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: 56 63.6%
  • Don't care about LP Custom at all - I'd buy LP Modern or Standard instead

    Votes: 8 9.1%
  • If I'm buying LP Custom, it has to be Custom Shop. And I'll take it over the Historic 1968 Custom

    Votes: 24 27.3%

  • Total voters
    88

mudface

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You said it. I don't care in which division LP Custom is made, I am not spending $4500 or even $3500 on a run of the mill guitar.

OP mentioned young aspiring musicians dreaming about LP Custom, well they are not going to spend $4000-5000 on a guitar. What they can do is to buy Epiphone Custom for $600 and get 90% of the functionality and 98% of the looks of Gibson Custom. With upgraded headstock and pickups on 2020 Epi Custom no one would be able to see the difference when they play that Epiphone LP Custom on stage.
Nobody really cares what guitar you play as long as you play what you have well.

When people hear Billy F. Gibbons play.........there not thinking ......."Hey that fuzzy white guitar sounds awesome"

That's right.........most people don't even know what that white fuzzy guitar is.....or have a clue it wasn't used to record with.

Epi Schmipi..... no one knows except us guitar nerds what we use on stage.
 

PeteNJ75

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Well, FMIC could always buy Gibson and make the Custom in China. I mean, they destroyed the names Fender, Guild, Gretsch, etc... by just making low end garbage with the (once) great names on them so I have no doubt they would love to do that with Gibson.

Basically, when I was younger getting a brand name guitar like a Gibson, Fender, etc... was a big deal and usually it meant a lot of saving and dreaming. Today it's not about playing or the quality of the instrument it's about amassing a bunch of name brands for as cheap as possible. Then you yell into the echo chamber of the internet that your third world el cheapo is better than the old ones and pretty soon people are convinced!
Yeah I know I sound like an old fart with the “In my day...” story, but I have to agree with this. I always considered the Les Paul Custom to be an aspirational guitar... one you dream of and save a long time for... the “ultimate” Les Paul (at least until they started making 59 Reissues) so to speak, the cream of the crop. And it still is to many people, not just some slightly upgraded cousin to the Standard you pay a small premium for and is owned by any kid who begs their parents for one. I totally get why people would want to go back to the old days when they were sold like that, but I guess I don’t trust today’s modern production standards. They’re not what they used to be, and as someone else said, to keep the costs down where they’d want them for a USA model, they’d have to go overseas for parts and/or production. They couldn’t make the same guitar they’re making today in the Custom Shop, so quality would go way down. Which might be totally fine and plenty of people will like them, but it would be a crime to lose the high end version, and they can’t really do both.

I have two 70s Norlins and I’d put their quality and construction up against most Custom Shop models out there today. They are that good and built like tanks. There’s just no way I could see today’s Gibson USA factory making the same guitar. Especially with ebony being such a high end feature on modern guitars today.
 

spartacus slim

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Might as well wish for Jay-Lo to sit on your face......
Except in this scenario, J.Lo was quite happily sitting on your face from 1953 to 1960, and then again from 1968 until 2004, so it might not be such an unrealistic wish...
 

zdoggie

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I read your articles I think all of your hearts are in the right place ,but something about all of the flaws and fit and finish problems that have occured in this forum tells me its the old cliche lip stick on a pig due to sloppy building so it more of the same at a higher price tag .
zdog
 

Joe A

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I don't think there would be much of a price difference taking the Custom out of the Custom Shop.

So much of the O.P. was personal opinion... a bit of which is kind of inaccurate. Some of that people will agree with & some not so much. Where does that leave the rest of the story? I don't know but I'm done thinking about it for now.
 

