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silver_mica

New Les Paul with ebony fretboard + abalone inlays.

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So, I've been keeping an eye out for a very nice Les Paul made before 2000 - with a preference for 90s. A lot has to do with the ability to buy a guitar with an ebony fretboard and abalone inlays (zero plastic). Buying from an individual not only is a hassle, but one must be concerned with counterfeit instruments. Then there are concerns over the possibility of a cracked neck, worn frets, not so nice fret jobs, etc. I'd prefer to buy a Gibson Les Paul brand new from a local dealer. That way I can play it and see it up close. But, I don't want a richlite fretboard or plastic inlays.

 

So, here's my question:

 

Is this something that can be special ordered? Can I special order a Les Paul Custom with an ebony fretboard, abalone block inlays, abalone star on the headstock, and AAA flame?

 

Or, would it be easier for me to become a famous rock star first - THEN contact Gibson with my special request?

 

David

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Guest Farnsbarns

I'm pretty sure the headstock diamond inlay has always been celluloid. Not sure about fret markers but they've been celluloid on all I can remember seeing (LP customs, that is)

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I'm pretty sure the headstock diamond inlay has always been celluloid. Not sure about fret markers but they've been celluloid on all I can remember seeing (LP customs, that is)

 

Yeah, well, when I become rich and famous - things will change.

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I don't think they've used actual shell products on fingerboards in a very long time.

 

rct

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I don't think they've used actual shell products on fingerboards in a very long time.

 

rct

 

Interesting there seems to be a mix of materials used for inlays in the last few years acc. to the website, eg. Historics have cellulose, Standards have acrylic and Classics have Mother of Pearl.

 

Edit - actually it looks like maybe they only used MOP in 2015 - not sure about 2014.

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It's American Manufacturing. It may be splitting hairs, but we'd have to look up the legal product definition of MOP, which is probably "plastic that looks like mother of pearl". Just like "Pearloid" has never seen a shellfish.

 

rct

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Kinda confused.

 

I thought Customs always used MOP, while the Standards used celluloid in the originals, and whatever later on.

 

Only a few special ones or high-end or custom ones used abalone, but no standard production LP ever used it.

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It's American Manufacturing. It may be splitting hairs, but we'd have to look up the legal product definition of MOP, which is probably "plastic that looks like mother of pearl". Just like "Pearloid" has never seen a shellfish.

 

rct

 

That may be true of course - but they do make a distinction between Cellulose and Acrylic and the actual phrase they use is, "Genuine pearl inlays enhance the guitar's appearance and increase its value.". :-k

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So, I've been keeping an eye out for a very nice Les Paul made before 2000 - with a preference for 90s. A lot has to do with the ability to buy a guitar with an ebony fretboard and abalone inlays (zero plastic). Buying from an individual not only is a hassle, but one must be concerned with counterfeit instruments. Then there are concerns over the possibility of a cracked neck, worn frets, not so nice fret jobs, etc. I'd prefer to buy a Gibson Les Paul brand new from a local dealer. That way I can play it and see it up close. But, I don't want a richlite fretboard or plastic inlays.

 

So, here's my question:

 

Is this something that can be special ordered? Can I special order a Les Paul Custom with an ebony fretboard, abalone block inlays, abalone star on the headstock, and AAA flame?

 

Or, would it be easier for me to become a famous rock star first - THEN contact Gibson with my special request?

 

David

 

Hi David,

I have a 1997 LP Elegant that has abalone inlays and an ebony board. It also has a compound radius and plays exceptionally well. I think Elegants were made from 1995-2005. The bad news is they are Custom Shop guitars and pricey, usually going from $2500-$3500. Mine is my favorite out of 6 LP's that I owned.

 

DSC02064.jpg

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The Double Diamond (a.k.a. Split Diamond) inlay has always been made from mother-of-pearl.

 

Acrylic DD inlay was used on the 2011-2012 Classic Custom, and the N-225 - but these are rare exclusions.

 

The Standards historically featured acrylic fretboard markers, and M-O-P "Gibson" logo. This latter, when not silk-screened, is always made of M-O-P on all models.

 

Bence.

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Hi David,

I have a 1997 LP Elegant that has abalone inlays and an ebony board. It also has a compound radius and plays exceptionally well. I think Elegants were made from 1995-2005. The bad news is they are Custom Shop guitars and pricey, usually going from $2500-$3500. Mine is my favorite out of 6 LP's that I owned.

 

DSC02064.jpg

 

 

 

This is it.

 

That's what you want. LP Elegant.

 

Very nice too..... [love]

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I looked at a couple of those made to measure but saw no ebony boards. Gibson said they couldn't source ebony ages ago, but does that mean they no longer use it at all?

