Should Gibson bring Les Paul Custom back to Gibson USA line?

Should Gibson bring Les Paul Custom back to Gibson USA line?

  • Bring Les Paul Custom back to Gibson USA

    Votes: 82 64.6%
  • Don't care about LP Custom at all - I'd buy LP Modern or Standard instead

    Votes: 9 7.1%
  • If I'm buying LP Custom, it has to be Custom Shop. And I'll take it over the Historic 1968 Custom

    Votes: 36 28.3%

  • Total voters
    127

gibbofan

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I think Gibson should make Les Paul Custom available as a regular Gibson USA model.
They used make these as Gibson USA until 2004, so that's not something unheard of.

The problem with the current situation where LP Custom is only available as a custom shop guitar is that it's out of reach of most people who'd be interested in it, and it's also not good value for the price it goes for -- more on that later.

Seeing as how Jerry Cantrell is now an Ambassador for Gibson, and he's mainly used/es Customs when it comes to Gibson Les Paul (with maybe an occasional use of Jurior, plus other non-LPs), it's only fair to make the LP Custom a part of Gibson USA family. They did, afterall, make Slash (another ambassador) model available in Gibson USA.
Afterall, why sign Jerry Cantrell if you're not going to be bothered to sell guitars to his fans? When you worship Jerry Cantrell, you want the type of Les Paul that Jerry Cantrell plays, and not Slash's sunburst, if you catch my drift (and no disrespect to Slash or the Sunburst intended).
LP Custom is more popular with alternative rock and metal crowd -- for the most part -- and these folks are by far not the custom shop top-of-the-line best-guitar-money-can-buy people. I think Gibson would sell more guitars to this crowd if they were to offer LP Custom in the Gibson USA line.

Lastly: Les Paul Custom was a big part of Gibson in the 1970s through to the 1990s. A generation of people grew up seeing THAT as THE Gibson Les Paul. Not as a luxury custom-shop item, but as a player's guitar. Another reason to properly represent the model in the affordable range of guitars.

Now on to the problem with LP Custom as a custom shop only model. The currently offered custom shop LP Custom quite inferior to the custom shop Historic 1968 Les Paul Custom reissue, but it's not THAT much less expensive that the Historic one. It's got lower grade mahogany than the Historic, comes with undesirable (in the custom shop community anyways) weight relief cheeseholes and inspite of that is still heavy as heck (unlike Historics!), and last but not least it has Gibson USA grade hardware and pickups. So it's a Gibson USA spec guitar made in the custom shop. It would be more than adequate for Gibson USA line as it is spec-wise, but when you pay custom shop money, you want custom shop specs --> that territory is covered by the 1968 Historic.

I heard some say that Les Paul Custom is the flagship model -- due to the gold-plated hardware and double-binding -- and therefore has to made by the custom shop excusively... as if to suggest that Gibson USA is not good enough to make an LP Custom model. Is that what Gibson think of their Gibson USA line? As not good enough? (I don't think so)
Be it as it may, I disagree with the whole "flagship model" narrative. LP Custom was supposed the flagship model back in the 1950s, but at this point (and has been the case for what, 40 years?), it's the '59 Sunburst Standard that everybody wants. Sunburst Standard '59 is the de facto flagship model. And that's the reason they sell a tonne of them in the Gibson USA line. And even back in het 50s, It's not like the Custom was built to a higher quality standard than the Standard -- it was the same guitar as the Standard, just a bit more "luxurious" in the looks department.
So if the LP Custom is too "important" a model to be built by Gibson USA, shouldn't the Sunburst Les Paul Standard be removed from the Gibson USA lineup too? That's a rethorical question. All's I'm saying is that the "it's too flagship to be tarnished by the Gibson USA brand" is a load of... I just debunked it.


To sum it up: Gibson custom shop is a valid model and there's reasons to buy Custom shop if you can afford and/or justify that to yourself. However, Gibson USA line exists -- and sells real well -- for a reason. Gibson USA is Gibson's bread and butter. Les Paul Custom deserves to be represented in the "bread and butter" range because despite of a few of its more visually upscale specs, it's a player's guitar preferred in certain situations to the Standard. And this is an excellent time to bring the LP Custom back to Gibson USA line -- I'm sure Jerry Cantrell tenure as an ambassador would boost the sales of these.

I wonder what others think. My agenda: hoping to discover more people wanting a Gibson USA LP Custom and Gibson getting the message. If I'm the only one here, that's cool.
 
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cherrysunburst00

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First of all, :welcome:

The Flagship Les Paul has always been the Standard. The Custom was the "Tuxedo" Les Paul.

I had a 2007 Custom Shop Custom that I so regret selling.

I also have a 1991 Custom that is killer.

Maybe you could look for an early 90s Custom???? Many will agree, many will disagree, but 1989-1993 Les Pauls are viewed by many as being excellent years for Les Pauls.
 

OldBenKenobi

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Yes, they should.

The only reason it's in the Custom Shop is because of the name, which is both shallow and stupid. There's nothing custom about it, it's a bog standard model that has been in continual production for over 60 years.

The Custom Shop should be reserved for reissues, limited runs and one-offs.
 

filtersweep

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I own a 2013 Custom Lite. The back isn’t bound. I bought it used for well under a grand.

The quality is adequate, but the nibs aren’t perfect, and it has a finish run on the neck.

i am not convinced that they are the easiest guitars to build.
 

01GT Eibach

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I kinda agree with you. Let the Les Paul Custom "historic reissues" stay in the Custom Shop, and the Les Paul Custom "line" be brought down to Gibson USA. It would fit well in the USA product line up, priced at about $3500 ($500 more than Slash Std), and add a burst finish option to the current white and black color options. (Great first post, btw)
 

InTheEvening

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The “Custom Shop” label on the LP customs always confused the heck out of me. Especially with there being the 68 historic reissue customs and the modern weight relieved customs.

