I stopped in my local guitar center a few weeks back. I have not been there for awhile, as I was not in the market for any new guitar. However, this one caught my eye.
This is the new Les Paul Custom Blackback, which is a tribute to the 1970s era of Les Paul Customs. It reminded me of the Les Paul Custom that Mick Ronson played for many years, which had a natural maple top stripped of its black paint, with the rest of the guitar being left black. This guitar has an ivory top, with the rest of the guitar in black. I spent a few minutes with it, plugged into a small Fender Blues Jr. Great for any rock music, turn off the distortion and it warms up for nice smooth jazzy tone. A bit heavy, but one can get used to that. New, these are $600. Used, around $450. So I bought one for that price. Love it, and plan to play it for many years to come.
I know for a few hundred extra I could have had a used Gibson Les Paul Studio or one of the faded models. I just liked this one better and like the fact that it was only $450
While all Les Pauls share common design features, the Les Paul Custom Blackback differed from the Les Paul Standard with a solid mahogany body but without a maple cap. Epiphone's LP Custom Blackback follows that tradition by using a solid, carved mahogany body for a slightly mellower tone. Like the originals, the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Blackback is fitted with a solid mahogany neck that is hand-fitted with a glued-in joint for optimum neck-to-body contact, which allows the body and neck to act like one continuous piece of wood. The neck features a very comfortable and fast "SlimTaper "D" profile that has become the most popular profile found on today's Les Pauls. The result is a tribute to Les' timeless guitar design with the sound and feel that you can only get from a real Les Paul.
At the heart of the Les Paul Custom Blackback is a pair of Epiphone Alnico Classic Open-Top humbucking pickups. Patterned after Gibson '57 Classics, these pickups combine Alnico-V magnets with enamel wire to give you a tone that is both warm and subtle with a full, even response that doesn't hold back when you need that classic humbucker crunch. The neck pickup is an Alnico Classic while the bridge pickup is an Alnico Classic Plus. The "Plus" is slightly over wound for a higher output without sacrificing its rich, vintage tone.