Early 70's Les Paul Custom 1954 Reissue - need help

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by mmcquain, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. mmcquain

    mmcquain Member

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    Please tell me about this guitar. It belongs to a guy from church and he is thinking about selling it.
    The Serial Number is LE773158 and he bought it used in 1976 at Rhythm City in Atlanta, GA. I've
    found a few similar guitars on eBay (but the asking prices vary from $4999 to over $8000). This one
    has certainly been played but seems to be in pretty good condition for being about 35 years old. He
    says that has a P-90 and an Alnico V pickups and has an extra bridge in the case (see pic) so he's
    not sure which is the original bridge. The case has a broken handle (see pic).

    Here's the eBay similar items I've found:

    Gibson '73 Les Paul Custom 1954 Black Beauty 54 ReIssue
    SUPER CLEAN 35 YrsOld w/P90+Alnico Pups
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Gibson-73-Les-Paul-Custom-1954-Black-Beauty-54-ReIssue_W0QQitemZ230219753473QQihZ013QQ

    RARE LIMITED EDITION 1972 GIBSON 54 RI LES PAUL CUSTOM BLACK BEAUTY
    Serial #LE7574XX (Only 1060 MADE IN USA IN 72/73)
    http://cgi.ebay.com/RARE-1972-GIBSON-LES-PAUL-CUSTOM-54-RI-BLACK-BEAUTY_W0QQitemZ270206997151QQihZ017QQ

    So what is this one and what is it reasonably worth?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

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  2. MetalHeadd

    MetalHeadd Member

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    That's a beautiful guitar. I don't know much about their worth, but it looks to be in great shape. Frets look great for its age.
     
  3. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    I could be wrong, but they don't look like original frets to me.

    Cool guitar though...
     
  4. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I think forum member "WordMan" has one of these...
     
  5. mmcquain

    mmcquain Member

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    I thought the same thing (frets are on top of the binding instead of the binding over the ends of the fret wires). I haven't yet seen the guitar in person (probably will later this week) so I'm having to go off of the photos for now. That is one reason I posted 'em - so I'd get an idea of things to specifically look for when I have the guitar in my hands.
     
  6. ScottR

    ScottR Silver Supporting Member

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    forum member Gavin has had a few of these...I'd email him the photos and ask his opinion
     
  7. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    I agree with it being a refret.
    No problem if it was done well unless that's an issue for you.
     
  8. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Unless you like really low profile frets- trust me the refret is actually a plus. The originals were called "fretless wonders" I can't bend for **** on one of them.

    I like those guitars a lot btw. Congrats.

    Jack
     
  9. stratman89

    stratman89 Supporting Member

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    That's one sweet LP! It looks beautiful with the aging binding.
     
  10. rastus

    rastus Member

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    Yep, Gavin is the man to ask on one of these, I believe he has a couple of them. As far as market value, the VG price guide shows these guitars at 4-5k. But I find that the prices listed there can vary pretty widely from what guitars actually sell for. This one has a refret (the original "fretless wonder" frets were pretty hard to bend on) as most do, I'd put this guitar at 6500 and let it go for 5500 cash if it were mine. Very nice guitar, it's one of those that you have to be willing to hold until you find the right buyer and get your price. These are a bit funny in the guitar market, many players don't get the p90 and Alnico 5 p/us, and the ones that do want a 50's one with the steeper neck angle, different construction and materials, etc. I had one of these back in the latter part of 2006, when prices on just about everything were spiriling upward at an amazing rate. Mine was really clean, all original, not played very much at all. I got 9k for it, but like I said, everything was bringing silly money at that time. I had that guitar for about 6 months before selling it. Tell him to hold out and the right buyer will come. If you are buying, I'd say any offer under 5k you get it for is pretty well bought, the caveat here being that the guitar may actually lose value in the current market, at least for a few months, before prices start to stabilize and climb. Still, in the long term, these guitars seem a safe buy. That one is a well played beauty, the wear is not bad for it's age. Also, lighter versions of this guitar are rare and sell for a premium over heavy examples.
     
  11. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    Yep - I do and Gavin does, too. Mine is my #1 - the only guitar I have felt an obvious, quantum difference vs. other guitars. In comparing notes with Gavin and other '54 BB fans, we all agree that there is something special and all-it's-own about the P-90 + Alnico BB, that the early 70's reissues can represent excellent examples of that design, and that it all comes down to whether you are a BB kinda guy.

