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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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150
I've got one for you Mat. I have a 2020 R8 VOS and a rep at Gibson sent be a spec sheet and the color is called "Believer Burst". I can't seem to find anything online about this color. Can you shed a little light on that for me?
Looks like Sputnik and Mike got you squared away! Thanks for the question.
 

amorrow

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Oct 24, 2005
Messages
217
One small item I’ve wondered about regarding tuner selection for models originally equipped with “milk-bottle” Grover Rotomatics….why is the modern-style Rotomatic still used over the milk-bottles now they’ve been reissued for quite some time? Retail prices at least are the same, both styles available in the same finishes, so just curious the reasoning.
 

matkoehler

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Makes sense, what I am hoping to find out from Mat is why is this color option impossible for me to find any info online. Was is a dealer specific or special order? Mine also has zebra custombuckers as you see in my picture. Any insight Mat?
It would have been a special order, either a Made 2 Measure order by a customer or a run of instruments spec'd by a dealer. service @ gibson.com should be able to point you to more info with the serial number.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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150
One small item I’ve wondered about regarding tuner selection for models originally equipped with “milk-bottle” Grover Rotomatics….why is the modern-style Rotomatic still used over the milk-bottles now they’ve been reissued for quite some time? Retail prices at least are the same, both styles available in the same finishes, so just curious the reasoning.
Good one, thanks. Yeah I think they are both very simliar 18:1 tuner designs but being a vintage fan myself I understand the appeal of the Milk Bottles. However the majority of Gibson products that use Grovers are within the "Modern Collection" anyway, and if you want you can specify "Milk Bottle" Grovers for Custom Shop Made 2 Measure order. But point taken and I think there are areas where we could introduce the Milk Bottles instead of or in addition to the regular Rotomatics. I will say that even such a small tweak is quite the process at Gibson when you consider the longstanding orders, vendor ramp up, marketing asset edits, factory change notices, etc. So that's probably another reason they have not been more widely adopted. Hope that helps and thanks again for the feedback.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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I had heard Mike Voltz moved to Acoustic products, but not that he had retired... hope he enjoys it and finds fun stuff to do, also hope Gibson can still tap his talents. "Lloyd Loar of Memphis" what a great moniker. Please wish him well for me! (Does he have a website?)
I will absolutely do so...I think he very much does *not* want to have a website in retirement...haha. But you may see some of his creations for sale in the Gibson Garage in the years to come.

And that is correct, he was focused on Acoustics once again for the last couple years and he was instrumental in the introduction of the new Historic Collection for acoustics. Some of the other Gibson Acoustic projects he worked on will be released in the next month to next two years. Stay tuned.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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150
Hey Mat,
Regarding the arch tops, ever since 1970 the L5ces’ have had the wrong neck set (too high) compared to the earlier ones. This puts the bridge too high up and makes the whole thing play much stiffer. You can see this easily by looking at the side where the fingerboard meets the body, it is much higher than 60s and earlier. Also they changed in 1970 to have a weird slant toward the fretboard necessitating turning the neck pickup ring reverse to keep the pickup at the right angle. The earlier L5s with the right neck set are sooo much better feeling and sounding. I hope when these are overhauled that looooong standing change can be fixed. also pre-‘70 L5ces’ have much thinner tops than modern. Until these specs go back to the original I can only consider buying the pre-‘70 version and I know I’m definitely not alone. Sure loving my ‘64!
Hey there! Thanks for the message. Yes all of these reasons and more are why we want to discontinue the range and start fresh. The current range is great, but as I said before the problem is they don't have a logical home in the current product architecture...they are neither Historic nor Modern...kind of an in between rooted in the 1970s techniques. So we will be taking the same approach with archtop reissues as the recent Korina reissues. Regarding top thickness, we are planning on getting CAT scans to study the graduation of the top and back carves underneath. What I've proposed is to start with a 1957 L-5CES Reissue...for that year a variety of pickups would be applicable to the platform.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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Here's one I received directly: "It's reasonably well-known that Fender used korina and sassafras on very small numbers of golden-era instruments, likewise there are custom-colour pre-CBS guitars with padauk rather than rosewood fingerboards. Have you ever seen evidence of similar instances of off-book tonewoods on vintage Gibsons? Or especially memorable examples of guitars that should not exist but are obviously factory-original?"

