Gibson Les Paul Standard ’50s Plain Top Inverness Green review – a bold new Custom Color for the landmark single-cut

Gibson’s poster child gets a bonnie upgrade with the Custom Color Series. Inverness Green? It's an Inver-yes from us

Gibson Custom Color Series Les Paul
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

For us, the Custom Color Series is a refreshing change of pace for Gibson. Of course, we love Heritage Cherry Sunburst as much as anyone, but there is something exciting about a vintage-inspired guitar that keeps the retro specs where it counts while adding a twist in the form of a bold new look.


  • +

    It's a great-playing Les Paul in a great finish.

  • +

    Tidy build and finish.

  • +

    Superb tone.


  • -

    Well, there's a Pelham Blue model, too...

  • -

    It's still pricey.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Like the elusive Nessie, this Gibson colourway is a rather rare sighting in the wild. But don’t worry, you don’t need to dive into the deepest, darkest depths of Loch Ness to find one, as the new Custom Color Series brings this fan-favourite finish to the ’50s-inspired Les Paul Standard.

While the Nashville guitar giant is more associated with breath-taking bursts and gilded Goldtops, Gibson has experimented with a vast array of finishes over the years – something this new series is looking to celebrate. 

This particular model – Plain Top ’50s Standard – is available in a whopping six options, with the fiery Cardinal Red, dazzling Sparkling Burgundy, icy Pelham Blue and, of course, the bonnie Inverness Green being the standout players. 

Inverness Green has long been a firm favourite of this reviewer – there’s something about the bluey-green hue that complements Gibson’s classic shapes so well. Whether on the tricked-out Kirk Douglas Signature SG or this single-cut beauty, this colour always looks good.

That said, there is a fair amount of variation in shades when it comes to Inverness Green. Sometimes, a model can lean more towards green, while others resemble the cherished Pelham Blue.

Gibson Custom Color Series Les Paul

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

In the case of our example, it’s definitely more in the blue camp – and that is most definitely not a complaint. We actually love the way this guitar looks and we’re hoping Gibson will be making it available on other models. Let’s see this finish on an Explorer!

Moving on to the playability, it’s a fairly standard affair if you’re used to Gibson’s ’50s profile. The neck here is chunky but most definitely manageable and is equally comfortable for first-position chords, hard-rocking riffs, searing solos and beyond. 

The fretwork is tidy, the binding has been well scraped, and every single note rings out with the assertiveness you only find on a well-made Les Paul. We’d say that’s a job well done. 

The tonal centre of this LP is a pair of calibrated Burstbuckers whose Alnico 2 magnets deliver the full-bodied tone Gibson’s golden age guitars are known for. This Les Paul isn’t overly aggressive nor underwhelmingly meek. It has a near-perfect sonic balance, with plenty of depth in the lows, enough mids to cut through the noise and a pleasant top end to boot.

For us, the Custom Color Series is a refreshing change of pace for Gibson. Of course, we love Heritage Cherry Sunburst as much as anyone, but there is something exciting about a vintage-inspired guitar that keeps the retro specs where it counts while adding a twist in the form of a bold new look.


  • PRICE: $2,799 / £2,599 
  • BODY: Mahogany 
  • NECK: Mahogany 
  • FINGERBOARD: Indian Rosewood 
  • FRETS: 22 
  • BRIDGE: ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic
  • PICKUPS: Burstbucker 1 & 2 humbuckers
  • FINISH OPTIONS: Inverness Green, Classic White, Pelham Blue, Ebony, Sparkling Burgundy and Cardinal Red 
  • CONTACTS: Gibson

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Daryl Robertson

First and foremost, I'm a guitar enthusiast – a fanatic, some might say. I'm a firm believer that most of the world's problems can be solved with a Gibson SG and a catastrophically loud amp. As a Senior Deals Writer on Guitar World, I write about guitars for a living, but in a past life, I worked in music retail for 7 years, advising customers on the right guitars, basses, drums, pianos, and PA systems for their needs. I also have a passion for live sound; I'm a fully qualified sound engineer with experience working in various venues in Scotland, where I live with my wife and dog.