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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    Default Les Paul ID Help

    Guys, I need help Identifying a Les Paul I came across in a pawn shop.

    The 5 digit serial# doesn't jive with any early models, and the reissue models that it does jive with were'nt relic'd. This thing is beautiful, but looks old as hell to me.

    The clear coating is spiderwebbed, as you would expect on a vintage instrument. All the hardware looks old, but I know guys have gotten really good recently at making these guitars look older than they are, but whoever did this one did a fantastic job. I don't trust my own judgement on this, so I'm looking for some help.



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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    In person, The Serial # looks stamped, or even burned, into the headstock. Not printed.

    I'd love to pull a pickup and see if there's a date on the wood, but I can't.

    It plays really nice, but it took a little fighting. I've never been a Paul guy, so I'm not really used to how it's supposed to feel anyway. It doesn't "feel" like I'm playing a newer guitar that's been relic'd. Feels more vintage, but I know I'm not above being faked out.
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  5. #5
    5150 A&Z Guitar Repair's Avatar
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    What's the code(s) on the pots? Any stamping on them.
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  6. #6
    5150 A&Z Guitar Repair's Avatar
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    Could be a 1999 Les Paul Classic.

    From Gibson's site...

    Les Paul Classic: This model features an ink stamped serial number with no "MADE IN USA" (just as we used on the original 1952-1960 Les Pauls). Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers. There should be a space after the 1st digit with the 4 and 5 digit serial numbers, and no space with the 6 digit numbers.

    The 1st digit indicates the year of manufacture for the 4 & 5 digit serial numbers, these were used from 1989-1999. The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we've been using since 2000.

    Examples -
    9 xxx = 1989 (4 digit number beginning with "9" used only in 1989)
    0 xxxx = 1990
    9 xxxx = 1999
    00xxxx = 2000
    05xxxx = 2005

    Dunno if that helps. You can relic the finish without it being an old guitar.
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  7. #7
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Something about that guitar looks off to me. First of all, the serial # font does not look correct, and I believe they were stamped into the wood. The paint doesn't look appropriately aged. The checking in the paint does not look natural. Usually, the checking is smaller and more subdued. The electronics cavity looks crooked. The tuners are not mounted in a straight line, but curve with the edge of the headstock. The edges of the headstock look rounded off, particularly around the top edge, but without any kind of paint loss or scuffing. Something does not look right about the neck heel. The binding and plastic parts do not look appropriately aged to the guitar.

    To me, I would guess it's a Chinese copy made to look relic'd by the previous owner in hopes of convincing someone that it's an authentic LP. The finish checking is not that hard to do, just use a can of compressed air and a hair dryer. Heat up the finish, then turn the compressed air can upside-down and spray it. Usually when you do it this way, it leaves long, large crack patterns in the finish, as opposed to the more natural smaller checking that you see on actual vintage instruments.

    The aging of the hardware can be done relatively easily with the right types of acids. The back of the guitar seems to be in fairly good condition with little to no checking, which to me is another giveaway. No buckle rash at all? The back of the neck does not appear to display much finish loss from many years of playing. The frets and fretboard appear to be in a little too good of condition. Lastly, there doesn't appear to be any other "Oh Shit" marks on the guitar like scratches or chips in the paint.

    I'm not saying it doesn't look kind of cool, but I wouldn't pay Gibson prices for it. Unless you can authenticate the serial number, I would stay away from this one.
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A&Z Guitar Repair View Post
    Could be a 1999 Les Paul Classic.

    From Gibson's site...

    Les Paul Classic: This model features an ink stamped serial number with no "MADE IN USA" (just as we used on the original 1952-1960 Les Pauls). Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers. There should be a space after the 1st digit with the 4 and 5 digit serial numbers, and no space with the 6 digit numbers.

    The 1st digit indicates the year of manufacture for the 4 & 5 digit serial numbers, these were used from 1989-1999. The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we've been using since 2000.

    Examples -
    9 xxx = 1989 (4 digit number beginning with "9" used only in 1989)
    0 xxxx = 1990
    9 xxxx = 1999
    00xxxx = 2000
    05xxxx = 2005

    Dunno if that helps. You can relic the finish without it being an old guitar.

    Yeah, I read that today, which is what led me to believe it was a 99 reissue that was relic'd after market. But I also read that the reissues made during that time had "Classic" printed on either the pickguard or truss rod cover.
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  9. #9
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    I think it's a Chinese model myself. How much do they want for it?
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  10. #10
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A&Z Guitar Repair View Post
    Could be a 1999 Les Paul Classic.

