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Verifying a purchase of a Les Paul Custom 69

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Hey all,

Before I make my 6 hour round trip to pick this (Black) beauty up, I just wanted to post some pictures to see if any of you keen eyed folks can inform me of any negatives that I may have missed.

This is what I know so far, and this is what concerns me:

What I think I know:
1. Appears to be all original, minus the missing switch tip and possibly wrong year case.
2. The serial number appears to be: 854056
3. I can kind of make out that it's a 3-piece neck, but really hard to tell
4. One pot code indicates 69
5. Binding crack at the 21st fret (will repair once I do the refret)
5. Finally according to the above and LateSixitiesLesPauls.com it appears to be a May/ June 69

What concerns me:
1. The first 3 digits of the serial number are hard to read. In my dealings with old Gibson, hard to read serial #s is sometimes an indication of a spray over... However, the blacklight disproves that.
2. Not so much a concern, but more of a collectable item: Im not sure if the case is correct, the seller says its not... but every listing I see for an LPC all have different cases.
3. Don't know if its a 1, 2 or 3 piece body?
4. Maple top and how many pieces?
5. Is the neck 3 pieces, I assume so as in some pictures there is a faint line showing 3 pieces not including the wings.
6. Finally, I don't know what I don't know. so please tell me thanks!


Ok here are the pictures for your evaluation. TIA
 

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giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Pictures Part 2
 

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corpse

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
4,948
The only pre-1970 feature I see is the rout for the PUP. I would say mid to late 69. But you can search the SN.
 

Bruce R

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
1,047
Beautiful guitar!! Congratulations on finding such a great guitar, and in stock condition!

The serial number on my late '69 is also quite difficult to read.

Based on the minimal amount of checking on mine, I can see that it appears to be a 3-piece maple top.

Your case looks original to me, like the one mine came with. I believe the Goldtops came with the gold/yellow lining, and the LPC in purple. Some even came with rectangular cases, much like the Firebirds.

The LateSixtiesLesPaul site is quite useful and I consider it to be spot-on.

Enjoy that guitar!!!
 
Last edited:

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Beautiful guitar!! Congratulations on finding such a great guitar, and in stock condition!

The serial number on my late '69 is also quite difficult to read.

Based on the minimal amount of checking on mine, I can see that it appears to be a 3-piece maple top.

Your case looks original to me, like the one mine came with. I believe the Goldtops came with the gold/yellow lining, and the LPC in purple. Some even came with rectangular cases, much like the Firebirds.

The LateSixtiesLesPaul site is quite useful and I consider it to be spot-on.

Enjoy that guitar!!!

Thank you, I picked it up today. I was really happy and relieved when I had my eyes on it in person. After a long trip I really didn't want to be disappointed. I was so worried that it had a neck repair or a spray over. I even took my powerful blacklight with me, I see no evidence that it was messed with. The nitro transition from the binding to the black is still there all around the neck and the headstock, except for the 5-10 fret where it was played the most, that part of the neck is ever so slightly worn-in and the yellowed bind is very lite in that area. So it all seems to check out. I just don't know why the first three digits are so hard to read. I thought Gibson really stamped these in pretty good.

Anyway, I so excited to have such a fine Les Paul, longtime coming to find the right one. Now the big decision "Frets"... Keep the nibs, or just go for the extended frets over the binding for an easier installation and more playable room. I really wonder how a fret jobs will affect the value on this. Is not very playable as is, super hard to get under anything.
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
I personally think that all guitars, regardless of rarity and age, should be playable, as this is the main objective of any guitar. If someone has issue with the lack of nibs on an original guitar, then they’re not the right owner IMO.. . but that’s just me.

Guitars want/need to be played.

Couldn't agree more!
 

dwagar

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 18, 2005
Messages
4,466
Great find. Congratulations.

The serial number (and Made In USA stamp) on my old '74 Custom were hard to read too.

When I bought my '64 ES330 in 1969, I also bought a case for it, that's exactly the same style case they gave me.
 

LeonC

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2002
Messages
817
Thank you, I picked it up today. I was really happy and relieved when I had my eyes on it in person. After a long trip I really didn't want to be disappointed. I was so worried that it had a neck repair or a spray over. I even took my powerful blacklight with me, I see no evidence that it was messed with. The nitro transition from the binding to the black is still there all around the neck and the headstock, except for the 5-10 fret where it was played the most, that part of the neck is ever so slightly worn-in and the yellowed bind is very lite in that area. So it all seems to check out. I just don't know why the first three digits are so hard to read. I thought Gibson really stamped these in pretty good.