mrblooze

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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.
To say that the Standard has always been the flagship... Not from what I've read, but perhaps it's semantics getting in the way? Gibson acknowledges that the Custom guitars were the top of their line in the '50s and '60s. The value of the Bursts (all Standards) is arguably based more on the exposure they got from artists like Eric Clapton (Think Beano album) and Jimmy Page (1970 Royal Albert Hall show photos). Certainly ant Gibson guitar made in 1957 that had Humbuckers had PAFs. ALL bucks were PAFs. And as any reader of this forum knows, not all PAF equipped LPs sound "legendary" or great. So if, by "flagship" we mean top-of-the-line, then no, Standards were not the flagship. If by flagship you mean most popular, then NEITHER would meet the definition, because Gibson was hemorrhaging sales to Fender so badly, even in the (now seen as legendary years, which were anything but by a sales perspective for Gibson) years '59-'61, the years of the legendary PAF equipped Bursts, that by 1962, they gave up on the LP design they had for the Solid Guitar (SG's), a move that in retrospect may seem like the decision to release New Coke back in the day for Coca Cola (and no disrespect to the SG; I am the proud owner of a '74). But as recently documented on Five Watt World by Keith Williams, while there is some controversy about how many Bursts were made, the number is indisputably less than 1800. And none were made until 1968 when the body style was re-introduced. And during the '62-67 interval, the guitar Gibson marketed was the "Les Paul SG Custom", emphasis on custom. It was even a pretty popular guitar, and probably would have gone on to great fame, except... a) Beano, Clapton, Page, etc., made the Standard a bit of a holy grail because... b) there were so few to go around and no new ones being made until '68.

I'd say that no, the Standard was not ever the flagship by Gibson's intent, the later popularity if the Bursts aside. If I recall correctly, Keith Williams showed that a '59 Custom sold for around $395 while the Standard sold for $325. Again, the most accepted definition I know for "flagship" is "Top-of-the-line". Clearly, Gibson didn't think the Standard was it's top of line by pricing.

I have owned a '71 Custom since '77. I've never had an opportunity to do a shootout between my Custom and a similar vintage Standard... I've only ever matched it up with my 12 LP Studio Shred, and she holds her own. She doesn't have PAFs, but adjusted correctly, I don't hear the harshness that her era was supposedly known for, but hey, I'm not unbiased.

I'm ok if Customs move back to Gibson USA or stay Custom Shop. No dog in that hunt, really. I just want Gibson USA to get at least decade of solid, quality guitars that focus on the instrument, not gimmicks (think eTuner) behind them. Not a zillion versions of LP. Not a dozen different signature models. Focus on putting out guitars of the quality of the Custom Shop in tone and playability, and let the custom shop focus on vintage re-issues, specialty orders, etc.

Gibson's finest moments in the past, seems to me, came from when they focussed on tone and playability. I know they can't ignore the bott line, but when they focus on that too much, it seems they hurt themselves anyway... So stick with your strengths, right?
 

Noah330

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it has a 2 piece maple cap, painted black, so it's not the finest AAA or anything and the black paint hides it anyway. 9 hole relief body, Nitro finish...nothing that the much different to the Modern Collection Classic. and really it's not like it will be a premium wood...That's the argument really the Custom should be in the Original range. Gibson have done well to cover the range so far just missing the one that it appears people want.

It was never a 'Custom' shop model before.
The way Gibson builds their guitars (even in the USA line) involves a lot of hand work. A Custom takes more work than a Standard. All that binding needs to be glued and scraped, which takes time. The only time I ever installed LPC style binding I had to route a ledge, apply the the outer piece. I’m sure the factory CNCs the channels but it still takes time to apply and scrape. Also, with the ebony boards the fretting probably is done by hand as it’s easier to crack an ebony board vs maple or rosewood. Maybe that’s why they use rich lite,
 

DBDM

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we should go back to the days when we had Customs, Standards, Custom Customs, Custom standards, Custom Studios, Studio Customs, Custom Lites, Custom Classics....that would lead to dozens of new threads!
 

spartacus slim

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we should go back to the days when we had Customs, Standards, Custom Customs, Custom standards, Custom Studios, Studio Customs, Custom Lites, Custom Classics....that would lead to dozens of new threads!
They should all be made in the Custom Shop though...
 

Oddball667

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Idk , could care less can't afford one .
My $150 1993 Gibson les Paul studio sounds great through my $600 orange cr120c though.
And that's all I know about it.
 

Baracus

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My biggest gripe is they have always assigned heavy wood to the LPC!

Makes no sense... make them with the same discernment as making an R9 and with more neck carve options.

