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

tigerflame

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What I find funny is that Customs come with the same 490s that I got in the 2018 Tribute I paid a thousand bucks for. Kinda silly. I think Customs should cost about 500 bucks more than Standards.
 

01GT Eibach

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Workmanship levels aren't much higher, they're still production guitars just with a few variations.
The above answer was in reference to someone else posting "Customs should cost about 500 bucks more than Standards." The "old school" model back in the day (1980 for example) was that a SG Std was $600, a LP Std was $800, and a LPC was $1000 ... all roughly. So, many of us from that older pre-Custom-Shop era have ingrained deep in our brains that a LPC is the upper Les Paul tier above a LP Standard. Yes, the LPC will have its notable premium (around 20% of a LP Standard), but not nearly double the price of a LP Standard. This line of thinking also seems to pass the common-sense test by the LPC's existing "extras" (gold h/w, binding, etc.) that "seem" to allow a non-CS-built LPC to exist at a $500-ish premium over a LP Std.

(apologies if this a regurgitation of previous discussions ... )
 

Shelkonnery

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All these random numbers and wild guesses just show how little we all actually know about the manufacturing process at Gibson.

Leaving all marketing aside, LPCs demand much more craftsmanship and labor hours to hand finish the multi-ply binding. You can’t change that, it’s a slow making model.

Have you checked Reverb though?

All pre-CS Les Paul Customs are just as expensive.
 

01GT Eibach

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... Leaving all marketing aside, LPCs demand much more craftsmanship and labor hours to hand finish the multi-ply binding. You can’t change that, it’s a slow making model.
Except for the binding, a Gibson-USA LPC really does not have to be any more "slow making" than a LP Standard. And, of course, there would be a price premium to account for that 3-ply binding, gold hardware, etc. which (from a distant lay perspective) seemingly "could" be way less than $2000. That is, I -- personally -- am not buying that 3-ply binding all by itself necessitates a $1500 price increase. That is really the crux of this whole argument that makes it a relevant debate. Any further debating beyond that though really just delves into unanswerable opinions and guesses for both sides of that debate. For instance:
- If Gibson did go to USA LPC and sold greater numbers, would the overall profit be greater than a CS sold at a much higher price point? That is a question for internal Gibson Marketing folks who perform "ROI projections". Maybe yes, maybe no. For all we know, there is already an internal Gibson white paper on this very subject that answers exactly why it should stay a CS guitar. We don't know ...
- Could the USA-manufacturing line support the additional throughput required for a switch to USA? Similarly, could the CS-line support the reduced throughput (there are implications of that as well)? These also would be internal questions for the Gibson Operations managers.

Have you checked Reverb though? All pre-CS Les Paul Customs are just as expensive.
Okay, but so what? The pre-CS used market is clearly pulled up by the prices of new LPCs. Also, a 1960 LPC will sell for around $100K. File that all under "what the market will bear" and move on.

Some very interesting perspectives have provided cogent reasoning on why a USA LPC could -- at the very least -- make some sense for the Gibson product lines. Beyond that, this debate delves more into pro/con opinions based more on their personal desire of the individual with the opinion than any real facts that are strong enough to definitively answer the question one way or the other. I think a more interesting question would be : While it is interesting for us to casually discuss this here, has Gibson considered doing this?? Hmmmm ...
 

bryvincent

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i think its more price structuring than manufacturing cost.

comparing MSRPs, a Studio costs $1100 more than a Standard with just no binding and silkscreen logo, a Classic is $400 more for basically the same guitar. an R9 costs a whopping $1400 more than an R8 which is the same guitar. an R7 costs the same as a LPC even if its harder to manufacture. the new reissue Explorer and Flying V are $10k each.

if the LPC is selling at the current price i don't see why would they downgrade and move it back to the USA line.

by the way, the LPC has a 7-ply binding on the front of the body and 5-ply at the back and at the headstock. even the pickguard is 5-ply. also the current regular Customs now have long neck tenons and back to ebony fretboards.
 

Shelkonnery

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- If Gibson did go to USA LPC and sold greater numbers, would the overall profit be greater than a CS sold at a much higher price point?
This whole premise of a spike in price when they moved it to the Custom Shop still doesn't convince me. I tried my best to present some concrete evidence from older catalogs, but it was quickly dismissed. So it would be great if we could see some other price lists from 2000 to 2010 as evidence. Otherwise it's all based on memory without inflation and updates.


