Vintage MIJ Customs with real ebony fretboard?

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by tommott77, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Hi all, first post here. I'm starting to try to get back into playing more often, after about a five year hiatus preceded by a decade of playing mostly Strats. I have fond memories of the second guitar I ever owned (either a 78 or 87) Les Paul Custom. I've tried to catch that magic before a couple times before with a late 90s LP Classic and Vintage V. I've also just recently purchased a mid 80s tokai-built Grandy Les Paul Custom. It's nice but still feels like its missing something, as with the other Gibsons I've owned since the LP Custom. I believe that missing ingredient is an ebony fretboard with fret edge binding.

    What all vintage MIJ LP copies came with a real ebony fretboard, fred-edge binding, and at least a mahogany neck and back? I've spent a couple days searching all over; this site, ebay, google, etc, but have not been able to find much of any definitive specs of the vintage tokai, Greco, Burny, Orville models. The one model I think I may have found is an early 90s Orville Custom reissue, but the ones I've seen for sale are around $1400-1500. I'd like to stay under $1000 for a MIJ guitar, as I'm also keeping my eye out for the uglier/cheaper Gibson Customs as well in the $1500 range.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. villager

    villager Senior Member

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    you wont fins those specs for that price, orville by Gibson, tokai LC 100 greco egc 1000 all had all the above..
     
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  3. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Member

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    He might come close with an Orville by Gibson.

    OP: Don't lookat eBay, japanese guitars sold on eBay (unless not being shipped from Japan) are re-sellers, inflating the price by as much as $300 of their original listing price. You want to go on digimart (https://www.digimart.net/); this is basically Japanese Reverb. Pretty much all Japanese guitar retailers use digimart for their listings. Another alternative is to use Rinkya, or Buyee etc. to look at Yahoo Japan Auction listings, but I honestly just prefer the security of buying from a retailer through digimart.

    If you really like the sounds of an Orville by Gibson, a good way to tell whether it's got Nitro is to check if there's fret edge binding. I haven't encountered an ObG that has nitro that didn't have fret edge binding; not saying they don't exist, but it's a good way to tell.

    If you don't place that much value in fret edge binding (it really is a gimmick), I'd look at getting a newer Edwards E-LP-125ALC or E-LP-130ALC. I have the standard models of these guitars, and they are amazing value for the money. They have historic-accurate top carves, gotoh hardware, sh-55 seymour duncans, 50s wiring... just amazing value for the money. Crews Maniac Sound are also pretty great, and sort of near that price, give or take.
     
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  4. GammyBird

    GammyBird Senior Member

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    Fret edge binding is like tits on a bull...totally useless. Have an eye out for a Bacchus Classic Series BLP-CTM. Full hog, fat neck custom with an ebony board that's all business.

    DSC03410.JPG
     
  5. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Thanks so much all for the responses.

    That japan site is step in the right direction. I've happened upon similar other ones in my search but I have to admit it's a bit intimidating; not sure what to expect in terms of payment, shipping, customs, ect. Perhaps there's a "buying guitars from Japan for dummies" post/guide here somewhere.

    A quick look around and it appears that the higher grade models listed are a bit more rare birds than the other models. I found one nice Orville by Gibson on that Japan site but it was around $1700. I've seen cheaper, worn and torn Gibson customs though. Fit and finish is definitely not high on my priority list.

    I have found this Orville by Gibson custom that fits the criteria. It's obviously a bit rough, not sure if a previous owner wore a sand paper costume during gigs or what, but at least you can see it has a mahogany top. I'm not familiar with the Besikibu as opposed to the Fujigen, and google is giving me nothing. It's listed with several sellers though and I can't tell who actually has it in their possession at this point.
    http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-5...0001&campid=5338014323&icep_item=253217974059
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  6. Troy McClure

    Troy McClure Senior Member

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    I'd agree with GammyBird, drop the fret edge binding and your options will open up massively plus feb is generally a pain if it comes away from the fret and leaves a gap.

    Get on Yahoo Japan rather than ebay and you'll find all sorts of bargains if you're prepared to wait a little. My favourite is a 1985 Yamaha LPC800 that I picked up over a year ago for a bargain 25,000 yen and it's also in good nick with no real wear, I prefer it to a ObG57B I picked up cheap years ago.

    Even without getting lucky you should be able to pick up an Epi LPC90 or plenty of Yamaha's with ebony board for under 40,000yen.
     
  7. currypowder

    currypowder Senior Member

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    I'd add FGN Neo Classic NCLC-20E or NLC-200E to the mix. I have 2 (one black, one white) and they are incredible guitars. No FEB and the headstock is not the Gibby open book. But does have ebony and real shell inlays and the body is all mahogany. Fretwork is superb. Like Troy said, if you can be patient and check out Yahoo Japan periodically, you can probably find a deal. I picked up my black one for 50,000 JPY because the back had some scratches. The front is perfect, though.

