MIJ FAQ : Bacchus, Burny, ESP, Greco, Orville, Tokai Links to additional info + pics : Bacchus :http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/th...momose-deviser-theory-photo-id-thread.142408/ Burny - Fernandes : http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/th...-burny-theory-photo-id-related-thread.118269/ ESP Edwards - Navigator :http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/th...ards-navigator-theory-photo-id-thread.130794/ Greco : http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/un...-greco-theory-photo-id-related-thread.120275/ Orville - Epiphone :http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/th...e-epiphone-mij-theory-photo-id-thread.137929/, http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/orville-and-orville-by-gibson.2299/ Tokai : http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/tokai-facts-theory-photos-id-thread.167940/ MIJ - Les Paul pics thread :http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/show-us-your-mij-les-pauls.5600/ =========================================== Special thanks to : doublecut , GammyBird , James T , MauiCliff , muccax , Ohjay , o0mobius0o , slapshot , snaredrum , tonebone , Udonitron , wulfman , for their contributions, and a big thank you to paruwi for numerous edits + updates of this FAQ. ============================================ General guidelines that apply to most MIJ manufacturers and models: 1- MIJ Les Pauls can be dated from first digit(s) of serial numbers. Google your MIJ Brand + "Wikipedia" for serial dating specifics. 2- MIJ model #'s have always been based on sales prices at the time of manufacture, so a 1978 -1984 Tokai LS-100 cost 100,000 y, 1982-1989 Burny RLG-90 cost 90,000 y etc. Glossary: FEB = fret edge binding LP = Les Paul MIJ = Made in Japan MIC = Made in China MIK = Made in Korea PAF = Patent Applied For (pickups) TRC = truss rod cover FAQ: How can I differentiate Korean, Chinese or "fake" Les Pauls from MIJ Les Pauls ? Most fakes are of Chinese origin. Some spotting tips for guitars not made in Japan include: 1- Three (or one) screw TRC's instead of the standard two screw MIJ TRC. (exceptions to this include some ESP LP's with 1 screw TRC's and early '70s Matsumoku 3 screw TRC Grecos) 2- White rear cavity covers: MIJ Les Pauls all have black rear cavity covers. (exceptions to this again include some ESP LP's and early '70s Matsumoku Grecos with white covers ) 3- Different headstock shape or center dimple: Open book headstock indicate a MIJ Les Paul for the Japan market. Center dimple headstocks or different headstock shapes were commonly used on export models and Korean manufactured Tokais. 4- Square nut cross section: Original MIJ nuts all have a 15* slope angle towards the headstock side, while Korean and Chinese brands often have square, non sloped, nut cross sections 5- Bolt on necks: MIJ models featured below, have set necks. Notable exceptions are the 1999 LS-55 MIJ Tokai with a bolt on neck which had a set neck before and after 1999). Many Aria Pro II, Yamaha, Ibanez and Matsumoku made MIJ Les Pauls all have bolt on necks with "MIJ" imprints on the neck bolt covers. 6- Larger Bridge support posts and sleeved bushings: Posts are thicker and typically slotted at the top and thread into a metal sleeve insert instead of directly into the maple top. 7- Neck scarf joints: Any 45* angled joint in the neck between the guitar body and headstock (commonly referred to as a scarf joint) is an indication of a Korean or made in china Les Paul. MIJ necks are all one piece (not counting the ear pieces outboard of the tuners or neck heels on Grecos, Burnys and 1990's+ Tokais ) 8- Dime sized pots in control cavity: MIJ pots are close to quarter size while Korean or Chinese pots are often lower grade penny or dime sized pots 9- Monotone headstock inlays (or suspicious border finish around inlay).MIJ brands below feature pearloid brand name headstock inlays that shimmer when viewed at different angles. They are usually seamless so borders or raised edges around an inlay may point to tampering or a sloppy refinish. 