- Could the USA-manufacturing line support the additional throughput required for a switch to USA? Similarly, could the CS-line support the reduced throughput (there are implications of that as well)? These also would be internal questions for the Gibson Operations managers.
I think it evens out. More cheap Customs vs. less expensive Customs is a pretty even comparison. It would have to be a huge amount of cheap Customs to make it worth it. This is what I got this week in an AMA thread with a Gibson employee in the other forum. Not only is it a slower process (binding), but there's something particular about white paint. He also gets into how difficult it is to get a clear white paint job and why this color is better suited for CS and limited runs in some other posts. It's a combination of both practicality and marketing:

"So Les Paul Customs take pretty long to build with precise binding and scraping needed, and to optimize the build and the build quantity, the decision was made long ago to move the model to Custom Shop from USA. This was heavily influenced by the Brand impact, which is that the "Custom" name would be contained within the "Custom Shop." Personally I'm not sure how much that is really a factor in customers' minds, but it was the way forward and because of the expertise at Custom Shop we are able to offer a better volume and yield...especially the Alpine White LPCs."

Also it would make sense that the highly skilled Custom Shop workers were the ones handling the LPCs in the USA line before the CS moved apart in the first place. So you would still need a specialized labor force in the "cheaper" line. It doesn't add up, the factory zip code wouldn't make it cheaper.
 

CB91710

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And, of course, there would be a price premium to account for that 3-ply binding, gold hardware, etc. which (from a distant lay perspective) seemingly "could" be way less than $2000. That is, I -- personally -- am not buying that 3-ply binding all by itself necessitates a $1500 price increase.
5 layer, front, back, and headstock.

You can't just slap on some pre-laminated WBWBW onto those curves and corners.
It's done layer by layer, so it is literally (at least) 5x the amount of work as a Standard.
 

Overture

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This whole premise of a spike in price when they moved it to the Custom Shop still doesn't convince me. I tried my best to present some concrete evidence from older catalogs, but it was quickly dismissed. So it would be great if we could see some other price lists from 2000 to 2010 as evidence. Otherwise it's all based on memory without inflation and updates.




I think it evens out. More cheap Customs vs. less expensive Customs is a pretty even comparison. It would have to be a huge amount of cheap Customs to make it worth it. This is what I got this week in an AMA thread with a Gibson employee in the other forum. Not only is it a slower process (binding), but there's something particular about white paint. He also gets into how difficult it is to get a clear white paint job and why this color is better suited for CS and limited runs in some other posts. It's a combination of both practicality and marketing:

"So Les Paul Customs take pretty long to build with precise binding and scraping needed, and to optimize the build and the build quantity, the decision was made long ago to move the model to Custom Shop from USA. This was heavily influenced by the Brand impact, which is that the "Custom" name would be contained within the "Custom Shop." Personally I'm not sure how much that is really a factor in customers' minds, but it was the way forward and because of the expertise at Custom Shop we are able to offer a better volume and yield...especially the Alpine White LPCs."

Also it would make sense that the highly skilled Custom Shop workers were the ones handling the LPCs in the USA line before the CS moved apart in the first place. So you would still need a specialized labor force in the "cheaper" line. It doesn't add up, the factory zip code wouldn't make it cheaper.

This sums up nicely why production was moved and while it'll likely never move back.
 

01GT Eibach

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Other potential considerations are that there may be very specific reasons on why the LPC must stay a CS guitar regardless of any of the points that we have made. If so, our discussion would become quickly moot.
For example:
- Maybe the Gibson executive leadership feel adamant that a LPC is a "halo" guitar, and -- as such -- must come out of the CS regardless?
- Maybe there is some dictum within Gibson that all complicated multi-layer bound guitars must be CS guitars due to skill level required?

CB91710 & Bryvincent: Thank you for the educating details on the binding levels. One of the reasons I like this forum is being able to geek out and learn from others.
 

mudface

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Until this thread has an influx of tens of thousands of Les Paul Custom wannabe owners there just ain’t enough interest for Gibson to make any changes on a long running model that has a shit ton in the used market.

Gibson will keep the process the same.... high prices with enough production to meet demand.
 


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