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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Best year for LP Standards?

    Does it exist?

    My tech and I were talking and I know he seems to find a lot of late 80s LPs that are stellar! I wonder why?

    I know my 2004 is great but I know I got a good one.

    I am sure there are monsters from all years but I am more concerned with the later years...80s - to current. I say that because it seems the older modles I can't afford nor can I afford an Historic...UNLESS I save some more. Hehe..

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I've owned eight. My two 2002 Flametop Standards were awesome. Followed closely by my 1994 Ebony Standard.

  3. #3

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I have heard anecdotally that the early 90's was a gold period for Gibson (90-94).

    Of course plenty of people will disgree

    Grant
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    "KISS uses GIBSON guitars and PEARL drum because they want the BEST"

  4. #4

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by plonky17 View Post
    I have heard anecdotally that the early 90's was a gold period for Gibson (90-94).

    Of course plenty of people will disgree

    Grant
    That was the years of the Classic. Outstanding guitars 91-93. If you like slim necks. And I don't mind 'em. If they'd had a bit thinner finish, they would've been nearly perfect.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Henk's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Early 90's standards are really good but rather heavy IMHO, mine is a '92. If my memory serves me right these are the last non-weight relieved standards. Build quality and hardware are much better then the later ones aswell.

  6. #6
    Les Paul Forum Member avereste's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Early 90s are weight relieved.
    I've got a 92 standard and it's the best les paul I've had (including a R7, G0 and a R9).
    It's light, 8.5 lbs, and it sounds resonant and balanced, with spank and full at the same time.
    I think gibson finish their guitars better now, and more historically accurate too, but I don't care at all.
    It's the one that remains.
    Forgive my english

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Henk's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I stand corrected, i was a decade off....

    In the early 80s Gibson started drilling 9 'soundholes' in the mahagony back. I never noticed the difference to be honest, at least i cant hear them tapping the back of my guitar.

    Somewhere in the late 90s/early 2000s(??) they started chambering the backs and this you can hear when tapping the back not to mention the considerable loss in weight.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Chambering started just a couple of years ago.

  9. #9
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum View Post
    Chambering started just a couple of years ago.
    2006 I believe they started chambering. How about chambering Studios?

    I believe the late 80s were good too!

    How about the best year for Studios? I played a friends 2005 Studio and hated it next to my 2004 Standard. Felt like railroad. Nothing smooth about the neck!

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Ad_02Std's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    My Standard was made in Jan 2002 and must have been one of the first to have the newer 2002 specs. They seemed to be trying particularly hard to impress with this one, and I've never played a Les Paul I like more.

    My friend has a 2003 Standard and it feels and sounds quite different.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member 57Lefty's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    There is no "bestest" anything. It's just what you like. After owning a lot of them you figure this out. For me : 8.5-8.9 Lbs, bigger neck, large frets. I would also give the nod to the 2002+ models .
    ........Each one, teach one.........

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member LesterP's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ad_02Std View Post
    My Standard was made in Jan 2002 and must have been one of the first to have the newer 2002 specs. They seemed to be trying particularly hard to impress with this one, and I've never played a Les Paul I like more.

    My friend has a 2003 Standard and it feels and sounds quite different.
    I agree with the above and feel 2002 was THE year for Standards.

    Nice weights, killer tops, thin binding, Kluson type tuners = 2002 being a winner.

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member 27sauce's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I have a 1994 Standard that is a standout. It makes any set of pickups sound great. Yes, a bit on the heavy side but very resonant. I almost traded it straight up for an 06 faded Standard but they just did not compare. 87-94ish are just great guitars, the newer ones have a plastic feel to them that I cant put my finger on, seems like the wood is still green when they build them.

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member DHBucker's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Well to be technical the the best years for the Les Paul Standard are 1958-1960. All hair splitting aside my '90 Standard is the one I waited for years to buy. I bought her new and it is a great guitar and I felt was better than several R8-R9 lesters I've played. It is heavy, but that's ok by me.

