Questions for Les Paul Experts

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by wrxplayer, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. wrxplayer

    wrxplayer Supporting Member

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    The questions below were posted by a virtual friend of mine on a golf forum. I'm directing him here for your collective guidance. Thanks.

    Hello all, after years of not playing, I've been bitten by the bug again. I dug out my old Les Paul deluxe goldtop which I had partially disassembled years ago in hopes of restoring it.



    I've been looking online for info about this guitar. The last time I tried to get info on this guitar, the internet didn't exist! Serial number is located on the back of the headstock near the first fret. Number is 175433 and has "Made in USA" in RAISED wood directly below that. The Gibson web site says the "Made in USA" is "impressed" into the wood but mine is definitely raised. Is this unusual and does it indicate anything in particular?
    Close as I can figure (and Gibson admits to not keeping to a system when serialising its products) its a 1970+ guitar. Its got the mini humbuckers, not the regular ones.


    Bought it used in 1984 from a rocker dude for $600 which was ALOT of money to me. It was my main gigging axe until I went the Hamer whammybar route (at least I didn't have the big hair!). I think I still have that guitar but the active electronics were shot long ago. Anyways, its not a keeper like the Les Paul.


    So whats this baby worth? How old is it and how does it rate on the desireability scale? I was going to give it a cherry sunburst finish but if its an oldie-but-goodie, I'll splash out on the proper products to bring it back to factory condition (I have the skills).


    BTW, absolutely not interested in selling it. But if I were to get rid of it, I'd do what I usually do and give it away to someone I like rather than sell it.
     
  2. Birddog

    Birddog Member

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    There's a lot of good info on LesPaulforum.com
     
  3. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    In general, most Les Paul Deluxe models were considered a dog by most until recently, at which point, like 70s 3 bolt strats, they became incredibly vintage hip due to low supply and high prices of typically A list vintage guitars and their prices also started to soar. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, just observing.

    Based on the serial it sounds like a mid year (1970 - 1975). Observing the construction of the guitar should help with identification.

    If my memory serves me (it may not):

    The first or second year ones were the first les pauls made (think 68 or 69?) since the discontinuation of the series in 1960. These are usually (always?) goldtops and are extremely highly covetted because I believe they have the long tenon like the originals and one piece necks, and maybe the original correct body shape. A lot of these end up "conversions".

    The mid year ones are usually sandwhich body construction, meaning the whole guitar comprises something like 11 pieces of wood or something (three piece maple tops five piece mahogany bodies and three piece necks). You can plainly see this if you look at the body from the side. Later ones got three piece maple necks and at some point in the late 70s they stopped the sandwhich bodies (but most of the time 3 piece maple tops though some two piece probably exist). The deluxe stops around 82 or so.

    All of them have mini humbuckers and I believe gold tops were available through the whole run. The mini humbucker is much maligned but can be a good pickup if you actually find one wound to 8K (I've seen them mid 6K!) or put in Duncan Antiquity or other replacements. You can also fit a P90 perfectly into the route which really wakes these guitars up.

    Like any guitars there are good ones and bad ones in the run, although most Deluxes are heavier guitars and all were made in the pre-weight relieving era.

    A search of the LP forum will set you straight on all the details and more.
     
  4. whitehall

    whitehall Member

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    What's a 70's deluxe worth ? well if it's not a headstock break, a refin, or had any mods I'd say 1400-1800 with a case.
     
  5. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    we need more info really and ideally a pic of the serial no and made in usa thing which sounds a bit weird. A maple neck would indicate 1975 onwards for example.
    Al
     
  6. whystay

    whystay Member

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    Hi guys, Arnold from the golf forum where I originally posted this question. Thanks for the input.
    the LP has a 3 piece top, laminated body and 3 piece neck in mahogany.
    But since the guitar may not ever be highly valuable, I think I'll refin it in black or something. My thinking is that if its a piece of history then one has a responsiblity to keep it so. But since its not that important a guitar, all bets are off!

    Cheers,
    Arnold
     
  7. hogy

    hogy Member

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    Arnold, unless I misunderstand you, there are two things very odd here. The serial number being "near the first fret" is something Gibson didn't do. It would be at the top of the headstock, above the tuners.

    The "Made in USA" is never raised, always impressed.

    Can you post a picture? That would help determining what's going on.


    Hogy
     
  8. whystay

    whystay Member

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    Hogy, ooops, brain fart. The number and "made in USA" is in fact at the top of the headstock. But it sure looks and feels raised to me. Maybe I'll go look at some gibsons and compare. I took some pix but can't figure out how to post them. Doubt its a fake although the thought did cross my mind.

