Class 5 & Special questions...

jk60LPTH

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I'd never heard of a Les Paul Class 5 until a friend told me he was going to sell a couple of his guitars. From the little I've been able to dig up, (and I don't know how accurate this is) I've been told the 'Class 5' is a reference to the top being an AAAAA. I believe it's also weight-relieved, 17 cheese-holes instead of 9, long neck tenon, '60's neck profile, tall pup rings, BB II & BB III. Early 2000's, either 2001 or 2002 I think. Pretty light, haven't weighed it, but I'm sure it's less that my other LP's which are all around 8 1/2 lbs.
Can anyone fill me in about details of this model guitar, pros and cons, years to watch out for, years that were better than otherrs, and what the value of them are? I'm inclined to buy this one after playing it, it's a good fit for me, but I'd appreciate any help filling the blanks in my knowledge of this particular model.

Oh, also on the table is a 2019 Les Paul Special which I'm interested in, because it's relatively inexpensive, and I can throw it in the back of the car when I go on a road trip without worrying too much about it getting damaged or stolen. I've seen what looks like the same model listed as Gibson Les Paul Jr. Special, and I'm not sure what the exact model name is, but any comments or advice about that model would also be appreciated.

TIA
 
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integra evan

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The class 5s, from my understanding, were all chambered. I could be wrong. I dont think it references the top, however all the Class 5s I've seen had nice tops....from plain to quilt.
Just treat it like any other guitar as what to look for.
 

mudface

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:photos: of both would be a big help. Some control cavity shots of the Class 5.
 

jk60LPTH

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The class 5s, from my understanding, were all chambered. I could be wrong. I dont think it references the top, however all the Class 5s I've seen had nice tops....from plain to quilt.
Just treat it like any other guitar as what to look for.
Thank you for your comments. Yes, weight relieved, somewhat more heavily than other models if what I've read elsewhere is true, as I mentioned above.
 

strayedstrater

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The Cloud 9's were the chambered ones, and super lightweight. The Class 5's were weight relieved but not fully chambered.
 

jk60LPTH

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:photos: of both would be a big help. Some control cavity shots of the Class 5.
"Photos? Photos? We ain't got no photos. We don't need no photos. I don't have to show you any stinkin' photos!" (paraphrasing mexican bandit leader Gold Hat in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre")

Seriously, I don't have any photos.

What I'm asking for is information about the model, where it fits into the hierarchy of Les Pauls, in terms of quality of manufacturing (I believe they are Custom Shop guitars, so quality should be fairly good), any strong or weak points in the line, any personal experience you've had with the model line. I'm not asking for an analysis of this specific guitar, I'm asking about the model line, and any information an experience that owners of Class 5 LP's, and also recent year Les Paul Specials might have had.

Thank you for taking the time post!
 

jk60LPTH

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The Cloud 9's were the chambered ones, and super lightweight. The Class 5's were weight relieved but not fully chambered.
That is my understanding as well, and thought I covered when I mentioned "cheese holes" above. What I found when I was researching Studio models was that there can be a huge variety of variations of what 'weight relief' is in a single model line over it's years of manufacture, which in the Studio's case seems to be perhaps the most extreme case of all models, from little or no weight relief to having chambers, and even chambers filled with balsa wood (which Gibson calls 'Chromyte').

So, my question about the Class 5 is, 'What is a Les Paul Class 5? Is it a Custom Shop Standard with 17 hole weight relief and a nicer than average maple cap? Just what is it?
 

mudface

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"Photos? Photos? We ain't got no photos. We don't need no photos. I don't have to show you any stinkin' photos!" (paraphrasing mexican bandit leader Gold Hat in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre")

Seriously, I don't have any photos.

What I'm asking for is information about the model, where it fits into the hierarchy of Les Pauls, in terms of quality of manufacturing (I believe they are Custom Shop guitars, so quality should be fairly good), any strong or weak points in the line, any personal experience you've had with the model line. I'm not asking for an analysis of this specific guitar, I'm asking about the model line, and any information an experience that owners of Class 5 LP's, and also recent year Les Paul Specials might have had.

Thank you for taking the time post!
The Class 5 model varies greatly..... some are solid colors with different appointments..... though based on a Custom Shop version of a Standard,... not the Historic model by the way even though they will have a long tenon..... some models have a Floyd Rose.... some have a Stop Bar bridge..... different inlays..... Class 5 can be all over the place.

Look on Reverb to get idea of the different versions of the Class 5 model.
 
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jk60LPTH

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Very interesting Mudface, so in short, the Class 5 model is the 'Catch 22' of Les Pauls! It defies being defined because it's definition doesn't exist! Cool!

Well, let's break it down. Color is subjective, as in, "If I happen to like it, that's what matters most". It's either a 2001 or 2002, probably the latter- checking serial number. Custom Shop version of the Standard, but not the Historic... what does that affect, pickups? wiring? Pot values? Capacitor? I don't think any Historics are weight relieved (but not certain of this), but the Standards are, aren't they? I know it has a '60's neck, it's got a stop bar and Tune-O-Matic, no Floyd Rose, trap curved side inlays, body and neck binding w nibs, 2 line 1 ring Klusons, BBII & BBIII pups.
 

mudface

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Very interesting Mudface, so in short, the Class 5 model is the 'Catch 22' of Les Pauls! It defies being defined because it's definition doesn't exist! Cool!