    "On a good day (I know it ain't everyday), we can part the sea. On a bad day (I know it's not everyday), glory beyond our reach."

    "If you can't dig on Esther well you'd better leave town, cause if you think she's bad you oughta see her sister."
    Billy F. Gibbons

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  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member mikev's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum View Post
    Chambering started just a couple of years ago.
    Right, but the weight relief hole drilling was started way before that. Two different things.

  16. #16
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Well, i had a 1994 standard that sounded like cardboard compared to my 2004 which is way more resonant and full sounding. The 94 had those flat frets I hate so I need to determine what years they used those, the wide, fat frets.

    Now, I know I have tried 87-89 LPs that were killer. And it sounds like 2002s as well. Ya never know. Problem is, I don't find many used in town so I always go to ebay. I live in Philadelphia, so if anyone has found a good store with a variety of used LPs...let me know!

    Also, what about Studio years? I hear early to mid 90s.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member Triplet's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    My '92 is the best "off the shelf" guitar I've ever come across. The only thing I've done to it is fit an ABR, otherwise, bone stock - and I'm quite the gear ho....

    .
    'then she made me play games I didn't wanna play...'
    .
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    Fer fux sake! Duane's left and Dickey's right!
    .

  18. #18
    Les Paul Froum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    1980:
    3 piece maple neck
    3 piece maple top
    tone for eternity

  19. #19
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikev View Post
    Right, but the weight relief hole drilling was started way before that. Two different things.
    I am very well aware of that, thank you. I was simply correcting the comment on the chambering. Weight relief started in 1982.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Henk's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Woops i forgot of my '92 standard.


  21. #21
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by papersoul View Post
    Well, i had a 1994 standard that sounded like cardboard compared to my 2004 which is way more resonant and full sounding. The 94 had those flat frets I hate so I need to determine what years they used those, the wide, fat frets.

    Now, I know I have tried 87-89 LPs that were killer. And it sounds like 2002s as well. Ya never know. Problem is, I don't find many used in town so I always go to ebay. I live in Philadelphia, so if anyone has found a good store with a variety of used LPs...let me know!

    Also, what about Studio years? I hear early to mid 90s.
    For guitars in Philly, try Benni Cintioli in the north east. He gets a lot of used stuff through that store.Here today, gone tomorrow, so check often.

    For older guitars, I got lucky with an 80 standard because it came with Tim Shaw pickups and it had a mahogany neck, so it's similar to a heritage 80.It's about 9lbs of non weight relieved mahogany, and has a warm,mellow vintage tone with great low end.

    As for the newer ones, I believe that in 2002 they changed the specs, and it got great reviews, so that year gets mentioned often. Like you,I too have a 2004, and it's a great guitar as well, but in different ways than the 80 standard.

    And just to prove a point, I also have a 1970 pancake ( not a style that many like) that has been used and abused in every which way.But if it's tight,focused, in your face rock that you want, that guitar with it's Bill Larence pickups is THE go to gutar for me. It has awsome cleans ala Page and the Allmans, the neck 'pup has "woman tone" for days, and the bridge pickup through a marshall will blister the paint on the walls !

    So I think that the age old axiom is true..... Good (and bad) guitars can be found in all years. It also depends on what you're looking for.

    +1 to '58 through 60 though.... Not too many of those that we all could resist
    if it weren't for the price....

    Picaso

  22. #22

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    1959

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    2002 was an awesome year for Standards. Gibson got almost eveything right with this guitar.

  24. #24

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I think Picaso is right. There are gems and duds from most periods, though the mid to late 70's where mostly inexcusable. I had a beautiful R7 that couldn't sing a note to save its ass. I found a Studio about three years ago that really does it. On the other hand, there do seem to be periods that are more consistent than others.

  25. #25
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Well, I guess I have my whole life to buy more LPs and since I have a nice '04 Standard, I am thinking I might grab a good Studio since realisticaly there are other things I need like a new acoustic electric and studio gear, LOL! I have a bad habit of sinking extra money into guitars at the sacrifice of things I need! LOL. I wonder how different a good 2002 Standard would be from my '04 which is great.

