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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Bought this guitar several years ago and had several questions after reading this forum for a while. One is that some say that all 1974 LP customs had the 20th Anniversary ingraving on the neck? Seems like I have seen postings of 1974's that didn't have it. Anyone really know how many were made? Mine is a red wine which I think is rarer? The neck to me is awesome compared to newer ones I see in stores. It is narrow and gets larger as you go up the neck. Is this a 70's neck or is this a older profile? I don't see why customs are not more highly thought of than the standards. Real pearl in the custom and plastic pearl in the standards, correct? Better tuners etc. Makes no sense to me. Any info on the above model would be appreciated. Great forum by the way, been great reading old posts.
    Steve
    Last edited by kitchen; 06-12-06 at 05:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Welcome! Nice to see another 74 Custom here.
    Mine doesn't have the 20th inlay either. I'm not sure how many didn't or why.
    Sounds like you have the same neck as mine, I really like it. I think it's a standard 70's profile for these.
    I think the fretless wonder frets turned a lot of guys off of the Customs. Mine's been refretted with Jumbos, and plays just great.
    IMO these are a real 70's rock machine. They don't pretend to be a burst. They are what they are, and they do it really well.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member LesterP's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    I like my '74 20 Anniversary very much. Mine does have the engraved fret marker, and to my knowledge, most '74s do.

    Would be curious as to how you would compare the neck size of your 74's to other Les Paul's? Mine is as thin as a 'Classic' if not thinner, though it has no movement. Those 3-piece necks are strong as hell.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    The neck on mine is roughly the size of an R0 on the first fret, grows to about the same size as my R9 by the 12th. A nice profile.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Bluedawg's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Great guitars IMHO.

    Here's mine:





    I picked mine up back in '82 or there abouts.


  6. #6
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    The neck profile is as described above. Thin an first position and gradually tapering up thicker as you go up the neck. The new LPs I tried out at a local music shop had thick necks all the way up. One called a 60's neck was thinner but not as thin as mine at the first position. I can see why they put in the volute to strengthen it. What surprised me is the general quality of the feel of the guitar. The Norlin's are much put down but I thought the feel of quality was far greater on my older guitar, especially the neck. Actually there was no comparison. I think, though they were turning them out like crazy during 1974 (I think over 7,000) there was still some magic in Kalamazoo.
    Steve

  7. #7
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Curious what kind of pickups are on these 74's and what are the goods and bads of them.
    Steve

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    They likely have patent # TTops in them, mine had one original when I bought it. IMO a great pickup.
    I don't buy the bad Norlin rep either, mine is a great guitar.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  9. #9

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by dwagar
    They likely have patent # TTops in them, mine had one original when I bought it. IMO a great pickup.
    I don't buy the bad Norlin rep either, mine is a great guitar.
    As always: I'm with you dwagar
    I'm really a great fan of the early 70s LPs. I like their sound and feel very much. The neck is just perfect for me. I have three and their neck profiles are the same.
    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


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  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Bass Blom's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    early 70's LPC's rock!

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Bass Blom, does yours have a Nashville bridge on it?
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member Bass Blom's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    I replaced the original, the thinner one with a wire..
    not that familiar with all the correct terms :D

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    The original would be an ABR-1, the thicker one would be a Nashville.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Bass Blom's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    ok thnx, so I had an ABR1 and later a nashville.
    the wire started an later all the bridge, corroding.
    but still it's a beast of a guitar.

  15. #15

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    If the guitars have been refretted, it's possible to sand off the engraving if the inlay was not removed before leveling the board.

  16. #16

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    My CSB '74 Custom has the "20th Anniversary" inlay, but it's VERY worn/faded. Kind of a steep neck angle on this one, too, so I had to top-wrap it to get optimal action, but the neck profile itself rocks. Very comfortable.


  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member mmcquain's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg
    Great guitars IMHO.Here's mine:
    Very nice. That brings back memories as the first real LP I played on was a 20th Anniversary Custom that my guitar instructor loaned me when my Montgomery Wards LP copy broke. Over the past almost 30 years since then I've tried to talk him into selling me that guitar (he's a collector with about 100 guitars). It is still the lowest action, truly "fretless wonder" LP that I've ever seen. It just played "like bud'her"
    .
    MMCQUAIN * Rock, Blues, Christian player * mmcquain@mcquain.com
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  18. #18

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyrsmith
    My CSB '74 Custom has the "20th Anniversary" inlay, but it's VERY worn/faded. Kind of a steep neck angle on this one, too, so I had to top-wrap it to get optimal action, but the neck profile itself rocks. Very comfortable.

