Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Gibson SG' started by Tileman, Dec 4, 2021.

  1. Tileman

    Tileman New Member

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    I have 1987 SG Les Paul. Well, thats what's on the truss rod cover. It has 2 pickups not 3. Did they make Les Paul with 2 pickups?
     
  2. PermissionToLand

    PermissionToLand Well-Known Member

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  3. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to ETSG!

    The answer to your question is: YES! The majority of Les Paul guitars are made with two p'ups.

    Also, Sgs and Les Pauls are different instruments. There's a bit of confusion over this because in 1960 Gibson finished making Les Pauls that looked like this:
    Les Paul Std.jpg

    For 1961 Gibson changed the design and made guitars that looked like this:
    Les Paul:Mary Ford.jpg
    This is Mr. Les Paul himself, alongside his cool wife Mary Ford who was also an excellent musician and vocalist. Les Paul's contract with Gibson was expiring, as was his marriage
    to Mary, and this is likely one of the last official Gibson publicity photos featuring him.
    He's posing (like a trooper) with a two-pickup SG, and Mary has her own SG with three
    pickups. But he never actually played one until much later. And he said snarky things
    about SGs, once his contract was done.

    These are SGs, not Les Pauls. There are guys who will argue with me on this point...
    because it says Les Paul on the plastic part near the neck. But SGs are NEVER Les Pauls.
    Les Pauls look like the one above. The only reason it says Les Paul on these SGs is because Gibson still had a supply of the name plates, and they screwed them onto SGs until they
    were used up.

    Les Paul himself said, "Take my name off the thing, it's not my design." So they did.
    Les Paul didn't like the SG, he didn't think there was enough wood at the neck joint.
    He was right too. Early SG's with his name on them were prone to breakage there.
    After 1963, they simply called this design the SG... and ever since.
    And after 1963, Gibson improved the design so they weren't as fragile.
    SGs are still fragile, and need TLC. It's part of the player's job.

    Back in those days, nobody knew how obsessive guitar players and collectors would become, fifty years in the future. The people who built them, and who wrote the advertising, and even those who played them then... would be astounded to know how much typing in internet posts are dedicated to tiny little differences from one guitar to another. *laughs

    A Les Paul with three pickups is known as a Les Paul Custom. An SG with three Pickups is also often known by this name, erroneously IMHO. They are NOT the same instrument. I think an SG with three p'ups ought to be called the Mary Ford Signature model. If Les didn't like it, Mary probably did. They were splitting up.
    Other members of this forum will certainly disagree with me, so this is my humble opinion as a fan of the SG design. Fans of the Les Paul design have their own forum.
     
  4. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    WELCOME, as Col says.

    If you stay here in the forum, which we hope you do, you will learn a lot. HEY we like pictures. Post some of your guitar. Also, there can be lots of pointers to maximizing the setup and ease with which you can best bond with your guitar.

    I won't completely disagree with COL on the LP/SG/LPSG chronology labeling history, but, I will add my 2 cents. I think a 3 pup SG needs to be called the Sister Rosetta Tharpe SG.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
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  5. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    She also played a mean LP as well.
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    A few other facts about Les the man and his guitars.

    There is also a back story where Les really was more attached to Epiphone than Gibson. If you want some interesting history, google that.

    As a 2nd bit of Gibson history, there were a period of years when Gibson actually stopped making the Single cut LP while once the SG ( Solid Guitar) was introduced, it has never stopped being made or played.

    Research the many posts, Col Mustard has written in here regarding his own SG journey, you and anyone will learn a lot about his finding his finest guitar and eventually a 2nd one he enjoys as well.

    I took his lead, and also purchased one of the same models, my awesome SG Faded Brown Walnut finish.
     
  7. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Also, correct me if I am wrong. Didn't Gib make 1, 2 and 3 pickup LP's and SG's. 1 pups were Jr's, 2 could be Specials, Standards, LP Studios, Stds and Customs, plus the SG and LP Customs that had 3 pups.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
  8. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    1,700 Standards were made. These Les Pauls were considered to be too heavy and old-fashioned, and they initially did not find favor amongst guitarists. In 1961, Gibson stopped producing the traditional Les Paul in favor of a lighter redesign which was later called the SG.

    Great reading here too. https://forum.gibson.com/topic/101625-what-period-gibson-stopped-making-les-pauls/

    A Sample.

    Sales of the Les Paul had dropped by the end of the '50s and there was a major re-design.

    The carved-top LP was changed for the 1961 season to the shape of what is now known as the SG (Solid Guitar).



    These Les Paul/SGs were still badged as a 'Les Paul' until Gibson's ten-year endorsement deal with Les expired in '62.



    From '62 the 'Les Paul' ceased to exist as a named model until it was re-introduced, owing to popular demand, in '68.
     
  9. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    wait a min... the Les Paul isn't a Les Paul design...
     
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  10. Tileman

    Tileman New Member

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    So how can I verify this SG is a Les Paul?
     
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  11. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    Tileman, If it is an SG, then it is an SG. Show us pics of it and the back of head stock with serial number.
     
