Les Paul?

smitty_p

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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.

Whereas that may be a generally workable rule of thumb, there have been exceptions down the through the years. For example, for a few years in the 1970s the Specials were done differently. They still had no holly on the headstock and they had an unbound fretboard, but they had small bock inlays, not dots.
 

pancake81

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Now in regards to model designation, I would consider all of these to be SG Custom models. Not because of where they were (or were not made), but due to their features. Split diamond headstock, ebony fret board, and MOP block inlays (including first fret).

1969 - Kalamazoo


1989 - Nashville (Pre-custom shop)


2007 - Nashville - (Post custom shop - but made on USA line)


2021 - Nashville - (Custom shop)


Now... Where it also gets confusing is when the Gibson Custom shop also makes SG Juniors, specials and standards. So you can have a SG Jr. Custom shop, as appose to an SG Jr. USA line. I always wonder how many folks, pawn shops and uneducated Guitar Centers have been taken for a ride and over payed. Sure, it is easy enough to run a serial number, but these mistakes likely happen.
 

pancake81

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Whereas that may be a generally workable rule of thumb, there have been exceptions down the through the years. For example, for a few years in the 1970s the Specials were done differently. They still had no holly on the headstock and they had an unbound fret board, but they had small bock inlays, not dots.

Definitely some exceptions to the rule, you are absolutely right. The 70's was a weird time with Norlin taking over and trying to save some production cost. That said, they did a few odd ball things as well. For example, unbound ebony fret boards on SG standards with block inlays. Although the 1970 blocks were actually a different shape, smaller and more rectangular than square.
 

Tileman

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Did Gibson ever install a truss rod cover on a 1987 SG that read Les Paul?
 

pancake81

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

The only time an SG can ever really be considered a Les Paul is an original 1961-1963. But even those being referred to as “the new style Les Paul” were still recognized as the SG body style. So they are still SG’s, they just wore the Les Paul name and truss rod cover.

Now, assuming you don’t have a vintage SG from 60 years ago, it is safe to say you have an SG.

Given the lineage I spoke to above, it is a common modification for folks to add a “Les Paul” truss rod cover to an SG as a nod to the lineage and roots of the guitar. It’s a neat piece of history. I also think some SG owners like to do it to ruffle the feathers of those die hard Les Paul fans. It is a well known fact that Les himself hated the SG. He thought it was a poor design, and to be honest he was right; At least initially. The SG originally suffered from a poor heel design, which Les pointed out promptly.

All this said, his contract expired sometime around 1963 at which tile his name and any association was removed from the model.
 
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cerebral gasket

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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.


I refer you to the 1963 SG Special pictured below that I had a few years ago. No "Les Paul Special" on the headstock.

full


Pictured below is my R0 Les Paul Special.

Funny thing is that in 1958, the Les Paul Special was re-designed as a Double Cut. It's a real head scratcher why they call this reissue a 1960 Les Paul Special Single Cut.

full
 
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chilipeppermaniac

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Again, we should ask Tileman to not only post pics in here of his SG's body,front and back, The headstock front, back, and to take the cover off the control plate and take pics of the control pots. Not to mention some full length shots. Many folks in here are pretty good at looking at numbers and wires n such on these things to tell you what you have. If ambitious, loosen the pickups off the body too and post pics of them.
 

pancake81

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Again, we should ask Tileman to not only post pics in here of his SG's body,front and back, The headstock front, back, and to take the cover off the control plate and take pics of the control pots. Not to mention some full length shots. Many folks in here are pretty good at looking at numbers and wires n such on these things to tell you what you have. If ambitious, loosen the pickups off the body too and post pics of them.

It always seems tougher than it should to get some good photos posted, doesn't it? It seems folks always drop in and pitch some questions expecting a short response to provide all details, but it is like pulling teeth to get some descent photos. Not firected at you Tileman, just a comment in general.

Chillperpper, you are right, it is amazing what some of our members can do off the littlest or oddest of information. I am ok with features and nailing down years and models etc. Nothing compared to some of our members. But most of the information I have obtained was through this site or by the material the members here have recommended. Personally I find the sleuthing really fun. A good mystery to solve.
 

Von Trapp

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The only time an SG can ever really be considered a Les Paul is an original 1961-1963.

So if you want a Les Paul and an SG but don't have the space for two guitars, this is the perfect buy!

It always seems tougher than it should to get some good photos posted, doesn't it? It seems folks always drop in and pitch some questions expecting a short response to provide all details, but it is like pulling teeth to get some descent photos. Not firected at you Tileman, just a comment in general.

Actually, finding out how to post pics here as a newcomer is a b!tch. Also, I seem to remember, but could be wrong, that you actually can't for a while.
 

pancake81

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So if you want a Les Paul and an SG but don't have the space for two guitars, this is the perfect buy!



Actually, finding out how to post pics here as a newcomer is a b!tch. Also, I seem to remember, but could be wrong, that you actually can't for a while.

Those are both excellent points!
 

chilipeppermaniac

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So if you want a Les Paul and an SG but don't have the space for two guitars, this is the perfect buy!



Actually, finding out how to post pics here as a newcomer is a b!tch. Also, I seem to remember, but could be wrong, that you actually can't for a while.

If Tileman has issues posting pics. Feel free to post the serial number and we can begin to ID from there.

There are always PM's and email ways to help him.
 


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