    - Something special - the thicker mahogany of the BB vs. other all-mahogany LPs give the P-90 tone a ton of thickness. I have stated a few times on threads here that with the Tone rolled off (and this guitar demands that you play around a lot with the on-board V's and T's) to about 6, I get a thick tone I would put up against PAF's any day. The Alnico is closest to a Gretsch Dynasonic single coil in tone, but deeper and darker. It twangs nicely if you dig in with your pick. Gained up, it has the thick, saturated tone of Keef playing Tumblin' Dice. And folks are correct - unless you bend very little, you *want* a refret. Mine had one when I got it and I couldn't be more appreciative.

    - 70's Reissues - folks like Gavin and I have ones we know are special. They certainly have gone up in value - rastus and a few others provide an overview I agree with. I have found threads here and at the LP Forum where some folks said they had examples that were dogs - something true of all LP models of all eras. While I don't consider weight to be 100% correlated to good tone like some folks seem to, I can say that when folks have spoke about the dogs, they all seem to be over 10 pounds. Maybe there is something about an all-mahogany Custom that works better at a lighter weight vs. the really heavy maple-cap Customs of the 70's that a lot of folks love. My BB weighs a tad over 8 pounds.

    - Being a BB kinda guy - if you are looking for this guitar to deliver Les Paul Standard PAF Goodness or 70's Custom Classic Rock Goodness - I suppose it can come close, but you really should look elsewhere. But if you dig what a BB can do - provided you learn to use the on-board controls!! - then it opens doors.

    Best of luck and keep us posted...Gavin - if you get into this thread, how'd I do?

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  12. tim gueguen

    tim gueguen Member

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    Great shot with the cat.
     
  13. Gavin

    Gavin Supporting Member

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    Kinda freaky with my name in bold but there's not much more to add. Looks like a refret to me too but mine has been refretted also. Its one of those things you have to do for it to play correctly.

    I got in the area of 9k for my other one which was in exceptional condition/original frets about 6 months ago. I'm a big flipper of gear but I have owned my beat to heck, worn down to the mahogany on the neck, broken in, refretted one for close to 2 years and have never considered selling it. Its the only guitar I play. With the combination of staple and P90 pickups, I can get everything from surf twang to super overdriven tones.

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  14. rastus

    rastus Member

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    I will chime in once more here. The all mahogany p90/alnico BB guitars are unique to the world of Les Pauls for the different tones they can provide. I have a pretty seriosly worn out, refretted, couple changed pieces and pots 56 BB that weighs right on 10 pounds. It's a guitar that I have owned many years and used through many amps in a wide variety of settings. Currently my dad has it and it's set up with flatwounds. He plays it through an old Standel tube amp with a 15' inch Jenson and it sounds stellar. He uses it for fluid clean jazz, as well fingerstyle country (p90 is great for that) and faster rockabilly and Bakersfield style stuff. It just rules the roost on this stuff, he really splits his time between it and a 59 Gretsch Country Club.
    I have had that 56 for many many years. In harder rock situations I always used my 70 Custom (maole top/buckers), but for ruder tones, the 56 always won out. For punk, the p90/all mahogany gets it done. For psychedelic tones, the alnico by itself is marvelous, but for driving effects, both pickups on and the rhythm one dialed back ato 7 or 8 just screams and can get you into fat huge, almost Fender territory.
    For my buck, one of the classiest and most versatile Gibsons ever. And, a 72 LE with a refret, like the one shown here is the best way to go, you can spend 1/6 the money of a 50's one and get a great guitar that will expand your style and tone. For half of that, the Historic 54 BB is a bargain, especially slightly worn used ones (possibly my next axe purchase...my dad is acting like my 56 is getting to be an old favorite of his.
     
  15. WordMan

    WordMan Member

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    I gotta hear both you AND your dad sometime!

    +1 on the additional comments - the 50's BB design is a special one, or as I have heard joked regarding a completely different topic: Once you go black, you never go back. :AOK (note: absolutely no offense intended; just going for the funny...)

    PS: The cat in the photo is Gracie; I named my guitar after her because both are demanding diva bitches that I love...:D
     
  16. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Cool guitar but I think a '54 would have a wrap around tail peice rather than a tunamatic and tail peice. I've got a gold top like this.
     
  17. brentrocks

    brentrocks Guitar Hack/Player Gold Supporting Member

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    i would snag it up if the price is right
     
  18. Gavin

    Gavin Supporting Member

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    1954 Goldtops=wrap around
    1954 Customs=TOM

    I've got 1972 reissues of both a custom and goldtop and they have different bridges.
     
  19. Blue Strat

    Blue Strat Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. You're in Warrenton? Do I know you?
     
  20. Gavin

    Gavin Supporting Member

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    Yes, I'm in Warrenton and my name is Gavin. Don't know anyone named Blue Strat in Sterling.:D

    EDIT-Sorry Mike...saw your name down in your sig area. Don't think we've met?
     

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