 

I would think that Custom Shop could get limited supplies?

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I looked at a couple of those made to measure but saw no ebony boards. Gibson said they couldn't source ebony ages ago, but does that mean they no longer use it at all?

 

I would think that Custom Shop could get limited supplies?

They do make guitars with Ebony boards from time-to-time. Mostly, on very high-end stuff or when there's a very limited run of a certain guitar. Gibson Custom made a SG Custom run last year, and used Ebony on them. Those guitars were 6-7k, though. I tried to get myself a SG Custom last year via M2M, and was told that I would get a Richlite board unless I paid a substantial amount more for an upgrade to Ebony.

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I looked at a couple of those made to measure but saw no ebony boards. Gibson said they couldn't source ebony ages ago, but does that mean they no longer use it at all?

 

I would think that Custom Shop could get limited supplies?

Oddly enough, m-e, there has been a bit of a discussion on this topic in another thread in the LP subforum.

If I can cut'n'paste something I posted last night;

 

...there doesn't seem to be any difficulty in sourcing legally imported ebony f'board blanks in the USA. The Lacey Act is used only where illegally sourced timbers are concerned.

Just a very short google came up with loads of timber merchants in the USA such as this one;

 

http://www.lmii.com/...ny-fingerboards

 

I've seen the Taylor video and I understand the environmental issues but surely for what used to be the Flagship of the Les Paul range Gibson could get the 'correct' stuff? After all; $20 (and that's not even 'Trade') is peanuts compared to the buying price of a LPC. Surely even if $20 was added to the out the door price most buyers would happily hand over the extra cash for an ebony 'board instead of Richlite?

 

What am I missing?............:-k

 

Pip.

 

P.

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...I tried to get myself a SG Custom last year via M2M, and was told that I would get a Richlite board unless I paid a substantial amount more for an upgrade to Ebony...

Again, I can't understand where there might be a problem.

 

In the link I posted above the timber merchant is offering ebony guitar fingerboard blanks for around the $20 mark depending on which grade of ebony is required. If we deduct the price of a rosewood board - which is around $7 - then the 'upgrade' should not make much difference to the end-price.

 

What is going on at Gibson that they can't (it would seem) obtain ebony when it's freely available to the general public from numerous Stateside timber merchants?

 

Pip.

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Again, I can't understand where there might be a problem.

 

In the link I posted above the timber merchant is offering ebony guitar fingerboard blanks for around the $20 mark depending on which grade of ebony is required. If we deduct the price of a rosewood board - which is around $7 - then the 'upgrade' should not make much difference to the end-price.

 

What is going on at Gibson that they can't (it would seem) obtain ebony when it's freely available to the general public from numerous Stateside timber merchants?

 

Pip.

Good question. Last year, the upgrade would have cost me close to a thousand dollars more, which is insane. I was kind of bummed out, and dropped this whole project of mine. A few years ago, SG Customs were around 3100 dollars. Now, they are costing close to 7k. I just don't get this increase, at all.

 

Ebony is a little more expensive than rosewood or maple, but not that much more to justify a huge jump in price like the one I dealt with when I inquired about a custom-made SG Custom.

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What is going on at Gibson that they can't (it would seem) obtain ebony when it's freely available to the general public from numerous Stateside timber merchants?

 

Perception isn't just reality, it's a money maker.

 

rct

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So, the fisherman finds the world's largest naturally occurring pearl with an estimated $100M worth - and then just gives it away. =/

 

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My 2015 Taylor has an ebony fretboard - got it brand new from the local Taylor dealer for $1800 out the door.

The Brian May Red Special guitar from Brian May Guitars even has an ebony board, and that thing will only set you back around 700-800 dollars.

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My 2015 Taylor has an ebony fretboard - got it brand new from the local Taylor dealer for $1800 out the door.

Well, Taylor effectively control a huge percentage of the ebony available so they are a different story completely.

Most of the old guard here have already seen this but for anyone who hasn't seen it this is quite interesting;

 

 

The reason ebony 'boards were being discussed over in the other thread was because Epiphone are currently offering this Les Paul variant for $799;

 

http://www.epiphone....tom-Outfit.aspx

 

If Epi can slap a bit of ebony on their guitars why can't Gibson?

 

Pip.

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http://www.epiphone....tom-Outfit.aspx

 

If Epi can slap a bit of ebony on their guitars why can't Gibson?

 

Pip.

 

I had assumed that it was the volume of ebony needed that make Gibson drop it, but Epiphone are using it?!

You have to admire Epiphone. The eternal underdog, they have one arm tied behind their back, and told to fight. And they do!

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