Tom bought his famous Les Paul Goldtop "off a kid for about $300". "The guitar had a little wear around the 5th fret- period. I picked it up for the first time and couldn't play it to save my life. It was like a completely different instrument. Now I can't play anything else." The guitar retains its original cream single-coil rhythm pickup, though Tom put in a DiMarzio Super Distortion humbucker in the saddle.
"The DiMarzio is installed differently than usual," Tom notes. "The screw holes that would normally adjust the pickup height were reamed out, and I screwed the pickup through some rubber grommets directly into the body. I still have the cream mounting ring around the pickup, although there are no screws for height adjustment; the pickup's height is fixed."
He explains that the grommets act to filter out unwanted vibration from the body to the pickup. "Those are the vibrations that cause squak at high volume when you hold the strings and move close to your amp," Scholz elaborates. "Those are body vibrations, as opposed to feedback which involves the strings. You tighten the screws enough to get the maximum sound out of the guitar without any squaking."
Gibson selected Tom's iconic Les Paul to reissue as their Collector's Choice #10. Less than 300 were produced and they are as close to Tom's original Les Paul as you can get. Tom often plays one of them when he goes out on tour and seems quite satisfied with their build quality. Though few were made, it's still possible to find them if you look hard enough. For details on this incredible sounding instrument, check out Gibson's page here.
[Editor's note: When playing live, Tom has the pickup selector almost always set on the Bridge pickup except for when he does harmonics.]