FAKE 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitars and the factory ledgers. A Wall Street Journal story 7-10-2020

jvin248

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LPs were discontinued due to slow sales. Probably everyone associated with it tried to distance their involvement. 'Burn the history' so they couldn't be tied to it...

It's surprising Gibson is treating the ledger as if purposefully stolen.

The most likely scenario is some rock star in the seventies wanted confirmation of the guitar they just traded from another rock star and called up their artist relations buddy who went over to the grungy files, bringing the ledger from the moldy storage pits to read easier while on the phone with the rock star. After getting them that information they lazily left it on their desk since it's a long walk back to the damp spider cave they kept such records. When that person left the company from fire/move/retirement all their remainder office documents were binned by the next cubical inhabitant or two chipping away at decluttering.

Nothing insidious or heist-film-worthy, just plain old land-fill data loss.

When do you think the first calls came in to Gibson seeking information about authenticating or restoring a guitar from those years? They must get a thousand calls a day now, but when would those have begun to trickle in? Which ledger would have been the most popular to find the answers in? It probably sat on that person's desk for years to take random call requests and then the move lost it.

But naw, it's more interesting to suspect someone stole it.

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PGguy

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:welcome:
If Gibson Custom Shop wanted a grand idea, this would be it a CC Goldtop once owned by Paul Reid Smith, even though it was owned by the competition, for Paul to say it was the best sounding LP that gave up all of it's secrets before they were done with it, the marketing and hype is already done by the competition for FREE!

 

Qam

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Yes, Jon Gundry of Throbak has both as well for his lines.
Job says things about the Kalamazoo stuff I hadn't even thought about, Like about how the four Leesona winders were bought used by Gibson.

We don't think in terms like that in the modern sense: we're spoiled to wanna look first at what pickup winding machines Home Depot or Harbor Freight get in before looking deeper - right?

(they don't ok)

Maybe in the reverse sense, The Ledger isn't going to reappear because the real truth is: only 20 flamey bursts were ever really made, and it was all just a big bluff?

Unlikely of course. Just as unlikely I care about how many 12-pound Norlin-era Pauls that survive.
 

eric ernest

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Unlikely of course. Just as unlikely I care about how many 12-pound Norlin-era Pauls that survive.
Funny story there....the 3 piece volute necks were carved on WWI gunstock carving machines....that Gibson obviously bought used.
 
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PGguy

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Funny story there....the 3 piece volute necks were carved on WWI gunstock carving machines....that Gibson obviously bought used.
That was the other thing Ed Roman stated, he made more money refinishing guns than guitars...
 

davesrave

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Evidently it's not just the '59 ledger. Gibson's missing ledger post mentions that "We are also seeking to recover other pre-1970 Gibson documents, ledger books, blueprints and unique Gibson assets which are historically important and relevant." Gibson's response to my request for info on a '69 LP stated that they "don’t have detailed spec pages from that era."
 

PlainT0P83

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As a "2nd Generation" Vintage Guitar Nerd this story has me breathing heavily and drooling all over my black T-shirt.

Looking for some clarification on the documents if anyone has some insight.

In Tony Bacon's book about the V/Ex/Firebird, Walter Carter explains that there are actually 2 books that they used in the 1950s:

The 1st was a "Serial Log" that listed every guitar in numerical order by the S/N#. This one was not per day, just a long list of serials with model info after it. These lists appear to be "pre-stamped" meaning they just stamped a bunch of numbers in order first and then filled them out later as they were produced. Hence, why ship dates are jumbled. Some serials entries are blank, meaning they probably were never actually applied to an instrument (or just didn't log it).

The 2nd was the "Day Books" which is what I think Gibson is looking for in particular. This listed all of the instruments that left the factory on a given day, first by Model#, serial# and usually it's final destination. Sometimes there would be notes if it was going to a trade show or artist, or maybe there was a custom finish or special ornamentation, etc...

He further explains that they have the Serial logs all the way through for the "A" serial numbers (like the ES models), but not the ink-stamped solid bodies. These numerical/serial logs start again for solid bodies in 1961 when serial# system changed (i've seen these, this is when the first SGs were being shipped, labeled "LP 'new'")

Given that the day ledger only goes through June 30th, 1958 and the rest of the book is blank, could it be that this is just when they decided to stop doing that (as previously hypothesized)? But what about this Serial log? Are they looking for that as well? Or was that "bundled" along with the day book ledger?

I would think that Gibson would still log everything that left the door even if they changed their record keeping methods (after all, this is a company offering a Warranty on their product and probably had instruments on consignment and needed to account for all of their invoices).

Also, does this mean we can look up any of the hollow-body and acoustic guitars from that period? ie: we know when every ES-335 or J-200 left the factory in '59-'60? (I believe that is the case).

And besides the burst, I am WAY more interested in shedding light on the Explorer. Not one Ex was logged before that June 30th date. Could their even be a record of the fabled Moderne???

Anyone got an idea if there are actually TWO missing ledgers that they're looking for?

Given everything going on in the world in 2020, this is by far the most pressing issue for me at the moment...
 

PlainT0P83

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Here is a copy of the section in Tony Bacon's book that I had mentioned above:


 

MiniB

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How can I put this, nicely?

Ed Romans was the biggest crock-of-shit in the entire history of electric guitars.

Hired to clean out the Gibson factory? No.
Obtained most of the stuff? No.
Luthier to the stars? No.
Informative rants? no.

Sadly missed? You may be the only person to ever say that.

Ed Romans was pothead who stayed up late at night smoking dope and writing the most stupid hyperbolic shit known to man.

He's single handedly responsible for the largest treasure trove of misinformation Ive ever come across.

He may only be surpassed in quantity by the corporate media of the last 40 years.
 

voices

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I was just talking about this subject with a friend of mine couple days ago.

I interviewed Tim Shaw for my first book and I think what people don't know is that in the 70's when Norlin took over, Norlin purged much of Gibson's paperwork. I doubt there is any conspiracy to steal the ledger- if someone was going to steal that one, why not take the other one too? My guess is that between that, and the move to the new factory in Nashville, that ledger has been long gone for quite some time. If it had survived till the K'zoo auction, someone would remember it.
 

Phil W

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I think my 2011 59 reissue is fake but until the ledger is found I can't be sure ... :hmm:
 
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Red Pharoah

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I bought a 1961 SG Std around the year 2000. Called Gibson to see if I could get a photocopy of the page my SG was on. They were very kind to me and did that for me. I still have that photocopy. So as Walter Carter said, the 1961 solid body "serial number" book with the note of the shipping date was still available at Gibson at that point in time. Was NOT misplaced/missing in the years of early 2000s. This was long after the Gibson auction in 1984. They still had ledger books. There must be other people that requested documentation on their guitars. I am surely not the only guy to ask. Anyone else out there got post 1984 documentation stories to tell??

Is the 59-60 "serial number" book missing? I think Walter is saying no?? But he goes on to say the 59-60 "day book" is missing but he does not believe it was stolen. The Norlin company would not have just threw that valuable Gibson history in a land fill as I have proof of that.
 


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