Gibson Les Paul 101


Aug 24, 2019
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I have a 2018 L.P. Tribute that has NO Weight Relief, top and back look like 1pc, aluminum tailpiece, mucho sustain. I don't want to mess with it so I'm thinking of getting another or similar to mod because I'm thin, wear my guitar high and it digs my ribs. Plus I have a set of 70's Gibson pups and a Callaham bridge I'd like to install with his SS Nashville to ABR-1 Studs. I was lucky and got mine new for <$900. It did need to have the frets cleaned up a bit and a slight level and crown in the upper register but still...this guitar sings.
Why yes they do, sustain galore!

2018 Tribute:



Junior Member
Feb 17, 2020
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Hi qas just browsing the forums and I hope some one can help me.I wanted to know,did Les Paul ever make proto types?


Senior Member
Jul 31, 2014
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Rather than keep sending people to Gibson Forums, I figured I'd post this here. Maybe with some luck, this will become a sticky.
This post mainly applies to newer Les Pauls. Nowadays, there are two types of Les Pauls - Gibson USA and Gibson Custom Shop.

Gibson USA
Weight-relief started around 1982/1983. Every Gibson USA Les Paul between 1982 - 2007 is weight-relieved. They do not have solid-body construction. Weight-relief is also known as "swiss cheese holes" and refers to the nine holes drilled out of the body in order to reduce the weight of the guitar.

Chambering officially began for 2007 but the late 2006s are also chambered. Any Les Paul made after October 2006 maybe or likely is chambered. Every 2007 and newer Gibson USA Les Paul is chambered, except for the Les Paul Traditional. The Les Paul Traditional has swiss cheese holes. Chambering is essentially hollowing out the body. Again, this is in order to reduce the weight of the guitar.

Gibson Custom Shop
Gibson's Custom Shop makes regular production guitars and historic reissues. The regular production guitars, such as the Les Paul Custom, are also weight-relieved. They do not have solid-bodies.

The historic reissues are solid. All historic reissues, be it Standards or Customs, are solid. The exception being the chambered reissues. Chambered reissues are often referred to as Cloud 9 guitars. They are identified by their serial number, which begins with CR.


A 2003 Les Paul Classic is weight-relieved
A 2008 '57 reissue is solid
A 1995 Les Paul Standard is weight-relieved
A 2009 Chambered '58 reissue is chambered
A 2008 Les Paul Studio is chambered
A 1987 Les Paul Custom is weight-relieved

If you put on your x-ray goggles, this is what a chambered Les Paul would look like:

This is what a weight-relieved Les Paul would look like:

Neck tenons

Some Les Pauls have long neck tenon, while others do not.

Short: Standards (before the 2008 "new" Standard), Customs, Studios Classics.
Long: Historic reissues, 2008 Standards.

Gibson guitars made between 1968 - 1986. Great info right here.
Any Norlin related items/questions should be posted here. Norlin Years - My Les Paul Forums

Historic Reissues
R2 = reissue of the 1952 Gibson Les Paul
R9 = reissue of the 1959 Gibson Les Paul
CR8 = chambered reissue of the '58 Gibson Les Paul
There is no R3 or R5.

Historic Customs are often referred to as B4, B7, R4BB or R7BB. BB meaning Black Beauty.

Gibson's VOS - Vintage Original Spec line. The terms VOS, historic, reissue & historic reissue all refer to the same guitar. There is only one difference, VOS refers to the aged finish on the top and hardware. The ones that do not have the VOS finish are referred to as "gloss" or "high gloss" reissues because (obviously) they have a high gloss finish. Websites like Guitar Center list the two guitars as VOS and "reissue." Reissue refers to the high gloss. I think this has caused some confusion with some people but rest assured, they are all the same guitar. Again, one looks brand new and the other does not look brand new - that's the only difference. VOS costs $300 less.

Any historic Les Pauls related items/questions should be posted here. Historics & Reissues - My Les Paul Forums

Historic Customs
Standards have mahogany bodies and maple tops. Historic Customs have mahogany bodies and mahogany tops (while modern/regular Customs have maple tops). The Custom will likely weight around a pound heavier but that's about it for differences.

1968 Reissue
Another reissue that never seems to be on is the '68RI. These are the same as the B7s, only difference is they have maple tops, different pickups and Gibson USA electronics.

R8 vs. R9
This question gets asked a lot !!
They are the same guitar. All reissues are essentially the same guitar with minor differences. These differences are neck thicknesses, pickups, weight of each individual guitar, finishes & tops. The best way to get an understanding of the neck sizes is to actually play them. Me explaining that R8s have thicker necks than R9s and R7s have thicker necks than R8s doesn't mean jack unless you sit down with the guitar and see for yourself.

R9s list for $1,500 - $2,000 more than R8s. Why? The answer is because R9s have flame maple tops and the R9 should weigh less than the R8. That's it.
Here's a great pic taken from inside Gibson's Custom Shop

Please feel free to correct any mistakes I have made and also add any info you want but let's try and keep this thread educational.
I know this was posted over a decade ago, but can someone repost the pictures? I can't read the weight differences given the blurred photobucket photos


Junior Member
Oct 2, 2019
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Anyone know if all R8s come with Burstbuckers as opposed to CustomBuckers? Any description as to how those pickups differ would be appreciated. Thanks for your help. Got my eye on two R8s, one is a 2011, the other a 2010.

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