    I am surprised nobody mentioned 88 and 89. I have played some killers from that time period.

  26. #26

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I've owned a bunch of standards but my favorites were a 1990 CSB and the 2001 light burst flametop I have now (which I picked up for 899 BTW!!!). I had a '78 tobacco burst that was a great guitar too and it really had that reliced vibe due to plenty of use. Most eras have their dogs and their gems. I'm partial to early 90's for all Gibsons. That seemed to be a turning point for Gibson in general. I had a 2000 Standard though that had a big ole hump in the fretboard in the heel area. Man that sucked because everything else was perfect.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Froum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    1980


  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I'll reiterate what I and others have said about LP's since the line was reissued in the late 60's - some good, many mediocre and a few duds.

    Most mediocre Gibby's can be setup to be good Gibby's with the proper approach. The rest is up to the guy playing said guitar.

    And this includes everything from Norlin's to Custom Shops.

  29. #29
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Soooo many opinions. I talked to a guy today who feels Gibson was know for making great guitars with more attention to detail in the late 80s.

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member A. Warren's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    no such thing, because its all subjective, even about the OLD ones.

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member waylay00's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    I absolutely love my 2002 Standard. Best playing and sounding guitar I've ever owned, without a doubt.
    View my guitar blog!:

    http://fretworld.blogspot.com

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member dean69's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    another + for the 2002 standard from me.

    all the things that have been already mentioned make the 02 standard a superb sounding les paul plus:

    nickle hardware
    Ebony n Traditional - all valve amps

    http://joergpetersen.bandcamp.com/


  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member mantra's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    2002!!!

  34. #34
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Sounds like whatever they started to do right in 2002, carried over a few years because my 2004 is unreal just like you guys say.

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member A. Warren's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    and here we have the genesis of another guitar myth that later on ill have to convince people that doesnt exist.
    please post ACTUAL, VERIFIABLE FACTS that make 2002's different.
    not just different pickups, because of their transferrability, and no "because it feels right", which is ephemeral at best.

    stuff like wood and construction differences, fit and finish.

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member 57Lefty's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Gibson re-tooled the LP std. in 2002 (actually mid 2002)
    * Neck profile choice of 50"s or 60's.
    * Kluson Tuners
    * Nickel Hardware
    * Top hat Knobs
    * Burstbucker Pickups
    * Std. flame tops were equal to the old AAA.
    Although they still had the Std. Plus tops they did away with that
    whole A-AAAAAAAAA. thing. As a result the ROTM guitars had nicer tops.
    And they seemed to be lighter as well.
    I remember getting an 02 lightburst from Saul and loving it. He had some 01's he was letting go and he sent me a GT. The two guitars side by side were night and day to me. I sent the GT back.
    ........Each one, teach one.........

  37. #37

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    The 90's Les Paul are among the best ever made.

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member Ad_02Std's Avatar
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    They went for a big re-launch and seemed to put an extra special effort into getting these right. Mine was one of the first and its serial number is a Jan '02 stamp, and I think it was shipped to the UK early for the purposes of being a review model. The model was officially re-launched around March/April of that year. I bought mine in May, it was the only one I could find in the country at the time.


    Yes, they vary a lot. I'd never buy another guitar sight-unseen again, I believe I was naive and got lucky, but I do think there is a particular reason why there are many people shouting "2002" in this thread: Gibson were determined to impress with this re-launch. Whether that means they picked slightly higher grade timber for the first re-launch Standards, or put extra care into the finish and general QC I don't know.

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    Quote Originally Posted by nicolasrivera View Post
    The 90's Les Paul are among the best ever made.
    My 2004 crushed my 1994.

  40. #40

    Re: Best year for LP Standards?

    funny, I thought my '02 was just a good guitar. Didn't realize that so many others felt the same about their '02's. Guess there was something good in Nashville that year.

    I vote for 2002

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