    The binding around the fretboard and the nut are very white. I suppose they're newer?
    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


    Ducati 916: The Beauty and the Beast

  19. #19

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Oh BTW: always willing to show off mine '74

    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


    Ducati 916: The Beauty and the Beast

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Bass Blom's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    The binding around the fretboard and the nut are very white. I suppose they're newer?
    nope, white on my guitar too..

  21. #21

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Thin_Lizzy
    The binding around the fretboard and the nut are very white. I suppose they're newer?
    Yeah, this one had been re-fretted before I bought it, so the nut was replaced and is very white. The binding is original, and isn't quite as white in person as it is in the picture...though it might have been bollocksed or planed somehow during the re-fret.

  22. #22
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Mine has the best action I have every experienced on a guitar. Why are the fretless wonder, frets not liked by many players? Seems easy and smooth to me.
    Steve

  23. #23
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Wonder how many years they keep this neck profile? Is it just on the custom? It just really feels right to me also.
    Steve

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member Bluedawg's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by mmcquain
    Very nice. That brings back memories as the first real LP I played on was a 20th Anniversary Custom that my guitar instructor loaned me when my Montgomery Wards LP copy broke. Over the past almost 30 years since then I've tried to talk him into selling me that guitar (he's a collector with about 100 guitars). It is still the lowest action, truly "fretless wonder" LP that I've ever seen. It just played "like bud'her"
    The frets are almost not there. I've always loved the way it plays. Other guitar players have said I need to put these big railroad track frets on it, but I've always done my best to keep it stock.


  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member mmcquain's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluedawg
    The frets are almost not there. I've always loved the way it plays. Other guitar players have said I need to put these big railroad track frets on it, but I've always done my best to keep it stock.
    Yep, keep the frets stock... Heck, I'd love to get my hands on one of these in the creamy white (like my friend's) so if you're ever thinking of changing the frets then I'd be interested in getting yours and you could get something else!
    .
    MMCQUAIN * Rock, Blues, Christian player * mmcquain@mcquain.com
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  26. #26

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by kitchen
    Wonder how many years they keep this neck profile? Is it just on the custom? It just really feels right to me also.
    Steve
    I don't know how long they used this profile, but it;s not just the Custom. My Customs ('70 and '74) and my Deluxe ('73) all have the same nice profile.
    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


    Ducati 916: The Beauty and the Beast

  27. #27
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    +1 for fretless wonder. I hate tall frets, absolutely hate 'em. Snag and drag your fingers up and down the neck.

  28. #28

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by CutieJones
    +1 for fretless wonder. I hate tall frets, absolutely hate 'em. Snag and drag your fingers up and down the neck.
    -1 for the fretless wonder. Of course, it all depends on your technique and playing style. I just can't get enough traction with those tiny frets for bends and such--I need taller wire. That being said, I wouldn't mind have at least ONE '70s LP that was 100% original...all of mine have been re-fretted.

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member dwagar's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Mine was also refretted sometime prior to my buying it. Although it takes away the fretless wonder originality, I too prefer the bigger frets.

    I just realized, I haven't posted a picture of mine yet:



    Refret, graphite nut and Grovers before I bought it.
    Voodoo 59s, pots and vintage caps were my changes.
    - Don

    Originally Posted by reswot
    A 50's Special is, IMO, the coolest guitar ever made.