10- No serial number: Except for 1982+ Burny's, MIJ models in this FAQ feature stamped or inked serial numbers on headstock backs just above top tuners. No serial #'s or use of letters in MIJ models that never used letters, are an indication of a made in Korea or made in China model. Some MIK models have serial # decals. 11- Headstock logos: vary from legitimate logos or silkscreening. This usually involves keeping legitimate high resolution headstock pics handy for the brand in question. Google image search will usually have examples. There are small variations in MIJ headstock art and placement year to year, but when there are a number of marked differences in font type, size or placement it should raise flags to look for other differences stated above. 12- Use of other body woods: basswood or other back or neck woods may indicate a MIK or MIC manufacture (including but not limited to: Tokai ALS models, ESP Grassroots). MIJ models used mahogany back and necks. Exceptions include Greco late 70's EG 700 to 900 models featuring Norlin pankake bodies and maple necks and KOA top Custom Shop models from various makers. (Many Custom models feature Mahogany tops.) note : Many 1960's - 78 Japan manufacturers featured some of the above characteristics (which remained in use into the 1980's + beyond in Korean plants), most commonly #'s 1,2,3,5,6 above What is the best MIJ Les Paul that I can buy for $ X00.00 dollars ? Depending on your budget, price based model numbers will be your best guide to choices available to you. Each of the listed makes are fundamentally quality Les Paul copies, but depending on what is important to you, some may be better choices for you than others. This is where researching your choices becomes very important. IE- if long tenons are important, a Greco Mint Collection or Late model MIJ LP will offer the best selection. If one piece backs are more important, Tokai / Bacchus / Navigator mid to premium models will offer the best selection. A final word on guitar values => Values are cyclical, but to get an idea of current values for the model you're interesred in, check recent sales amounts using eBay's advanced search feature, which has a check box for completed sales. How can I be sure an internet ordered MIJ LP will be good ? It is generally agreed that it's better, where possible, to audition a guitar live rather than buy sight unseen. There is always an element of risk buying online, but if the price is relatively low and you research the model and brand thoroughly, in order to minimize surprises based on misinformation, the element of risk is significantly reduced. There is a good chance the guitar will be what you expected because MIJ craftmanship was reasonably consistent for the brands listed below. What does the letter in my serial number mean ? 1970's Grecos and later Greco EG Custom models often used a letter prefix denoting the month of manufacture: ie- A=January B=February ....alphabetically to.... K=November L=December F prefix Tokais are made in Korea, C prefix Tokais are made in China. Terada Orvilles have J or K letter prefixes + Terrada OBG have G letter prefixes. G denotes Gibson pickups, J or K denote Japan pickups. Early Epiphone Japan models retained J prefixes from Terada serial designation and this was later changed to a T prefix. Fujigen adopted an F prefix for later Epiphone Japan models. Why do model numbers change from year to year? Because models numbers are generally based on values, some manufacturers began making model numbers larger to reflect increased production costs associated with inflation and resulting sales prices. Tokai began this practice in 1985 and still does this today. Specifications can become confusing for later years, with so many different model numbers produced. Other companies used cost cutting measures, such as eliminating certain features, to hold the line on costs and sales prices. Fret edge binding was only available on Greco Premium models after 1983, as an example. Why is my headstock different from the "open book" Les Paul design ? This is one of the most common practices by MIJ manufacturers to stay within the bounds of copyright infringement laws for "export" models, along with different headstock silkscreen art that looks very similar to "Les Paul" script from a