I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks - Jemsite
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-19-2013, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

Today I went down to the local vintage guitar shop and tried out the rumored different feels of a 1958 Gibson flametop Les Paul, a 1959 specimen which is the actual one Gibson based their latest 1959 reissue on, and an untouched 1960 slim taper Les Paul Model.

Initially, other than the flame and the varying fades of the cherry sunburst, the guitars all look the same.

1958 neck - This is said to be the fattest of all the three years and while the neck was fatter than my 2006 Ibanez AS73 on the first several frets, it still wasn't so fat it was like some of the really awful Gibson copies of the 1960s, aka baseball bat necks. Other than a big chunk of wood broken off the headstock, it was a nice neck with medium fret wear. The $185,000 price tag is not due to a feel or sound dynamically different than a great custom shop Les Paul reissue, but that it's one of just a few hundred known of the great model's first sunburst entries onto the market.

http://www.rumbleseatmusiccbs.com/vi...lStdBurst.html

1959 neck - While the 1958 was the first rendition of the famous cherry sunburst Les Paul, the 1959 was said to slim it down some and make it more comfortable. This is considered the apex of all Gibson Les Pauls. I didn't notice the neck being much thinner by its feel but what difference I noticed was due to much less fret wear and while the guitar was very faded on its finish, the neck played beautifully like a new guitar neck. The guitar was noticeably lighter than any Gibson Les Paul I have ever played.

https://www.facebook.com/rumbleseatmusiccarmelbythesea

1960 neck - This is the famous Gibson slim taper neck and while it's not as slim as the Wizard necks or Jackson necks, it was considerably thinner than the '58 or '59 Les Pauls. Due to that it was the most modern feeling of all the necks. The flame was orange due to guitar being in case and never left out but the fret wear was like the 1958 and could have used some help (had it been a non vintage piece). But being the first run of sunburst Les Pauls from 1958-60 these should all stay 100% percent original with nothing altered.

http://www.rumbleseatmusiccbs.com/vi...dardBurst.html

The next thing I will do is to A/B/C them all with same amp to see if there are any differences in sound. Since the build is very similar for the most part, the PAFs of the time were hand wound with no exact standards so they all sound different.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-19-2013 at 08:52 PM.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 10:51 AM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

OH MY GOD

That is way too much porn for early Friday morning

BEAUTIFUL
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 11:10 AM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

The important question - Were they any better than modern guitars (Not just gibsons, but by any company)????????
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
The important question - Were they any better than modern guitars (Not just gibsons, but by any company)????????
On average the old Les Pauls (the '58, '59, '60, '60 Black beauty, '52 trapeze, and '59 Les Paul Juniors I have tried out so far) are all built with a little extra attention than many Gibsons of the Norlin era and part of the current era. They are very nice guitars and made special due to their rarity and when they came out in the early days of rock and roll and how they influenced a whole generation. But no, they are not that much different and certainly not "better" than the reissue line Gibson has now. The custom shop stuff has the benefit of clean wiring and absolutely no fret or fingerboard wear. You can get a used '59 reissue for around four grand to start with and it's certainly better than spending $100-$500K for a real '59 flame top.

As for other companies, Gibson and the old flame tops fall in the middle somewhere. They are definitely better than an affordable Squier, PRS SE, Ibanez GIO, or most sub-$500 dollar guitars. But they are not any better than most American Fenders, Ibanez Premiums, Gibson Les Paul Standards, or similar $500-$1500 dollar guitars. And honestly, they don't even get close to an Ibanez J Custom, Anderson, PRS McCarty, or ESP Custom Shop.

What people pay for is the history and the rarity of these things. If I had absolutely no knowledge of history or worth, I would easily take a Gibson Slash reissue with AAAA flame and custom pickups over an old 1959 Les Paul Model with a faded flame top and scratches everywhere.

The collectible and rarity thing is the same reason a person here would pay eight grand for the Jem EVO over a perfectly brand new Jem for far, far less.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-20-2013 at 12:05 PM.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarMechanic View Post
OH MY GOD

That is way too much porn for early Friday morning

BEAUTIFUL
The '58 looked rough but knowing what it was being the first year of a long line of sunbursts, I overlooked the considerable bangs, nicks, and scratches. The '59 had the best neck and unfortunately saw too many UVs making it an "unburst", but that '60 is as gorgeous as if it was expertly refinished a few years ago but it's an original and one of those closet classics making it bring in north of $225 grand.

What struck me is how light those three are compared to most Gibson Les Pauls. They didn't chamber the Les Pauls back then to my knowledge and the wood must have been dried properly. If the wood is too dry, it loses its tonal quality and integrity so these types of guitars tend to live in cases and are not just sitting on a couch somewhere. Even a humidity controlled room is too scary for these puppies and light is the enemy as very few bursts have the vibrant separation of colors as that 1960. The linked photo does not do it justice. That thing is orange like the San Francisco Giants when you see it in person.

