So I'm starting to research LP Customs

frehley76

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I am partial to my 68 Custom RI. It sounds and plays excellent, it also looks so good. Only 8lbs.
Guitar1.jpg
 

Christosterone

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Great replies, thanks. I just wish there were more available locally to try in person.

im no expert and have a modest collection…

i always buy new and go thru companies with whom I can discuss the actual instrument im buying…

never had an issue with a post 2010 custom model…the new ones are generally bananas in my limited experience…

since I know nothing of older lesters

-chris
 

AJK1

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White and... Ebony (based on your avatar)? Didn’t you have a Silverburst?
Ha I have a White and a Silverburst
Stupidly I sold my ‘72 Ebony many years ago when Les Paul’s weren’t the fashion
I regret that decision to this day
But my current Customs are just as good, maybe better
The ‘72 was stupidly modified and was heavy as fuck
I miss her
 

2old2rock

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Looking at some of the more limited color choices. Maduro, wine, to some extent silver burst, I find all appealing. But I still gravitate toward the classic ebony, and alpine white which is probably my favorite. I like a gentle aging to creamy white. Is the white finish really as thin or "brittle" as some people say, or does it depend on the era? I'm looking for a player, not going to handle it with kid gloves but don't want a finish than can be damaged more than usual with normal use.

This also got me thinking about older vs newer. I admit that the newer ones seem to be very well made, and the advantage is there isn't enough history there for excessive fret wear or aging to have occurred. I would choose an older instrument if it was in very good condition and played fantastic. But there is a limit and I'm not willing to pay a 50-100% premium for one.

I'm planning to visit my son in the Seattle area in a few weeks, hoping to hit Emerald City while I'm there. Or if I can buy online from a reseller with a decent return policy within a reasonable amount of time then that's one option.
 

Christosterone

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Looking at some of the more limited color choices. Maduro, wine, to some extent silver burst, I find all appealing. But I still gravitate toward the classic ebony, and alpine white which is probably my favorite. I like a gentle aging to creamy white. Is the white finish really as thin or "brittle" as some people say, or does it depend on the era? I'm looking for a player, not going to handle it with kid gloves but don't want a finish than can be damaged more than usual with normal use.

This also got me thinking about older vs newer. I admit that the newer ones seem to be very well made, and the advantage is there isn't enough history there for excessive fret wear or aging to have occurred. I would choose an older instrument if it was in very good condition and played fantastic. But there is a limit and I'm not willing to pay a 50-100% premium for one.

I'm planning to visit my son in the Seattle area in a few weeks, hoping to hit Emerald City while I'm there. Or if I can buy online from a reseller with a decent return policy within a reasonable amount of time then that's one option.

zzsounds and sweetwater have excellent people in my experience…
they are typically knowledgable and will send u all manner of images and give u their impression of the stock they have.

my newest custom was a 2017 from them…setup was exquisite and they took better pictures than Ive ever done

-chris
 

1981 LPC

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I've had a hankering' lately for a nice Les Paul Custom, either Ebony or Alpine White. Lots of variation new and used, and that leads me to wonder about a few things, specifically what some of the more desirable features are, and quality from the era in which they were made.

If I understand correctly, all Customs were made in Kalamazoo up until the mid-70's ('74?), but some were still made there up until about 1984 when the Kalamazoo plant was closed. Are the instruments made there more desirable, simply because of the location, or is there some difference in craftsmanship and tonal quality?

Many folks dislike the Norlin era, aide from any unpopular business decisions, there were some non-traditional things like maple necks, volutes, electronics, to name a few. Not a fan of the volute, but that wouldn't dissuade me completely if the instrument was otherwise excellent. I've seen some early '80's Customs with the Bill Lawrence "circuit board" pickups which I'm not a fan of. The price would have to be pretty enticing for me to want to buy something I'd end up modding. Tim Shaws on the other hand seem to receive almost universal praise. The flip-out winder tuners were interesting, more a curiosity than anything.

As I understand it, instruments built in the '80s were pretty well-crafted, and the '90s saw some of the best wood selections and a return to some more historically correct dimensions and styling.

Also looking at a couple in the more modern range with the Richlite fingerboard. I understand this isn't as desirable as ebony, but how bad of a material is it? Does it suffer tonally, or wear in unusual ways? I haven't played one yet, so I'm just wondering how much of a difference there is in feel, tone, and durability.

The examples from the past couple years seem to be among the best built instruments I've seen overall. In a similar price range it can be difficult to decide whether I want something fresh and unplayed, or a player-grade "vintage" that's also good quality and tone but with some attractive patina.

Decisions, decisions...
If you select a guitar based on specs and what internet forums tell you to think about those specs - then get ready to be disappointed.

Try before you buy.




