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1994 Gibson Custom Shop Historic 1957 Les Paul Custom Mickey Baker 3 Pickup Black Beauty w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 1994 Gibson Custom Shop Historic 1957 Les Paul Custom "Mickey Baker" in 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. An exceedingly rare variant on the triple pickup Black Beauty platform, this guitar features a unique control array, attributed to 1950s Gibson endorsee Mickey Baker. Purportedly only a few dozen of these guitars were made, with production ceasing 20 years ago.

Half of the musical duo "Mickey and Sylvia," Mickey Baker had a hit with 1957's "Love is Strange," and has been credited as a seminal artist bridging Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll, along with creating one of the most popular series of books ever penned educating players on Jazz guitar.

This elegant, vintage-correct Historic series 1957 Les Paul features a carved mahogany top as well as a solid, non-weight relieved mahogany body and one-piece neck capped with an ebony fingerboard. This early Custom Shop offering weighs 10lbs 5oz and hails from what is increasingly known as the "good wood era," delivering a lively, powerful acoustic voice that translates well through the humbuckers.

The trio of '57 Classic PAF humbuckers are wired to a control layout lifted directly from Gibson's ES-5 archtop, with dedicated Volume knobs for each humbucker and a Master Tone knob on the upper bout. All three pickups are wired in-phase, with a bridge pickup that has both bite and bounce, accentuating the smooth growl of the mahogany construction and glassy snap of the ebony fingerboard. The neck pickup is smooth and buttery, and the middle pickup acts as an effective thickening agent in any pickup combination. The sound gets delightfully wooly with the Tone control rolled back too. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Les Paul is strung with 10-46 strings and dialed in with slinky action and spot-on intonation.

The neck has a proper late '50s "baseball bat" C-shaped profile carve with ample heft and very round shoulders, measuring .910" deep at the 1st fret and 1.020" at the 12th. The bound ebony fretboard sports pearl block inlay and slender vintage-spec frets which have their full factory height and well-rounded crowns, showing just a touch of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-3. The guitar conforms to traditional Gibson spec with a 24 3/4" scale length and 1 11/16" nut width, and the neck is straight with a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The headstock has all of the hallmarks of a Custom, with split diamond pearl inlay, inlaid Gibson logo, and multi-ply binding. The tuners are the original gold Grover Rotomatic gears, and the headstock features an inked serial number. One of many Custom Shop serial sequences used by Gibson, the second digit ("8") would typically infer a 1998 build date, yet the original CTS pots conclusively date production to 1994.

Electronics comprise the stock trio of '57 Classic humbuckers that all have perfect PAF stickers on their baseplates. The solder joints are untouched, and the CTS pots date to the 14th week of '94. Hardware comprises an ABR-1 bridge and stopbar, and the gold plating has plenty of shine. Plastics include black bonnet knobs and a multi-ply pickguard.

The Ebony gloss nitro lacquer finish exhibits a few small finish chips on the lower bout on top (and a couple on the back as well), and one small touched-up ding just forward of the treble-side ABR-1 mounting post. There are some additional light finish scratches and minor marks on the body as a whole, largely relegated to the back. The neck profile also retains its smooth nitro gloss, with only a couple shallow marks on the bass-side shoulder between frets 7-9.

The original brown Gibson USA hardshell case with pink plush interior is included.