Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty”

Aug 6, 2022

A Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty” is a beautiful thing. I had a custom record order for a cover of Carl Perkins’s “Dixie Fried,” and boy, nothing nails that Carl Perkins tone more than a Les Paul with P-90s, set on the treble pickup with lots of echo. But man, are they heavy! This one is about eleven and a half pounds. I use it for recording, and it’s great for certain things like Mickey Baker or Carl Perkins or Franny Beecher tones. It’s also a fantastic guitar for hard rock and punk rock rhythm guitar tracks. But it is so darn heavy, I can’t imagine doing a long gig with it now.

And yes, if you’re keeping score, this is the same one I had to replace the neck on, the only guitar I’ve ever damaged on tour (it’s a 1973, not a 1955, still bad but not AS bad). I was performing “Muleskinner Blues” while riding a mini-bike on the dance floor of the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, and the strap came off on the dismount. Ouch!!

Funny thing is, “Crazy Joe” Tritschler found a guy in Ohio who made a neck that I actually like better than the original neck. Now, if only I had had him hollow the thing out and reduce the weight by four or five pounds. Or maybe helium in the cavity or something…