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Custom order ? One -off ? Run of the mill?

S a m

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Dec 20, 2011
Messages
177
No SAM, that is not correct. What top are you looking at? Not fiddleback and no flecks. Flecks do not indicate quartersawn timber, WTF???

Big Al --

Boundless respect for you, your contributions here and all you are confronting at this moment.

But yeah, I don't mean mineral flecks, I said and meant the fletch marks which reflect quarter-sawn maple 100% of the time.

Like these ones:
q-s neck.jpg

No comment on the authenticity or value of the OP's guitar.
But I still say, "That is a gorgeous top."
 

Strings Jr.

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Jan 17, 2016
Messages
531
Hey Tony, I agree with the observations others have made, there are so many abnormalities with this guitar it is impossible to know the true history based on a few photos. We could sit here all day conjuring a bunch of "maybe this is what happened" ideas and theories, but that won't give you a definitive answer. My first thought was that it might have been a Heritage body that was downgraded to a Standard, and fitted with a Standard neck. Or a warranty return Heritage fitted with a Standard neck, and returned to stock as a Standard. But like Big Al said, the correct top carve doesn't appear to be there, and I'm not sure if the cutaway horn is "pointy" enough. Sooo many different scenarios. If you want to dig for more clues, I would look closely at the neck pickup route / tenon area for any signs of a re-neck and re-spray. Or maybe even look under the bridge bushings to see if there are signs of ABR studs having once been present. Even then it's still just a bunch of puzzle pieces.

Good luck!
Randy
 

Smooth Move

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Feb 9, 2021
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Hey Tony, I agree with the observations others have made, there are so many abnormalities with this guitar it is impossible to know the true history based on a few photos. We could sit here all day conjuring a bunch of "maybe this is what happened" ideas and theories, but that won't give you a definitive answer. My first thought was that it might have been a Heritage body that was downgraded to a Standard, and fitted with a Standard neck. Or a warranty return Heritage fitted with a Standard neck, and returned to stock as a Standard. But like Big Al said, the correct top carve doesn't appear to be there, and I'm not sure if the cutaway horn is "pointy" enough. Sooo many different scenarios. If you want to dig for more clues, I would look closely at the neck pickup route / tenon area for any signs of a re-neck and re-spray. Or maybe even look under the bridge bushings to see if there are signs of ABR studs having once been present. Even then it's still just a bunch of puzzle pieces.

Good luck!
Randy
Hey Thanks for checking this out.
I have a pic of the Neck route.
And Big Al mentioned a good pic of the inlays.
Like you said it's a puzzle for sure.
I'm more than happy with it. It sounds great ! Stays in tune . Intonation is good .
I haven't weighed it. But it's more than a 2015 Trad and less than a '99 standard. I'd guess 8.5 to 9 pounds.
Even with all the weird specs I believe the build quality is really good.
It's value won't matter until my Estate sale haha . Then the kid can worry about it .
Thanks again everyone for your time looking at this.
Cheers
Tony
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,179
Big Al --

Boundless respect for you, your contributions here and all you are confronting at this moment.

But yeah, I don't mean mineral flecks, I said and meant the fletch marks which reflect quarter-sawn maple 100% of the time.

Like these ones:
View attachment 13650

No comment on the authenticity or value of the OP's guitar.
But I still say, "That is a gorgeous top."
Everyone responds differently to tops. It's personal opinion and valid as such. I don't question your evaluation of beauty, just terms. It gets too confusing if we don't all adhere to the same terms. Flecks are very different from mineral streaks or sycamore figure and I was looking for them. Figure terms are confusing but have become more standard in the last 30yrs. Fiddleback is a smaller, wavy tight figure, flame is larger, tiger is straighter, on and on. I was reacting to terminology and a being bit overmedicated having a rough episode this weekend. I thought you were looking at another guitar from the one I saw.
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,179
Hey Thanks for checking this out.
I have a pic of the Neck route.
And Big Al mentioned a good pic of the inlays.
Like you said it's a puzzle for sure.
I'm more than happy with it. It sounds great ! Stays in tune . Intonation is good .
I haven't weighed it. But it's more than a 2015 Trad and less than a '99 standard. I'd guess 8.5 to 9 pounds.
Even with all the weird specs I believe the build quality is really good.
It's value won't matter until my Estate sale haha . Then the kid can worry about it .
Thanks again everyone for your time looking at this.
Cheers
Tony
Tony, I think you have a heavily modded Les Paul Deluxe. Those do not appear to be factory humbucker routs. Is that a pancake sandwich body???? Finish looks like a pro refin and I suspect the top may be a retop with figured maple which may explain the thin binding, cutaway and pickup/bridge/control layout discrepencies. New top meant new fingerboard or removed/replaced and real mother of pearl inlays added. All work is professionally done and someone went to great lengths to get a dream guitar. Many of us did this in the 70's and it is not uncommon.

