No brainer? Les Paul content

Discussion in 'Other Guitar Discussion' started by cranky, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    I don't know that much about LPs, especially the history of them. What's particularly confusing is Gibson's use of anything beyond the Standard moniker. There's varying uses of Special and Tribute, not to mention Studio.

    So what is one to make of this particular specimen? It seems like a pretty good deal for a nice, stripped down LP. But what do I know?

    I don't need or necessarily want the guitar. This is more for educational purposes.

    https://reno.craigslist.org/msg/d/dayton-gibson-les-paul-special/7384393417.html
     
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  2. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Senior Stratmaster

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    That's closer to what the price should be and was, before the Cvid used-gear-price inflation. In some ways used prices are coming back down. That's a fair price. There's a lot missing from that model guitar, which is why it's Les expensive than a Standard (for example). No binding, no grain fill, no gloss finish, no block inlays. It's a Special. No frills ass kicker. It's odd that the ad is 2 months old..
     
  3. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    I was surprised how old the ad was, too.

    The missing stuff is what I like about this particular LP. I don't like all the gloss and bling. And I think this model is a bit lighter, too. The only LPs I've ever been interested in were this kind and the TV Yellow Special w/ p90s.
     
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  4. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

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    Gibson has placed fast and free with the LP names and models.

    In the wayback machine, the Custom was upscale; Standard was all the fixins but not the Custom's added bling; the Studio was a Standard without neck or body binding. The Deluxe was a standard with mini-humbuckers. The Special is a down-priced guitar with no carved maple cap.

    Nowadays there's also the Traditional (which is anything but), Heritage, Tribute (kind of), HP (high performance) and other names. I can't even tell if they're adjectives or proper nouns (names) anymore. Oh, and they even used "Deluxe" to describe a sub-model instead of a model. Yikes.

    Generally the Special is thinner and lighter because of that. However, that one appears to be as thick as a carved/capped LP but just lacks the cap... and it has a belly cut. That's unusual for an LP.

    Also, the LP Special usually has P90's. But it's not unheard of to see some with humbuckers. Just unusual. The Epi LP specials most commonly have humbuckers.

    I've heard rumors of some belly cuts in the late 90's. Sometimes Gibson does a run for some place like GC with oddball specs. I've also heard rumors that some of those had belly cuts. Sometimes they do something different themselves for a short run of a year or two.

    Sometimes a Custom Shop guitar (where they have belly cuts at times) has a flaw that pushes it down to a regular line and they turn it into a mostly on-off. I'm suspicious that this one is possibly that... the belly cut; the humbuckers; it's an oddball. I see that the mahogany doesn't match well on the rear... maybe it got rejected after original carving in the Custom Shop. But I'd think something that mismatched would have been pulled out of the custom shop line long before that.

    In this case, what @cranky said applies: the Special is very plain and likely sold at a budget price originally. It's actually a fairly unusual Special LP in my estimation. You could google for "LP Special, belly cut, humbucker" and see what you find.
     
  5. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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  6. wblynch

    wblynch Strat-Talk Member

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    This is a flat top, solid mahogany body (Junior/special). Most regular Les Paul’s are mahogany body with a carved maple top. There are many with chambered bodies to make them lighter and more resonant. But there is a contingent that feels like solid wood sounds better.

    these flat tops are fun to play and feel more like a Telecaster. But they aren’t necessary lighter than a chambered one.
     
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  7. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    Confession: I don’t know what “flat top” means
     
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  8. Stingray70

    Stingray70 Strat-Talk Member

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    I remember seeing lots of Gibson LPs and SGs finished just like that one in the early 2000's. The airport I worked at in those days was just down the street from the Woodwind Brasswind show room and I used to hang out there a lot and play the different guitars for hours... The $600 asking price in the ad is roughly about what they went for new, the LPs being about $100 more than the SG's. I was looking for either a LP or SG at the time and considered those plainer models. I remember thinking they sounded good but were just a little too rough, the bodies, necks and fret ends. I passed on the SG's because of the neck dive and wound up opting for a wine colored studio LP which I still have. For just a few hundred dollars more the studio had a better 2 piece body, maple cap, smoother neck and fret ends and looked a lot better... at least IMO... Now though, I would say for $600 that would be a lot of guitar...
     
  9. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Senior Stratmaster

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    Flat top refers to the top of the guitar being flat....where the pickups, bridge, tail piece are screwed in. It's flat. Many guitars are flat on top.

    Traditional Les Pauls have a carved top, where the maple is carved away to create a higher spot where the pickups are. Since LP's are traditionally carved, models like a Special and Junior are referred to as flat tops.
     
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  10. wblynch

    wblynch Strat-Talk Member

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    thank you joe_cpwe
     
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  11. ibdrkn1

    ibdrkn1 Senior Stratmaster

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    I could be wrong but it looks like there's a significant crack to the right of the selector switch.
     
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  12. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    Thanks, Joe.

    And so the opposite of “flat top” is “arch top” I take it?
     
  13. cranky

    cranky Senior Stratmaster

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    Hmmm, yeah, good eyes.

    Kinda looks like what cold winters and forced air in the high desert might do to the wood at a joint.
     
  14. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    It's a slab body... like a Tele... without the carved top characteristic of the LP.

    The LP Special is a 2-pickup Junior, this one with humbuckers, but traditionally, both had P90s, Special had soapbars and Junior got dogears.
    They were "budget" level models, a step above the Melody Maker. Junior in particular was targeted at students.
     
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  15. CB91710

    CB91710 No GAS shortage here Double Platinum Supporting Member

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    Yes and no... "arch top" would typically refer to hollowbodies or semi-hollow like the ES series, but more often in reference to the larger "jazz boxes" that have a good acoustic tone and volume when unplugged... like a Joe Pass Emperor.
    The Les Paul is simply a carved top.
    Same for most PRS models.

    You can really see the profile on the gold top (Harley Benton in this case)

    HB_Body.jpg
     
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  16. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V

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    The carved top on the Les Paul Model was actually not only deliberately intended to echo the look of
    carved arched top Gibson acoustic guitars like the L-5 (which were based on traditional violin making
    techniques) but also to differentiate it from the slab bodied Fender Telecaster, as Fender had no ability
    to make carved tops at the time.
    In addition, the body shape and carved top gave the Les Paul Model a look which would be a bit more
    traditional and familiar to a jazz guitarist in 1952.
    Of course, Gibson had also been making the pressed top ES line of guitars since 1937.
    The ES series were designed as dedicated electric instruments right from the start.
    'ES' stands for Electric Spanish, to differentiate those guitars from Gibson's EH line of Hawaiian lap steels,
    and the laminated pressed top construction helped to mitigate some of the feedback issues that occurred
    when amplifying the carved top models, but these pressed tops still had the traditional arched look to them.
    Jazz guitar players haven't tended to be the first to adopt any radical changes in either the look or sound
    of their instruments, so keeping the arched top look was probably a wise marketing choice for Gibson.
    Fender apparently didn't get the memo, and designed their 'Jazzmaster'.
    We know that not many of those actually ended up being used for their intended purpose.

    Then again, one could probably say the same thing about the Les Paul Model, LOL.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_Les_Paul
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
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  17. beerbelly

    beerbelly Strat-Talker

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    The ad is gone, but judging from the responses, it sounds like a Les Paul Special Faded, or a Les Paul Junior Special; here's my 2007. The pickup routs indicate a Les Paul Junior Special (Humbucker) in a Worn Cherry finish.

    I too like the stripped down nature of these; all the good stuff with no extra bling.

    front vert.jpg back vert.jpg pickups.jpg