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The Maple Neck Years

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In the Late 70's, The LP got a maple neck... because quality mahogany was an issue I guess.... I have one from Jan 79 with it. I've also seen 78's with them. Any other years?

 

Yes, I like my Norlin Maple Neck Volute headstock goldtop. Serial puts it in early Nashville production.

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I like my Norlin Maple Neck Volute headstock too, and I am proud of it! [thumbup]

 

I have no idea - to be honest. My 1978 Recording has 3-piece maple neck too. The '74 Customs had 3-piece mahogany necks. Between '76-'79, maybe? :-k

 

Cheers... Bence

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My 1978 25 / 50 has a 5 piece maple neck (two walnut skunk stripes running right through) with an ebony board and I think it is great!

 

EDIT: Obviously, I mean three pieces of maple!

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Most sources say 3-piece maple was introduced into the range in 1974 and the re-introduction of mahogany was during 1981.

 

P.

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I have a 1971 Les Paul Deluxe with 3 piece maple top and 3 piece maple neck so it goes back at least to 1971. And like Charlie's it's a heavy beast.

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I have a 1971 Les Paul Deluxe with 3 piece maple top and 3 piece maple neck so it goes back at least to 1971. And like Charlie's it's a heavy beast.

Are you absolutely sure it isn't a 3-piece mahogany neck, Z-K?

 

This style was introduced about '69 - '70 and lasted until '74.

 

P.

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Actually I'm not Pippy. All I know for sure is that it is 3 piece. The whole thing is 3 piece. 3 piece neck, 3 piece top and the infamous 3 piece pancake body.

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Les Paul models in the Norlin era (1969–1985)

 

1974 Custom

 

Subsequent years brought new company ownership to the Gibson Guitar Company. During the "Norlin Era", Gibson Les Paul body designs were greatly altered, most notably, the change to the neck volute. Because the Les Paul had the reputation of having an easily broken neck joint, the volute strengthened the neck where it joined the headstock to avert breakage. To further increase the strength, the neck woods were changed from mahogany to a three-piece maple design. The LP body was changed from a one-piece mahogany with a maple top into multiple slabs of mahogany with multiple pieced maple tops. This is referred to as "multipiece" construction, and sometimes incorrectly referred to as a "pancake" body. The expression "pancake body" actually refers to a body made of a thin layer of maple sandwiched between two slabs of mahogany, with a maple cap. The grain of the maple was placed at 90 degrees to that of the mahogany. The "pancake"-like layers are clearly visible when looking at the edge of the guitar. This process is also known as "crossbanding", and was done for strength and resistance to cupping/warping. Crossbanding was phased out by 1977.

 

S-1, Marauder, Sonex, Spirit, L6-S

 

In this era, as well, Gibson began experimenting with new models such as the Les Paul Recording. This model is generally unpopular with guitarists due to its complex electronics. The Recording featured low-impedance pickups, many switches and buttons, and a highly specialized cable for impedance-matching to the amplifier. Less noticeable changes included, but were not limited to, maple fingerboards (1976), pickup cavity shielding, and the crossover of the ABR1 Tune-o-matic bridge into the modern day Nashville Tune-o-matic bridge. During the 1970s, the Les Paul body shape was incorporated into other Gibson models, including the S-1, the Sonex, the L6-S, and other models that did not follow the classic Les Paul layout.

 

Deluxe

 

1972 Deluxe with mini-humbuckers

 

1969 Deluxe

 

The Deluxe was among the "new" 1968 Les Pauls. This model featured "mini-humbuckers", also known as "New York" humbuckers, and did not initially prove popular. The mini-humbucker pickup fit into the pre-carved P-90 pickup cavity using an adaptor ring developed by Gibson (actually just a cut-out P90 pickup cover) in order to use a supply of Epiphone mini-humbuckers left over from when Gibson moved Epiphone production to Japan. The DeLuxe was introduced in late 1968 and helped to standardize production among Gibson's US-built Les Pauls. The first incarnation of the Deluxe featured a one-piece body and slim three-piece neck in late 1968. The "pancake" body (thin layer of maple on top of two layers of Honduran mahogany) came later in 1969. In late 1969, a small "volute" was added. 1969 Deluxes feature the Gibson logo devoid of the dot over the "i" in Gibson. By late 1969/early 1970, the dot over the "i" had returned, plus a "Made In USA" stamp on the back of the headstock. The Deluxe could be special ordered with full-size Humbucker T-Top pickups, these full size versions of the Deluxe were "Standard" spec. They were also available with "Gibson" embossed pickups in 1972 only and considered rare, as only 9 were produced. David Bowie Can be seen playing one of the 1972 "Standards" in his 1972 release Jean Genie video. By 1975, the neck construction was changed from mahogany to maple, until the early 1980s, when the construction was returned to mahogany. The body changed back to solid mahogany from the pancake design in late 1976 or early 1977. Inte reintroduced rest in this particular Les Paul model was so low that in 1985, Gibson canceled the line. However, in 2005, the Deluxe was with more popularity due to its association with Pete Townshend [1] and Thin Lizzy.

 

In 1978 the Les Paul Pro Deluxe was introduced. This guitar featured P-90 pickups instead of the "mini-humbuckers" of the Deluxe model, an ebony fingerboard, maple neck, mahogany body and chrome hardware. It came in Ebony, Cherry Sunburst, Tobacco Sunburst or Gold finishes. Interestingly, it was first launched in Europe, rather than the US. It was discontinued in 1983.

 

 

 

 

CB

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1974 Custom...the neck woods were changed from mahogany to a three-piece maple design....(by 1975) the neck construction was changed from mahogany to maple, until the early 1980s, when the construction was returned to mahogany.

Thanks, CB.

 

This reinforces the info in post #5.

 

P.

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You'll have a hard time finding anything better for a neck than maple. It's very strong, very dense and durable. Once the truss rod is adjusted properly you'll likely never have to touch it again.

 

Gibson still uses a maple neck on the EDS-1275, and who can blame them with all that tension?!?!?

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I have a 1981 Les Paul Custom.  My mom bought it for me brand new in December of 1981, and I have been the only owner of the guitar.  I checked the serial number and it indicates that it was built in Nashville in late November of 1981.  It appears to be a 3-piece neck, but I can't tell if it's mahogany or maple.  How can I tell?  Or are all 3-piece Les Paul necks maple?

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20 hours ago, Tumbling Dice said:

I have a 1981 Les Paul Custom.  My mom bought it for me brand new in December of 1981, and I have been the only owner of the guitar.  I checked the serial number and it indicates that it was built in Nashville in late November of 1981.  It appears to be a 3-piece neck, but I can't tell if it's mahogany or maple.  How can I tell?  Or are all 3-piece Les Paul necks maple?

 

Maple has a much finer grain than mahogany. If your Custom has a stained back you will see the mahogany grain. 

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