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Any bad years for LP Customs?


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I have an opportunity to get a LP Custom...and I have 3 different choices, a 1985, 1987 and 1988. I was curious if there are any years to stay away from with the LP Customs. Also the 85 doesn't have a pickguard on it, is that abnormal?

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All years had bad guitars and all years had great guitars. How much are they is a better question, and which one feels best to you.




They're 2200, and the 88 is 2250. I don't have that cash, so i'm trading a Fender and PRS for one to a local guy that deals in vintage guitars, i've worked with him on a ton of my guitars. As far as feel...Haven't played any yet, i'm going over there tomorrow to see what feels best.

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Like rct says, they have to be judged individually. A lot of people will bemoan the 80's (Norlin years) some of them were dogs, but not all of them.


And since you have three to choose from, you're way ahead of the game.



about the pickguard missing.. in the one you mention, It seems that I see screw holes where there once was one.. just a guess the owner took it off. Look in the case or cases.. that's where I'd have put it..

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It's worth noting that Gibson was taken over by the present owners in 1986 and the quality arguably went up then.

I would be considering the 87 or 88 for this reason - I could be wrong as I haven't seen or played any of the 3.


Just my opinion.

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Nice dilemma to find oneself in.


As has been suggested the 'best' one for you is the one that YOU think sounds, feels and plays the best. Simple as that. Nothing else is nearly as important as these 3 considerations.


If they are all equal in all departments then choose the one whose looks you find most attractive. After all; you will probably be looking at it for years to come.

And oddly enough they all look good. Many Cherry-'Burst Customs (IMO) look awful but that one is an exception. The TBSB and Ebony are, similarly, equally pretty.


The missing p'g of the '85 will set you back hardly anything in real terms so even if it's not in the case it's hardly a deal-breaker.


With all due respect to jdgm I don't think very much changed QC-wise from '85 - '88 so I, personally, wouldn't have any prejudice against the '85 on the 'Norlin' angle.



Looking forward to see how this thread pans out...



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The worst LP I ever owned was a beautiful cherry sunburst '89. A couple of my favorite LPs were a '79 and '80. All three were Nashvilles. More proof they're all over the place.


My favorite is my '71 Deluxe, subject to one coming along to knock it off it's throne.


The one I was saddened by was a 2008(?) LP of some breed, it was black with trapezoid inlays and body binding but a matte finish on the back. I suppose it doesn't hurt anything but I just felt it was cheap.


Shopping for and owning a Les Paul is kinda like browsing the Playboy Mansion. They're ALL beautiful, just some's more beautiful than others.

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Don't trade in haist..

Play it for a while..

I don't know what kinda Fender & PRS you have but just because Gibson decided to raise their prices doesn't mean that you gear is worth any less, Just sayin!! Many PRSs are worth what one of those Customs are & a good older Stratocaster ain't too shabby either..

You might be better off with what you already have..


I NOTE: In the Pics Water leak in window, MOLD window frame paint coming off, plastic on the window & a HVAC vent right behind them guitars..

Buyer Beware!! Just Pointing out what I see.. Tell your friend to get that fixed ASAP..


Don't get me wrong I love Gibson Les Pauls & would advise you get one, Just be careful in your trade, A 2 for 1 deal may not be that..



Rhubarb Red aka Red Hot Red


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You gotta call em how you see em sometimes..


I bet the OP has an absolute pristine PRS & a well taken care of Strat

Would you trade the pair for a maybe not so loved Les Paul Custom?

I was a autobody repairman & you can bet I can hide a headstock break especially on the black one



What's a USED Fender Strat worth? $800-$1500? They used to be $300 back in the early 80s

A Les Paul Custom would have cost $550 back then too..

I figure our 1997 PRS CE-22 bolt on is worth $1100-$1200 if it's worth a penny..

Just Sayin.. I just looked it up on Reverb & well maybe it's worth $1300-$1700

None of them look this good or have been taken care of like this one..


One Well Taken Care Of 1997 PRS CE-22


With The Dragon I Pickups 100% Factory

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Sorry for the suspense...This guy and I are working opposite schedules this week so it took a couple days to meet up, so it happened today right before i had to go into work...I had 3 choices, a Black 85 that had very bad neck ware on the back, chipped paint mainly, and a cherry burst 87 with no pickguard...and a drill hole from some idiot who tried to put the wrong one on...and the one i got! which is in my opinion the prettiest, and luckily it played the best; which is the 1988 Tobacco Burst Custom, I just changed the strings and cleaned the fret board and i've sat here for about an hour playing it...man, feels great and the pickups are awesome. The only things I'm having questions about ***Here's where you Gibson pro's can answer some questions*** I'm a fender guy that's converting to the dark side...anyway I've seen pictures online of an 88 Custom tobacco bursts that do not have the dark knobs...wonder if these are not original?? I'm going to email Gibson and see what they say about it too...also it wasn't the original case that came with it, but still a Gibson case which is good...but it's a chainsaw case...i don't know i just don't like those cases. AND LASTLY one thing I've liked about some nice big heavy Les Pauls is that I THOUGHT they usually had 10's on them...well this one was set up with 9's, not complaining because action is amazing it is effortless to play, but I may put 10's on it to see how it feels. But yeah i'll add some pics in here

Also if anyone's wondering what I Traded...A PRS McCarty (1998) which I absolutely loved...that really will be missed. Also a 2013 American Strat with all paperwork that came from the factory with Fat 50's...and an Alvarez Jumbo with nice electronics and a guild case

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Great to hear it plays as good as it looks.




I'm sure all les paul customs are good. theyre really expensive to begin with so the quality should be there...




Good One!





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