Also, Norlin era Customs have the best specs.
 

InTheEvening

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I've had a hankering' lately for a nice Les Paul Custom, either Ebony or Alpine White. Lots of variation new and used, and that leads me to wonder about a few things, specifically what some of the more desirable features are, and quality from the era in which they were made.

If I understand correctly, all Customs were made in Kalamazoo up until the mid-70's ('74?), but some were still made there up until about 1984 when the Kalamazoo plant was closed. Are the instruments made there more desirable, simply because of the location, or is there some difference in craftsmanship and tonal quality?

Many folks dislike the Norlin era, aide from any unpopular business decisions, there were some non-traditional things like maple necks, volutes, electronics, to name a few. Not a fan of the volute, but that wouldn't dissuade me completely if the instrument was otherwise excellent. I've seen some early '80's Customs with the Bill Lawrence "circuit board" pickups which I'm not a fan of. The price would have to be pretty enticing for me to want to buy something I'd end up modding. Tim Shaws on the other hand seem to receive almost universal praise. The flip-out winder tuners were interesting, more a curiosity than anything.

As I understand it, instruments built in the '80s were pretty well-crafted, and the '90s saw some of the best wood selections and a return to some more historically correct dimensions and styling.

Also looking at a couple in the more modern range with the Richlite fingerboard. I understand this isn't as desirable as ebony, but how bad of a material is it? Does it suffer tonally, or wear in unusual ways? I haven't played one yet, so I'm just wondering how much of a difference there is in feel, tone, and durability.

The examples from the past couple years seem to be among the best built instruments I've seen overall. In a similar price range it can be difficult to decide whether I want something fresh and unplayed, or a player-grade "vintage" that's also good quality and tone but with some attractive patina.

Decisions, decisions...
I recently got my first Les Paul Custom, and ultimately went with a Norlin 1976 Black Beauty Custom that I love. Looking across the various decades the specs vary as you say, so it really comes down to preference on which era to go with. I think all years they turned out gems and some duds so I would prob just consider what specs matter to you most and narrow your search that way. I tried a custom shop 57 reissue and a regular USA production model and all were great but this is the one I went with.

For me, I knew I liked T-tops and a slim neck profile, so a 70’s Norlin was an easy choice for me. I tried to figure out if mine was made in Kalamazoo and there really isn’t any way to know for sure, but wherever it was made I’m very happy with it.

I have limited experience with Richlite but the few times I played it, I thought it looked and felt great. Wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me but I would imagine it affects resale value a bit if that matters to you and you might be able to get a slightly better deal on a richlite board model.

Some major things to consider:

Pickups: 498T/490R, T-tops, Tim Shaws, or custombuckers etc.

Body Construction: Pancake, Solid, 9 hole weight relief

Top wood: Mahogany vs. maple

Fretboard: Richlite, or ebony

Neck tenon: Short, Transitional, or Long

Neck: Maple, or Mahogany, and neck profile

Best of luck on your hunt! When you find one you truly love it makes it so worth it.

This one’s mine :)
E5-B47-E9-C-40-F1-4770-A26-B-8-EAE30-CF5-FCF.jpg

I made a video going over this versus custom shop models if you care to get some more info. on Norlins and tones.

 
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InTheEvening

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I just hold out on my Richlite sales, if they don’t like it they can move along, their loss. I‘ve had NO problem selling my Richlite guitars, not every one is hung up on that small shit.

Believe it or not, some people prefer it and don’t mind it at all. Sold a Custom DC last year and the gentleman had NO problem with the fact it had a Richlite board, in fact, messaged me about how nice it was, paid asking price. People have strange hang ups, can’t help that. Just calling them as I see them!
Looking back on how features like T-tops, and maple necks were initially looked down upon but now those same features are desirable and can even garner a higher price. I would agree it’s all perception.

I tend prefer ebony for no logical reason other than “tradition” but I see no tangible or practical downside to Richlite. Considering Gibson only produced LP Customs with Richlite boards for a few limited number of years, those Richlite board customs could even become rare and desirable many years down the line. Especially if some big shot guitar hero takes the scene and plays a Richlite board custom attributing his tone to it in some way. So it does often come down to hang ups and what’s in “fashion”.
 

01GT Eibach

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... Considering Gibson only produced LP Customs with Richlite boards for a few limited number of years, those Richlite board customs could even become rare and desirable many years down the line ...
Yes, agree, considering that they are outstanding guitars. In fact, right now may just be the "buy low" moment.
 

jonithen eff

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If I found a richlite board that didn't have a perpetual dusty look I wouldn't turn it down. The 2 boards I have seen in person just had a gray cloudy look that I was too superficial to get over.

