What's the best era of Les Paul to shop for a <$3k budget?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rick Lee, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

    Messages:
    10,112
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Location:
    The Desert
    I'm leaning hard toward a mid-80's black LP Custom because my best friend had one when we were kids and I put a lot of hours on it. What's the best era to shop for and which to avoid (assuming well older than 2015 models)?
     
  2. doc

    doc Member

    Messages:
    5,676
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    I'd recommend looking at the early 70's or early 90's for Customs. Those aren't "vintage correct" in every parameter, but are fine guitars. You might also look for a used Historic, but I'm not sure they made many Customs. The early 90's should be the most affordable.
     
  3. cardinal

    cardinal Member

    Messages:
    4,335
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    I'm not what I'd call an "LP guy," but I've gone LP hunting a few times with that type of budget. My fav of what I could find was a Norlin-era with good refret. Everything else I played (recent USA Standards, some non-reissue custom shops, etc., even copies like PRS and Collings) seemed kinda blah to me. But I eventually ended up with... an Epiphone...
     
  4. Pleximan

    Pleximan Member

    Messages:
    490
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Location:
    Ohio
    Best era? That would be a matter of debate. Most people say to avoid the Norlin era. It's from i believe 69-83? I've never played one, but some love em, some hate em. I did hear a 78 les paul in person. It sounded great, so? The Tim Shaw era pup les pauls are coveted. Like an 1985-1987 Les Paul most would have Tim Shaw pickups, also it would not be a Norlin era. It's what most people call the dirty fingers pups.

    Also, you could probably find a 13 or 14 58 or 60 reissue for under 3,000. They are phenomenal. I've played a few. I own a 13 R9. The early 90's Les paul's have nice high output pups. The mid 90's to early 2000's have awesome tops generally.

    You really have many options at 3,000.

    I'd try a bunch and the one that sings to you. Take it home.
     
  5. bonchie123

    bonchie123 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,061
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Look for plain top Historics. 58 or 60 reissues. These will be mid-low 2k range.

    You can even get a flametop 58 for 3k (2013 or 14 model).
     
  6. syndromet

    syndromet Member

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    Location:
    Larvik, Norway
    Higher end late 70's early 80s Tokais are the **** if you're looking to spend less than 3000.
     
  7. RJLII

    RJLII Member

    Messages:
    9,244
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Location:
    Michiana
    This. Great guitars.
     
  8. idlewilder

    idlewilder Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    The current era ('13/'14) unless you can get into a late 60's LP
     
  9. Dexter.Sinister

    Dexter.Sinister Still breathing Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,622
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    Late 90s customs are great guitars and south of two fifty. My 98 is a terrific one as have been a half dozen others from the era I've played.
     
  10. más_fuerte

    más_fuerte Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,054
    Joined:
    May 14, 2010
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    This is a great recommendation. I recently bought a used '58 Historic Reissue for ~$2300... best Les Paul I've ever played.
     
  11. bschultzjames

    bschultzjames Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    90's to early 00's LP classics are incredible deals for the tone. If you swap out a few parts, a lot of them can look like r0's.
     
  12. bschultzjames

    bschultzjames Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,158
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Or this. This is great advice too.
     
  13. gibsonES330

    gibsonES330 Member

    Messages:
    880
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    No such thing as "best era" - there have been great, good, average, and bad Les Pauls made in every year (minus the years Gibson did not make them in the 60's, haha).
     
  14. Bankston

    Bankston Member

    Messages:
    13,630
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2007
    Location:
    Houston
    I had an '85 Custom that was stolen from my truck in Austin.

    Insurance replaced it with an '07 Custom. It blows away the '85 in terms of playability, tone and build quality.

    With that budget and specifically looking for a Custom, I'd be shopping for one from '04 to '11 when production was moved from Gibson USA to the Custom Shop. In 2012, the Ebony fretboard was replaced with Richlite.
     
  15. caspersvapors

    caspersvapors Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,822
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
  16. buzzp

    buzzp Member

    Messages:
    6,487
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2011
    Location:
    Charm City (baltimore)
    2001 - 2004, from what I've heard, were some exceptional years for Gibson.
     
  17. Rick Lee

    Rick Lee Member

    Messages:
    10,112
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Location:
    The Desert
    Thanks guys.

    And if I were looking at a Peter Frampton model with a broken neck repair (pro job), what would that do to the value?
     
  18. Mr. Mukuzi O

    Mr. Mukuzi O Member

    Messages:
    528
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    auckland
    a friend has three Norlins, one is noticeably smaller than the other two.

    I like the underdog feel of the smaller one.
     

Share This Page