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Which Les Paul Smartwood do i have?

#1 User is offline   aregularjoe 

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:08 AM

Hi All,

I just acquired a Les Paul smartwood model, made in 1999. Some facts about the instrument:

8 digit serial number, first and fifth digits are both 9. stamped into the wood on rear of headstock

Made In USA stamped in wood on rear of headstock

Smartwood decal on rear of headstock

Back and neck appear to be mahogany.

Top is a beautifully figured and well matched wood and carved.

There is a 3 letter code in pencil under the neck pickup

The truss rod cover says "Smart Wood".

Figerboard appears to be made of Curupay.

The guitar is basically the form factor of a 'The Paul" , slightly thinner that a regular Les Paul, and with a slight belly cut on the rear top.

Note that the tuners are not original. They have been replaced with Grover locking tuners. The screw holes form the original tuners are still there.


I have done a lot of research online and am still a bit perplexed as to what I have. It seems that 1n 1999, two Les Paul smart wood models were made. The LES PAUL SMARTWOOD STANDARD and The LES PAUL SMARTWOOD EXOTIC. Both have very similar specs. I have seen some resources saying that the "standard" version is the full depth of a regular Les Paul, but I cannot find a photo that confirms that. They did not made the "studio" smart wood guitars until a later year. Also, the green leaf truss rod cover was used in later years.

I found a reference that lists the 2 letter codes ( under the neck pickup) that are supposed to identify the top wood ( there were six different woods used). The code in mine is 3 letters and does not come close to any on the list. See photo for the code. I thing it says "TG" and there is also a weird little symbol.

The LES PAUL SMARTWOOD STANDARD is supposed to have a truss rod cove that says "Smart Wood".

The LES PAUL SMARTWOOD EXOTIC is supposed to have a truss rod cover that says "Exotic Wood" and a Curupay (wood) fingerboard.

I suspect that I have an LES PAUL SMARTWOOD EXOTIC guitar with the wrong truss rod cover ( assuming that the truss rod cover spec is correct).


I would like to verify what model I have and figure out what wood the top is and verify that the fingerboard is curapay. The fingerboard was just clean but not oiled in the photos. when wet its darker than rosewood and matches pics I have seen of Curapay.

Any input is appreciated!

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A Regular Joe
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#2 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:29 PM

Had a quick look.. You seem to have this one a Studio but the original tuners have been changed to grovers (not an unusual mod)
http://www.creamcity...natural-finish/

Heres some more in depth info
http://gear-vault.co...otic-smartwood/

And heres a forum discussion on them (not this forum)
http://thefretboard....1/smartwood-lps
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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#3 User is offline   aregularjoe 

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:09 PM

View PostRabs, on 01 May 2017 - 12:29 PM, said:

Had a quick look.. You seem to have this one a Studio but the original tuners have been changed to grovers (not an unusual mod)
http://www.creamcity...natural-finish/

Heres some more in depth info
http://gear-vault.co...otic-smartwood/

And heres a forum discussion on them (not this forum)
http://thefretboard....1/smartwood-lps


Thanks for the input. I have seen those posts. I am pretty sure it is NOT a studio as the studios were not made until years after 1999, when this guitar was made. There is a tremendous amount of mis and contradictory information about these models on the web. I have looked at more than 100 pages of content, including many guitars for sale, and learned that most of the guitars, particularly those for sale, are mis-indentified in the advertisements.

Here is a guitar labeled a smartwood exotic that looks like my guitar: http://www.guitar-mu...martwood-Exotic

Here is a page form Vinatge Guitar Magazines price guide that shows the 2 models made in 1999 ( no studios): https://books.google...artwood&f=false


You cannot trust ads for guitars for sale for accurate info on identifying an instrument. I was hoping there would be someone with experience with this line specifically to chime in.

Best as I have been able to tell from the Blue Book, the "Smartwood Studio" guitars were produced between 2003 and 2008. They also are supposed to have bodies with full depth, whereas mine is thinner, again like the smart wood Exotics. Also, the Studio's had a green leaf on the truss rod cover, not the words "smart wodod" or "exotic wood"

Thanks...



Chris
A Regular Joe
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#4 User is offline   aregularjoe 

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:17 PM

More research is pointing to it being a Taperyva Guasu topped exotic smart wood.. Hence the TG in the pickup cavity.
A Regular Joe
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#5 User is offline   Rabs 

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:12 PM

View Postaregularjoe, on 01 May 2017 - 01:17 PM, said:

More research is pointing to it being a Taperyva Guasu topped exotic smart wood.. Hence the TG in the pickup cavity.

That makes sense.. You seem to know more about it than me so.. :)

It is indeed hard to keep up with the amount of different models out there... ive been on this forum for years and still get stumped by some guitars posted on here.

But that's a nice unique guitar you have.. Enjoy [thumbup]
"Im the one thats going to have to die when its time for me to die. So let me live my life, the way I WANT TOO" Jimi Hendrix
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