The natural-finished Gibson Les Paul Customs seen in Cult videos like “Heart of Soul” are black Customs with the front finish removed.
Billy explains, “I picked up this one in Los Angeles in 1988 and the first thing I did was have the front finish taken off it as an homage to Mick Ronson.”
Mick was David Bowie’s guitarist in the 1970s and legend has it that on one drug fuelled night on tour he stripped all the finish off his own black Les Paul.
It’s not only the look that Billy had customised, he continues, “Like all my Les Pauls I change the tuning pegs to ‘Half Moon (Gibson) Grovers’, I also take the pick guards off as well as the pick-up covers. I do this so they look and feel like the 1970’s guitars played by guys like Mick Ronson. The Les Paul thing came from other big influences too, like Paul Kossoff of Free, Mick Ralphs of Mott the Hoople, Jimmy Page, a little bit as I loved the way he looked and the guys from Thin Lizzy, Brian Robertson and Scott Gorham.”
Billy Duffy – January 2013