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1983 "Heritage Series 1959" Les Paul Standard


Bernie22
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Ok Les Paul fans.. I have a stumper for you.

I bought new in 1983, a highly figured top Les Paul Standard from a local music store in Rockford Illinois. This Les Paul has a 5 digit ink stamped serial number #9 0015. I kind of knew this was a special guitar. (Because it has a sign on its saying it was special and not to touch it.) I bought it. After I had the guitar a few mo's I went back and asked the then salesman / now good friend and asked what he knew about the guitar and said not much but suggested I write letter to Gibson Corp and explain what I purchased, from whom, and provided the serial number. I did that and I did get a letter back from Gibson (Which is now unfortunately long lost) which stated that what I had was a "Heritage Series 1959" Les Paul Standard made in Nashville Tn and made to Leo's Specifications from the now closed Leo's Music (Leo's Professional Audio) in Oakland Ca. The letter went on to say that there were a limited number of these made and most of these guitars went overseas to the Japan market. but a very few of these remained in the United States and I was "Very luck to have gotten one" according to Gibson. This guitar does not appear to be a Heritage 80's, nor is it a "Leo", nor is it a "Players" Les Paul. This guitar does not conform to typical catalog specification, however, it was made at a time when Gibson was making numerous limited run Les Paul for a variety of dealers according to George Gruhn.

 

Guitar Facts:

It has an ink stamped 5 digit serial number with "Made in USA" impressed into the wood on the back of the headstock below the serial number.

The electronics covers in the back are brown and covering the controls on the inside cavity is the all familiar metal 'can" typical of 1983 production.

It has a highly figured two-piece curly maple top, Indian rosewood fingerboard with white bindings on top edge of body, mahogany neck and back, cherry sunburst top finish and uniform cherry red stain finish not the neck and back.

Vintage replica tuners, and two Tim Shaw pickups with the patent number impressed on the underside and ink stamped 137 683 and 138 383 dating to 1983.

The tone and volume pods are stamped with the code 1378312 indicating they were made in the 12th week of 1983.

The output jack plate is metal not plastic.

 

Can anyone verify this?

 

Aaaaaaaand GO!

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  • 2 months later...

Ok Les Paul fans.. I have a stumper for you.

I bought new in 1983, a highly figured top Les Paul Standard from a local music store in Rockford Illinois. This Les Paul has a 5 digit ink stamped serial number #9 0015. I kind of knew this was a special guitar. (Because it has a sign on its saying it was special and not to touch it.) I bought it. After I had the guitar a few mo's I went back and asked the then salesman / now good friend and asked what he knew about the guitar and said not much but suggested I write letter to Gibson Corp and explain what I purchased, from whom, and provided the serial number. I did that and I did get a letter back from Gibson (Which is now unfortunately long lost) which stated that what I had was a "Heritage Series 1959" Les Paul Standard made in Nashville Tn and made to Leo's Specifications from the now closed Leo's Music (Leo's Professional Audio) in Oakland Ca. The letter went on to say that there were a limited number of these made and most of these guitars went overseas to the Japan market. but a very few of these remained in the United States and I was "Very luck to have gotten one" according to Gibson. This guitar does not appear to be a Heritage 80's, nor is it a "Leo", nor is it a "Players" Les Paul. This guitar does not conform to typical catalog specification, however, it was made at a time when Gibson was making numerous limited run Les Paul for a variety of dealers according to George Gruhn.

 

Guitar Facts:

It has an ink stamped 5 digit serial number with "Made in USA" impressed into the wood on the back of the headstock below the serial number.

The electronics covers in the back are brown and covering the controls on the inside cavity is the all familiar metal 'can" typical of 1983 production.

It has a highly figured two-piece curly maple top, Indian rosewood fingerboard with white bindings on top edge of body, mahogany neck and back, cherry sunburst top finish and uniform cherry red stain finish not the neck and back.

Vintage replica tuners, and two Tim Shaw pickups with the patent number impressed on the underside and ink stamped 137 683 and 138 383 dating to 1983.

The tone and volume pods are stamped with the code 1378312 indicating they were made in the 12th week of 1983.

The output jack plate is metal not plastic.

 

Can anyone verify this?

 

Aaaaaaaand GO!

 

George is correct; there were at least four different sets of limited-production "pre-Historic" reissues made at the time, separate and distinct from the Heritage Series. Yours has a lot in common with the one I got through Guitar Trader in '83. It will have the long tenon neck joint that helps to make these more consistently lively than regular production; this can be seen inside the neck pickup cavity. And looking at the binding in the cutaway, it does not widen to cover the seam and you can see the edge of the maple cap under the finish. They also have vintage-style lightweight aluminum tailpieces. Being hand carved, scalloping of the tops and neck profiles varied a bit from one to another. The top on mine is dished out quite deeply and when I was gigging it every night I used to get lacquer rash on my forearm from the edge of it. After the first year or so that spot got worn down to the wood and then it didn't bother me anymore.

 

One detail that sets the pre-Historics apart: if you remove the brown control cover they have a body number imprinted in the wood under the finish at the edge of the control cavity. Another difference from the later Historic series is that these use the heavier Nashville bridge, with supports set into anchors in the body rather than being screwed directly into the wood like the ABR bridge supports. I think the Nashville design sustains better and to my ear it has a slightly richer tone - I prefer them to the ABRs, despite not being period correct for a '59 reissue.

 

The Shaw pickups sound great. Low wind, airy sound, super dynamic & articulate. My '82 Moderne came with Shaws also. Like the old pickupss these are unpotted and they're prone to squealing at high volume. (If you decide to pot them, be very careful cleaning off the excess wax - on one of mine the inked numbers got wiped away.)

 

A small number of the first Guitar Trader pre-Historics were built using actual original PAFs, Gibson's old stock leftover from the late 50s. Wish I'd gotten one of those!

Edited by eclecticsynergy
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  • 2 years later...

I have an 83 from a similar run.  They did a candy apple red series with either a silver sparkle undercoat or the more rare gold sparkle undercoat. Tim shaws,  gold hardware, shielded output Jack's, the serial number and second set of numbers.  I've played and owned many les Paul's, including the heritage elite 80's and the 1983 run they did just after the heritage series is my personal favorite.... 

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  • 1 month later...

Very nice looking guitar you've got there Bernie.

I have what I'm pretty sure is a (Test sample, Pre-order) Jimmy Wallace guitar build in 1980.

I ran into Jimmy at a Vintage guitar show in Austin Texas in 2005, and I had the guitar with me at the time.

He was almost 100% sure that my guitar was 1  of 2 or 3 Test sample he had Gibson build for him that were built to model his own personal original '58 Lp Standard.

He said the that he wanted all his guitars in his very 1st order to be spec'd to his '58, and he wanted them to all have quilted tops.

The first test sample guitars were to make sure Gibson got the specs and the quilt tops done to his satisfaction.

Here's some pics of my '80 Gibson "Jimmy Wallace" '58 Quilted LP Standard. ( P.S. - I bought this guitar in 1984 for $500 )

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Here's the ragged "Relic'd" case that took the brunt of the damage all those years I gigged it.

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Edited by Texsunburst59
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