My only gripe is the seller lied and misrepresented the guitar and over priced it by $1500, at least. This kind of crap pisses me off. I have to ask why you bought this guitar and did no research??? There certainly are better no issue Les Pauls in that price range. Good thing the work resulted in a guitar that fits with you so well, but that seller is a crook.
 

Smooth Move

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Messages
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Hey Big Al.
No it's not a pancake body, but it sure looks like it is from the
Pickup cavity. There is a lot of lacquer spray in the bottom of that
Route. So much there's a crack running through it.

Part of this answer might make me sound like a weirdo. But that's ok.
I did do loads of research. Starting from very little previous knowledge of
Vintage les Pauls. I read everything I could find about the Kalamazoo plant in the late 70's early 80's. Watched a crap load of videos. 5 watt world, trogly's
Nothing I learned pointed to this being any kind of reissue.
But I still bought it because I did believe it was made in Kalamazoo.
All of the things that were not perfect on it I credited to it it being from "then"and "there". But still perfect to me.
I' had been searching and researching guitars for months . Not one of them grabbed a hold of me like this one did. Gut feeling

I'm in Vancouver Canada. There's no way I'm going to find an 80's les paul
For $4,000 USD.in my neighborhood. And I didn't like the idea of having something I found shipped from the Far Corners of the Earth. This one was a quick Fedex trip away. I'm just a working stiff. I had to do some scraping in finagling to make this happen. I'm glad my wife is a total enabler. Haha

When I wrote this post I was hoping to hear from you on this. And even though a lot what you said wasn't great news for me. I appreciate your knowledge and experience on the subject. It's all good because I'm still going to play the crap out of it. Like what you said." It was somebody's dream guitar"
And now I'm lucky enough for it to be my dream guitar.

I think I might have a weird talent for finding weird spec guitars haha
A couple years ago I found a 2015 Traditional. No removable pickguard, no G- Force tuners, No Les Paul hologram . No les paul 100 signature. It was a batch that was supposed to go to Japan.. It's a good one too 😁

Oh ya and that seller had 90.. 5 star reviews on Ebay no bad reviews at all.
Live and learn.
I hope youre doing well.
Thanks Again as always
Tony
 

Big Al

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Messages
14,179
Hey Big Al.
No it's not a pancake body, but it sure looks like it is from the
Pickup cavity. There is a lot of lacquer spray in the bottom of that
Route. So much there's a crack running through it.

Part of this answer might make me sound like a weirdo. But that's ok.
I did do loads of research. Starting from very little previous knowledge of
Vintage les Pauls. I read everything I could find about the Kalamazoo plant in the late 70's early 80's. Watched a crap load of videos. 5 watt world, trogly's
Nothing I learned pointed to this being any kind of reissue.
But I still bought it because I did believe it was made in Kalamazoo.
All of the things that were not perfect on it I credited to it it being from "then"and "there". But still perfect Force tuners, No Les Paul hologram . No les paul 100 signature. It was a batch that was supposed to go to Japan.. It's a good one too 😁
Oh ya and that seller had 90.. 5 star reviews on Ebay no bad reviews at all.
Live and learn.
I hope youre doing well.
Thanks Again as always
Tony
Tony, the real takeaway here is your pleasure in owning this one off customised guitar. Bear in mind my impressions are just that. Not as sure as I would be in person.

If you still have that Kalamazoo itch and wish to add a companion, (GAS can sneak up on a fella), there are plenty unmolested pre 75 Kalamazoo Customs, Deluxes and Standards to pick from. I've become quite obsessed by them myself. There is no cure.
 
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Tony, believe me the last thing I wanted to do was piss on your guitar, but I didn't want to play dumb either. I find that guitar to be very perplexing and my take on it is just my take from the pics. What is clear is the quality of the mods. You gotta love real pearl inlays, right?? My "Bad Betty", is one of the 20 or so Kalamazoo 59 Strings and Things Reissues and the only one in Viceroy Brown. The only other Kalamazoo Reissues I'm aware of are post 80 and much nicer

Tony, the real takeaway here is your pleasure in owning this one off customised guitar. Bear in mind my impressions are just that. Not as sure as I would be in person.

