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'58 vs '59 les paul

The Walrus

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Hi folks,


I'm planning to get a Les Paul, and I'm undecided between the '58 and '59 reissue models. To me, the only differences appear to be


a. the neck: both baseball bats, but I've heard they are slightly larger on the '58s, but also that's it is dependent on final sanding.


I've heard good things about the '59 neck profile. I don't wanna be cheap buying something like a guitar and I also want to choose the best in terms of playability. There could be factory inconsistencies, even in a custom shop, so the neck profiles could be essentially the same depending on your luck.


This makes me consider the '59 collector's choice #6 aka, "Number One", because it's supposed to be an "exact" recreation of an outstanding '59 with a good neck profile. However, that guitar seems to have an issue: I've read it has a two-piece fingerboard, which is annoying for the money you'd spend. I hope it's not true; I don't know.


b. more collectible: for historic reasons and market demand, the '59 is more expensive.


I'm just getting it for playing. I'm not a collector, and I wanna go for a quality instrument that sounds best.


Any thoughts? I appreciate your input

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Before you buy you should try as many as possible. I have a Custom and a 68 Custom and the necks are very differant but both are very comfortable but sound differant. I would go for a standard rather than a 58/59 to start with. They cost a lot of money so you want to get the right one, you can always sell the standard at a later date once you decide what kind of neck/sound you want. Better still buy a good second hand Standard and you will not lose much money if you have to sell it.



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If you have a number of music stores who have them in stock you would definitely want play as many as you can. I have an r8 and it is a truly awesome guitar and in my opinion offers a lot of bang for your buck. I have taken the liberty of posting a link to a post written by one of the members (R9)here on this forum, which in addition to other Gibson models also addresses your question.




Happy hunting and be sure to post some pics when you get it, we all love guitar porn on here [biggrin]

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Nitefly thanks for reposting that link. While I have picked up some of that info over the last few months as a member of the forum, it is nice to have a lot of it in 1 spot. Thanks to R9 too for originally posting.

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Collectors Choice guitars are not exact copies of the originals depending on what your definition of "exact" is.


Anything Gibson made after about February 2012 with a rosewood fretboard thicker than 6mm will (or should) have a laminated fretboard. Around the same time, Gibson changed the inlay material. Some people think that is the way to determine if a 2012 has the laminated board. Old inlays - one piece, new inlays - laminated.


If it bothers you, just find a historic made before 2012. There are always tons for sale and, being high ticket items, they are hard to sell. You may be able to buy an R9 in the low $3,000 range. R8s about $1,000 less. Condition and tops will determine value. Some guys buy these guitars strictly for home use, and even though they are used, many are dead mint.


If you want the best of both worlds - value and flame top - look for a flame top R8. It's an R9 with an R8 serial number.


I do believe the R9 has larger frets.

Maybe a decade ago but not anymore.

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I thought Collectors Choice guitars were "exact" copies in terms of choice of materials, weight, shape, color, and pickup output with a high quality control (tight specs). That's what I mean by exact: not the same, but very close. I think what you're saying is that the only thing that's close is the looks.


I see: the fretboards are all laminated now and the inlays aren't mother of pearl anymore: they are acrylic, aka plastic. The collectors choice have Nitrocellulose, aka paper. Gotta be kidding me.


I thought the same too: a flame top R8 is an R9 with R8 serial number, depending on the guitar.


The other item on quality is the plek: I heard it was introduced back in 2006. So, a guitar from 2007ish production seems to be a good starting point for a '58/'59 reissue.


Going though an official dealer for a Gibson custom shop special order is another option, but I think they will jack up the price for the quality I expect.



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