So I'm starting to research LP Customs

Blushingmule

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It's hard to get past the excessive weight, IMO. I've never cared a whole lot about supposed distinctions in the number of pieces of wood used for a top (unless veneered) and I like maple necks, so when present that's not an issue either. Simple circuit boards are a non-issue. They're superior to a hack solder job and can easily be switched out anyway. But like height in basketball players, weight when present is an unchangeable given. It's not necessary anymore to have an 11 lb. guitar to get a deeper sustaining tone. It's not a weightlifting contest -- if you can't handle 13 lbs., see a doctor -- but lighter guitars are just more appealing to play. I like Norlin customs, but gave up on them because of the heft. Here's a pic of my favorite Custom, my '87 reissue '61 Les Paul Custom. Yes: Custom. It's an early Henry J era guitar when Gibson was trying to put out a few "statement" models showing that they could build the classics as nicely as was done in the past. But they kept the larger headstock...? This one comes w/ 3 Shaws, and it is light indeed. It has a beautiful voice and plays wonderfully. That's how I settled my "Custom" desires.
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Wooden sex!
 

80smetalhead

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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 was looking at the “basic” Les Paul Custom when I started shopping around. I found out that Gibson is deliberately vague about whether this guitar has a long neck tenon. Based on that it’s fair to assume that it doesn’t. That was a deal breaker for me.

I decided to buy a new 2021 1968 Reissue Les Paul Custom instead. I’ve owned and collected hundreds of guitars in my lifetime and this one crushes them. The construction and finish are impeccable and the pickups sound amazing.

If you decide to go new I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I love mine.
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gibsonofabitch

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are there any lpc with a thick neck, more specifically, a wider nut? IME, ive been seeing around 1.67-1.68, hoping for 1.69+
 

seeker of rock

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Great replies, thanks. I just wish there were more available locally to try in person.
Not real common and/or convenient for most people to be able to sit down with different era LPs unless you’re hooked up socially with a collector or gear fanatic. My second (after selling the first 20 years prior) LP I had a rare chance to do that. Guitar Center was not a Gibson dealer, don’t know the details, circa 2001 (?). As they prepared to be an authorized dealer again, the Miami GC went to an Orlando guitar show and picked maybe 10 or 12 used Gibsons, most of them LPs. Salesmen eager as they are, and that’s their job income and get it, had all of this fresh used stock in. I remember a ‘71 black custom listed for $2,400 (and fuck me for not getting that ), an ‘80 Deluxe with mini HBs, forget the rest, but played unplugged all and short-listed to 3. Took those 3 to a clean twin reverb (I think) and tested them clean amped playing the same riffs…Fly by Night, Ziggy Stardust, Long Cool Woman, rotating each per song and maybe twice or thrice through. Then switched to an OD amp (20 w Marshall maybe?) and played You Shook Me (good for hearing OD string separation and OD clarity on open chords when it kicks in), Sin City, and Lonely Is The Night. The ‘71 LPC in the shortlist, another LP (‘70s Std I think but rough), and ‘98 Std that just resonated and sounded like wood. The one time I’ve gotten to run through a slew of used LPs with all the time I needed. Took the ‘98 home for $1,600 out the door. My recent bride was waiting in the car this whole and absolutely hated me for that, but was what it was.
 

seeker of rock

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‘85 LPC bought on Reverb untested from Sam Ash in Cherry Hill, NJ, pre-historic on reverb but he was local so got to check it before handing over cash. Funny as life is, the ‘85 LPC in tested is my favorite LP, go figure
 

Overture

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I was looking at the “basic” Les Paul Custom when I started shopping around. I found out that Gibson is deliberately vague about whether this guitar has a long neck tenon. Based on that it’s fair to assume that it doesn’t. That was a deal breaker for me.

Pretty sure it's been clearly stated on the specs for the current "basic" custom that it has a long neck tenon since at least 2019. Can confirm my 2020 does indeed have a long tenon. Not sure exactly when it changed from short to long, either under Henry or the new ownership, but it's been at least a few years now.
 

80smetalhead

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Pretty sure it's been clearly stated on the specs for the current "basic" custom that it has a long neck tenon since at least 2019. Can confirm my 2020 does indeed have a long tenon. Not sure exactly when it changed from short to long, either under Henry or the new ownership, but it's been at least a few years now.
My bad bro, you are correct. That’s what I get for going on a dealer website. Both Sweetwater, Guitar Center and Tge Music Zoo neglect to add that information. But Zzounds does have it listed. Weird.
 

rjwilson37

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Hope you find what your looking for, I did have a 2017 with a Richlite fretboard that felt great and has less maintenance than Ebony. But... all in all, I do prefer Ebony since you don't take a hit on the resale value for those that really shy away from richlite since ebony is available again. I would go new, the quality of current Gibson Les Paul's is right up there, or go with a used one 2011-2014 and 2019-2022.
 

seeker of rock

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No, the 80's was the return to vintage specs, and the early 90's saw very little change save for 2 piece tops returning as stock on every instrument.
The good wood era is a complete myth and fabrication as it pertains to better guitars. They might have been more picky about physical imperfections or anomalies in the wood, but that for sure doesn't make for a better guitar. All of the other build specs are the same as 83, when the last of the typical Norlin era specs were removed.

If they were in an early 80's guitar, then they were certainly not stock pickups.
They were stock in 88 and 89
Everything he just said ^ ^ ^
 

seeker of rock

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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!
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.

I was JUST going to post that same thing. 10-20 years from now just the rarity will drive up prices to collectors.
 

mjross

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I was JUST going to post that same thing. 10-20 years from now just the rarity will drive up prices to collectors.
Not only that, they are great guitars! Most that don’t like Richlite have never played one, never had one in their hands. They just know they don’t like it, their loss! I’m hear to tell ya, I have a few Richlite guitars and they are very nice, actually look and play amazing, especially my BB King Lucille. IMHO, that nice dark board looks killer and plays as good or better than most my guitars and that’s saying a lot!

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seeker of rock

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Not only that, they are great guitars! Most that don’t like Richlite have never played one, never had one in their hands. They just know they don’t like it, their loss! I’m hear to tell ya, I have a few Richlite guitars and they are very nice, actually look and play amazing, especially my BB King Lucille. IMHO, that nice dark board looks killer and plays as good or better than most my guitars and that’s saying a lot!

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That’s a beauty right there!

BB king and Lucille…I’d tell an ‘80s story here but not an appropriate place. I’ll post it in a different forum sometime
 

01GT Eibach

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That’s a beauty right there!
Yeah, I will second that. That BB King Lucille is particularly breathtaking. I am not sure if it is the guitar itself, the mojo of the particular photo, or the well-matched background (LOL). And, yes, I am a Richlite fan too.
 

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