distance, including: "Luper Prade" (Burny "Super Grade"),"Super Real" (Greco), "Love Rock" (Tokai), "Live Road" (Bacchus) Fujigen was licensed by Gibson, to use "Les Paul" and "by Gibson" on ObG headstocks. Different headstocks shapes are common on export models and models made in Korea, but not for Japan's domestic issues. Where was my LP made ? These were/are the main Japanese factories producing the majority of MIJ models (and a few notable Korean subsidiaries): Asuka (Aska): Bacchus 1994+ Cort, Cor-Tek: (Korea) Greco 1988-199? "no serial" models, Ibanez Dyna Gakki: Greco, Ibanez ESP Custom shop: N-LP 280, 380, 480, Kyoto Japan, ESP Korean factories: LTD-1000, LTD-400, Grassroots, ESP Indonesian factories: LTD 250 and lower models Fujigen Gakki: Ibanez, Greco 1979-1991, Burny (RLC's and some RLG's), ObG 1992-98, Epiphone Japan 1998+, Yamaha , Fender Japan 1981-1997 (1st CNC LP's in 1981) Hoshino Gakki: Ibanez Kasuga: Heerby closed early/mid 1990s. Ida (Lida) Gakki: Ibanez, Peerless factory, Korea. Nippon Gakki: Yamaha , Aria , Norlin Matsumoku: (Matsumoto Mokkou) Aria, Burny (1982-86 RLG-150, 120, 90 models), Epiphone1970 - 86, Greco 1970's, Tokai (1980 + 1981 inkies),Westminster, (1st CNC LP's in early '80s)*, Plant closed in 1987 Terada: Orville + ObG (199x - 199x K, L, J serial), Burny (1980-81 FLG-240,150, 90 models) Higashiku factory, Kanie factory + Shirakawa factory Tokai Gakki: Tokai, Burny FLG (1978),Greco EGC 198?, Grandy (1984-86), Fender Japan, (1st CNC LP's in 1982)* *Japanese CNC manufacturing accounted for 40% of the guitar making process, 60% of the guitar making process was still done by hand including planing, fretting, joining, and assembly. =============================== MIJ models and feature overview: Bacchus - Momose - Deviser Bacchus Vintage Series models: BLS-56-Ltd Ed GT: no tunematic bridge, BLS-59-120 Gold Top: BLS-59-120 Lemon Drop: BLP-59-Live Road Brian (MIK): BLP-59-Live Road Duke: oiled finish Bacchus Classic Series models: BLP-STD-H : Standard plaintop, humbucker pups: BHV-A5(F).BHH(R), Laquer finish, BLP-STD-M : Mini Humbucker BLP-STD-FM : Flamed Maple with 1 piece back BLP-STD-S : P90 style pickup, also comes with Bigsby BLP-CTM : Custom, Pups: BHV-A5(F).BHH(R) (avail w 3 pups also) BLP-SP : Special, BLP-SPDC : Special Double Cut Burny - Fernandes FLC - FLG 1975 -1981 "Les Paul model" script FLC-85 : Custom, FLC-100: 3 piece back, 2 piece top - center seam, FEB, volute, FLC-120: FLG-70 : plain top, CS, BS, GT finishes FLG-75 : plain top, BL (black) finishes FLG-80 : plain top, VG, VBS, VCS finishes FLG-90 : plain top, VOS, VOBS finishes FLG-100: plain top FLG-120: plain top FLG-140: plain top, 1 piece back, plain top, nitro , FLG-90 : thin veneer flame top, L8001 pups FLG-150: 1 piece back , 3/8" thick flame top cap, FEB, nitro finish FLG-180: 1 piece back, thicker flame top cap, FEB, nitro finish FLG-240: 1 piece back, solid flame top, FEB, nitro finish RLC - RLG 1982 - date , no headstock serial #, "Super Grade" script RLC-60-70-80: Custom, 2 piece solid top , poly finish , BB, CS, BS finishes RLG-50: 2 piece solid plain top , FEB, poly finish RLG-60: '56 edition GT, p-90 pups , FEB, poly finish RLG-90: veneer top, FEB , poly finish, RLG-120: 1 piece back, 3/8" thick flame top cap, FEB, nitro finish RLG-150: 1 piece back, thicker flame top cap, FEB, nitro finish * Specs may vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer . ESP - Edwards * E-LP70: Two piece back, solid tops, some w double ring tuners E-LP 85 SD: (now ELP-92) poly E-LP 90LTS: (now ELP-98) laquer over poly E-LP 92: E-LP 98: E-LP 112/124: basic lacquer, SD1 + SD5 pups E-LP 124/132: super circuit, lacquer, SD1 + SD5 pups E-LP 130: Pure Material : Ltd Ed flame top, 31 produced in 2009 *ESP Edwards guitars began production in 1992, and are manufactured in China, then reportedly finished and quality control inspected in Japan. ESP - Navigator 1976 - 1979 ES-12 Standard ES-13 Custom 1980 LPS 90, LPS 100, LPS 130, LPS 150, LPS 200, Standard LPC 85, LPC 100 Custom intro of Espart-LP kits 1981 - 82 LPS 100, LPS 150, LPS 200, LPS 250, LPS 300, LPS 350, Standard LPC 110, LPC 150 Custom 1983 - 84 LPS 120, LPS 120G (gold top), LPS 250, LPS 350, Standard