Not asking much - R9 weight with choice of a 59 or 60rI or modern C style neck.
 

Prospector

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Agree with OP. The Les Paul Custom was part of Gibson’s regular lineup for 60 years since its inception.
 

InTheEvening

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My biggest gripe is they have always assigned heavy wood to the LPC!

Makes no sense... make them with the same discernment as making an R9 and with more neck carve options.

Not asking much - R9 weight with choice of a 59 or 60rI or modern C style neck.
Absolutely agree. I’ve always wanted a Custom.
BUT, I prefer slimmer necks and most of the historic reissue customs like the 68 reissue have chunky necks.
The regular production Custom had a slimmer neck, not quite 60’s slim taper but good enough for me, but then it had 9 hole weight relief and other more modern features which I didn’t quite care for at the time, and couldn’t justify the price jump just for the looks alone if the features weren’t there.

If they made an R0 (light weight, solid body, slim neck) with Custom aesthetics, I’d be all over it an more willing to save up to get it.
 

Injector

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I don't think there would be much of a price difference taking the Custom out of the Custom Shop.

So much of the O.P. was personal opinion... a bit of which is kind of inaccurate. Some of that people will agree with & some not so much. Where does that leave the rest of the story? I don't know but I'm done thinking about it for now.
How come? It's an LP Standard with an ebony board, weight relief and more binding. It really doesn't take twice as long to build, cost twice as much to make and nor is it worth twice as much. My first LP Custom cost around 30% more than a LP Standard. Now the price of a Standard is $$££ and a Custom costs DOUBLE!

My Yamaha acoustic has double binding, an ebony fretboard, real mother of pearl inlays and gold hardware. It cost me $1200.
 

Pesh

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I think yes. I personally don't find the current "Les Paul Custom" a very special guitar. It's made the same way the USA line is plus the extra binding, and a bit of ebony. No flashy figured tops or special finishes, and USA-line pickups.

For the price point, there should be some more non-USA colours, higher-spec/quality pickups (more CustomBucker than 490...) and a whole bunch of other changes.

So I'd say they either need to do it properly in CS or bring it to the USA line at the price it should be, which is maybe 200 notes more than a "standard", with a good range of finishes, metal finishes, etc.
 

rockstar232007

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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.
Actually, just one-offs. That was the whole point of the "Custom Shop".

The whole "Reissue" thing needs to stop, bc at this point, they're Reissues of Reissues.

They need to make ALL Gibsons to the pretty much the same specs/details (yeah, I know that's just a pipe-dream), bc there's no reason to have two, different models of the SAME guitar - a USA Standard should at least look the same as a CS/RI Standard.
 

Shelkonnery

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You know what's funny.

We've been at it for a while now, but if you check Reverb:

Most 70s/80s Norlins Customs and 90s Good Era Customs are at higher prices than 00/10 Custom Shop Customs.

Go figure.
 
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bryvincent

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How come? It's an LP Standard with an ebony board, weight relief and more binding. It really doesn't take twice as long to build, cost twice as much to make and nor is it worth twice as much. My first LP Custom cost around 30% more than a LP Standard. Now the price of a Standard is $$££ and a Custom costs DOUBLE!

My Yamaha acoustic has double binding, an ebony fretboard, real mother of pearl inlays and gold hardware. It cost me $1200.
is your Yamaha made in USA?
 

InTheEvening

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On the topic of custom models seeming overpriced. What’s the deal with the SG Custom?

In the standard USA line, the SG has always been cheaper than its equivalent Les Paul. E.g. The SG standard is $1500, and Les Paul Standard 50’s/60’s is $2500...which makes sense, since building an LP is prob a little more involved with body binding, carved maple cap etc.

By that logic, the SG Custom should be $3700 new, if the LP Custom is $4700.
But when you look at this, the SG Custom is also $4700, same as the LP Custom. Doesn’t seem to have anything special in the specs either to justify it. Am I missing something? Other than the ebony board and gold hardware...it’s an SG standard but costs 3x more. Even the fancy binding seems to be missing except for on the headstock.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SGCEBGH1E--gibson-custom-sg-custom-ebony-with-ebony-fingerboard
 
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