How do you identify a pre-historic?

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by johnny_walker, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. johnny_walker

    johnny_walker Member

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    I'm looking at a guitar that I was told was a pre-historic reissue but I have a few doubts? How do you tell the difference between a pre-historic and a newer historic?

    What are the detailed differences? Tops? Hardware? Construction? Serial numbers?

    What's the consensus on these guitars? Good? Better to spend my money on a new R9?
     
  2. Deguello

    Deguello Senior Member

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    Pre Historic

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  3. FredC

    FredC Member

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  4. houstonTX

    houstonTX Senior Member

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    maybe call the Gibson 1-800 number with the serial number. their customer service should help.
     
  5. dwagar

    dwagar V.I.P. Member

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  6. Bad Puppy

    Bad Puppy Senior Member

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    hehe:lol:
     
  7. Bad Puppy

    Bad Puppy Senior Member

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  8. charpchevy

    charpchevy Junior Member

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    reissues are stamped in the pickup cavity
     
  9. Red&Die

    Red&Die Senior Member

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    It doesn't work on the pre-historic I think...
     
  10. charpchevy

    charpchevy Junior Member

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    Yes - on the pre-historic reissues. At least for the 90-ish timeframe; I don't know about the older special orders and/or 80's reissues.

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  11. dangerdog

    dangerdog Senior Member

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    A Historic will almost always have a long tenon. A pre-historic will not.

    There are some that are labeled "historic collection" on the back of the headstock that do not have a long tenon though. I think these are transition pieces...very rare but I doubt more valuable for it...at least not in my experience.

    What you want to look for is an early classic parading as a pre-historic.....you can tell these apart by the pot dates, serial numbers and pickup cavity stamps. A classic will not say "reissue" in the pickup cavity.

    For example, one of the greatest classics ever, 1993 Classic:

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  12. delawaregold

    delawaregold _______Artie_______ Super Mod

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    From the outside…not so easy.
    Looking in the cavity’s…very easy.
    You will find all the “Tells” in the Pickup and Control Cavity.
    The first thing to look for is the long neck tenon in the neck
    Pickup cavity.
    All Custom Shop Historic Reissue Guitars have Long Neck Tenons.


     
  13. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    I know a lot of Ebayers label their 1980s Standards as preHistorics, when they are just regular production Standards. The inked SN vs. the stamped is the tell in that case.

    As for 1990-mid 1993 Classics and the 1991-mid 1993 preHistorics, sometimes you have to look in the pickup cavities to verify which one you have. Even Gibson reassigned them at the factory, and altered the markings in the pickup cavities accordingly. In 1991 the preHistorics took on the more "accurate" features that the Classic introduced in 1990.

    The 1983-1990 PreHistorics are very easy to identify without turning a screw.
     
  14. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    The serial number font is one good way to tell a 1988, 1989 or 1990 Flametop reissue from a R8, R9 or R0 respectively, without turning a screw. Also the pre 1991 preHistorics had screw-in bushing on their tuners vs, push-in for the Historics. The ones that REALLY fool people are the 1996-1998 Custom Shop standards that are built to Historic specs! Before 1999, the Custom Shop guitars did not have the "CS" in their serial number. So they had 6 9xxx. 7 9xxx, and 8 9xxx for the 1996, 1997 and 1998 non Historic Custom Shop Standards. They also made Custom Shop Standards made to USA specs that had the normal YDDDYxxx Serial number style....different animal.

    You can see where the same serial number can be used over and over again. 7 9111 could be a 1987 prehistoric, a 1997 Custom shop standard, a 1999 R7 or a 2009 R7. Mix in the Classic SNs and you have another can of worms.

    In fact the early 90's Classics and PreHistoric actually shared their SN series. So 1 0988 could be a 1991 Classic and 1 0989 could be a 1991 Flametop reissue.
     
  15. dangerdog

    dangerdog Senior Member

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    Like I said above, there are very early reissues, that are stamped "Historic Collection" that do not have a long tenon.

    I think I have maybe seen two. The one I remember more distinctly was a 57 custom.
     
  16. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    Yes, the "Historic Collection" came out in 1991. The 1993 and very early 1994 Historic Les Pauls had this decal also. As far as preHistorics go, (without the long tenon) the Custom was the only Les Paul that had that Decal, other iconic Gibsons were included, Super 400, Flying V, Explorer, and so on.

    The early 80s' and the early 90's were VERY dynamic and confusing times at Gibson, and very difficult to deliniate.

    In 1991, when the "Historic Collection" was born, the Les Paul Flametop RI became the 1959 Flametop RI or the 1960 Flametop RI, but I have yet to see any of those with the "Historic Collection" decal. EVERY 1993 long tenoned R7 or R9 Historic I have ever seen had either the "Historic Collection" decal or "Custom Shop" decal. These were phased out in very early 1994 due to customer complaints. (not historically accurate, how ironic!)
     
  17. LeftyF2003

    LeftyF2003 Premium Member

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    My 90 pre-historic is not stamped "REISSUE" in the pickup cavity, but Gibson confirmed it over the phone. Best most sure way to tell is call Gibson with the serial #.
     
  18. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    Sometimes seen on 1993 and early 1994 Historics:

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    More commonly seen on 1993 and early 1994 Historic R7s and R9s, and also seen on Les Paul Custom preHistorics (and other Gibson non-Les Paul models):

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    Stamp on a 1991-early 93 preHistoric Les Paul 1960 Flametop RI:

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    Started life as a Les Paul Classic Plus, changed to a 1960 Flametop RI AT THE FACTORY:

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  19. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Banned

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    It is less likely to see that stamp on 1983-1990 reissues than it would be on 1991-mid 1993 Reissues. Or rather, I should say, from 1991-mid 1993 MOST reissues had that stamp, from 1983-1990, it was more hit or miss, because they did not have to differentiate between a Reissue and a Classic, and in 1990 the Reissue was still not upgraded to the Classic specs.
     
  20. dangerdog

    dangerdog Senior Member

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    I actually still have emails between you (Rod) me and Roger at Gibson about a '93 R7 without the long tenon.
     

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