Guitar - General/Les Paul Mystery

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under truss cover
under truss cover  

fat neck
fat neck  
Hello J,
I have pretty much reached the end of my rope with this Les Paul I recently acquired. I have no desire nor intention to ever part with it so value is useless to me. I know what I paid, I know what I see them going for online & I know what the guitar store guy said its worth-end result? To me its pricesless. Given Gibsons notoriously confusing serial number system, I can only strongly suspect that what I have is a Les Paul Traditional 1960's model mad in 2000. The number is 001031 and Classics don't use the 1st & 5th digit for year-just the 1st 2 digits. Beyond that, it does NOT have the typical 60's slender neck-more of a 50s fat neck. It does not use the ABR-1 Bridge-it uses the wrap-around stop piece and TOM bridge. Unsure of P'ups except they are Gibson and under the bridge p'up it says "LPCP" (Les Paul Classic Plus). Its under the truss rod cover that questions arise. There is a signature, burned, etched or possibly even pen written UNDER the laquer finish. Do you know this signature, who might have done something like this, or where I can find out these things? Thanks in advance for any input you might have on this.          Daniel

Answer
Hi, Daniel!  Thanks for including pictures with your inquiry; this really helps in most cases.  

You're totally right; Gibson has an extremely confusing serial number system.  Even though they have readily-available information as to what years go with what model, the seemingly random patterns make it quite difficult to dig out the necessary information.  I've spent more than a few hours scrutinizing Gibson serial number lists to find overall specs on a guitar and it's never fun.  After cross-referencing the Blue Book and Gibson's own tech manuals, the serial information matches to a guitar produced in 1973-74 time frame.  There seems to be a lot more going on here, however.  

I'm wondering if there is a possibility that your guitar has been repaired and/or modified using authentic Gibson parts from other guitars or purchased from the factory.  I have seen this before when rebuilding instruments:  an older instrument may have begun life as a 1973 model and then had a neck installed from '87, pickups from an '88, and an OEM bridge that is made by a different manufacturer entirely.  If you aren't aware of the specific history of the instrument, it can be almost impossible to figure out exactly what has taken place.

Since it seems that there is more than one possible answer here, I think your best bet may be to get your answer directly from the source.  I'd contact Gibson directly at:

1-800-4GIBSON (1-800-444-2766)
http://www2.gibson.com/Gibson/Talk-2-Us.aspx  (Direct e-mail contact form)

Given that Gibson is a HUGE company with worldwide customers, I can tell you from experience that it may be some time before you get an e-mail response, but they WILL respond. I believe, however, that your most accurate answer will come from the manufacturer.  

If this doesn't help you, or if you have further information that you feel might help me assist you,  please don't hesitate to let me know.

Guitar - General

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J Ross Smith

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Find at www.jrosssmith.com! Over 20 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher. Registered member of ASCAP. Registered member of Freelancers Union. I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it! If you have a question I can't answer, I'll rely on experienced and knowledgeable people I know to get the correct information for you, and I hope I can help inspire your playing style and tone. Promotional photo by Sebastian Castillo at Castillo Photography, San Diego, CA.

Experience

Over 15 years of guitar playing, teaching, building, and modifying; have worked as a touring musician, studio session guitarist, engineer, guitar tech, and guitar teacher.

Organizations
American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP), Freelancers' Union, IAVA (Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America).

Education/Credentials
I have a working knowledge of music theory and styles, and a taste for all types of music and instruments. If you have a favorite guitar player or style, chances are I share it!!!

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