I have not seen that personally but I can confirm Gibson was definitely interested in alternative body woods like alder and poplar in the late 1950s. Not sure about fingerboards or why they began using maple on some models in the 1970s...probably just because it looked unique and functioned well. As far as memorable examples of guitars that should not exist but are obviously factory-original, the ones that come to mind are those two mid-1960s "Les Paul" orders as discussed previously and a couple late 1950s SJ-200s I have seen with six-in-a-line headstocks...one a scimitar shape and another a flourished scimitar shape that was mandolin-esque. And speaking of mandolin-esque I have also seen a few 1950s-1980s Gibson archtops made with F-style mandolin headstock shapes. Oh! And I saw a factory original ES-175 single pickup in factory-original two-tone green, kind of like a Gretsch Anniversary. More will come to me but that's a decent start. :)
 

Wilko

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Mar 11, 2002
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19,911
No one's asked about the neck joints yet?!

I'd love to know what the neck joint looks like on production Standard Les Paul and/or Traditional Standard Les Paul from, say, 2010 on?
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
2,487
No one's asked about the neck joints yet?!

I'd love to know what the neck joint looks like on production Standard Les Paul and/or Traditional Standard Les Paul from, say, 2010 on?

Good one!

To further embellish: FWIW I thought this was a good approach, of course it assumes you get the angles and bridge mounting correct!

Is this being used still, contemplated, any similar pattern, etc? What period were these used, and if stopped, why?

1631568712605.png

Plus: another question to piggy-back: Anything different or remarkable about the Access-type joins (to include Moderns)? I noticed on the Epiphone Lifesons there seems to be more pieces on the neck-body joins as well as headstock reinforcement. Not saying Gibson should go there, but probably helps for the few models requiring stronger support for those Uber-whammies.
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
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8,098
I would not doubt if a burst made it's way out in 1961...there are several "Les Paul Custom (Old Style)" entries in the ledger book from 1961 and a few that simply say "Les Paul (Old Style)", however my gut says those were still probably Les Paul Customs and the person entering them just wasn't consistent. No 1961-serialized Bursts have been discovered to my knowledge.

I also don't doubt that some 1959 or 1960 serial number bursts shipped or sold later on...employee sales...BGN/#2 sales...etc. However I have not seen ledger evidence of this.

As for custom-ordered bursts in the rest of the 1960s, I don't see this as a possibility. They would be in the Special Order logbook, for one, and for two I don't think Gibson created any sunburst single-cut Les Paul shapes until the 1970s (with the possible exception of a 1968-69 LP with P90s of some sort...again wouldn't doubt it). And speaking of, the rumor that the 1968 Les Pauls used leftover parts is completely bogus.

Now for the fun part -- Gibson DID take and make a couple of custom orders for single-cutaway Les Pauls in the 1960s but no sunburst ones and not the traditional single-cutaway Les Paul shape. I've seen two, one of which was featured in VG Magazine. They had the shape of what became the Les Paul Professional, with the chunky, slightly-rounded cutaway. Thanks for the question!!!
Mat; I played one in Canada about 10 years ago. All original, impressed s/n# but with a #1 xxxx. It was a a black 2-pickup Custom. It was loaned to me by the producer of a festival we played in Belleville, Ont. He and I have been good friends for 20 years. But I've been around vintage Les Paul's for 50+ years so I knew what to look for..
 

TM1

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If I was the powers that Be @ Gibson, I would Hire Back my friend Ren Ferguson. Ren esentially got the whole Montana Factory up and running 30 years ago, but he's told me that HJ basically tied his hands from going full steam on acoustic's with Hide Glue, etc. I went up there to visit him (my sister in-law lives in Big Timber, an hour east of Bozeman)) in 2006 and spent most of the day with him. I was really impressed with the factory but I could tell there was alot of things he wanted to do that he was held back on. I do have a 2005 Hummingbird that is one of 5(I believe, might be one of 25).
 

Phoenician

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Oct 12, 2020
Messages
45
Hey Mat! I really love the rich legacy content at Gibson.com (link below) and it’s possible I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming…I mean reading it. However it seems to me to be either incomplete for the years covered or the navigation is “off“ making some information challenging to find.

That said, I’d love to see information for years prior and easier to slice and dice. In example, a buddy of mine swung by my place to borrow a Les Paul to use at a recording session for a band he manages. He knew he needed a Les Paul for certain parts but he’s not recording this particular session at a stocked studio. Since he’s a Tele first player, I gave him a 2013 Les Paul Standard to check out. Pull pots to split coils, compound radius neck, asymmetric neck carve, Burstbuckers…I thought it perfect for him. I didn’t even bother with my GCS 1960 reissues since the 2013 was the better choice for him and his purposes.

You should’ve seen him digging into it while I explained the guitar and the magic on tap when you understand how to work the four knob controls and three position pickup switch. When he was leaving he’s smiling ear to ear and telling me he needs a guitar like this…so I jump to Gibson.com but my guitar is a 2013 and not covered. I do a little research and guesstimate a 2013-2014* Les Paul Standard are the years he should seek out. My point being…it would be great to have the right information from the source and better organized. What‘s there is there is already a very good start and quiet rich but…

*and or a “Modern”…I’m not 100% as I can’t triangulate the data and how the Modern relates exactly to the 2013-2014 LPS. I can’t tell if the Modern is even current product at first although it may be…which is kinda my point.