If you still have that Kalamazoo itch and wish to add a companion, (GAS can sneak up on a fella), there are plenty unmolested pre 75 Kalamazoo Customs, Deluxes and Standards to pick from. I've become quite obsessed by them myself. There is no cure.
I´m a little confused now. I´ve always believed that the 8 digit serial no breaks down as this: Digit 1 & 5 is year. Digit 2, 3 & 4 day of the year. Digit 6,7 & 8 Guitar of the day, with 1-500 being Kalamazoo, and 501-99 being Nashville. So with digits 6,7 & 8 being 054, it would be the 54th guitar made that day in Kalamazoo. In other words I read the number as the 54th guitar made in Kalamazoo on the 4th of May in 1981. Wrong?
 

Smooth Move

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Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
Tony, the real takeaway here is your pleasure in owning this one off customised guitar. Bear in mind my impressions are just that. Not as sure as I would be in person.

If you still have that Kalamazoo itch and wish to add a companion, (GAS can sneak up on a fella), there are plenty unmolested pre 75 Kalamazoo Customs, Deluxes and Standards to pick from. I've become quite obsessed by them myself. There is no cure.
Thanks Big Al.
Oh i have the GAS that's for sure.
Perplexing is a good description for this guitar.
I appreciate your honesty and experience. I wasn't butthurt about anything
You said. I was looking for honest opinions.
I did enough homework to know it wasn't really a reissue. Everything else about it Is ok with me .
I just found the sellers phone number on the shipping box it came in.
I'll see what he has to say . Haha
 

Strings Jr.

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Messages
531
I´m a little confused now. I´ve always believed that the 8 digit serial no breaks down as this: Digit 1 & 5 is year. Digit 2, 3 & 4 day of the year. Digit 6,7 & 8 Guitar of the day, with 1-500 being Kalamazoo, and 501-99 being Nashville. So with digits 6,7 & 8 being 054, it would be the 54th guitar made that day in Kalamazoo. In other words I read the number as the 54th guitar made in Kalamazoo on the 4th of May in 1981. Wrong?
Wrong.

Guitar of the day numbers are: 500 and above = Nashville. 499 and below are Kalamazoo.

With that being said, where guitar number 500 is the first one of the day. Number 501 is the second guitar of the day, etc.
So a Nashville guitar with number 554, will actually be the 55th guitar of the day.

I'm not sure if Kalamazoo started the day with 000 or 001. I'd love to know if anyone out there can tell me.
 
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Messages
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Wrong.

Guitar of the day numbers are: 500 and above = Nashville. 499 and below are Kalamazoo.

With that being said, where guitar number 500 is the first one of the day. Number 501 is the second guitar of the day, etc.
So a Nashville guitar with number 554, will actually be the 55th guitar of the day.

I'm not sure if Kalamazoo started the day with 000 or 001. I'd love to know if anyone out there can tell me.
I see I made a typo. I meant to write 501-999 for Nashville (Not 501-99), which I now know is wrong, as it apparently is 500-999.
But I still don´t understand it. If 499 and below are Kalamazoo, then why is 054 NOT Kalamazoo??? (The guitars number is 054, NOT 554). And I assume that we agree, that as the guitars number is 81241054, the relevant part in this case IS 054. Last time I checked, 054 was well below 500.
 
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Strings Jr.

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Messages
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I see I made a typo. I meant to write 501-999 for Nashville (Not 501-99), which I now know is wrong, as it apparently is 500-999.
But I still don´t understand it. If 499 and below are Kalamazoo, then why is 054 NOT Kalamazoo??? (The guitars number is 054, NOT 554). And I assume that we agree, that as the guitars number is 81241054, the relevant part in this case IS 054. Last time I checked, 054 was well below 500.
Who said it wasn't Kalamazoo?
 

Big Al

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It´s my impression that Big Al believes it to be Nashville. See post #6 and I also read #29 that way.
I have questions about that neck. Serial number, lack of made in usa, logo, headstock shape are unusual not to mention mop fingerboard inlays. I cannot say that they appear stock. I feel certain that it is not a Kalamazoo made 1981 neck. I am very familure with Kalamazoo instruments and the factory and the custom builds as well as fsr that came from there at that time.

It may well be a Kalamazoo donor neck from pre 75 set into a Nashville post 76 body. I put more stock in specs than a questionable serial number. You have to ask why? In 81 you could get a Heritage Series Standard 80 or Elite. Kalamazoo made Awards and later their own Reissue. So why custom order this?? It does not match, in build spec anything from Mich. at that time and has some big tells. Headstock, inlays, top carve, volute, chrome hardware, nashville bridge, odd hardware body placement, the bridge pickup/bridge spacing is off, the controls tailpiec relationship is off, the pickup routs do not appear stock, body binding and small side dots all raise questions and point away from Kalamazoo.

