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Many articles have been written about how guitarists and dealers in the mid/late 1970s and early ’80s were asking Gibson to build a Les Paul that more closely conformed to ’59 specs.
The following is not an attempt to rehash any of them, but rather to provide an overview of some of these “pre-’59 reissue” guitars with some narrative and details of their construction and features based on the author’s experience in collecting and playing these guitars.
It’s ironic that, at a time in which Gibson was going through great strife with declining sales and profit margins, rivalries between the new Nashville plant and the Kalamazoo plant, and the downsizing and eventual closure of the Kalamazoo plant by 1984, the company was able to experiment and respond to requests for guitars that more closely emulated the beloved Les Paul Standard of 1959 – even though some of these attempts were way off the mark!
Chris Lovell, owner of Strings and Things in Memphis, placed a custom order for some Les Pauls in the mid ’70s that more closely approximated the original Les Paul Standard specs, including a narrower headstock, narrow binding in the cutaway, deeper carve top, etc.
The only way to authenticate a Strings and Things reissue would be to find one that comes with a certificate or invoice from Strings and Things during the 1975-’78 time period.
It continues to be an intriguing yet elusive quest for the Holy Grail.
This new function will try to match the serial number against older formats, details required for an exact match are listed in yellow.
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