Electric Guitars/'Legend' Les Paul copy
QUESTION: Hi. I've been looking for some info on a guitar I found in a pawn shop - a lefty Les Paul copy with 'Legend' on the headstock in outline (see attached image). I was interested to find an answer you gave re. a similar Strat copy, so wondered if you can tell me anything about this guitar?
Btw - I made a point of having a listen to some of your NoA stuff after reading your biog - I'm an old school punk at heart (Clash/Jam/SLF, etc), so really liked it - lots of energy.
Anyway, thanks for your time.
ANSWER: Hey Neil,
Thanks for writing! The Legend was made by Aria, a manufacturer of quality guitars, in Korea. It was most likely made in the early 1980s. I say this, because the headstock profile is slightly different from the Gibson profile which looks like an open book (the top edge of the headstock). Is the neck bolted to the body or glued/set? This is important so let me know. The cheaper Legend models have cheap tuners and a plastic nut. Yours, appears to have nice tuners and a brass nut. The fact that is a lefty model adds to the value. Let me know about the neck and I'll get you more info. Write back. Thanks for the king words regarding the band...Johnny
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QUESTION: Hi, Johnny, thanks for the reply. I thought the guitar might be Korean, but also thought it could be of dubious quality - for no other reason than the decal on the headstock looks really cheap (a very thin painted 'Legend' that isn't even in the middle!)
I should have mentioned this before, but the guitar has a set neck (see attached) - in contrast to the cheap looking headstock, I thought this was more promising. I put the brass nut on myself - the original (which I think is plastic) was badly cut (the strings weren't evenly spaced), and I thought a brass nut might brighten the tone a bit as the pick ups are very 'muddy'. I'm not convinced it was a good move - it sounds 'different' now but I'm not sure it sounds 'better'.
I'm sure everyone says this, but I'm not so interested in the value - I'd love to know more about the guitar's background and I'm really looking for info to help me decide if it's worth spending money on, as it does need some work. It feels 'solid' enough and stays in tune well but the pick ups aren't great (to my amateur ear) and the switches and knobs are very crackly.
Thanks again for your time, I ver much appreciate it. Regards, Neil.
Thanks for writing back with the photograph! Legend Les Paul copies have been around for a while and are seen in markets outside of the United States. What sets them apart is the good quality of their construction and the price. Most LP copies have a bolt on neck. The big problem is not with construction or quality but with providing any concrete information regarding age. Adding the Brass nut was a good idea because it will liven up the tone a bit. The only problem with these guitars are the pickups. However, they can be easily replaced without doing any damage to the body. The only company making comparable guitars is Agile. This model, based on the headstock profile, was most likely made in the 1980s, after Gibson's lawsuit against companies who made copies of their guitars. Les Paul copies made prior to the lawsuit had a true to form, opening book headstock profile. It is definitely worth spending some money to restore it, just don't refinish the body or neck because that destroys the value. The volume and tone controls need to be blown out with compressed air (canned air used to clean electronics) to get rid of the crackle. Also clean the wiring where it connects to the volume and tone pots. Do this prior to replacing the pickups because this can drastically alter the sound. How are the tuners? Your guitar has Klusen style tuners which better LP copies had and if they stay in tune, don't replace them. Let me know about the tuners and I'll see if I can find anything else about the company. Write back...Johnny