My buddy ain’t going to stop at one Les Paul if his first one is a really good one.

 
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JoeC

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Oct 25, 2019
Messages
81
Mat, here is a good one. Bobbins on CS LPs? If they have a cover are they always black now a days or do the emulate the time period. Zebra, Double White etc? Thanks!
 

Dilver

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Feb 17, 2016
Messages
92
Hi Matt,

Thanks for taking the time to do this! Lots of interesting information. Maybe you can settle once and for all what the story is with the 2017 Historics. Some say they were stockpiled 2016s, some say some of them were repurposed CCs, some say they were made to order from dealer selected tops. Whats the real story?
 

matkoehler

Active member
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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
150
To further embellish: FWIW I thought this was a good approach, of course it assumes you get the angles and bridge mounting correct!

Is this being used still, contemplated, any similar pattern, etc? What period were these used, and if stopped, why?

View attachment 15346

Plus: another question to piggy-back: Anything different or remarkable about the Access-type joins (to include Moderns)? I noticed on the Epiphone Lifesons there seems to be more pieces on the neck-body joins as well as headstock reinforcement. Not saying Gibson should go there, but probably helps for the few models requiring stronger support for those Uber-whammies.
Thanks for the questions. As far as what we are doing currently at Gibson USA, I would highly recommend checking out the Gibson TV series "The Process". There is an episode here on the neck fitting which illustrates the current technique.

The example in your photo is what we were doing for Les Paul Standards only at Gibson USA for a short time up until 5-6 years ago. Not a Historic long tenon by any means, but it was a deeper set into the body. That required a lot more time and finesse in neck fitting and it was unlike anything else we make there so it didn't make a lot of production sense. Long tenons are really best suited for a factory like Custom Shop, as is the hide glue used with it. Hope that helps!

And to your piggy-back question -- there is a difference in philosophies between the Access LP neck joint and the Modern LP neck joint but nothing remarkable to comment on. Epiphone is working with multipiece woods to begin with so a little extra reinforcement was necessary, from what I understand.
 
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matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
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Mat; I played one in Canada about 10 years ago. All original, impressed s/n# but with a #1 xxxx. It was a a black 2-pickup Custom. It was loaned to me by the producer of a festival we played in Belleville, Ont. He and I have been good friends for 20 years. But I've been around vintage Les Paul's for 50+ years so I knew what to look for..
Yes, I seem to remember there are maybe two dozen Les Paul Custom (Old Style) models logged in the early 1961 ledger book. 2-pickup Customs from that era are rare as hell! The only ones I have ever seen were in a specific range from 1959. Very cool. Thanks for the note!
 

matkoehler

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Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
150
If I was the powers that Be @ Gibson, I would Hire Back my friend Ren Ferguson. Ren esentially got the whole Montana Factory up and running 30 years ago, but he's told me that HJ basically tied his hands from going full steam on acoustic's with Hide Glue, etc. I went up there to visit him (my sister in-law lives in Big Timber, an hour east of Bozeman)) in 2006 and spent most of the day with him. I was really impressed with the factory but I could tell there was alot of things he wanted to do that he was held back on. I do have a 2005 Hummingbird that is one of 5(I believe, might be one of 25).
Ren is a legend for sure. And if he wanted to come back I know we would look into how to make it possible. But I will say that I am beyond impressed with our current Gibson Acoustic factory team and my acoustic team within product development. We are in the process of adding on to the factory there which should open up a lot more capacity...right now the biggest problem is empty hooks on the walls of dealers! Anyway lots of cool stuff to come. Thanks for the message!
 

matkoehler

Active member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
150
Hey Mat! I really love the rich legacy content at Gibson.com (link below) and it’s possible I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming…I mean reading it. However it seems to me to be either incomplete for the years covered or the navigation is “off“ making some information challenging to find.

That said, I’d love to see information for years prior and easier to slice and dice.
I hear you...the combination of the previous regime at Gibson requiring sweeping changes one year to the next and then adopting a new website format and infrastructure really made a mess of the legacy info. However, I urge you to contact the Customer Service team for info on specific guitars or products for which you have trouble locating info. They are extremely good at tracking down the obscure stuff and the stuff that disappeared from the web over the years. Separately, we do have more legacy sites that got garbled a bit in the transition which we intend on cleaning up and adding. But that is not really my arena, just what I have heard! Thank you for the question.
 
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