Looking for help/advice on a first MIJ Les Paul

Snirgol

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Hi Guys,

Long time lurker looking for advice from the experts on my first MIJ Les Paul purchase. I have been "playing" for about 2 years now and while i still suck, i am loving every moment of it!!! currently i play on a strat and an LTD Ec-1000 and while i do love both guitars, i am dying for a Les Paul. I did own a Gibson Standard for a few weeks but it was early on and to be honest, i didn't think that it was worth the price they were asking for it so i started looking at alternatives.

But enough rambling, let me tell you what i am looking for and what i am considering. here is my shopping list of what i am looking for. My budget is about 150000 yen and that must include shipping to Israel:

If i decide to go with a custom:

Ebony color (don't like the white after it ages)
Ebony fingerboard
Good pickups and electronics
No weight reduction
Long Tenon

If its not a custom:

Preferred FM as i am not a huge fan of plain tops
I think i prefer to not go with laminate but to be honest, i am not sure why :(
Good electronics
Lacquer/nitro finish
prefer not a super chunky neck
absolutely not cherry burst (ideally i would like a nice tobacco burst)


currently, these are the ones that i am considering and some thoughts about each one:

FGN LC20 from digimart- Looks stunning even through the headstock is different. Not sure if the circle fret thing is a good thing or a bad thing...
Edwards E-Lp130CD- Looks amazing and hits all the right notes but i saw more than one post that Edwards tends to use lower grade woods, have no idea if its true or not.
Crews KTR LC-02- this is the front runner for the custom now i think. every post i read about Crews was positive and it sounds like their quality is top-notch. not sure about their finish as it says top lacquer so i am assuming its lacquer on top of poly?

For the none-custom, this is where i am struggling. i saw some amazing guitars with veneer like the FGN NCLS-20 but i don't know of too many nice ones with FM at my price range. I heard amazing things about Tokai especially the LS-80 but again, most of them are plain tops.

long post i know but pretty much what i am looking for is your advice and experience.
 
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jimmyjames

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:hmm: One too many zeros in your budget figure? FGN or Crews outta those you listed, if you can't find a Super Real or Mint Collection Greco :naughty: Welcome Aboard :thumb:
 

Snirgol

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Sorry, got excited and added another zero but I do wish that it was my budget :) is there a good place to look at different options especially for the Greco? i am looking at Digimart but their search function is terrible. kinda wish I could just do a search for all single cut under a certain budget and with specific features but I guess that's asking too much.
 

Snirgol

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just to add another wrench to the mix, I recently saw that I can pick up a Gibson Traditional used right here in Israel for about the same price as a shipped MIJ Custom from Crews/FGN. i don't have too much experience with the traditional so not sure how it will compare but I know that they don't use veneers and that I should be able to find one with a nice top on it.
 

jimmyjames

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Yeah Trads are decent, one I tried in a shop last year was equal to my Greco EGF850 in sound and playability. BUT, the 1981 veneer-top Greco was a fraction of the Trad's price. You can get some serious MIJ firepower for the price of a Trad , that will outgun one :yesway:
 

Snirgol

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Yeah Trads are decent, one I tried in a shop last year was equal to my Greco EGF850 in sound and playability. BUT, the 1981 veneer-top Greco was a fraction of the Trad's price. You can get some serious MIJ firepower for the price of a Trad , that will outgun one :yesway:
so I looked again. i can get a nice traditional second hand here for about 1200 USD. the advantage of going with the trad is that I can try it out and also no shipping involved. for the same amount of money or less, I can for sure get a nice MIJ Les Paul but again, I have to deal with the buying from Japan.

it sounds like buying a veneer top is not a big deal and shouldn't be a deal breaker by any means?
 

scott 351 wins

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The thing about buying a Gibson is they will hold their value. Buying a MIJ Les Paul, chances are you will have a harder time reselling it for what you bought it for. When I say that, I mean majority of people dont know all the MIJ brands and Models and what they are worth, but most people are aware of the Gibson brand name.

If theres a Gibson LP locally I would really consider it before buying a guitar from another country and paying all the shipping costs and going through customs etc... but a MIJ LP copy can be better than the actual thing some times.
 

therealfrogman

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The thing about buying a Gibson is they will hold their value. Buying a MIJ Les Paul, chances are you will have a harder time reselling it for what you bought it for. When I say that, I mean majority of people dont know all the MIJ brands and Models and what they are worth, but most people are aware of the Gibson brand name.