The store I most visited here is Norm's Rare Guitars near my relatives in LA. He has many of these things out but the really special stuff, like instruments of this quality owned by rock stars, are never out in the light and stay in the aisles in the back room as seen on youtube. Only the most serious buyers and fellow rock stars are allowed back there. When I asked Norm about certain British invasion heroes of mine and what they played, he had some of those actual instruments in the back. It's not uncommon for the key instruments that made history these days to just get swapped out from rock star to rock star. They never make the sales floor and live, lined up like soldiers, in his back room. Stars like Keith Richards, Kirk Hammett, Nancy Wilson, John Entwhistle and other famous people like Kiefer Sutherland and Richard Gere keep this vintage business afloat just on a word of mouth basis. If most of this stuff never sees the light of day other than the homes of these people or vaults, it's as expected from any high value investment. Just like the one of a kind mini-grandfather clock so small it could be worn on the wrist that goes foe $250,000 dollars*, these guitars are virtually unique and not meant to be brought out anywhere.

* - I got to see the mini grandfather clock thing, and though fugly, it never made the sales floor and was kept in the safe and only sold through phone calls. It's the same way with these rock star guitars.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt46FcDMPsg

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-20-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 12:23 PM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

I am reading all of these contributions and thinking to myself that is absolutely amazing what 1000 dollars will get somebody today who wants a guitar or a bass. It's much better world for electric guitars and basses. Let the key instruments of the past stay in the back room. A new generation is making history, thank goodness!
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by Maudio View Post
I am reading all of these contributions and thinking to myself that is absolutely amazing what 1000 dollars will get somebody today who wants a guitar or a bass. It's much better world for electric guitars and basses. Let the key instruments of the past stay in the back room. A new generation is making history, thank goodness!
I absolutely agree.

For around the $1,000 dollar market the Ibanez George Benson LGB30 is a modern piece of art. It's $1099 and worth every penny. Fender's American Standard Stratocasters and Telecasters in that price range will always remain classics and are among Fender's best versions of these classics. Gibson can get you an SG Standard with cool '61 Pickguard and case for a grand. And mentioned here, Kramer has a superstrat as good as any in the sub-$1,000 dollar SM-1 with neck through body, ebony fretboard, and recessed Floyd Rose.

$500 dollars can get you some really nice guitars like the Ibanez AR220 but a grand will put you in the market for a ton of custom shop quality instruments good enough for #1 status for many a working axe player. If I was out playing again I would put a push pull pot into the AR220 and put a simple 4 conductor hotter Duncan like the JB in lead position and call it a day. There would be no reason for a Gibson Les Paul other than thinking I may need to resell it at a later date for as close to what I paid for it. But I don't buy guitars with resell in mind and only look to get one that satisfies the sounds I want. If it's a guitar with a good resale value, then fine.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-20-2013 at 12:48 PM.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 01:29 PM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
On average the old Les Pauls (the '58, '59, '60, '60 Black beauty, '52 trapeze, and '59 Les Paul Juniors I have tried out so far) are all built with a little extra attention than many Gibsons of the Norlin era and part of the current era. They are very nice guitars and made special due to their rarity and when they came out in the early days of rock and roll and how they influenced a whole generation. But no, they are not that much different and certainly not "better" than the reissue line Gibson has now. The custom shop stuff has the benefit of clean wiring and absolutely no fret or fingerboard wear. You can get a used '59 reissue for around four grand to start with and it's certainly better than spending $100-$500K for a real '59 flame top.

As for other companies, Gibson and the old flame tops fall in the middle somewhere. They are definitely better than an affordable Squier, PRS SE, Ibanez GIO, or most sub-$500 dollar guitars. But they are not any better than most American Fenders, Ibanez Premiums, Gibson Les Paul Standards, or similar $500-$1500 dollar guitars. And honestly, they don't even get close to an Ibanez J Custom, Anderson, PRS McCarty, or ESP Custom Shop.

What people pay for is the history and the rarity of these things. If I had absolutely no knowledge of history or worth, I would easily take a Gibson Slash reissue with AAAA flame and custom pickups over an old 1959 Les Paul Model with a faded flame top and scratches everywhere.

The collectible and rarity thing is the same reason a person here would pay eight grand for the Jem EVO over a perfectly brand new Jem for far, far less.
As much as I suspected. Ta!
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by GuitarBizarre View Post
As much as I suspected. Ta!
For those who are interested in history, seeing them up close takes ones breath away. I don't see anything special about ANY guitar that is super expensive if one doesn't know anything about it.

