Paul Kossoff’s 1955 Gibson Les Paul Custom

Just a few months after he bought the Les Paul Junior, Paul was able to make a step up and switch to a Gibson Les Paul Custom. This guitar was allegedly bought by Paul’s father David at Manny’s guitar shop in New York.

Young Paul Kossoff playing his Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar.
Young Paul Kossoff playing his Gibson Les Paul Custom guitar.

Paul’s first “real” Les Paul

This is quite an important guitar in Paul’s life as it represents a direction Koss was heading to. He clearly wasn’t satisfied with a single P90 Junior, and nothing but the ‘real’ Les Paul was going to fulfill his needs. This Custom model was still one step away from the real thing, which in Paul’s mind probably looked as a Les Paul Standard that he laid his eye on when he first saw Eric Clapton live with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at The Refectory in north London in 1966.

Kossoff’s Les Paul Custom didn’t feature a set of humbuckers like Clapton’s guitar but was equipped with a P90 single-coil in the bridge and a “staple” Alnico P90 in the neck position – meaning that the guitar was still more on the jazz side when Paul was clearly more interested in a heavier rock and roll sound.


As far as the specs on the guitar – the body was made from a single piece of mahogany wood and it featured a black finish with white binding on both edges. The neck was also made of mahogany, and it featured the mother of pearl block inlays and a split-diamond headstock inlay. All the hardware was gold-plated, including the six original Kluston tuners.

Guitar’s History after Paul

Paul allegedly used this guitar for a very short period of time with his band Black Cat Bones before it somehow ended up with a guy called Howard Parker. Parker was a well-known figure at the time, and he used to hang around and travel with bands such as The Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. 

According to the information on the eBay auction of this guitar (which has since been deleted from the web), Parker got the guitar from Cream’s management company in 1967, meaning that Clapton himself possibly also used this guitar at some point.


GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.

In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments