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

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,244
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 🤘😁🤘.
Tony, the new pics are quite helpful and much better. The pots appear to be 77??? The guitar is a beauty. Control cavity rout doesn't match my Kalamazoo made Reissue "Bad Betty", nor the headstock shape, binding, neck volute, fingerboard binding too wide, side dots too smal, frets too big. The logo doesn't have correct shape and too me loks better than the thinner pantigraph logo it should bear. However it all DOES look quite like a Gibson made instrument with some singular construction oddities.

The back color looks like Wine Red. Factory CSB had Cherry Red back on this type, stock Standard had sunburst back. Points to possible PRO refin on top.

I cannot put faith in that serial number. I find it to look like an after applied number, not factory applied. The two 1 digits look different size? Missing made in USA is a big question. I cannot use that # too prove yom or factory location f Mich or Tenn. Factory paperwork needed. Who custom orders a reissue one off and throws the case candy away??

The thin binding was used post 83ish and from 80-83 only on wide squat, deep dish top Heritage Series. Its use here makes me think retop but everything looks factory built or customised by a very pro shop. I saw a lot of this kind of thing and did these "conversions" myself in the 70's. The problem is even with this strange mix of odd specs, materials and build, there is no plainly visable thing that screams, NO!!

I find much to ponder with this guitar and can only say with some degree of confidence that this Les Paul is one of a kind, customised Standard that may be an altered, refin, routed Deluxe, or an altered strange factory oddity that falls far outside the factory norm. Whatever its origin, it is well done high quality and professionally executed. To me a Kalamazoo origin seems highly unlikely for some strong tells pointing south.

Tony, have you tried finding someone at Gibson to help? If the serial is legit they may offer some further info.
 

Wilko

All Access/Backstage Pass
Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
19,866
I"m seeing a lot of what Big Al is seeing. One thing it looks like i Might be seeing, is a thin layer of maple between the body and the top. This happened in the late 60s before the layered "pancake" bodies. Those guitars also would be P90/mini humbucker bodies.

These pickup routes are not factory. Factory from the late 70s would have a template made cutout with apparently freehand deep cuts for the pickup feet.
 

Smooth Move

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
Thanks for taking another look you guys !
I would have put a lot more effort into my first post if I had of known what a can of worms I was opening
As far as I know the tone pots are 137-79-0? and the volumes 1 is 137-81-28
And the other is obstructed . I thought '79 and '81
Both pickups are ink stamped Jan. 12th 1979
The headstock is 1/4 inch longer at 7 1/4 " than a 1999 standard and wider. ( that I forgot to measure)
Whoa cool ! I see what you mean Wilco ! When I super zoomed in on that cutaway pic I see that thin slice.
I'd be exstatic if it turns out to be routed out late 69 or early 70s Deluxe
Would that be part of the retop process? Plane and sand the original top away to just a thin slice? Then retop?
But I'm pretty happy either way really haha.
The weight is weird too.. today I'll buy a scale so I can actually weight it.
It isn't heavy ... a lot lighter than the '99 but that's only a little bit heavy .

I did send an email to Gibson general customer service.
Their first responce was fluff.
Les Paul Standard . made on the 124th day 1981. (Geez Thanks) Sent a generalized spec sheet for that year.
I responded respectfully "then why does it have a mahogany neck?."
Their responce was .
It was likely done during a running change and he had seen guitars from 1981 like this before. Then switching back to mahogany in 82/83
Maybe I'll try them again. I'm sure they'd be more excited if I was asking about a 2021 Deluxe 70's haha.
Does anyone on the forum have an "inside man" or woman at Gibson?
I really appreciate all the assistance in working on this investigation😁
On the bright side ...now I get to start looking for a bona fide Kalamazoo made Les Paul. Hahaha GAS !!!
Thanks
Tony
 

