beauty of The Black Beauty - The "Alnico" Custom thread

    Speaking of Customs and Hendrix


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