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What exactly did I buy here? Classic? Plus? Premium Plus?

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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24
So, this past weekend I was cruising through Craigslist and a 2003 Les Paul Classic was up for sale with Gibson Antiquities pickups, 50's wiring and a jumbo refret. And it only weighs 8 lbs. Sweet! It had a decent price but I offered something less just to see if I could start a dialog to negotiate. Turns out the owner accepted my offer! I had to scramble on Sunday morning to round up cash from the wife and another guitar nerd buddy. Drove 100 miles and met the man in person. He was at a point in his life that he was thinning the herd and he wasn't that much of a stickler for the money. He just wanted it gone. He just didn't really bond with Gibson. (Don't cry for him. He's still playing 58' and 64' Strats and 78' Tele plus LOTS of vintage amps.)

Anyway, I do most of what I can research wise and found the serial matches up to a "2003 Classic". OK...but my guitar nerd buddy tells me that the fact it doesn't have a pickguard (nor the hole) and it's relatively lighter in weight plus the flames that it's most likely a Classic Premium Plus. I've looked all around the net' and I can't seem to verify this information. I know it's supposed to be in the pickup cavity and I'll have my tech do that when he does a setup in a couple of days but the curiosity is killing me.


1. Did Gibson produce Classic Premium Plus models in 03'?
2. Does this look like one to you?
3. Seller thought it was "Translucent Amber". Sound right?

2003 GLP Classic Top.jpg

2003 GLP Classic Guitar.jpg

It's a cool piece and a player's guitar which suits me just fine. I'll take a player over a closet queen any day of the week but I'd sure like to know what you experts think.
 
Last edited:

123sg

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Feb 24, 2021
Messages
125
Classics are modeled after 1960s Les Pauls And some do not have a Chrome pick ups covers to emulate Clapton That’s a classic on the truss rod cover and maybe 1960 in a pick up ring ring Check reverb for pictures great looking guitar!Also let us know what your guitar tech says about the strings being wrapped reverse through the stop piece?
 

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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Upon further investigation, it very well could be a 1993. The serial is either a 1993 or a 2003...however I cannot find confirmation that Classic Premium Plus were produced beyond 2001. AND it appears that Translucent Ambers were some of the first ones released in the early 90's. Hmmmm. This is getting interesting.
 

Iguana

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Aug 22, 2018
Messages
65
Definitely translucent amber. Yeah I know I took the easy question. I’m a sucker for translucent amber Les Pauls. Pretty guitar.
 

kuwahara80

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Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
353
Classics are modeled after 1960s Les Pauls And some do not have a Chrome pick ups covers to emulate Clapton That’s a classic on the truss rod cover and maybe 1960 in a pick up ring ring Check reverb for pictures great looking guitar!Also let us know what your guitar tech says about the strings being wrapped reverse through the stop piece?
The strings are with the wrapover method. I use that on some of my guitars, too. Gives them a slinkier feel and helps with the angle to the bridge on some guitars.
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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4,073
Looks like a 93 to me . Based on the ABR-1 Bridge being present versus the Nashville bridge on 2000 forward . I almost want to say that it is Classic written on the face of the headtsock . The Pickups that came from the factory were uncovered double black coil ceramic magnet , so yours are an upgrade as they are Seymour Duncan's . All in all she is a beauty ( as I have a 94 ) . Leave that pickguard off the nicely figured maple top . Now rock out and enjoy and please report back with a tone report ?
 

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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24
Gibson Antiqes pickups. I have never heard of a Gibson with that name. But Seymour Duncan does make a Antiquity model. It was their first model that was supposed to be a little closer to the old paf´s, than their regular 59 model, and they are more expensive than the regular 59. They are non potted, and have a distressed finish that looks just like your pickups. Many hold them in high regard, and when they came out in the mid nineties, many considered them to be the closest thing to a real paf. I´m pretty optimistic, that you have Duncans, and I would consider it a huge upgrade on the original s, and anyway an upgrade over ANY Gibson pu (Real paf´s, and early patent no excepted) that I have heard.
Lars, thank you for the kind words and yes, I misspoke. I had the guy take out the pickups to verify and they are SD Antiquities. Seymour signed them himself. At the time I asked the seller to photo the pickups...I didn't know anything about Plus or Premium Plus models so I didn't think to have him take photos in the cavities for verification of what model. I will have my tech do it today.

I really was happy to purchase a 03' model but now it's looking more and more like a 93'...I'm really stoked!
 

Texsunburst59

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Feb 15, 2004
Messages
748
I'm pretty sure your guitar is an '03 and not a '93.

The inlays in your guitar are the snot green, and in '93 they had the ivory inlays.

Also I don't think your guitar is a premium plus, but a Classic plus instead.

