(SOLD) Gibson Les Paul Custom Wine Red 1981
Gibson Les Paul Custom, wine red, made in USA 1981. This, friends and lovers, has some presence to it. The Les Paul Custom was Gibson's flagship solid body electric for many decades. This dates to the early 80s, a turbulent time in the guitar industry and in the middle of Gibson's Norlin era. As such, it gets a few era-specific appointments: big headstock with no volute, three-piece maple neck and a maple carved top and no weight relief. It's marked as a 'second' on the headstock, which usually meant it had some minor visual imperfection: a faded piece of binding or inlay etc. This one has original 1980 dated pots and a pair of 'patent number' pickups under the hood. Not to be confused with the 60s-era examples with the little sticker, but there's the later ones like this with the patent number stamped into the metal... similar deal. The neck has been refinished in natural, with a bee-sting style transition to the original red on the headstock. That means you can see the details off the neck: it's straight and stable with no major repairs. It's a comfy rounded shape, not as thin as some 70s era Gibson stuff, but not a tree trunk either; nice and comfy and slick under the hand. The original owner played this all over venues in the Gold Coast area, so this has plenty of wear on the clock. There's some finish shrinkage and checking, plenty of scuffs and rub wear and a bunch of little dimples and dents around the place, and the gold hardware has a muted, tarnished look. I love it: all that history is so much more fun than a pristine piece, especially given the crucial stuff is still in great order. And wine red too... it ages so gracefully, and I feel it has more pizzazz than the more common black finish. Now, the sound: oh boy. The first thing that struck me was the sustain: all the way up the neck, notes ring for days, it's wild. The articulate balance between strings, the fat weighty low end, the barky rich midrange with a raspy vocal elegance, the snappy top end... it's just delicious. This is an extremely enjoyable guitar... one of our guys described it as the 'goldilocks of vintage guitars': not so beaten up that it's significantly compromised, not so clean that you're afraid to play it... just right. Oh and yes, it's a little heavy. But hey, the weight off glory, right?
Model: Gibson Les Paul Custom
Made: USA, 1981, Kalamazoo plant
Serial: 82791512, marked 'second' on the headstock
Finish: wine red, gloss nitro
Body: mahogany, non-sandwich, appears to be one piece back, carved maple top
Neck: maple, three-piece construction, ebony fretboard, 24.75" scale. 9.5" radius, 70s U shape
Mods: knobs replaced (originals included), neck refinished in natural with bee-sting style headstock, frets replaced at some point
Pickups: Gibson 'patent number' humbuckers, both stamped with 'PAT. NO. 2,737,842', pot dates 1980
Accessories: non-original Gibson Custom Shop hard case, no documents
Cosmetic condition notes: normal play wear. The headstock has scuffs and dimples on all sides, as well as some chips on the end and rub wear near the high E tuner on the bottom side. The back of the headstock has a bunch of checking lines and surface scratches. The front of the headstock has scuffs around all the posts and some minor finish chips around the split diamond, as well a minor scuffs all over. The neck has been refinished, and is clean and smooth in the hands with minor dimples and rub wear on the back only. The neck binding is in good shape, with a little fading and rub wear but no major chips etc. You can see clearly the headstock has never been broken and repaired, it's all on show owing to the neck finish. The back has widespread shrinkage, rub wear, light scuffs and checking lines all over the body. There's a chip in the middle of the back that's had the edges smoothed out to stop it flaking off. There's also some minor chips in the finish around the edges on the top horn, elbow area, back edge and near the control cavity. The sides have some shrinkage, rub wear and scuffs around the whole body, as well as minor chips round the front strap pin and elbow area and bottom horn, and some scratches near the jack. The front has some dimples and dents around the switch, a bald patch on the bottom horn, between the pickups and above the bridge pickup, rub wear in the elbow area and along the back edge, dimples behind the bridge, scuffs around the knobs and play wear on the guard and horns. Plenty of play wear, basically.
Overall: good condition (7/10)
Playing condition notes: action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electronics tested and working properly. Wearing fresh 10/52 Moonshiners strings.
Fret Life: 7/10, minor wear only and pretty even, likely re-fretted at some point