    [​IMG]
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  8. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Thanks so much all for the responses. I tried to respond earlier but it looks like my post is hung up for moderator approval....perhaps because I included a link to an ebay ad.

    That japan site is step in the right direction. I've happened upon similar other ones in my search but I have to admit it's a bit intimidating; not sure what to expect in terms of payment, shipping, customs, ect. Perhaps there's a "buying guitars from Japan for dummies" post/guide here somewhere.

    A quick look around and it appears that the higher grade models listed are a bit more rare birds than the other models. I found one nice Orville by Gibson on that Japan site but it was around $1700. I've seen cheaper, worn and torn Gibson customs though. Fit and finish is definitely not high on my priority list.

    I have found an Orville by Gibson custom that fits the criteria (ebay item #253217974059) It's obviously a bit rough, not sure if a previous owner wore a sand paper costume during gigs or what, but at least you can see it has a mahogany top. I'm not familiar with the Besikibu as opposed to the Fujigen, and google is giving me nothing. It's listed with several sellers though and I can't tell who actually has it in their possession at this point.
     
  9. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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  10. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Member

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    https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop3740/DS04055828/ - that link you sent is a re-listing with a marked up price; I recognised the background of the store (Treasure guitars). This listing that I've linked from digimart is 89000 yen, which will be about 83000 yen after sales tax is removed (int. customers are exempt), putting the price of the guitar down to $730... This is why you don't buy MIJ guitars off eBay, unless they're being shipped from outside of Japan.

    Digimart can be a bit daunting to use at first, but once you've gotten the grasp of it, it's easy. An essential chrome plugin is the google translate plugin (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/google-translate/aapbdbdomjkkjkaonfhkkikfgjllcleb?hl=en) if your google chrome doesn't detect foreign languages automatically, like mine doesn't. For me personally, I've got this link bookmarked (https://www.digimart.net/search?dis...&bodyShapeOption=&materialOption=&keywordNot=), which simply shows me the newest stock of second-hand les paul style guitars; I check this daily.

    Once you think you've found 'the one', you'll want to email the guitar retailer. Do this by scrolling to the bottom of the item listing, and looking for store details / inquiries.
    [​IMG]

    I don't recommend getting a digimart account and contacting through there; it's just a pain in the arse. All I'd do is run a google search for that guitar store (i.e. treasure guitars okayama) and find the contact details there. Most guitar retailers in Japan have someone who speaks English to handle your enquiries; I've had hit and miss success with talking to Treasure Guitars. I know for one, that Rockin Nagoya (rockin.co.jp) are fantastic; Shinya (their international orders handler) is a pleasure to deal with. It can be a real goose hunt, but it's well worth it. If you had no success contacting them directly, you can always use a middleman service (I think Buyee charges a flat-rate, where you link them the item listing and they buy it and ship it for you) - eBay is a last resort.

    A note on Orville by Gibsons:
    A lot of the Les Paul Customs you see will be equipped with Rosewood boards, so be very wary of this. Aside from your preferences for an Ebony board, a Rosewood board can potentially be subject to CITES documentation. Aside from the one I linked above, most of the LPC ObGs that are equipped with Ebony boards and fret edge binding approach 200k yen, which is a lot of dough for what they are. They're great guitars, but there is better value to be found elsewhere. Bacchus, Tokai, Edwards, Fujigen, Momose (if you can find one in your budget) are all fantastic new examples of les paul customs. For example, here's a LPC-57B (the highest orville custom model and the one that meets your requirements): https://www.digimart.net/cat01/shop1484/DS04103408/ . Going for about 185k yen after taxes are taken, which is close to $1650 USD.

    If you need any more help or have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an inbox message.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  11. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Thanks bluesriffdev! That may have been the most well done helpful post in all my days of internetting.

    If that guitar is the real deal and can be had for $730 it can very well be 'the one'. Can anybody help verify exactly what model this may be and the exact specs. From the pictures it obviulsy has the Orville by Gibson headstock, and w/ fret end binding. It also looks to have a Mahogany top and ebony fretboard best I can tell from the pictures. The one thing that is throwing my off a bit is the "It is Besikibu Les Paul custom which is superior to Fujigen's, Honkey Gibson as much as not inferior" verbiage in the ad. I'm not familiar with and/or are finding anything regarding 'Besikibu' as opposed to Fujigen.

    If it all check out I'll probably jump on it. s-l500 (2).jpg s-l500 (3).jpg s-l500.jpg s-l500 (1).jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  12. GammyBird

    GammyBird Senior Member

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    That's an Orville By Gibson 57B Reissue. It has everything you're looking for. Should be a great Custom. The price is a tad up there considering the condition though.
     