    Cheers,
    Arnold
     
  9. Mondoslug

    Mondoslug Supporting Member

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    Don't refin, keep it Gold...IMHO of course
     
  10. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    yep sounds like a 70-74 deluxe, they are going up and up value wise, definitely dont refin. lets see the back of the headstock
    Al
     
  11. whystay

    whystay Member

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    Righty O! Photos on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/31929219@N03/?saved=1

    The serial number looks and feels raised but its kinda hard to tell because of all the gunk. Right now trying to figure out how to strip back to wood without losing the numbers (only a problem if they are raised - unbelievable but it is hard to tell). Also, the numbers are not quite straight in line.

    Do the pickup cavities look right? Look kinda cheapo to me but are they all like that?

    Damn, don't tell me its a fake!

    Arnold
     
  12. AlexF

    AlexF Member

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    well as i said earlier, it appears you have a 70-74 era deluxe, the routings are ok. However it looks from the photos like the top has already been stripped no? (gold in the cavities, clear on top) That being the case, its ok to refin to your taste, you're not going to do any further valuation damage. the raised feel on the serial no etc is the lacquer. It would be nice to keep the original finish on the neck (and back?) if you can. Nice guitar.
    Al
     
  13. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    Those pickup cavities are set up for P-90s, if that's original (looks like it is) then IIRC that makes the guitar quite rare (or have I got that round the wrong way?). It's not a fake.
     
  14. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    Here's what I got from: http://www.guitardaterproject.org/gibson.aspx

    Guitar Info
    Your guitar was made at the
    Kalamazoo or Nashville Plant , USA
    approximately in: 1970, 1971 or 1972


    And from here: http://www.provide.net/%7Ecfh/gibson5.html#lpdlx

    Les Paul Deluxe Model Electric Solidbody
    Available: 1969 to 1985
    Collectibility Rating: D-.
    The final degeneration of the Les Paul Standard model. Early verions of the Deluxe can be decent guitars, but for the most part they are victims of the 1970's era (larger peghead, volute, bad pickups, inferior woods, etc).

    mid 1969 Les Paul Deluxe specs:
    Les Paul Standard is renamed "Les Paul Deluxe". Four piece pancake body (maple top, thicker mahogany layer, thin maple layer, thicker mahogany layer), 2 mini-humbuckers pickups (though some produced with P-90's), 3 piece neck, goldtop finish, pantograph logo.
    1971 Les Paul Deluxe specs:
    Cherry sunburst and Cherry Red finishes
    1972 Les Paul Deluxe specs:
    Tobacco sunburst available till 1979, Walnut finishes available till 1972. Also available with full size humbucker pickups till 1976 when the Les Paul Standard was re-introduced with the larger humbucker pickups.
    1975 Les Paul Deluxe specs:
    Natural and Wine Red top finish available.
    1977 Les Paul Deluxe specs:
    two piece body standard (pancake body dropped).
    1985 Les Paul Deluxe dropped.


    I think it's not quite your average Deluxe and probably made in 1970 or 71. It could also be a 1971 Standard:

    1971 Les Paul Standard specs:
    reissue of the 1954 Les Paul Standard with 2 P-90 pickups with "gibson" on the covers, stud wrap around tailpiece, 1-piece neck with no volute, gold top finish. Discontinued in 1973.


    Wrap tailpiece? Definitely check out the provide.net Gibson website - it has heaps of info. And that bit about 70's LPs all being lousy - that's rubbish and has been pretty much debunked on TGP and other forums, the 70's ones are tonally different (slightly) but just as valid and it's the same story as today: some sound better than others.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2008
  15. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    No, it's not rare.

    As I mentioned, mini humbucker routes are identical in size to P90 routes. In fact, mini humbuckers are mounted in a P90 soapbar cover routed to function as a pickup ring.

    Furthermore, mini humbucker pickup mounting rings screw into the body at the ends, in the center. P90s mount through the pickup, much closer to the center.

    As you can see in the photo, that guitar had mini humbuckers, not P90s. You can see the metal strip screwed to the body, and the mounting holes at either end - not close to the center as would be required by a P90.
     
  16. hogy

    hogy Member

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    Yes, that's all straight and original. I think I know what you mean by "raised". What happened is, Gibson stamped the numbers first, then applied a mineral based grain filler to fill the mahogany's pores. This filled in and leveled the impressed digits. Over the years the lacquer shrinks and becomes thinner, leaving the numbers slightly raised. You can see the yellowish wood filler in the digits on your pictures.
     
  17. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    Hogy...

    Off topic but what does this mean?

    And you are not willingly, like that brauch' I force!
     
  18. bazooka47

    bazooka47 Member

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    Just my humble suggestion:

    Have that bad boy pro refinned back into a Goldtop with a dark back, throw in some Lollars, Duncans or any set of good P-90's, and chances are you'll have a KILLER Les Paul that everyone will envy!
     
  19. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    Damn! You're right, it's minihums, although minihums are good! I would say that it looks like the guitar has a thick maple top? This is a good feature on these early LPs from the second run, and makes it a bit more desirable?
     
  20. Jagsound

    Jagsound Member

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    :agree
     

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