Anyway, I so excited to have such a fine Les Paul, longtime coming to find the right one. Now the big decision "Frets"... Keep the nibs, or just go for the extended frets over the binding for an easier installation and more playable room. I really wonder how a fret jobs will affect the value on this. Is not very playable as is, super hard to get under anything.
If you like to play, and you like that guitar, get that thing refretted and you'll be happier.

When I bought a '61 335 many years ago, I realized within a couple weeks that I could not get it calibrated properly because the bridge had not been installed in the right location...it would need to be moved about 1/8" to for ideal calibration. The thought of altering the guitar from "original" really irritated me a lot. It was the most expensive guitar purchase I'd ever made and here it was, not 100% usable (IMO, at any rate). I foolishly put off having the bridge moved for probably 3 or 4 years and just didn't play the guitar all that much. (I did come to learn that this was far from uncommon; plenty of 50s and early 60s Gibsons needed to have their bridges moved.) Then I eventually came to my senses, had it moved and properly installed..and boom...it became my favorite guitar overnight. It sounded great and I really love it! It's been my #1 in my band for about 7 years at this point.

So I say: perhaps wait a few months and confirm that you like everything else about the guitar...then get it refretted. If you like bending strings, put some nice big frets on there and have someone really good do it!!

BTW, I used a '68/69 LPC for many years when I was gigging professionally. Just loved it! The headstock got broken on the last night of my professional gigging career :( man talk about going out with a BANG...and whimper. I had it repaired and kept it for another 20 years or so...but foolishly traded it away in 2001.
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
If you like to play, and you like that guitar, get that thing refretted and you'll be happier.

When I bought a '61 335 many years ago, I realized within a couple weeks that I could not get it calibrated properly because the bridge had not been installed in the right location...it would need to be moved about 1/8" to for ideal calibration. The thought of altering the guitar from "original" really irritated me a lot. It was the most expensive guitar purchase I'd ever made and here it was, not 100% usable (IMO, at any rate). I foolishly put off having the bridge moved for probably 3 or 4 years and just didn't play the guitar all that much. (I did come to learn that this was far from uncommon; plenty of 50s and early 60s Gibsons needed to have their bridges moved.) Then I eventually came to my senses, had it moved and properly installed..and boom...it became my favorite guitar overnight. It sounded great and I really love it! It's been my #1 in my band for about 7 years at this point.

So I say: perhaps wait a few months and confirm that you like everything else about the guitar...then get it refretted. If you like bending strings, put some nice big frets on there and have someone really good do it!!

BTW, I used a '68/69 LPC for many years when I was gigging professionally. Just loved it! The headstock got broken on the last night of my professional gigging career :( man talk about going out with a BANG...and whimper. I had it repaired and kept it for another 20 years or so...but foolishly traded it away in 2001.

Yeah I was more curious as to the whole fret nib thing really. But after further inspection on my bench I noticed most of the nibs were worn down anyhow. Being as this is my most valuable guitar I just wanted to do right by it. The frets on this are measuring around .25-.3" tall, it's basically unplayable for my style of playing (Blues Rock).

I started today with preping the body and pulling the frets. Im surprised for how dry the board was, I only had to extremely minor areas of pull out that were easily pushed back (maybe the size of a pencil tip). I use a soldering iron and water for these jobs and it seems to do right by the fretboard.

I will let the fretboard dry overnight, and then give a very light sanding to knock the remaining nibs off. Hopefully have this completed by Friday so I can really enjoy it. Going with Jescar 55090, and most likely put a Faber bridge and long thread posts. Obviously Ziplock all the original parts, including the frets and pop them in the case.
 

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metropolis

Active member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
447
Beautiful! My '72 has the same case and the 'no dot' logo but it has a volute so yours is definitely earlier.

Good job on the refret. Mine was refretted (sacrificing the nibs) and it's a lovely playing guitar. Given these fretless wonders are notorious I don't think it does as much to the value as it would on some models.
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Beautiful! My '72 has the same case and the 'no dot' logo but it has a volute so yours is definitely earlier.

