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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member LeonC's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
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    Palos Verdes, CA
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    Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    I'm interested in hearing about these guitars and how they compare to late 50s LP reissues (with humbuckers and rosewood fretboards). I'm specifically interested in hearing about the models with a staple top + P90 and an ABR (rather than wrap or bigsby) type bridge/stop tail.

    Here's what I'm most interested in hearing about:

    - year of mfg
    - neck shape
    - overall weight
    - tone of neck pickup in terms brightness vs darkness, clarity vs not-so-clear, output compared to bridge (and compared to PAF type pu)
    - tone of bridge pickup in the same terms
    - fret size / shape
    - playability in general...any fretboard issues

    And of course, anything else you have to say about these guitars. Thanks!
    Full Disclosure: I built Valclone Amps

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member Ace139's Avatar
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    May 2003
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    New Market, MD
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    1,706

    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    I wish I had one !
    Some people call me old fashion - but fire scares me

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    London, UK
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    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    - year of mfg
    The R4 that I used to own was a 2003 model:



    - neck shape
    The R4 had a larger heftier neck with more shoulder.

    - overall weight
    10.1lbs

    - tone of neck pickup in terms brightness vs darkness, clarity vs not-so-clear, output compared to bridge (and compared to PAF type pu
    Very powerful "staple" pickups. Hotter than the P90 on there. It sounded thicker. Still a great sound, just a bit different. One thing to note is that the pickup sits deeper in the old guitars, allowing to drop the magnets down and balance better with the bridge. This was not possible with the R4, where the pickup sits higher. This probably adds to the airy feel of the old pickups. The output of the "Staple" pickup compared to the neck PAF on my '63 SG Custom was a bit hotter...but not by miles. When using a fuzz pedal the neck pickups can at times completely overload the pedal. It's a cool sound, if you're into that sort of thing.


    - tone of bridge pickup in the same terms
    Raunchy, raw, very "AC/DC"...roll down the volume a bit and you get sparkle...quite possibly my favourite guitar sound in the world...even over a PAF at the bridge, which is also awesome, but in a more "polite" manner. I have a soft spot for P90s...the P90 on the R4 was good, but a bit flat, so I had it swapped to a Zhangbucker Cherrick pickup, which was absolutely fantastic.


    - fret size / shape
    Standard large frets found on Historics of the time


    - playability in general...any fretboard issues
    It played like you would expect it to.


    anything else you have to say about these guitars.
    I I had the R4 upgraded with all Pigtail parts, the Mapleflame mod, RS kit with Grey Tigers, RS Waffleback tuners and the Zhangbucker pickup, so it was upgraded to the hilt, short of a Historic Makeover, which I also considered...all excellent upgrades that I would recommend to anyone.

    I would be totally satisfied with an R4. The inherent tone and character is close to the old ones.

    I hope this helps a bit.

    I will also share this post in your thread at TGP, so the members there can also see it.
    Last edited by zhivago; 10-05-19 at 02:29 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 LeonC's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    Hey @zhivago! Yes...odd that there have been really no replies over here but a handful over at TGP. Anyway, your post is most helpful! Thanks so much.
    Full Disclosure: I built Valclone Amps

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member zhivago's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
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    London, UK
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    1,194

    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    It is strange indeed! I guess these guitars are rare birds

    Best of luck with your guitar search.
    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 Tidepoolbay's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    New Jersey
    Posts
    100

    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    I have a 54 Custom reissue & 56 Gold Top. The 54 is 2006, I believe. Less then 9lb
    Neck "D" shape getting fatter going up to the 12t fret. not to dramatic. The56 is a 2001 has an added Bigsby. Closet 10lb. Neck "D" shape even all he way up an flatting out after the 12th fret. Love the pickups on both models.
    Woof!!!

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member renderit's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    9,480

    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    2016 True Historic '54 custom reissue. (The first that year)
    JUST under 9 pounds. (8# 15.9 oz.)
    Great neck, pretty thick but more '59 feel.
    Frets are larger that the "fretless". Like the 5x reissues.
    This one has an ebony board. Not the epoxy variant.
    Tones are great. Very piano like and cleaner than most of the old style P90 pickups. Both the neck and bridge, but the neck is heavenly. Clear and articulate but easy to overdrive with an amp. The bridge is clearer than most P90's but louder as well.
    I love this beast. Plays great.
    The pictures kind of accentuate the yellowed nitro they used that year, but it looks better in person. For some reason it "overhypes" on a camera.
    I have the 'correct' tuners for it (plastic tips instead of gold).










  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Apr 2010
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    Concord, Ca USA
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    661

    Re: Tell me about your 54 - 56 Les Paul Custom reissue

    Nice one!
    53 LP, 74 Black Beauty, 09 50th R9 LP, 06 R6, 63 SG Special, 62 & 64 SG juniors, 60 Double Six, 1947 L7 and 1937-41 L30 archtops and a few Fenders, Voxs and Hagstroms,
    ___________
    Scott

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