Dating a gibson les paul
When the Les Paul KM model was introduced, it was so far off from ’59 specs that it prompted his boss, Dave De Forrest, to identify specifications for the order for the Guitar Trader Reissue Les Paul from Gibson, which weren’t until 1982 to produce.
There was a lot of experimentation going on in the early ’80s with reissues, especially from the Kalamazoo plant, so if one looks around there are a number of interesting “one offs” and other limited runs.
There are a few examples with one-piece necks and ebony fretboards, which indicates that Elite necks were used during parts shortages. The truss rod cover is inscribed with “Heritage Series Standard 80 Elite.” The two examples shown are at opposite ends of the weight scale, one being 9 pounds, 3 ounces, the other being 10 pounds, 8 ounces.
3.) The Heritage Series Award has a plaque on the back of the headstock with a number from 1 through approximately 50 (approximately 50 of these guitars were made for dealers who sold a lot of Heritage models), cherry sunburst, ebony board, flame top, and gold hardware.
Because authentic Guitar Trader Les Pauls always have this eight-digit number in the control cavity, many collectors incorrectly assume that any Kalamazoo-made reissue from that timeframe with this number in the control cavity is a Guitar Trader.
The Guitar Trader model pictured is a 1980 one-off, with a pearloid plaque on the back of the headstock with the number 001, along with a Kalamazoo eight-digit serial number, Gibson tuners similar to those used on Deluxes at the time, narrow ’59-style binding in the cutaway, ’59-style knobs, narrower headstock, large tortoiseshell side dot markers and a Nashville bridge. Folklore has it that this guitar was built by luthiers remaining in Kalamazoo shortly after the plant officially closed.
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.
The Gibson logo on the headstock has a closed “b” and “o” and a dot over the “i.” The necks on these guitars are of medium thickness.
The Les Paul KM model was made in the Kalamazoo plant in 1979, supposedly at the request of a southern sales district, according to one account (this history is refuted by another account).
The guitar was intended be a sunburst Les Paul that more closely approximated ’59 Standard specs.
The pickups are one double white and one zebra under the covers.
The truss rod covers are inscribed with the model names.
While not as close in terms of vintage specifications as the Guitar Trader and Leo’s LP models, they are well regarded guitars by many players and collectors and have excellent fit, finish, tone, and playability.