The original Les Paul Custom from 1953-1954 featured a single-piece mahogany body with carved top and a rich black finish (earning the nickname The Black Beauty). It had two pickups (Alnico V neck pickup, black soapbar P-90 bridge); tune-o-matic bridge; stop tailpiece; ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays and low frets; the words 'Les Paul Custom' on the truss rod cover; 5-piece 'split diamond' symbol inlay on the peghead; pearl logo; closed-back Kluson tuners (switching to Grover Rotomatic tuners by 1959); and gold-plated hardware.
The model switched to sporting three humbucking pickups in mid-1957, with the pickup switch offering three settings of (1) neck pickup only; (2) middle and bridge pickups together; and (3) bridge pickup only.
Confusingly, the Custom, like the rest of the Les Paul line, switched to the SG body style in early 1961, otherwise remaining similar to previous models except for adopting the side-pull Deluxe Vibrato.
The model was renamed the SG Custom in late 1963; five years later it was back to being the Les Paul Custom with some changes to the body composition and design.
Probably the Custom's most famous exponent is Peter Frampton, who would later on have his own signature model.