If I were to mod my 1978 Les Paul Custom to make it act more like a late ’50’s Les Paul Standard, this is probably what I would do.
Brandonwould 1959 clones. The question would be do I get nickel pickup covers, which would be correct for a Les Paul Standard, or gold pickup covers, which would be correct for a Les Paul Custom. Gold is more appropriate for my guitar, but they are also super expensive.
For changing out the pots and the switches and the wiring (my ES-335 needs this more than my Les Paul does, but I’m fantasizing here so leave me alone) I would get a wiring harness. The question then becomes, do I get a 50’s wiring harness or do I get a 50’s wiring harness that includes the Peter Green out-of-phase mod? I think I’d do the Peter Green thing. If so, I’d probably go with Gunstreet Wiring Shop- Les Paul Standard – 50S Out Of Phase – Wiring Harness.
Obviously I am way too much of a wuss to even daydream about installing any of this stuff myself. If I do it, I’m getting an experienced tech to do it. That goes without saying.
On a similar topic, when I bought my Les Paul in 1990 it was 12 years old and it was seriously modded already. Both of the original pickups were gone, and it had a Bigsby vibrato. The pickups bothered me. The neck was a DiMarzio which sounded nice. The bridge was a Jackson that was crap, although it had a seriously high output that I liked. I removed the Bigsby within about 10 minutes of bringing the guitar home, but it was years before I did anything about the pickups. I had always thought about trying to bring the guitar back to stock, or at least as close as I could get them. In 2006 (I think) I had Larry replace both pickups with Gibson Classic ’57s. Again, the Neck was nice but the bridge wasn’t. A few years ago I had Guitar Center swap the bridge for a Gibson Dirty Fingers reissue. Again, a really high output.
Now, after doing some research I know that the correct pickups I would need to get back to 1978 stock would be TTops. I can get clones of those too, even with the gold covers. I think I might have a good chance of getting actual 70’s TTops on ebay rather than clones, but if I am going to do this I am going for some really sweet PAF clones. Screw period correct, I want 50’s everything. I wonder how much it would cost to get the body refinished and painted gold like a 1957 Goldtop Standard. I bet that would cost a small fortune. Then again, if I wanted to be Les Paul Custom accurate I would have to paint it black, not gold. Prior to 1958 standards were gold and customs were black. Black Les Pauls look awesome, but nothing beats the old Goldtops.
Suffice to say, if I ever hit the lottery for hundreds of millions of dollars, the first thing I’m buying is a 1957 Les Paul standard. The second thing I’m buying is a 1959 sunburst Les Paul Standard. A ’57 would be insanely expensive. A ’59 would cost me pretty much all of my lottery winnings. Totally worth it though.
ADDENDUM: I tried to write about the Peter Green “out of phase mod” and typo’d it to “out of phrase mod”. I am clearly mentally defective. I fixed it though.