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Curiosity’s about my “Tommy Shaw” 1981 Les Paul Standard Tobacco Sunburst


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This is my first post and I’m not sure which category to post it in, so let me know if it should be in a different category.


In the late 90’s at a Chicago area Guitar Center I bought my first Les Paul. It was a used 1981 Les Paul Standard Tobacco Sunburst with the body signed in ink “Take good care of my baby Donni, Tommy Shaw”, it was also signed by Dennis DeYoung and James Young. Being a Tommy Shaw fan (and early Styx fan), it seemed like a really nice guitar and sounded awesome, I promptly haggled my out the door with it for a $1000 dollars with the OHSC and a nice strap, cord etc.


Afterward some early research led to curiosity’s, ie. Tommy used to play a similar guitar and I was told by someone that he had (or once had) a girlfriend named Danni, and also switched to playing Explorers that year. I wrote and got forwarded through a fan website a response that I believe was from Tommy that this was not one of his guitars but was from a Radio Station Contest in early 80’s. I didn’t think to ask but I would guess it was in 81’ otherwise they would have given away an Explorer.


Looking back now I gotta say wow! In the early 80’s I worked at a Radio Station in a major market (and seen and heard of many other Radio Station giveaways) and certainly never heard of a Gibson LP giveaway (maybe an Epiphone, Squire or Fernandes (lol)).


After recently learning about Tim Shaw pickups, I wondered if they still in (or ever in) this guitar. So I looked and sure enough, I believe it does and with the original covers (they sure do not look like they were ever resoldered).


Neck PU: 498 581, 7.28K, Bridge PU: 499 581, 7.35K (from the info I’ve found these are from the 5th month of 1981)


Tone pots 1 and 2 are dated (I believe) 1378106 (6th week 81’) and 1378100 (0th week 81’, does that even make sense?).


My question is the first 6 digits of the 8 digit Made in USA Serial # are 804915xx. This decodes to Made in Nashville on the 49th day (Wednesday February 18th) of 1981. But, this is three months before the PU dates and maybe too close to Tone pot 1’s date. The Volume pots dates are unreadable (without unsoldering) so it’s possible that they have been replaced with new ones long ago.


None of the hardware looks looks like it has ever been resoldered.

Is this mix of dates unusual? I thought the Serial# were pressed in the neck on the day of final production.


Were the PU removed and later replace with a other Tim Shaw’s?


And if anyone remembers an early 80’s Styx concert with a guitar giveaway most likely in Chicago or Midwest area let me know.



Edited by LlordNakcor
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