Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Review & Prices

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Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Review
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  • From Gibson Custom's 2022 Murphy Lab series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • 1-Piece Lightweight Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Indian Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • No-Wire ABR-1 bridge
  • 50s Rounded Medium C Set neck
  • 22 Narrow Tall frets
  • Kluson Single Line, Single Ring tuners
  • Compare Specs >
  • From Gibson Custom's 2022 Murphy Lab series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 24.75"'' scale
  • 12" Fretboard Radius
  • 1-Piece Lightweight Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Indian Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • Bridge pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 2 volume and 2 tone Bell knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • No-Wire ABR-1 bridge
  • 50s Rounded Medium C Set neck
  • 22 Narrow Tall frets
  • Kluson Single Line, Single Ring tuners
  • Compare Specs >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 78
Sound 75
Build quality 72
Value for money 60
Overall Score 75
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Nylon Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Tremolo
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Videos

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Our favorite Gibson Custom Shop guitar! (so far) 1956 Les Paul Gold Top Reissue
New Gibson Murphy Lab 1956 Les Paul Std Reissue Ultra light Aged / Goldtop
Guitar Talk - Gibson Custom Shop Murphy Lab 56 Gold Top Les Paul Review
Gibson Custom Murphy Lab 1956 Les Paul Gold Top Reissue Double Gold Ultra Light Aged #6 0187
More Videos

Price: is the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged a Good Deal?

Its average competitor's price is $4000, which means that the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged costs around 45% more than the competition. It might be due to it having additional features, but know that you can find cheaper similar alternatives. This takes into account all guitars of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in United States.

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Your feedback

Not all guitars are created equal, and there are many important things they won't tell you about the guitar you're buying. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our visitors who have played this guitar say. If you've played it before, help others by voting for your experience below.

Weight

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Heavy
0
Slightly heavy
0
Lightweight
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Very lightweight
0

Tuning stability

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Won't stay in tune
0
Sightly unstable
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Not bad
0
Holds tune well
0
Won't get out of tune
0

Neck speed (thickness)

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Chunky
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Slightly chunky
1
Balanced
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Fast
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Herman Li fast
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Neck access to high frets

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Very Hard
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Hard
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Normal
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Easy
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Very Easy
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Neck profile shape

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Baseball / U
1
V
0
Asymmetrical
0
C
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D
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Fret edges

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Very sharp
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Slightly sharp
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Smooth
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Pickups noise

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Noiseless
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Slightly Noisy
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Noisy
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Pickups power

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Clean
0
Slightly Hot
0
Hot
0

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Is The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Easy to Play?

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged
New Player Friendliness
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Wide nut
  • Short scale
  • Comfortable neck
  • Locking tuners
  • Comfortable fretboard

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's 24.75" scale length compared to other common sizes:

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Scale Length Comparison
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale length used in most Gibson guitars. If you like the playability of a Gibson, this guitar will feel pretty similar. It's a lot shorter than the typical Stratocaster (25.5'')

As you can see from the picture above, a shorter scale length also means shorter separation between frets. If you got really small hands, you probably will feel more comfortable playing this guitar than a Fender Stratocaster.

This scale length also allows for easier bends and vibratos because the strings will have lower tension due to the shorter scale.

Finally, another thing affected by scale length is tone. A shorter scale will give less room for the harmonics, thus resulting in a warmer, more 'bassy' tone.

Still, remember that you string gauge plays an important part in all of this. A lighter gauge will make it easier to perform bends, vibratos and will also give you a brighter tone.

More guitars with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Neck Profile
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More guitars for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged has a 12" fingerboard radius. Here's an image comparing this guitar's fretboard radius to other popular choices:

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's fretboard radius compared to other guitars

This is the same radius that Gibson uses in most of their guitars. When compare to the other popular radius of Fender Stratocasters, you can see that it's a lot flatter. Guitars with this radius are usually made to bring a good balance between single-note and chord playing.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged has the same radius across the board.

More guitars with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
Asymmetrical Neck Profile
1.693'' Nut Width
Compound Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius
24.75'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
12'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Nut Width
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Nut Width

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged has a nut width of 42.9mm (1.688''). This size is also known as 1 11/16'' and it's the most common size. It offers a good balance of string separation at the nut. It's the size that most guitarists prefer as it gives them just enough space to play open chords without muting the strings, but without spreading the strings too wide and making bar chords difficult to perform.

Frets

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More guitars with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Fret Size Comparison
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's frets are Narrow Tall size. These are similar to Jumbos, but they might be slightly shorter (or taller, depending on the maker), and they tend to have a narrower crown width. You'll be able to press the strings easily, but if you're not used to them, you might get the notes out of pitch if you press down too hard on the strings since their height won't let you feel the fretboard.

More guitars with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 95
Chord Playability 60
Solo Playability 80
Playability 78

Does the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Sound Good? Tone Analysis

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood Used in the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: Gibson Custom. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a moderade level of hot output instead of the overwhelming output that distinguises active pickups in metal.

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's configuration is P90P90. P90s are single-coil pickups (even though they look like Humbuckers), and they have a very particularly gritty sound that's used today to achieve a ''vintage'' tone. They produce a warmer tone than the typical single-coil, but they're not quite as warm as Humbuckers, and the same thing could be said about their output.

More guitars with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Custom Soapbar P90 Bridge Pickup
Custom Soapbar P90 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Custom Soapbar P90 Bridge Pickup
Custom Soapbar P90 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Custom Soapbar P90 Bridge Pickup
Custom Soapbar P90 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Custom Soapbar P90 Bridge Pickup
Custom Soapbar P90 Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
Custom Soapbar P90 Bridge Pickup
Custom Soapbar P90 Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, guitarists tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

Unfortunately, it doesn't come with more options for coil split or coil tapping. This makes it less versatile than some competitors.

Diagram

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged's switch options

What music genre is the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged good for?

As a 6 strings, Solid Body guitar with P90P90 configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Hard Rock or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this kind of guitar.

Sound Score

Pickups 100
Sustain 75
Versatility 54
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 75

How well is the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Built?

Where is the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Made?

Knowing where the guitar is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive guitars are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

More guitars made in United States

Bridge

No-Wire ABR-1: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More guitars with the same type of bridge:

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure the guitar stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged has a Nylon nut. It's an extremely resistant material with very low friction, so it's great for guitar nuts. It will last for a long time and won't get your guitar out of tune. It's not found in most modern instruments only because it's difficult to work with for the luthier due to its hardness, so you'll find it mostly only in vintage guitars.

More guitars with the same nut material:

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More guitars with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 66
Features 50
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 72

Most Popular Comparisons With The Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged

Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged Specs

General
Brand: Gibson Custom
Year: 2022
Configuration: P90P90
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: Murphy Lab
Colors: Gold
Left-Handed Version: Yes
Body
Type: Solid Body
Body Material: 1-Piece Lightweight Mahogany
Bridge: No-Wire ABR-1
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: Kluson Single Line, Single Ring
Fretboard: Indian Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Aged Cellulose Nitrate Trapezoid
Scale Size: 24.75"
Shape: 50s Rounded Medium C
Frets: 22 Narrow Tall
Fretboard Radius: 12"
Nut: Nylon
Nut Width: 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Bell
Volume Controls: 2
Tone Controls: 2
Bridge Pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil / Passive)
Neck Pickup: Custom Soapbar P90 (Single Coil / Passive)

User Reviews of the Gibson Custom 1956 Les Paul Goldtop Ultra Light Aged

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