LPG 110 (P-90 gold top),LPC 200 1985 - 86 LPS 140G (gold top), LPS 300, LPS 350, Standard LPC 200 Custom 1987 ~ 2000 Standard white rear covers LPS 250, LPS 350, LPC 200 Custom 2000 - 2005 N-LP 280: solid flame top, poly finish N-LP 350LTD: N-LP 380LTD: replaced discontinued N-LP 280 ~ 2001, 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups, nitro finish N-LP 320CTM: Custom 2005 - date N-LP 480LTD: solid flame tops, 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups N-LP 580LTD: solid flame tops, 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups N-LP 380CTM: Custom 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups N-LP 400CTM: Custom 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups N-LP 480CTM: Custom 1pc Honduran mahog backs, SD pups Greco 1971 - 1975 "Gneco" headstock logo. Early '70s Greco LP's had 3 screw TRC's 1975 - 1981 "Greco" headstock logo + closed "O" in Greco EG-380 - EG 480: Chambered body, UD pickups, multi piece back EG-500: 3 piece top 1980-81, multi piece back, U-1000 pickups EG-500 C: Custom, 2 piece top, multipiece back, UD pickups EG-600: 2 piece top, multipiece back, U-1000 pickups EG-700: Norlin sandwich type bodies, maple necks + large Head stocks, U-2000 pickups EG-800: Norlin sandwich type bodies, maple necks + large Head stocks, PU-2 pickups EG-900: Norlin sandwich type bodies, maple necks + large Head stocks, Dimarzio PAF pickups EGC-900: Dimarzio PAF pickups 1979 - 1982 Super Real Series * "Super Real" headstock script *1982 transition Super Reals: Super Real heastock script, but have Mint Collection model attributes, including long tenons. EG1000 C: Custom, Dry Z pickups, ebony board EGF-850 : PU-2 pickups, (some with Brazilian fret boards in 1980 only) EGF-1000: Dimarzio pickups, (Brazilian fret boards in 1979-1980 only) EGF-1200: Dry Z pickups, all with Brazilian fret boards, EGF-1800: Dry Z pickups, all with Brazilian fret boards, EGF-2500: solid Quilt top, limited special order in 1980 only, dry Z pickups. All models feature FEB, nitro finish, EGF-1200 - only model with honey burst finish + usually the fattest ('58 profile) necks of all LP replica's. EGF-1800 - solid flame topped special order models, center seam 2pc back, few 1 pc backs, (lower EGF SR models are all veneer tops) 1982-1995 Mint Collection. open O in "Greco" until mid 1991, no headstock script (except 1982 Super Real). All feature a long neck tenon, rectangular bell TRC Models EG59-85 upward, have Nitro finishes. 1982 (and many 1983) models have FEB. The middle two (xx) numbers in Mint Collection model numbers designate the LP year featured and similar neck profiles, with 56-58 being thickest and 60 being smallest. Middle numbers include 57,58,59,60, and 68 for Customs only. EG-xx-450: 2 piece top , heel cap, Screamin pickups EG-xx-500: 3 piece solid top 1980-82, heel cap, Screamin pickups EG-xx-600: GT Hot Lick (P-90) or minibucker pickups EG-xx-650: laminate flametop, Screamin pickups EG-xx-700: 2 piece top, mild flame, no heel cap, Screamin pickups EG-xx-850: laminate flametop, Double Trick pickups, CS finish EG-xx-1000: laminate flametop, DRY-1982 pickups EG-xx-1200: laminate flametop, DRY-1982 pickups and 50's style necks, some of the EG58-120's EG-xx-1800: solid flametop, DRY-1982 pickups EG-59-2400: rare limited editions,feature solid flametops, fatter flamed maple necks, gold hardware, ebony fretboards.. EG-68-800 C - Wine top Tobacco burst, Double Trick pickups EG-1000D 1989-91 Seymour Duncan pickups. From 1988-1990 Greco licensed Cort (Korea) to produce no headstock serial # EG models, featuring black plastic fret boards, angled end (rather than squared end) cavity routs, squared nuts + TRC area bevels. In mid 1991 Greco returned to the closed O on most Mint Collection models. Orville - ObG - Epiphone (Japan) Orville by Gibson - Manufactured for Gibson by Fujigen - models featured long tenons. Terrada - models mostly featured medium tenons and K, G or J serial number prefixes K prefix Orville LPs were produced from 1989 -1993, necks may have Korean style scarf joins. G prefix ObG LPs were produced from 1989 -1995 J prefix Terada Orvilles began production in 1995 after ObG production ceased, L - prefix