Smooth Move

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
I pretty much agree with this. With two minor disagreements:
1: Pots. The lead volume pot is clearly marked 1378128. This means CTS (137) 1981 (81) week 28 (28). I read the tone pots as 1377908 which means CTS week 8 in 1979. The last digit might be a 6 instead, and in that case it would be week 6. Although I´m not too happy about the look of the serial number either, the number does say 1981, and that matches the pot codes quite well. I´m not too sure about the pickups, but they do seem resonable for that time period to me.
2: The pick-up routs. Look at holes for the feet. That looks a lot like what is seen on Deluxes. I have never seen anything like this on a guitar fittet with regular size humbuckers. If the guitar was just a routed Deluxe, it would be obvious in the top, so it must be a retopped Deluxe (As mentioned previously by Big Al) in my opinion.

Sorry about repaeating what you said about the pots. I was writing my long-ass response and missed your post .
Thank you for your info and opinion
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,244
The guitar does not show a modified long tenon, a feature of all Kalamazoo mahogany necks, visible on wall of pup cavity. This guitar has a rocker tenon, again pointing to Nashville. Oddly, the maple neck Standards from Kalamazoo I've seen had this tenon as well as abr bridge. Ooops, I missed the 81 pot.

Remember, hardware is easily changed and unless there is good reason to believe it original, (which I do not), it must be assumed to be changed, as many parts appear to be. Nut, tuners, pickups and knobs are not original to this guitar and I question the rest. At least enough not to fix a firm date or origin. I am completely baffled by this one.
 

Strings Jr.

Active member
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
534
I would be interested to see underneath the control plate to see if there's a date stamp from finishing like Nashville was doing at that time.
I don't think Kalamazoo did that. Did they Big Al?
 

Smooth Move

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
Hey.
If this was possibly a Deluxe with mini Humbuckers.
Wouldn't there be screw holes where the Mounting braket used to be?
or was there other ways to fasten down the pickup?

I'm not against checking under the control plate.
My Amp just packed in in... waiting for tubes..now would be a good time haha

 
Last edited:

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,244
I would be interested to see underneath the control plate to see if there's a date stamp from finishing like Nashville was doing at that time.
I don't think Kalamazoo did that. Did they Big Al?
They did on Bad Betty, as well as some names and signatures. I don't know if that was standard practice. There are some fine detail signature build quirks apparant between the two locations. This guitar is so singular, and odd, yet the only thing I feel certain about is the changed pup rout and maybe top only refin. This is what I think of now as the PARADOX BURST!!

When I look at it, I really, really want to play it. Three piece fat mahogany necks are simply the best. I think, or I can just feel this guitar somehow. It must play like butter, I like Ttops and I'd bet on the punchy, full throated clear tone it must have.
 

Smooth Move

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
They did on Bad Betty, as well as some names and signatures. I don't know if that was standard practice. There are some fine detail signature build quirks apparant between the two locations. This guitar is so singular, and odd, yet the only thing I feel certain about is the changed pup rout and maybe top only refin. This is what I think of now as the PARADOX BURST!!

When I look at it, I really, really want to play it. Three piece fat mahogany necks are simply the best. I think, or I can just feel this guitar somehow. It must play like butter, I like Ttops and I'd bet on the punchy, full throated clear tone it must have.
Do You have a pic of Bad Betty on here somewhere. I'd love to see her.
P
 

Smooth Move

New member
Joined
Feb 9, 2021
Messages
23
They did on Bad Betty, as well as some names and signatures. I don't know if that was standard practice. There are some fine detail signature build quirks apparant between the two locations. This guitar is so singular, and odd, yet the only thing I feel certain about is the changed pup rout and maybe top only refin. This is what I think of now as the PARADOX BURST!!

When I look at it, I really, really want to play it. Three piece fat mahogany necks are simply the best. I think, or I can just feel this guitar somehow. It must play like butter, I like Ttops and I'd bet on the punchy, full throated clear tone it must
Do you have a pic of Bad Betty on here? I'd love to see her.
Paradox Burst.. Too Good!! Great Name.
It does play so good. I use a Dr Z maz 38 . Sometimes a little push from a Tube Screamer. I'm obsessed
Thanks
 
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