Good job on the refret. Mine was refretted (sacrificing the nibs) and it's a lovely playing guitar. Given these fretless wonders are notorious I don't think it does as much to the value as it would on some models.

I agree... Id argue most people wouldn't want an unplayable Vintage'ish guitar :)
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
A little update for you all, got the frets in, leveled, crowned and polished... Phew that was a Royal PIA.. The last time I re-fretted an ebony board it wasn't this much of a pain.. but this board was dry and brittle.

Anyway, I am really happy the way it came out.

Part III: Make the nut, install and give it a dry run.

Part IV: Try the Faber parts out (Faber Bridge, Titanium saddles, Faber XL Threaded studs, and aluminum tailpiece)
 

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metropolis

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Sep 14, 2018
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447
Looking good!

I must admit I'm torn on the Faber stuff. I put Faber ABR-1s (variations of the models they do) on all of my Les Pauls and I'm not sure it was worth it. In a couple of cases I was replacing non-standard bridges, but in some cases I was going for tone improvements and I'm not sure it was there. I also did Titanium saddles to see if they made a difference but it's very very minor (and expensive). In hindsight the saddles are the most crucial, and in particularly how they're notched, and new saddles in an older bridge probably have the same impact as the expense of a brand new bridge and titanium saddles. Don't mean to put you off but just wanted to share experiences across 3 different guitars.
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Looking good!

I must admit I'm torn on the Faber stuff. I put Faber ABR-1s (variations of the models they do) on all of my Les Pauls and I'm not sure it was worth it. In a couple of cases I was replacing non-standard bridges, but in some cases I was going for tone improvements and I'm not sure it was there. I also did Titanium saddles to see if they made a difference but it's very very minor (and expensive). In hindsight the saddles are the most crucial, and in particularly how they're notched, and new saddles in an older bridge probably have the same impact as the expense of a brand new bridge and titanium saddles. Don't mean to put you off but just wanted to share experiences across 3 different guitars.

I don't disagree with your assessment. I went with Faber as it seemed to be the least expensive, higher quality bridge and tailpiece that was both lightweight and "aged" I want to preserve the original bridge and tailpiece which are both corroded and pretty worn out. I opted for Titanium saddles as, I am not the biggest fan of nylon on LPs (prefer them on ES bodies). We will see, I'm sure they will be adequate, but I wont put to much stock in them being an "improvement"
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
Ignore the nibs. Nice original guitar. Congrats

I forgot to post a picture of the finish product. I am very happy with the way it came out. Its a tremendous guitar (I was not a fan of LPs in before), but this thing really hits all the marks. I forgot that I had PTSD from refretting an ebony board a longtime ago and this just brought back all the horrors. I was lucky to come away with just 3 "tiny pencil tip" size tear outs that I was able to fill away. But OMG, Ebony is so brittle, and you need to be super careful and patient.

The Faber stuff worked out well enough. Is it worth the price? IDK, but I really wanted to keep the look so needed something relic'ed. The titanium saddles are a nice touch, a get a bit more sustain and top end sparkle which I like. I'm not shy with treble; I want all the treble I can get as I am actively rolling my volume and tones to craft the sound for whatever I am playing. So, I always want to much, so I can take away as needed.

Some observations through my amp collection: With my reference amp, 69' Bantam Bass (it's basically a big bold Dumble clean machine), the sound is very big, boomy in a good way and articulate, pushed with an EP booster and this setup can cover lots of ground. With the 62 Deluxe, overdrive is just creamy and articulate, it doesn't like edge of break up on the neck, it can get a bit muddy. But with the middle or bridge it nails a lot of ZZ Top and Nugent tones. With the Marshalls, well, do I even need to say it". It does it all between the 2 JMPs, late 60s to early 80s, check!

Ill post pictures soon.. I did order Repro Kluson Wafflebacks, as the original tuners are a bit tired and hard to fine tune... so they will go in the case with the rest of the original parts.
 

giogolf

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2024
Messages
40
As promised... the finished product
New frets: Jescar 5590
New Repro Kluson Waffleback tuners
New bridge and saddle: Faber
New Repro Knobs
All original parts including frets in the case for the next owner or the person who pry's it from my cold dead hands.

Oh, original nut for now, with 11s its just about perfect, but I anticipate it will need to be replaced in a year or so..
 

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