Though I have a feeling, even if Gibson moved the LP custom to the standard USA line, they’d still keep the $4500 price tag for it which wouldn’t address the main issues of making it more accessible. I really wanted the LP custom and still do, but it’s hard to justify that much of a price hike ($2000 more than the standard) just for some extra binding and bling, especially when the standard is actually better spec’d in some ways, like the solid non weight relieved body, nice flame top, etc.
 
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diogoguitar

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Maybe customs are sold at such low volume that is only worth keeping them in the custom shop lineup

I'm not convinced either that a Custom is worth $4,600 sticker price - but maybe I'm not the kind of guy who values the stuff that this model offers (and the historical importance it has)

I think Gibson could do a limited run of Gibson USA custom with cheaper components and see what happens (like, short neck tenon, non-true ABR bridge and ritchlite fretboard). Even if they do that, not sure how many people will actually buy. Will Gibson benefit from higher sales volume?

I don't know. Maybe not worth it for Gibson
 

diogoguitar

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Also, when Ebony fretboard was a must for me, I spent a long time trying to find a "good" custom to me. I couldn't for the price I was willing to pay...

I ended up with a Modern LP .. and I'll tell you - it was an awesome choice.
 

Christosterone

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My 2017 Nashville is perhaps my most perfectly made….

ive blinged it out…but i don’t care what it’s technical pedigrees as to whether or not it’s a “real“ custom…it’s not but I would never know it

Fit and Finish is a level above anything I own…

C2BC2A3B-FE0F-4415-907A-83DC7CB532A7.jpeg

01BC15C2-F9D5-422D-85D2-447EFFF72826.jpeg
 

Shelkonnery

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The amount of contempt the Regular Custom Shop LP gets here is ridiculous.
This is all quite elitist.

Such features as the swiss cheese holes, Nashville style bridge and short tenon are not synonyms for downgrade or lesser quality materials. They're simply not historic specs.
Also, Regular Customs haven't been boat anchors for quite some time now.

There is a considerable leap in attention to detail, finish and materials from the Standard to the Regular Custom Shop line, even before the custom shop was moved apart.
Which seems to be completely ignored as well.

And lastly, it has been in this same price range for decades.
Here's a photo out of the 2001 Guitar Buyer's Guide:

IMG_6342.png


In conclusion, the Regular Custom has always been a step up from the Standard USA line and has always costed what is costs.
So it sounds like some of you guys just don't think the Regular Customs are worthy of being built in the Custom Shop side to side with your beloved Historics.
 
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01GT Eibach

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The amount of contempt the Regular Custom Shop LP gets here is ridiculous. This is all quite elitist. ...So it sounds like some of you guys just don't think the Regular Customs are worthy of being built in the Custom Shop side to side with your beloved Historics.
I don't think that it is an issue of a LPC being "worthy" of the CS, but the fact that it kinda does not "need" to be. And with being a Gibson-USA built guitar, it could (theoretically) be priced around $3500 or so (still $1000 more than a 60s/50s Standard). If anything, I think such a move would be very non-elitist.
 

CB91710

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Yes, they should.

The only reason it's in the Custom Shop is because of the name, which is both shallow and stupid. There's nothing custom about it, it's a bog standard model that has been in continual production for over 60 years.

The Custom Shop should be reserved for reissues, limited runs and one-offs.
I don't disagree, but it's pretty much how it goes these days.

Fender Custom Shop is the same way.
They do custom-spec "Masterbuilt" one-offs that are done to the customer's design.
They do custom-spec "Team Built" one-offs that are done to the customer's design at a lower price point.
And they do "semi-production" models that are shipped to CS dealers, most are relic models, but the level of "relic" varies from "beat to shit" to "NOS". I think their "Closet Classic" level is comparable to VOS.

The CS probably can't remain a profitable division doing only one-off customer spec builds. That's the gravy, and they need the meat and potatoes in today's business environment where management and investors look at profit on a business unit by business unit level, rather than the operation as a whole.
If the custom shop shows annual losses of $500,000, investors will direct the board to eliminate the division. By running production-type models through the CS business unit, the division is able to maintain an acceptable margin that supports the overhead. Investors don't care that the $500k was drawn from the production side... that's invisible because it doesn't show as a loss.
 

Tim Plains

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I think it would be a bad idea, like Acura models coming out of the Honda factory, that would be a poor business decision and nobody would buy them.
 

Shelkonnery

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I don't think that it is an issue of a LPC being "worthy" of the CS, but the fact that it kinda does not "need" to be. And with being a Gibson-USA built guitar, it could (theoretically) be priced around $3500 or so (still $1000 more than a 60s/50s Standard). If anything, I think such a move would be very non-elitist.

I still think you may be missing a few points.



The multi-ply binding is a very refined and time consuming technique.

Also the finish is thinner and requires more accurate execution.

Plus many of the source materials are more expensive than in the regular Standard line:
Ebony, mother of pearl, gold hardware, one piece mahogany bodies.

Usually the most experienced and skilled workers handle the premium stuff in any organisation.

There’s no need for a different zip code to do any custom shop high end work in the first place.



It’s probably just a tax thing or something.

Unless uncle Murphy’s experiments started demanding more square footage.



Plus it is a modern iteration of the high end spectrum of Gibson.

They still come with the hot 490r/498t set.

All other Custom Shop models have vintage electronics unless it’s a signature edition.



It’s almost like it’s about semantics at this point.
 

Dark Horse

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I think Gibson already have an abundance of LP styles and Custom would be confusing with their Custom Shop guitars.
 


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