I really like my custom les paul. It was a bit of a leap of faith ordering blind in early covid but it came out great, exactly what I had imagined and while it hurt to see those numbers hit my card, it didn't take long for the initial sting to fade. If it didn't turn out so well that would be a very different story.
 

xjohnkdoex

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I am also looking for an alpine white. Watching the Randy Rhoades doc on Prime didn’t help. I do see that used LPC’s with richlite tend to command less of a premium. The savings is pretty compelling but I would like to aim for an ebony board.
 

videorov

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Be sure to check the Peter Frampton 3 Pups Ebony model Custom Black Beauty.
 

Audrix

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I've sold my first CUSTOM LP 2007 ( 10.5 lbs despite 9 holes weight relief) with carved maple top

I've bought another CUSTOM LP 2014 only 8.5 lbs not weight relief and not chambered (verified with X ray control) and one piece mahogany body
 

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1allspub

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I've sold my first CUSTOM LP 2007 ( 10.5 lbs despite 9 holes weight relief) with carved maple top

I've bought another CUSTOM LP 2014 only 8.5 lbs not weight relief and not chambered (verified with X ray control) and one piece mahogany body
10.5lbs would be a bit much for me too. My two LPCs are 9.35 (BB7, all hog, no WR) and 9.58 (Silverburst, maple capped, 9-hole WR) and they both feel like beasts to me (to be fair my R9 is only 8.19lbs... so going back and forth between them make the LPCs’ weights especially noticeable).

I used to be very hung up on weight. To the point where I even sold a fantastic sounding 2014 LP Trad that was 9.76lbs primarily because of its weight. Then went on a weight crusade and for the next few years wouldn’t buy a LP that was over 9lbs (got a little obsessive about it, LOL).

But then, despite its weight, I got my Silverburst (mentioned above) and I loved it so much that I stated to rethink my rather irrational weight obsession ;). Which eventually led me to my new BB7 LPC (which I would have never considered in the past because of its 9+ lbs weight), which, as it turns out, is the best LP I’ve ever owned (19 so far). To think I would/could have missed out on this guitar (the BB7) over the matter of a few ounces....:facepalm:

That said... 10.5lbs would still probably chase me off. ;)
 

Audrix

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10.5lbs would be a bit much for me too. My two LPCs are 9.35 (BB7, all hog, no WR) and 9.58 (Silverburst, maple capped, 9-hole WR) and they both feel like beasts to me (to be fair my R9 is only 8.19lbs... so going back and forth between them make the LPCs’ weights especially noticeable).

I used to be very hung up on weight. To the point where I even sold a fantastic sounding 2014 LP Trad that was 9.76lbs primarily because of its weight. Then went on a weight crusade and for the next few years wouldn’t buy a LP that was over 9lbs (got a little obsessive about it, LOL).

But then, despite its weight, I got my Silverburst (mentioned above) and I loved it so much that I stated to rethink my rather irrational weight obsession ;). Which eventually led me to my new BB7 LPC (which I would have never considered in the past because of its 9+ lbs weight), which, as it turns out, is the best LP I’ve ever owned (19 so far). To think I would/could have missed out on this guitar (the BB7) over the matter of a few ounces....:facepalm:

That said... 10.5lbs would still probably chase me off. ;)
One of my best LP is a heavy Norlin 78 DELUXE 9.90 lbs with volute and 3 pieces maple neck (RW fretboard)
maple neck is rare on LP but frequent on high end Gibson's archtops ( like L5)

Most of my others LP are between 8 and 9 lbs (Custom Shop sounding very good)

I also have a chambered LP only 7 lbs (not Custom Shop): very beautiful maple top but sound is not marvelous

Most of high end Wildwood Gibson LPs are under 9 lbs
Most of their CUSTOM LP are over 9 lbs
 

JCavender

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I just picked this beauty up in a trade! It’s a 2014 Custom Shop w/ the Richlite fretboard. It plays great and sounds awesome. I don’t have any issues with the Richlite.
 

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manchild

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Ive owned many LPCs, currently have two, ‘79 and ‘86. I concurrently had two ‘79s a kalamazoo and nashville, and kept the nash. Late 70s t-tops are super consistent and IME all sound the same. Differences were from feel n playability between guitars. The kalamazoo had crazy slim neck even for a 70s, weighed 10.8 lbs. The nash has “standard” slim neck and weighs 9.75 which isnt bad for an LPC of any year.
The ‘86 barely weighs 9lbs (is weight relived vs 79 that is solid), feels like a typical 60s style LP, and has mahogany neck vs maple. Btw, ive never been able to hear diff due to maple or mahogany neck (went nuts doin all kinds pup swaps, comparisons, etc), pickups are most important. Ive made my way thru many norlin, post norlin/custom shop LPs, and every single one felt and sounded different, but at worst all can be made to sound good with setup and pickups you like.
 
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