Like the Les Paul Standard, the Les Paul Custom was produced from 1953 to 1960 and replaced with the SG body style at the end of 1960. The original Les Paul and Les Paul Custom were not brought back until 1968. Upon its reintroduction, the Les Paul Custom differed from those of the '50s in number of ways: the headstock was a slightly steeper angle, the control cavity in the body was cut in a different manner, and the neck tennon was longer. Starting in 1969, the Custom also adopted a multi-ply body construction with a Maple top like the Les Standard, where the original Les Paul Custom used an all Mahogany body. Other changes include the introduction of a neck volute and a 'Made in USA' stamp on the back of the headstock.
1969 is a very transitional year for the Custom which accounts for a great deal variation of values within the year. In 1969, there are examples with single-piece bodies instead of the multi-ply body, no neck volute, and no 'made in USA' stamp that fetch substantially higher resale prices than those with these elements.
A notable player of the Gibson Custom Black Beauty is John Fogerty. In Creedence Clearwater Revival’s glory days, Fogerty owned two black Les Paul Customs outfitted with Bigsbys. He notably brandished one at 1969’s Woodstock festival. Note that Fogerty always used a Gibson when he played in open D (D-A-D-F#-A-D) tuning – one of the foundations of his swampy sound. Try playing the barre chords to the introduction of “Proud Mary” in that tuning starting on the 10th fret, and you’ll find yourself close to the tone. CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” “Midnight Special” and “Fortunate Son” are among the many Creedence songs using the tuning.
Other notable Les Paul Custom Black Beauty players include, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Pete Townshend.