If theres a Gibson LP locally I would really consider it before buying a guitar from another country and paying all the shipping costs and going through customs etc... but a MIJ LP copy can be better than the actual thing some times.
The likelihood of the Traditional being a good value is pretty high! The price for this one is not bad. If I had the opportunity to get it in my hands before paying for it I would certainly do that before I ordered online. I have *never* played a bad Gibson, period. There may be little issues that can cause buyers remorse but some of them are driven by other peoples comments or so called bad experience. This can be mitigated by learning how to mess the guitar up yourself ;)

I had been playing on Fender type guitars for the last 15 years and decided to buy MIJ LP and the thing that FREAKED me out when I got it in my lap was the neck angle :) WTF? Also the guitar was wired 50's style I must of forgotten some stuff about my last 3 LP Customs (Hell it was over 40 years ago since I owned a LP style guitar.) I have 9 guitars now and a mix of all the popular types of guitars and can and do play them all almost daily. I still drool over most Gibson Les Pauls because they are *all that* but Most MIJ LP's are *all that* for sometimes a little less cost.

Once you go MIJ it is likely that you will continue to go MIJ. Here are pics of my first MIJ LP


 

Roxy13

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That is a good price on the used Traditional. I would go see it first and play it before making a decision then about buying unplayed from Japan. Now that being said I did sell my Traditional and bought another MIJ in it's place. Just personal preference though.
 

jim777

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it sounds like buying a veneer top is not a big deal and shouldn't be a deal breaker by any means?
It will lower the initial price, and the resale price. On a MIJ guitar, the maple veneer will be on more maple, so it won't sound any different just look a bit nicer. I personally wouldn't let it be a deal breaker for me if I liked the rest of the guitar.
 

scrumm21

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Here are pics of my first MIJ LP

:p:p Stunning Top....!!!!!!!

Awesome Pics !!!!!
 

paruwi

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If i decide to go with a custom:

Ebony color (don't like the white after it ages)
Ebony fingerboard
Good pickups and electronics
No weight reduction
Long Tenon

FGN LC20 from digimart- Looks stunning even through the headstock is different. Not sure if the circle fret thing is a good thing or a bad thing...
Good choice :thumb:

You don't notice the C.F.S. as a player
 

Roxy13

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I should add I have the CFS on several guitars and I like it. It seems to seriously work harden the frets for one thing and they don't get the kind of wear the non CFS guitars with nickel frets do.

FGN, History and Edwards all have customs that can be found with reasonable prices with ebony boards.
 

scosmith

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You may not like the neck on the Traditional---If it is like mine it is very chunky
 

Snirgol

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Thanks for all the replies so far, awesome info. Another question, which mij guitars are closest in specs to the Traditional?

No or very little weight reduction
Nice FM
Good pickups

I talked to a guy yesterday about his Traditional. He had a 2010 Traditional with a stunning maple top in desert Burst which is my favorite color. Guitar looks in mint condition and comes with the original hard case. He wants 1450 usd for it. Can I get something similar for cheaper or better for the same price on the MIJ front?
 

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currypowder

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Full disclosure, I am an FGN/Fujigen/History fanboy. I have owned, and still own, a bunch. Each and every one was impeccable in build quality, playability and tone.

The FGN NLC-20 (or NCLC-20E) are built to original LP Custom standards, meaning they are 100% mahogany, no maple cap. This may or may not be important to you, but makes this particular model stand out to me. Personally, I like that the headstock has its own thing going on and isn't a direct clone of the open book.

Here's one I posted in the MIJ Bargain of the Day thread. Nico Nico ships worldwide and I have dealt with them in the past with great results. The price is a little over $700 USD. Even with shipping and import taxes, you should come in under the Gibsons you are looking at and would end up with a guitar that, IMO, is better quality than a production level Gibson.

 

Roxy13

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I replaced my Traditional with a Bacchus Classic Series that has a solid flame top. I believe they were only made in 2012 though so if that is your choice you may need to be patient for one to show up for sale. It also has the big, chunky neck like my Gibson had. I just had some really good luck getting mine as I literally sold my Gibson right when a member here put one of the Bacchus up for sale. It was even the same color as my Gibson! He was also very kind to give me a few days for Reverb to give me the money from the sale of my Gibson. I had expected to sell the Gibson and then to hang onto the money, and sit and wait for the Bacchus to show up for sale somewhere. But, the stars aligned for me sooner.

IF you can find one it will probably be less expensive than a Gibson Traditional.

There are other nice, MIJ guitars with a solid flame top though.
 


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