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Les Paul Custom vs Reissue/Historic


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When I started playing in the mid 90's the pinnacle was the Les Paul Custom, certainly it was for me and my mates. At this time none of us had heard of historic reissues, if they were being produced they definitely weren't on our radar. The object of my teenage desire was a white Gibson Les Paul custom.

After many years I have finally got the money to get the Custom I've lusted after for 20 years but now it seems like the majority of the guitars coming from the custom shop are now reissues and historics, this is going to be a one off purchase I doubt I'll be spending £4000 on a guitar again so I want to make sure I'm getting my money's worth. So my question is to anyone who owns both the original custom and one of the reissues R8/R9 etc. How do they compare? Are they in the same league in terms of quality? Is it still studio, standard, custom or is it studio, standard, custom, then reissue, historic? If you could only have one which would you choose? I realise I should be trying them all and that was my intention but having spent weeks trying to find a white custom it turns out there's none that I can just go and try in fact I can only find 1 in the whole of the U.K. and it's a bit of a trek so at the moment any opinions would be really helpful.

Thanks a lot for your opinions!


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I was led to believe that Les Paul Custom isn't a Custom shop guitar it's a USA model (there are a lot of more knowledgeable people no here than me, so hopefully they'll confirm or dismiss this).


Never the less, I think you'll find that a Custom and a reissue are completely different guitars and the only way to discover which one is right for you is to play as many as you can. Personally I'd always go for a reissue, but that's just me :rolleyes:





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I too have limited knowledge but since nobody else has chimed in yet I'll tell you what I know, or think I know.


LP Customs used to be made in the USA plant. In the early 2000's they moved production to the Custom shop. Although, I watched a video from Gibson Memphis in which they claimed that white LP Customs were made in Memphis for some reason.


Anyway, modern Customs have maple tops on mahogany bodies with richlite fingerboards and 490R/498T pickups with a weight relieved body. Historic Customs are solid mahogany bodies with Ebony fingerboards and PAF or P90 pickups and no weight relief.


The R8/9 will have a maple top like a modern Custom but with PAFs, rosewood fingerboard and no weight relief.


So they're all going to look, feel and sound different.


Seems to me, if you're trying to get the guitar that you've loved since your youth, and that was a Custom, I'd get the Custom. If you just want a LP now that is top of the heap, you can't go wrong with any of them. It does seem like R8/9/0's are more popular than Customs though.


I hope that helped a little. Where's Pippy when we need him??

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Thanks for the the replies. What I really want to know is whether Gibson puts as much care into the custom as they do with the reissues and the historics. They are a similar price point so I would hate to let my teenage heart overrule my adult brain and spend a fortune on something that is no better quality-wise than the USA traditional that I've already got. I'm almost scared to go and try any of the historics to be honest. I remember when I got my first Gibson, a 2001 sg standard I had owned an epiphone sg but once I heard and felt the difference there was no going back and I'm a little worried it'll be the same thing I'll try the historic it'll blow my traditional out the water and before I know it I'll need a white custom and a custom shop historic!

The trials and tribulations of a guitar player ...

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The RI's and the Customs are made in the same shop, presumably by the same people, and I would think that the quality of the workmanship would be the same. I have a R0, and hopefully within the next couple weeks I'll have my '57 Custom and I'll let you know.


Your fear about being spoiled by Custom Shop guitars is valid. They are very nice instruments. Comparing them to a Gibson USA guitar is tough. I haven't played enough examples of each to make any broad judgement. I had a Gibson USA Joe Bonamassa Limited run Les Paul. That was a really nice guitar. It was kind of a Gibson USA version of a R0. It was flawless. However, once I got the real R0 that was the guitar I found myself reaching for and I got rid of the Bonamassa.


From my limited exposure, I'll say that they are just different. Compared to a regular Gibson USA LP the finish is different, the quality of the tops are different, neck is different, neck angle is different, Custom shop guitars are all hand wired, pickups are different.


I would not be surprised at all if you got Custom Shop guitar and it made you want more of them. In fact I'd be surprised if it didn't.


Oh, I forgot one thing. Like I mentioned, I watched a video from the Gibson Memphis shop and they said that for some reason white Les Paul Customs were made in the Memphis shop. I think that video was from 2010, not sure if that has changed.

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The LP Custom is a custom shop guitar as others have said , built to the same high standards of the other custom shop pieces. The Custom is no longer a core line, meaning they are made in smaller, limited runs. So finding a new white custom might take a bit to find in a store. Lately they have released more speciality tops and colours.


Another option for the LP Custom is the reissue '57 or the '68 Custom. These will both be in ebony. You could also do a made to measure (M2M) guitar, as this is a special order custom, you get to choose all specs and colours and so you get exactly what you want.


Have fun with your search for a new guitar. LP Custom's are great guitars!

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Ok it all makes sense why it's been so difficult to find one, they've dropped it from the core line. I've e mailed just about every place I could find online, some places will order one but Gibson won't give them a delivery date so it would be months. Rainbow guitars would've been a great shout I'm only an hour away from Carlisle but the white one isn't in stock so I suspect it'll be the same story. I have found one though so it's ok, it's just a shame I cant try a load then pick the best one. Just about every new Gibson I've ever bought has been on finance so I was looking forward to going with 4 grand in my back burner and saying bring out your customs I'll tell you when to stop. But when I can only locate 1 white custom in the entire country then I suppose that's not an option. I'm tempted to go and try out a few historics somewhere and maybe see if there's a black custom in stock to see how they compare but then it will probably just muddy the water even further.

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Far too late to the party and I don't know where to start.


The easy answer?

You want a white LPC because you feel an affinity with the great and greatly missed Randy Rhodes? Get yourself a white LPC and just love it to bits.

It WILL be a superb guitar and you cannot really go wrong.


Failing that scenario you have a lot of homework to undertake.

If so then we will be able to help you in great detail in order to understand the minutiae of what is available and, hopefully, steer you in the right direction.


Tell us what you like / don't like. What music you wish to play. Anything and everything you consider which might be worthy of mention.

We look forward to helping you in your hunt in finding the right guitar for you.



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