Gibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?
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Thread: Gibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?

  1. #1


    Join Date: Dec 2018

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    Gibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?

    I was looking for a good custom from the 80s a few weeks ago, the opportunity presented itself for about 2800 dollars although I can not find the serial number recorded in the records of those years, not if it is because of the record of guitars that brought the coa and from from there the serial numbers of this particular guitar began to be recorded (81311551), it also made me doubt the 3-piece finish of the neck and I haven't seen a custom one like this, apart from being repainted, someone knows if the gold finish is the same as the black of those years? By the way it seems that a crack begins to appear on the fingerboard, I don't know if it will damage the entire neck later.
    Here are some photos:
    Gibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-55-38-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-55-38-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-55-55-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-56-19-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-56-35-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-56-52-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-57-23-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-57-50-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-00-58-03-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-00-56-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-01-26-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-02-34-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-02-58-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-04-02-pngGibson Les Paul Custom 1981 fake?-capture-_2020-07-21-01-05-01-png

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Lake District, UK
    ME: Blackmachine
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    I'm no expert on Gibson's, but I know a volute isn't exactly a common thing to find on a Gibson. However, this would be right around the time they stopped using them.

    A little digging found this thread about an '81 LPC with a 5 piece neck, although it's statred as Maple/Ebony, not Mahogany/Ebony like that looks.
    https://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/s...es-Paul-Custom

  4. #3


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Cambridge, UK
    ME: Les Paul
    MB: Precision
    Rig: Sunn/Hiwatt

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    Serial number seems legit according to the Guitar dater project website:

    Your guitar was made at the
    Nashville Plant, TN, USA
    on May 11th, 1981
    Production Number: 51
    My '80 LPC still has a volute, but I'm also not sure when they stopped doing them. Another detail worth noting is that it has the 'ashtray' they put in the guitars of this era:



    If it is fake they've been rather meticulous in replicating it.

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: KxK ProtoVii-7
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    That looks real to me., since it has the construction features of an 80-81 Norlin-era Les Paul: five piece neck, volute, control cavity ashtray, and the reappearance of the dot over the "i" in Gibson. Keep in mind that goldtop Customs of that era are very rare, and one of only two Customs that came with nickle hardware (the other was the silverburst). Someone swapped out the Schallers for Klusons (why?!?!), replaced the rear cavity covers with clear ones, and (I think, but don't quote me on it) it should have black plastics (poker chip, pickup rings, speed knobs). I'm iffy on the plastics, only because it's a rare color and a it's hard to find one unchanged. It's also had a refret, since their are no nibs on the fretboard.

    If it's a Norlin guitar and you can't immediately tell it's a fake, then it's probably not. It's not an era that's worth faking, like the 50s guitars.
    Noodles

    So live for today,
    Tomorrow never comes.
    Die young, die young,
    Can't you see the writing in the air?
    Die young, gonna die young,
    Someone stopped the fair.

  7. #5


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: CS USA Soloist 7
    MA: Ovation Elite Standard
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    Dave knows a lot more than I do, but if definitely looks right - a buddy of mine had one of those at the time (that's right about when I started playing, you'd think I'd be better by now) and I remember the back of the headstock and the ash tray.

  8. #6


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Herndon, VA
    ME: Jackson Soloist
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    It looks legit to me. 1981 was the last year for the volute.

    My guess is that it's from a special dealer run. Gibson was starting to do that around then--the Heritage 80 series was an example, which was Gibson's first attempt at a '50s repro. This one has some non-standard features, such as the goldtop and mahogany neck with stringers (1981 was also the last year for the maple necks, I believe). The finish looks stock, and the only things that might be aftermarket are the plastic parts and the Klusons (which you can tell were added later).

    What surprises me is that most of the special runs were still coming out of Kalamazoo during this period, while this has a Nashville serial number.

    Given that it's a refret and has some aftermarket parts, it was obviously well-loved and might be worth getting.

    The Norlins I'm always suspicious of are the ones that look pristine and have the original frets with no wear. On a 40-year-old guitar with a nitro finish, you really should see a fair amount of play wear if it's been consistently played over the years. There could be some case queens that were good but just happened to be with an owner that stopped playing years ago, for example, but I'd never buy a Gibson case queen unless I had the chance to play it first.

    $2800 is probably slightly on the high side for an '81 with some aftermarket parts, but $2500+ is kind of the going rate for Norlin LPCs now. Ones closer to mint go for more like $3000.

  9. #7


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: CS USA Soloist 7
    MA: Ovation Elite Standard
    Rig: Mesa Triple Rec

    iTrader: 10 (100%)

    Also, that crack is fillable/repairable.

  10. #8


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Woodbridge, VA
    ME: KxK ProtoVii-7
    MA: Martin D-28
    Rig: Mesa/Boobies Stiletto

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    Yeah, the crack is no big deal. A little ebony dust and some super glue will take care of it. It’s an easy repair for a tech if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.

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