You cannot put your faith in a questionable serial and ignore specs. I own a mid to late 70's Kalamazoo made first Reissue Burst Strings n Things in factory Viceroy Brown, and very little matches this one. I can only go by what I know and remember and I could be completely wrong, but it just doesn't make sense to me as a stock Kalamazoo Custom guitar. Maybe it's just me but give it a close look.
 
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I think there may be a misunderstanding here. I in no way meant to imply, that the instrument is a stock 1981 Kalamazoo guitar. As you say there are LOTS of things that would be wrong for a 1981 Kalamazoo neck. Actually I completely agree with you that a retop is most likely, and that the seller of the guitar is a crook, who sold the guitar for way more than it is worth. But as far as I can see, that neck is just as far from being a stock Nashville neck. I can´t make a certain judgement on the headstock shape. But I totally agree, that the headstock logo looks to be far too low. And as you say, the inlays are also wrong. Wrong material, and wrong shape (And whats up with all the filler around them???).
Only thing that I´m a little confused about is you comments about the tom. It is my impression, that the Nashville tom was used in both Nashville and Kalamazoo, and that the name just came from being introduced in Nashville, and later being adapted in Kalamazoo as well. Can anybody for instance show us a 1978 guitar from Kalamazoo (That is not a custom order), that still uses the ABR1?. I´d be surprised, as I don´t recall ever seeing one.
I absolutely agree about dating and identifying from features. Unfortunately the guitar in question seems to be so messed up, that it make little sense doing that. I just got the impression from you in post #6, that you believed it to be a Nashville guitar, despite having the wrong TOM (Which you later said it dosen´t), and I just said that the serial numbe dosen´t say Nashville. I agree on the serial number looking slightly odd, but the part I´m really having problems with here, is the fifth digit, which dosen´t say anything about location.
 

Big Al

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14,179
That neck does not match any Kalamazoo post 75 spec. I find it hard to believe it came with that body from the factory. I do not believe it to be a Custom Kalamazoo build. Nasville bridge is on KM models but I've only seen abr on mahogany neck guitars. You are correct that a nashville by itself proves little, but taken with rest seems unlikely too me.

You are also correct about the utterly confusing nature of this odd duck and we may never know.
Something to consider, Nashville had low logo and small binding dots. What that means is another question mark. Everything is mixed up with no clear definative location source!!!!


However, given everything it seems whishful to assume this is a Kalamazoo made Les Paul. In hand I might feel different. And I only offer my thoughts and I am not the final word on this, nor do I wish to appear so. Strong opinion would be most correct not more valid than yours.
 
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Smooth Move

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That neck does not match any Kalamazoo post 75 spec. I find it hard to believe it came with that body from the factory. I do not believe it to be a Custom Kalamazoo build. Nasville bridge is on KM models but I've only seen abr on mahogany neck guitars. You are correct that a nashville by itself proves little, but taken with rest seems unlikely too me.

You are also correct about the utterly confusing nature of this odd duck and we may never know.
Something to consider, Nashville had low logo and small binding dots. What that means is another question mark. Everything is mixed up with no clear definative location source!!!!


However, given everything it seems whishful to assume this is a Kalamazoo made Les Paul. In hand I might feel different. And I only offer my thoughts and I am not the final word on this, nor do I wish to appear so. Strong opinion would be most correct not more valid than yours.
Hey There.
I definitely think this might be taking me into "beating a dead horse" territory.
It seems like my crappy basement pictures with bad angles and bad lighting didn't help.
If you don't mind checking them out I've taken pictures in proper lighting "lots of them".
I'm certainly not trying to change your opinion I trust your experience like I've said. But I've gone from curious to WTF ?
If you don't mind . Please take 1 more look.
Then I'll bury the subject and just play on.. it does Rock 🤘😁🤘.
 

Smooth Move

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Wrong.

Guitar of the day numbers are: 500 and above = Nashville. 499 and below are Kalamazoo.

With that being said, where guitar number 500 is the first one of the day. Number 501 is the second guitar of the day, etc.
So a Nashville guitar with number 554, will actually be the 55th guitar of the day.

I'm not sure if Kalamazoo started the day with 000 or 001. I'd love to know if anyone out there can tell me.
Hey There.
I just read that Kalamazoo started the day with 001.
Source; Gibson page on serial numbers.
 
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