    From Gibson's site...

    Les Paul Classic: This model features an ink stamped serial number with no "MADE IN USA" (just as we used on the original 1952-1960 Les Pauls). Most will be 5 to 6 digits in length, but the earliest examples feature 4 digit serial numbers. There should be a space after the 1st digit with the 4 and 5 digit serial numbers, and no space with the 6 digit numbers.

    The 1st digit indicates the year of manufacture for the 4 & 5 digit serial numbers, these were used from 1989-1999. The 1st and 2nd indicate the year of manufacture for the 6 digit serial numbers which we've been using since 2000.

    Examples -
    9 xxx = 1989 (4 digit number beginning with "9" used only in 1989)
    0 xxxx = 1990
    9 xxxx = 1999
    00xxxx = 2000
    05xxxx = 2005

    Dunno if that helps. You can relic the finish without it being an old guitar.
    I believe the Les Paul Classics had an inlaid "Gibson" logo, not painted like the Studio Models.
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  11. #11
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Here's the back of a headstock of a real 1999 Gibson Les Paul Classic. Notice the sharp edges of the headstock, and the tuners all in line.

    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobozos View Post
    Something about that guitar looks off to me. First of all, the serial # font does not look correct, and I believe they were stamped into the wood. The paint doesn't look appropriately aged. The checking in the paint does not look natural. Usually, the checking is smaller and more subdued. The electronics cavity looks crooked. The tuners are not mounted in a straight line, but curve with the edge of the headstock. The edges of the headstock look rounded off, particularly around the top edge, but without any kind of paint loss or scuffing. Something does not look right about the neck heel. The binding and plastic parts do not look appropriately aged to the guitar.

    To me, I would guess it's a Chinese copy made to look relic'd by the previous owner in hopes of convincing someone that it's an authentic LP. The finish checking is not that hard to do, just use a can of compressed air and a hair dryer. Heat up the finish, then turn the compressed air can upside-down and spray it. Usually when you do it this way, it leaves long, large crack patterns in the finish, as opposed to the more natural smaller checking that you see on actual vintage instruments.

    The aging of the hardware can be done relatively easily with the right types of acids. The back of the guitar seems to be in fairly good condition with little to no checking, which to me is another giveaway. No buckle rash at all? The back of the neck does not appear to display much finish loss from many years of playing. The frets and fretboard appear to be in a little too good of condition. Lastly, there doesn't appear to be any other "Oh Shit" marks on the guitar like scratches or chips in the paint.

    I'm not saying it doesn't look kind of cool, but I wouldn't pay Gibson prices for it. Unless you can authenticate the serial number, I would stay away from this one.

    Thanks, That's what I'm looking for. I tend to think it is an authentic newer Gibson that's been relic'd, but without knowing for sure I'm leaning towards steering clear. When I first saw it last week, I asked if anyone had checked the Serial # on it or dated it and they told me no. Then they told me they'd take $1300 for it and it REALLY peaked my interest.

    Like I said, I'd love to be able to pull the numbers from the pots, or the wood under the pups.
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  13. #13
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Here's a closeup of the neck heel of a 1999 Les Paul Classic. The one in the pictures you posted appears to be more square than round.

    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  14. #14
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Here's a shot of the headstock of a 1999 LP Classic. Yes, it is an inlaid "Gibson" and not painted. I believe only the Studios were Painted Gibson logos at that time. Since the guitar in question has binding, it's obviously not a Studio. I'm betting it's not a 1952-1960 either.

    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

  15. #15
    Good Enough nobozos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lodewijk View Post
    Thanks, That's what I'm looking for. I tend to think it is an authentic newer Gibson that's been relic'd, but without knowing for sure I'm leaning towards steering clear. When I first saw it last week, I asked if anyone had checked the Serial # on it or dated it and they told me no. Then they told me they'd take $1300 for it and it REALLY peaked my interest.

    Like I said, I'd love to be able to pull the numbers from the pots, or the wood under the pups.
    I would confidently tell them that they are selling a counterfeit Gibson, and offer them $300 for it, otherwise you may have to alert the authorities that they are trying to pass off counterfeit Chinese guitars as genuine USA made Gibsons.
    "Having an opinion that people disagree with doesn't make you a Douche, arguing with the people who disagree with your opinion and calling them stupid does!" -Me.

 

 

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