I guess you'll get 100% confirmation when you get the pics of the inside of the pickup cavity.

Here's a few pics of my bone stock 2000 Gibson Translucent Amber Classic Premium Plus

49771543142_541a4e081a_b.jpg

49770692483_027be0d0bd_b.jpg
 

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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I'm pretty sure your guitar is an '03 and not a '93.

The inlays in your guitar are the snot green, and in '93 they had the ivory inlays.
Well, like I said, I’m having trouble confirming Premium Plus were extended beyond 01’ but you may be correct. Perhaps it’s only a Plus and I’m not sure about when those ended.

Also, I don’t think I have the snot green. Those were not my pics and I think the sun and resolution affected the true colors. It looks more like ivory to me.

One more clue. My friend took a snap of his 02’ Classic serial and it began with “02”. Mine only has a “3” then a space then 4 numbers.
 

El Gringo

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Well, like I said, I’m having trouble confirming Premium Plus were extended beyond 01’ but you may be correct. Perhaps it’s only a Plus and I’m not sure about when those ended.

Also, I don’t think I have the snot green. Those were not my pics and I think the sun and resolution affected the true colors. It looks more like ivory to me.

One more clue. My friend took a snap of his 02’ Classic serial and it began with “02”. Mine only has a “3” then a space then 4 numbers.
I bet that yours is a 93 . Here's why , yours has an ABR-1 bridge , versus the Nashville bridge on the 2000 forward . To me those look like the snot green inlays ,just like mine has (94) Yours is ink stamped on the back of the headtsock with the serial # right ?
 

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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I bet that yours is a 93 . Here's why , yours has an ABR-1 bridge , versus the Nashville bridge on the 2000 forward . To me those look like the snot green inlays ,just like mine has (94) Yours is ink stamped on the back of the headtsock with the serial # right ?
I just got off the phone with Gibson and they confirmed it’s a 1993! They said it’s a Plus but said the cavity will most likely confirm the top.
 

El Gringo

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I just got off the phone with Gibson and they confirmed it’s a 1993! They said it’s a Plus but said the cavity will most likely confirm the top.
Wow and incredible . You have your self a very beautiful Les Paul ! Let the fun ensue and please give us a tone report as I am very interested to hear your report . Enjoy !
 

Cholo

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Apr 6, 2002
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Wow and incredible . You have your self a very beautiful Les Paul ! Let the fun ensue and please give us a tone report as I am very interested to hear your report . Enjoy !
Will do. What a journey eh? I’m gonna have my tech go through it and breathe new life into it. It plays pretty well (no fretting out) but the tuning is a little wonky. Nothing that a balanced truss rod, well cut nut and good intonation can’t fix. I really like the Antiquities but it took a little getting used to such low output. It’s fun having Jimmy Page instant tone.

I’ll have him balance pickups and adjust heights.

Really looking forward to bringing her back to full speed.

Thanks for all your help, everyone!
 

El Gringo

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4,073
Will do. What a journey eh? I’m gonna have my tech go through it and breathe new life into it. It plays pretty well (no fretting out) but the tuning is a little wonky. Nothing that a balanced truss rod, well cut nut and good intonation can’t fix. I really like the Antiquities but it took a little getting used to such low output. It’s fun having Jimmy Page instant tone.

I’ll have him balance pickups and adjust heights.

Really looking forward to bringing her back to full speed.

Thanks for all your help, everyone!
I am so happy for you and know you will love your Les Paul so much . A little suggestion would be to have your tech use some Big Bends Nut Sauce to lubricate the nut for smoother tuning . Speaking of the "journey" that's the real fun the thrill of the chase and hunt and capture right into your hands of a fine Gibson ! Enjoy ☀️
 

123sg

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Feb 24, 2021
Messages
125
Classics are modeled after 1960s Les Pauls And some do not have a Chrome pick ups covers to emulate Clapton That’s a classic on the truss rod cover and maybe 1960 in a pick up ring ring Check reverb for pictures great looking guitar!Also let us know what your guitar tech says about the strings being wrapped reverse through the stop piece?
The strings are with the wrapover method. I use that on some of my guitars, too. Gives them a slinkier feel and helps with the angle to the bridge on some guitars.
Think I’ll try to rap over on my recently refetted 1972 less Paul custom
 

Triplet

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Mar 13, 2006
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I bet that yours is a 93 . Here's why , yours has an ABR-1 bridge , versus the Nashville bridge on the 2000 forward . To me those look like the snot green inlays ,just like mine has (94) Yours is ink stamped on the back of the headtsock with the serial # right ?
My son has a 2001 Classic that has an ABR so it goes through at least part of 2001. It's a nice guitar but too snotty for my taste. I offered to change out the inlays but he says he can live with them.
 
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