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mountain2012

Can someone talk about prototypes...?

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I'm talking about those Gibson guitars that are stamped with "prototype".  Do production models have higher-quality wood than the prototypes, specifically those made during the later Henry J. years?  What's the difference?

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The purpose of a prototype is to try out something new (pickups, neck angle, tonewood combinations etc) so it wouldn't make sense to use one type of wood in a prototype and then change it for the actual production model.  AFAIK prototypes don't usually get out of the factory.  I've heard of a few employees getting to buy one and maybe a signature artist getting to keep one, but generally I think they are destroyed after a production set of specs has been determined.

I don't claim to be an expert so maybe there are lots of prototypes out in the real world, but I don't think so.

Edited by Twang Gang
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1981 Gibson GGC-700 with prototype stamp. Tuners, bridge, tune-o-matic and electronics including pickguard are not correct, but body is mahogany, maple set neck with ebony fretboard. I'm trying to figure out what happened on the front of the headstock. The black laminated plate is on and blank, but I can read "Gibson" backwards, as if it had a mother pearl inlay and was glued upside down.

70493531_10215190779303953_7412433595148533760_n.jpg

IMG9520190916951434429508.jpg

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On 9/18/2019 at 8:52 PM, Soultrain65 said:

1981 Gibson GGC-700 with prototype stamp. Tuners, bridge, tune-o-matic and electronics including pickguard are not correct, but body is mahogany, maple set neck with ebony fretboard. I'm trying to figure out what happened on the front of the headstock. The black laminated plate is on and blank, but I can read "Gibson" backwards, as if it had a mother pearl inlay and was glued upside down.

70493531_10215190779303953_7412433595148533760_n.jpg

IMG9520190916951434429508.jpg

 

I have a few Acoustics with that brand on the headstock   Also  labeled as a Prototype A , B and so on. 

A L1 with a not for resale label as well.  

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On 7/15/2019 at 10:59 PM, mountain2012 said:

I'm talking about those Gibson guitars that are stamped with "prototype".  Do production models have higher-quality wood than the prototypes, specifically those made during the later Henry J. years?  What's the difference?

 

Thats depends on what you are refering too.  

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In 2013 there wss a model called Gibson SG 50's tribute prototype. SG's weren't introduced until 1961 so this was Gibson's take on how a potential prototype in the late 50's could have looked. The truss rod cover had 50's Tribute printed on it and there was "Prototype" engraved in the wood on the back of the headstock. 

 

Basically a marketing gimmick. 

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On 9/28/2019 at 2:49 PM, Cerb said:

In 2013 there wss a model called Gibson SG 50's tribute prototype. SG's weren't introduced until 1961 so this was Gibson's take on how a potential prototype in the late 50's could have looked. The truss rod cover had 50's Tribute printed on it and there was "Prototype" engraved in the wood on the back of the headstock. 

 

Basically a marketing gimmick. 

 I saw those, but this is quite a bit different. Those were just stamped "PROTOTYPE" on the back to try and show they were based off of an original design. The one I have wasn't produced before or after the fall 81 to spring 82 run.  And I've seen the "Original Gibson Prototype" stamp on a few other models, but had to do some research to find pictures.

DSC04878.JPG

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There's really no mystery here. A Gibson prototype guitar is a first, typical or preliminary model of a series thay may have, or may never have, come to fruition, usually of the signature-guitar kind. They are rare and collectible items. Just recently Gibson sold off another batch of prototype guitars they apparently didn't need anymore. Unsurprisingly, they go for a premium on the secondary market.

Edited by Leonard McCoy
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Had the pleasure of playing a Jeff Beck prototype that Stevie D of Buckcherry had.  Not sure if it was ever released to the public or not.

 

That said, as far as the original question, the vary.  I've heard of specific artists getting a small number of "prototypes" of their signature guitars with subtle differences for them to choose which one will be the final released model.

 

NHTom

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