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  13. Troy McClure

    Troy McClure Senior Member

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    Yep a 57B , ebony board, fret binding, cheap plastic inlays, pathetic attempt at relicing and the pups have been swapped out from the decent sounding 57 Classic pups to some kind of Seymour Duncan and a who knows pup. Far too overpriced, I padi 52,000 for my ObG admittedly it was about 4 years ago and a bargain but bargains are on YJ all the time. Here's a decent looking Wine Red 57B that sold for 76,000 a little while back. Just bide your time and don't rush in as bargains will crop up, also remember the 57B's have the thicker 50's style neck rather than the usual 60's style you'll find on most MIJ's. The Epi LPC90 is all mahagony and Fujigen made like the 57B's only real difference is the pups and fret binding and the price.

    https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/o205306543#enlargeimg

    [​IMG]

    Another wine red went for 96,000, mainly cos the wine red's are rarer 57B's and stunning lookers :)

    https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/s537109562#enlargeimg

    [​IMG]

    The Yamaha's are worth looking at too and can still be picked up at cheap prices, SL650 upwards had ebony boards

    40K https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/p569535221#enlargeimg

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    18,600 yen
    https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/u156374515#enlargeimg

    [​IMG]

    40K SL700C

    https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/e233447046#enlargeimg

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    41K SL700C
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
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  14. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames Senior Member

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    Keep a lookout for an '82-'84 Greco Mint Collection EGC68-80 also :naughty: [​IMG]
     
  15. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    ice5y-img1200x900-1509845803paqdhk376.jpg Again, thanks for all the follow ups. My original custom was a wine red and I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for them. In playing around with the japan yahoo site I actually came across a couple Gibson Les Pauls around the $1500 price mark, including the payee intermediary service and shipping. Is there any reason to not buy a Gibson in Japan to be shipped back here? It seems like the prices may be a bit better on true Gibsons as well over there.

    This Gibson is almost identical to my first Les Paul; wine red Custom, no pickguard, exposed coil bridge seymour duncan. https://buyee.jp/item/yahoo/auction/n236746273
     
  16. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Member

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    Looks to be in good nick. I'd ask for the serial if you can, but I'm fairly certain it's genuine, given the fret edge bindings and the quality of the body binding. The serial should start with 9 and the fifth character should be a 1.

    Remember that this is the opening price; there's still 8 hours left - someone could swoop this up and I dare say it'll end a little higher than 150k yen. There are plenty of genuine Gibsons at low prices in Japan. You might be able to find a beat up LPC at your price range, but the bulk of what I see at the 150k yen limit are Gibson USAs.
     
  17. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Again, thanks for all the assistance. I feel much more comfortable in my search now. The red wine custom sold before I felt comfortable enough putting a bid on it. I'm still considering the worn and torn ebony Orville, but it looks like it may not have a case so I'm a bit wary of it making the overseas trip in one piece.

    I'm still searching around a good bit on the Japan sites. I still don't have a firm grasp of all the different vintage models; tokai, Burny, Greco, Orville, and the exacting specs of all the different models. Is there some sort of guide somewhere that has the breakdown of all the different specs of all the different lawsuit era make/models that someone can point me in the direction of?
     
  18. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Member

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    http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/_mij__faq_-_links.167868/ - This guide isn't entirely complete, but it does give you a good idea of what to look for. I'm still personally of the opinion that there's better value to be found outside of vintage instruments (unless they're not well known). Old Tokais and Grecos are great, and I hope to own a nice LS-80 one day, but if you're chasing value within a budget, Momose, Edwards, Bacchus and Crews (among other brands) are great value. The Edwards ALS-130 I bought was easily the most playable guitar I've ever bought second-hand.
     
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  19. tommott77

    tommott77 Junior Member

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    Again, thanks so much bluesriffdev! That's great info. One last question and I'll leave everyone alone. How does the process of shipping to the US and customs typically work out? Not that I'm in the market for a rosewood boarded guitar but I've seen something that there's a new rule regarding the importation/exportation of rosewood affecting the sale of some guitars, not sure if it could potentially hang up other guitars as well. I've mainly be looking via the third party intermediary services thus far; buyee, zenmart. Is it safe to assume that these sites will properly handle all the logistics of shipping, handling, customs, etc in getting a guitar safely from Japan to the USA?
     
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  20. bluesriffdev

    bluesriffdev Member

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    Not a problem! I could talk about guitars all day, yet I still don't find the time to play them enough... funny how that is. You won't have any issues with an Ebony boarded guitar. I've heard of guitars being slowed down in customs since this CITES thing, but nothing much more. I'd still be cautious with a Rosewood board, but there's no need to worry with an Ebony one, just make sure it's packed well when we're talking about Les Pauls with their headstock angles and such.

    And yes, Buyee and the like will handle shipping and packing. They buy goods as a domestic buyer before packing and shipping internationally for a fee. I haven't used either, but I've heard good things about Buyee and Rinkya for Yahoo Auctions. I still swear by digimart, though.
     

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