If I saw a common, yet beautiful Gretsch Country Gentleman or White Falcon it would be far more interesting than the super rare Gretsch White Penguin. But knowing the rarity of the White Penguin and then seeing it, even if it's ugly by most standards, is a once in a lifetime event. I did get to see an exact copy/reissue of the White Penguin that Gretsch put out and I kind of like it even though most people wouldn't give that guitar a second look. But the Penguin is perhaps the most sought after vintage electric guitar ever other than the never before seen Gibson Moderne which may have only existed on blueprints and never produced.



http://www.vintageguitar.com/3287/gr...white-penguin/

http://www.premierguitar.com/article...Gibson_Moderne
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by 63Blazer View Post
1960 neck - This is the famous Gibson slim taper neck and while it's not as slim as the Wizard necks or Jackson necks, it was considerably thinner than the '58 or '59 Les Pauls. Due to that it was the most modern feeling of all the necks.
I wonder if my Ibanez 2398 lp copy, made in the early'70s, is based off these necks?
The neck on this feels like a wizard II. Much thinner than any LP i've ever felt.
Here's the NGD I posted on it that shows some pics.
http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f18/ng...by-125722.html
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

1960 neck is probably very close to the Ibanez you have. I don't know who came up with the slim taper neck first, Gibson or another company like Gretsch, Rickenbacker, Fender, or Epiphone.

It's a very shred-worthy profile and great for lead guitar. Rhythm guitar still feels best with the fat 58/59 neck for cowboy chords. It all comes down to preference. Other than a huge, deep gash in the 59's neck I tried out, something I think Gibson will leave out of '59 Goldie based reissues of that particular guitar, I love that medium-thick neck but I think it would lead to finger fatigue in modern Steve Vai type of playing. But for standard speed rock or blues which is the best I could do, that '59 is such a joy to play.

Oddly, some Gibson '59 reissues have overly thick necks that are probably terrible for nimble finger lead guitar passages. The real '59 neck is somewhat thinner than all the '59 reissues I have come across but Gibson puts out different variations all the time. For me the perfect neck would be something a little thicker than the '60 slim taper (just like my 2006 Artcore, actually which starts at .80" of an inch on first fret and goes to just over an inch at the 12th fret) and with the extra assurance of a neck volute. Also I wouldn't be against a laminated maple neck like the Norlin Gibson Les Pauls had which is probably one of the few improvements that owner of Gibson put on their guitars. I have a friend who has a Norlin era Gibson Les Paul and that neck is rock solid with super low action. I don't like the type of extra wide, flat fretwork common on those late 1960s-early 80s Gibsons though.

In the end it's what you like and what you are used to. For a few older players the only Les Pauls they have played are those '58s and '59s and to them that's everything a Les Paul is about for them, not the thinner 1960 slim taper neck or the heavier, double bound Les Paul Customs and fancier inlays.

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-20-2013 at 03:00 PM.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

So you mentioned that these guitars were lighter than modern Les Pauls and you mentioned that it's probably because they were dried properly? Can you explain that? You don't think they weren't simply dried out over time and are too dry now?
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 06:17 PM
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

Those guitars were built at a time when great mahogany was still coming out of South America. Not the 3 and 4 foot diameter logs they used up in the 18th and 19th century, but still, good South American mahogany. And I believe that species are lighter in weight, but now on the endangered list. Most mahogany today is coming from Africa and most purists won't even classify it as mahogany. Add to that the fire that burnt down the Gibson factory [74? I think] and they lost all their seasoned and aged wood stores.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

Another question, but everyone has heard of the '59 Les Paul and the newer reissues, but this is the first I've heard of the '60. Has Gibson reissued that or is the typical Les Paul enthusiast not interested in the thinner neck profile?
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 12-20-2013, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: I got to A/B/C three guitars worth a million bucks

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Originally Posted by Takin' a Ride View Post
Another question, but everyone has heard of the '59 Les Paul and the newer reissues, but this is the first I've heard of the '60. Has Gibson reissued that or is the typical Les Paul enthusiast not interested in the thinner neck profile?
A ton of the slim taper 1960 reissues were made:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2000-Gibson-...-/121238430767

http://www.guitar-museum.com/guitar-...e-Cherry-burst

Many of those say "1960" on the pickguard and were made available brand new with vintage reissue stuff on it and still somewhat cheaper than the regular Les Paul Standards with modern appointments. There will always be those who prefer the newest Les Pauls with chambered bodies and hotter pickups including overwound alnicos or ceramic humbuckers. Hard rock players would even up the ante more and put in the common upgrade of a DiMarzio Super Distortion, Lawrence bar pickups, or similar hot lead pickup to match the more extreme metal stuff that was coming into being in the 1970s.

Over the years I have mostly seen original 1959 examples but this store had the first 1958 and 1960 I have ever seen. The 1958s are said to have a slightly different neck angle which was rectified in 1959 and 1960 to hit the perfect balance of how a Gibson electric neck should be glued in.

Below is a link that probably has more information than most people would ever want to know about the three year initial run of sunburst Les Pauls:

http://home.provide.net/~cfh/lpsun.html

Last edited by 63Blazer; 12-20-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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