  12. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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    THE SG is not Les Paul's design.



    The LP as one might find like the Gold top Ms Tharpe is playing above is reputed to be a Ted Mccarty design.

    Did Les Paul design the Les Paul guitar?
    Contrary to popular belief, Les Paul didn't really design the Les Paul guitar at all. He was consulted, and had some input on its look and design, but the guitar itself was designed by Ted McCarty and Gibson factory manager John Huis.Apr 3, 2020

    https://gear-vault.com/les-paul-log-guitar-1939-birth-les-paul/
     
  13. chilipeppermaniac

    chilipeppermaniac Well-Known Member

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  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I don’t call any SG a Les Paul regardless if the 1961-63 models had the Les Paul name on the headstock of the Juniors or the Standards had it on the truss rod cover or the Customs had it on the tenon cover.

    Funny thing is the Specials never had the Les Paul name anywhere on the guitar.

    An SG Custom can have either 2 or 3 pickups. It’s the neck and headstock markings that make it a Custom, not the number of pups. Customs have bound neck and headstock with large block inlays on the neck and split diamond inlay on the headstock.

    An SG with three pups is an SG3. Some Standards have 3 pups. Customs with 3 pups are still called Customs without the SG3 designation.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
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  15. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

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    point is lost...

    yes I'm well aware the SG / LP is not a Les Paul design.... but so too the actual 50s LP...
    so the SG has every right to have Les Paul's name on it as the LP...cos... Gibson said so :p

     
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  16. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Fender has its SRV Strat, Gibson could have its SRT SG.
     
  17. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly how I have always looked at it CG. It’s the features on the guitar that determine what model it is. As you mentioned, split diamond head stock, block inlays = Custom. No Gibson holy and dot inlays = special (no matter which pick ups, P90, hum buckers). Gibson Holy with trapezoid inlay = standard. And so on.

    The lines do get a little blurred when considering factories. Historically the SG customs where made right beside their counterparts in the Nashville or Kalamazoo factory. But later the “Custom Shop” was introduced and they now make all the historics, artist models and I believe the Customs.

    So this is interesting because you can have what folks call a USA line Custom. In which they are referring to the fact it has all custom appointments (split diamond headstock, block inlays, ebony board, etc) but it was made in the Nashville factory. Where as you could also have a Custom SG that came from the a custom Shop.

    I always found this a bit funny, especially when the cork sniffers get involved. They like to point out of a guitar with Custom appointments is actually a custom, due to what factory it came from or what group of people in that factory built it.

    The kicker of course is, traditionally Gibson only ever had one factory in Nashville for all of the solid bodies. So before the “custom shop” was designated, every Custom was a USA line guitar. But it seems once a “custom shop” was designated (mid 90’s I believe?) folks could discriminate on which group of folks made a guitar with the same appointments.

    Custom appointments aside, some folks go bananas over which factory a guitar was built at. From 1900 - 1975 I believe all of the Gibson guitars where built in Kalamazoo (Michigan). Until 1975 when Gibson opened the Nashville plant. Both where functioning until 1984 when Gibson closed the Kalamazoo plant.

    Now… some folks will swear the Kalamazoo plant made better guitars. I am not buying it. Sure, some where probably better, and vice versa for the Nashville plant. As we know, guitars are all individual. It’s crazy to say one factory made better ones. That’s like saying red Ferraris go faster and black guitars play louder. I always get a kick when I see a late 70’s or early 80’s Gibson and folks advertise “and it was made at the Kalamazoo factory”. Ok… but how does it play?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
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  18. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day, if you say SG everyone will know what you are talking about. Call it a Les Paul and most people will think you are talking about that other Gibson. I wonder if the Air Jordan sneaker brigade have similar anguish about the lineage and authenticity heir favorite shoe?

    Wait... it is the internet, of course they do. What was I thinking? :D
     
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  19. John Vasco

    John Vasco Active Member

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    1) This is incorrect. I refer you to the book, 'The early years of the Les Paul legacy 1915-1963' by Robb Lawrence, pages 190 and 192, wherein you will see photos of headstocks with the words 'Les Paul Special' on them.

    2) The original transfer from the Les Paul shape to the SG shape was quite simple, and as follows: LP Junior - SG Junior; LP Special - SG Special; LP Standard - SG Standard; LP Custom - SG Custom. I'm not sure that you will find a two pickup SG Custom on release at that time-Les Paul had a modified white Custom with two pickups on a black pickguard. Lawrence's book covers the SG shape from page 262 onwards.

    3) Mention of the SG3 is a later iteration of the SG.
     
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  20. pancake81

    pancake81 Well-Known Member

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    3) Mention of the SG3 is a later iteration of the SG.


    I believe you are referring to the designation of the model SG3 which was a limited run of 400 in 2007. That aside, some folks did use the terminology SG3 when referring to SG's with 3 pick ups prior to that. However, as Cerebral Gasket mentioned, SG customs with three pickups were just reffered to as Customs. This was standard as the majority of SG Customs were three pickup models with the exception being 2 pickup variants

    SG3

    [​IMG]


    SGS3
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021

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