  30. #30
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Mine is all orginal which is kind of neat. The only thing I don't like is the pick up covers which have a lot of the gold gone. I was on ebay last night and someone was selling orginal covers they said came from a 20th anniversary which he said he only used for six months and were in storage for years. They look pretty new. I know covers are covers but its kind of neat to put covers on that are totally from the same period. Don't know if thats worth the effort but I got them and they are on their way.
    Steve

  31. #31

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by kitchen
    Mine is all orginal which is kind of neat. The only thing I don't like is the pick up covers which have a lot of the gold gone. I was on ebay last night and someone was selling orginal covers they said came from a 20th anniversary which he said he only used for six months and were in storage for years. They look pretty new. I know covers are covers but its kind of neat to put covers on that are totally from the same period. Don't know if thats worth the effort but I got them and they are on their way.
    Steve
    I'm afraid the gold on your 'new' ones will wear off pretty quickly too.
    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


    Ducati 916: The Beauty and the Beast

  32. #32
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    I got one too, Cherry Sunburst. I am the original owner, purchased in 1974 for around $450, 20th aniversary model. #2 stamped on headstock, blem in maple top near pickups. I thought I was the only one in the world with a #2 but I see a few out there in this forum

    Mods done in the mid/late 70's:
    Brass nut
    Fret job - larger frets and back to original type nut
    Grover Rotomatics
    Leo Quan Bad Ass Bridge
    Clear Plexiglass pick guard (home made)
    Removed pick up selector label
    50's style knobs
    Diamarzio PAF's
    Remove pick up covers
    Strap lock

    Mods done in 2005:
    Reinstall original ABR-1
    Graph Tech saddles
    Top Wrap strings
    Wagner Darkbursts pickups
    RS Premium Historic kit
    50's wiring
    RS Historic Studs
    RS Tailpiece

    I have all the original parts less the old fret wire as well.

  33. #33

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by lp20th
    I got one too, Cherry Sunburst. I am the original owner, purchased in 1974 for around $450, 20th aniversary model.
    Sweet!!!

  34. #34
    All Access/Backstage Pass Progrocker111's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    @kitchen> Congrats to your LP Custom.
    Im am a big fan of early 70s Les Pauls and have the same neck profile like you are describing on my 73 Custom. Very comfortable profile to me. I have the original "fretless wonder" frets too and i like them, because im not bending very much. They are great for faster playing.
    My diagnosis is: Hiwatt and Norlinphilia

    1970 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty
    1972 Hiwatt DR103, 1972 Hiwatt SE4122

  35. #35
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Here is a photo of my 20th. I guess it qualifies as a clownburst. But real beauty come from within. The reds actually aren't as strong as it shows in the photo and it looks a lot mellower in indoor or evening light. This picture is a little out of date too. The tailpiece and studs are not the RS parts that I listed in my earlier post. Also the new RS parts are nickel finish and since the original covers were pretty worn I polished off what was left of the gold plate. The only gold finish remaining is on the grover tuners


  36. #36

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Nice one lp20th!!
    My Róisín Dubh is my one and only true love


    Ducati 916: The Beauty and the Beast

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member nwobhm's Avatar
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by Thin_Lizzy
    Oh BTW: always willing to show off mine '74

    That's just like mine, white with the plastic plates under the tailpiece.
    These go to 11;)

  38. #38

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Quote Originally Posted by kitchen
    Mine is all orginal which is kind of neat. The only thing I don't like is the pick up covers which have a lot of the gold gone. I was on ebay last night and someone was selling orginal covers they said came from a 20th anniversary which he said he only used for six months and were in storage for years. They look pretty new. I know covers are covers but its kind of neat to put covers on that are totally from the same period. Don't know if thats worth the effort but I got them and they are on their way.
    Steve
    Kitchen,

    Do you want to sell those worn gold covers?

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    Sorry don't want to sell the old covers. I got the new ones and have not attempted to put them on. Someone told me that in a short while the new ones would wear as well. Don' know if it is worth the effort. Keeping the new ones in reserve.
    Steve

  40. #40

    Re: 1974 LP Custom 20th Anniversary

    I bought my 1st 20th anniv custom, USED back in 1975, for $480 [which was a TON of $$ for me back then. it was my 1st LP, All 'cream' color.
    gigged extensively with it in my rolling stones tribute band, cracked the headstock, had it fixed, meantime found ANOTHER 20th anniv as a backup, a TWO TONE one[!] all black but with a cream top [paid $490 fot it]. Never seen another one like it [it was stamped w/ a #2]. cracked the headstock on that one too, but had it fixed as well.
    Ended up jonesing for a hollowbody back in 1987, and traded the all cream one+cash for an ES335 dot reissue.
    wish I still had that 1st cream one. still have the 2 tone one though...

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