Orvilles are believed to be of non Japanese origin (or possibly fakes.) G = Gibson pickups (ObG), J+ K = Japan PAF pickups (Orville). ObG LP Reissues (LPR ) late 1992 to early 1995 - Gibson USA wiring, controls and pickups, nitro finishes, blank TRC, FEB, Rare, ObG RI flametops are rarer still. ObG LP Standard (LPS) 1988-1993, no FEB "Standard" on the truss rod cover, but are otherwise identical to the ObG reissues. ObG flametops are usually laminate, with a few solid flametop examples (LPS-FM 150's and a few re-issues). Orville - Japanese electrics and Orville PAF pickups, poly finishes some Orvilles had Photo-flametops, which have identical halves and can look the same as other examples. In early 1995, Orville by Gibson was discontinued, Epiphone (Japan) There were Matsumoku made Epiphone badged LP's produced in very low numbers in 1982 and possibly later, until Matsumoku closed in 1987. They are very similar to Matsumoku produced Burny RLG's from 1985 + 1986. Controversy remains as to whether they were licensed products or not, but there is no doubt about their build origins. In 1998 Orvilles were re-branded Epiphone by Gibson (Japan). Japanese Epiphones are identical to Orville's but with an Epi headstock inlay. There were no replacements for Orville by Gibson models. Early Epiphone Japan serials are the same as the last Orvilles, with no letter serial # prefix from Fujigen and J letter serial # prefixes from Terada. For later Epiphone Japan serials, Fujigen started using F letter serial # prefixes at the same time Terada started using T letter serial # prefixes. Elite/Elitist series Japan Epis were introduced in 2002 Export Epi Elite models featured tombstone headtocks in place of Japan domestic open book headstocks. Lacquer series models were introduced around 2005 and Epi Japan LP production ended several years later. Tokai 1978-1985 All Japan made models have 7 digit numeric serial numbers. with the 1st number(s) indicating model year. There are 3 different headstock scripts: "Les Paul Reborn" - 1978-early 1980 "Reborn Old" - early to late 1980 "Love Rock" - late 1980 to Date There are 3 different TRC styles: Bell shaped TRC - 1978-1980 (some re-appeared in 1983-1984) Pointed Bell TRC - 1981 - mid 1998 Arch shaped TRC - mid 1998 - date LC-60: 2 piece top,2 piece back, poly finish LC-100: 1 piece mahogany top,1 piece back, nitro finish, 2 pickups LC-110: 1 piece mahogany top,1 piece back, nitro finish, 3 pickups LS-50: 3 piece top, multi piece back, poly finish LS-60: 2 piece top,2 piece back, poly finish LS-80: Gotoh 57 PAF pickups LS-100: dimarzio pickups LS-120: veneer flametop LS-150: solid flametop LS-200: special order model All LS-80 to LS-200 models feature nitro finish, 1 piece backs, 18* heastock angle, FEB to 1983 Tokai models did not begin using inflation corrected higher model numbers until the LS-55 in 1985. LS-70 GT + LS-75 GT limited edition models were introduced in 1981 Current production line: As of 2011, models below LS-92 are no longer made in Japan. ALS prefix models are made in China (ALS-47, ALS-48, ALS-53 etc) current MIJ models: LS-92: plain top, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly finish LS-98: veneer flame top, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly finish LS-140 F:veneer flame top, 2 piece back, long tenon, lacquer LS-160: plain top, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer LS-165 S: GT, P-90s, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer LS-260: solid flame top, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer LS-420: LS-260 specs but with Brazilian fret board, higher grade flame top LS-540: LS-420 specs + Honduran mahogany back + premium flame top LC-98: Wine red + BB finish, 2 piece back, long tenon, poly LC-195 S: BB,ebony fretboard, 1 piece back, long tenon, US electrics, lacquer LC-200: as above in Wine red finish ===================================== 2010 and newer Greco and Burny models often have a "5" last digit in the model number, with models below xx-85 usually made in China. These generally do not have open book headstock shapes. If you would like to add additional information for MIJ brands not mentioned, please feel free to do so.