Well, let's break it down. Color is subjective, as in, "If I happen to like it, that's what matters most". It's either a 2001 or 2002, probably the latter- checking serial number. Custom Shop version of the Standard, but not the Historic... what does that affect, pickups? wiring? Pot values? Capacitor? I don't think any Historics are weight relieved (but not certain of this), but the Standards are, aren't they? I know it has a '60's neck, it's got a stop bar and Tune-O-Matic, no Floyd Rose, trap curved side inlays, body and neck binding w nibs, 2 line 1 ring Klusons, BBII & BBIII pups.
Here are a couple of examples from Reverb

2003 Class 5 Stop tail in a yellow sparkle

tkltblcr7l0f5ojazrrs.jpg


another Class 5 with double creams

uok660kxhhmtnql0ba6y.jpg


What electronics can vary...... all come with a COA and specifics. I believe the Class 5 designation is simply a marketing gimmick to imply a next level of a Custom Shop build.... not so much a specific spec model.
 

Dirtyclinic

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I have a Class 5. The person I bought it from told me the name was a reference to the AAAAA top but I have seen some Class 5s with rather plain tops. From my research it is just based on a Standard but with some minor changes and "can" have a AAAAA top. It was made in the Custom Shop, has a Certificate of Authenticity, has the 17 swiss cheese holes, the bridge they put on Historics, and long neck tenon. Mine is a 2010 and has a crazy quilt top that I think is way too much but people seem to like the looks of it.









 

jk60LPTH

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Thanks mudface, I guess our postings passed each other, because I sent a description of everything the guitar I was looking at had (except the fret sizes, type of knobs and kind of nut. They're nice looking guitars, and I had looked through Reverb, ebay and a number of other shops that carried them and saw what a variety of tops they had. Appreciate the time you took to respond.
 

mudface

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I have a Class 5. The person I bought it from told me the name was a reference to the AAAAA top but I have seen some Class 5s with rather plain tops. From my research it is just based on a Standard but with some minor changes and "can" have a AAAAA top. It was made in the Custom Shop, has a Certificate of Authenticity, has the 17 swiss cheese holes, the bridge they put on Historics, and long neck tenon. Mine is a 2010 and has a crazy quilt top that I think is way too much but people seem to like the looks of it.









Fantastic guitar!

Do you have a pic of inside the control cavity..... and do you know what kind of pups are in yours.

This will give an indication of what the OP might expect from the guitar he's interested in.... Caps...pots and how it's wired.... '50s style or otherwise.
 

jk60LPTH

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I have a Class 5. The person I bought it from told me the name was a reference to the AAAAA top but I have seen some Class 5s with rather plain tops. From my research it is just based on a Standard but with some minor changes and "can" have a AAAAA top. It was made in the Custom Shop, has a Certificate of Authenticity, has the 17 swiss cheese holes, the bridge they put on Historics, and long neck tenon. Mine is a 2010 and has a crazy quilt top that I think is way too much but people seem to like the looks of it.









Really nice looking guitar Dirtycinic, I know what you mean about looking "way too much", I almost bought LP's on several occasions and balked because they are so unique, they don't even look real, the chatoyancy makes it look like a 3D decal glued on the top because you can't relate to any would looking remotely like that, especially when it's in a color like purple or blue, or even bright green... it's much less fake looking when it's a reddish or golden color. Do you happen to know what the list price for Class 5's was when you bought it? The one I'm looking at buying also has a metal jack plate, and I notice yours is plastic... the metal one may be an "upgrade". Did your guitar come with speed knobs, or are they something you added?
 

Dee Bone

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I once had a 2010 Customshop Class 5 in Blue quilted maple with 59’ specifications. Awesome guitar that I regretted selling. The weight relief is nice especially if you gig a lot.
They are truly great guitars. Class 5 represents the AAAAA maple tops in either quilted or flamed finish. Super tops and they are pretty!
 

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Dirtyclinic

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Fantastic guitar!

Do you have a pic of inside the control cavity..... and do you know what kind of pups are in yours.

This will give an indication of what the OP might expect from the guitar he's interested in.... Caps...pots and how it's wired.... '50s style or otherwise.
I haven't ever opened the cavity but I will try to do that tonight. It has the Burstbucker 2 and 3 combo.
 

jk60LPTH

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This is what the weight-relief looks like in a Class 5: 17 1/2" elongated holes.
View attachment 490389
That's a really interesting image. Where did that come from? I'm actually pretty shocked to see that much mahogany removed- some of those routes are very worrisome, in particular the 2 on the left that are pretty close to the edge and inline with the grain, as well as the one that's right next to the neck tenon on the top left side of the body of the guitar. Do you know for a fact that this same routing pattern was used from the introduction of the Class 5 guitars? It make's me wonder how much the slab of mahogany must have weighed to have that much wood removed and still be over 8 lbs. total weight. Both of my LP True Historics (which have no weight relief) weigh under 8.5 lbs.
 

Thunder Dump

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This was an X-ray done by an owner of a Class 5 who happens to be an X-ray tech and used his own guitar. The routing has been the same since the introduction of the Class 5.
 


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