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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Hi All,

    Was just wondering why the Semi-Hollow Florentine isnt as loved as other LP models?

    Besides the fact I'm a sucker for f-holes, these guitars are really beautiful. Just picked up a 97 with a nice natural finish and quilt top.

    Are the differences between the Florentine and Florentine plus just the tops used? Flame and Quilt vs. no flame/quilt?

    Why did Gibson stop making these beauties? Are they still available through the Custom Shop?

    As a newbie (sort-of), getting back into playing and collecting - Gibson's website is pretty bad at giving information about, well, anything IMO. Can't make heads or tails what's available, what's not etc.

    Insight into the Florentine is greatly apprecaited!

    Best,

    asg

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I love the Florentine LP! But most here are traditionalists.
    On s'électrise:
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    La France a les plus belles femmes, le pays et la culture sur la planète. Personne ne peut correspondre à la beauté d'Alizée.

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member D'Mule's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    It's too pointy for me.
    '94 Gibson LP CS Standard
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    Quote Originally Posted by j45 View Post
    But the forum is...still a great place to hang out if you want to chat about guitars or blindside and humiliate unsuspecting chumps with our endless supply of vitriol.

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member ScreaminG's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    If I had the money I would go out and get one today.
    DO PIGS FLY ?

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Jim Sloves's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    ...
    Check out my CD SWIRL at www.cdbaby.com/cd/sloves

  6. #6

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    They are very cool, but they kinda fall in between a LP and typical semi. It's kind of a niche market I guess.

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I always liked florentines. I almost bought one in 2001 or 2002, but ended up getting and SG supreme instead.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member donw35's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    1997 Florentine, one of my Favorite guitars but for the 57 pickups..

  9. #9
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Thanks for your comments -

    I think what I like about the florentine is the fact that its a bit of a hybrid - gives a great clean tone, and overdriven is rather unique, compared with my hollowbody guitars.

    Appearance wise, I just think they are beautiful. Not many guitars have captured my heart like the Florentine has.

    Regarding pickups - have you swapped the '57's out? If so, what have you replaced them with? Very interested to know!

    Also - anyone know if these guitars can still be ordered through the Custom Shop?

    Your natural quilt is quite a looker - I have its brother at home. When I can, I'll take some pics - your quilt is more defined and nicer than mine. This place, well, Its easy to get jealous I guess :-).

    Thanks a bunch!

    asg

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member Bass Blom's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I would love one for sure!

  11. #11

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Don't forget the "stealth" Florentines, which don't have f-holes. The ones I have seen on ebay sold for plenty of love. Mike Slub has a really nice birdseye-topped one featured in his article "Unusual Custom Shop Les Pauls and More!" featured on the LPF home page.
    Last edited by Hammertone; 01-07-15 at 08:55 PM.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member donw35's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I have not replaced the 57 although I want to or pot them, I realy like the sound of the burstbuckers in my R9 and want to give those a go in the florentine

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Ad_02Std's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I'd love one. Never see them here in the U.K. though.

    I remember seeing a feature in Guitarist Magazine when Clapton had his big clearout, selling a huge amount of instruments, and one pictured was a sunburst Florentine with P-90s.

  14. #14

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I'm surprised that when Uncle Ted went to Les Pauls, it wasn't one of those. He's lost something without the fire breathing f-holes IMO.

  15. #15

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I had one for a while - a beautiful '96 (I believe) burst. In my case, the semi-hollow didn't save me any weight - it was within an ounce or so of my 1988 Pre-Historic R9. I also found the combination of the semi-hollow body and/or ebony board made it brighter than my Pre-Historic R9. In the end, I just liked the tone of my R9 better and so let the florentine go. I'll have to see if I still have any photos of it - she was a beaut!
    Is it you or the equipment?

  16. #16

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    i had the epiphone version, the les paul es for a few years. not a bad guitar. the gibson would be much better!!! i am jealous!!!

  17. #17

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Mine is my #1. It sounds just like a standard. Even more "solid body" sounding than todays chambered guitars. No acoustic properties whatsoever.
    57 preHistoric Goldtop (1987)
    58 Historic Lemonburst Plaintop (2014)
    59 Historic Faded Tea Honeyburst Lightly Aged (2013)
    60 Historic Washed Cherry Sunburst (2008)
    Custom Shop Bantam Plus prototype Florentine (1996)

    and some others......

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zep-H...3427055?ref=hl
    http://www.myspace.com/limeshack


    But the dude has tats. In Austin that will get you a 4pm gig at Emo's any Sunday of the year..... -Pat Boyack

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Here are some pics of one of my Florentines. This guitar is insane! I agree with the post above - no hollowbody qualities on this one whatsoever - it is one screaming guitar.

    This one is a 2000 CS I believe. My other is a 1996-97 - sounds much much different.


  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Quote Originally Posted by asg612 View Post
    Here are some pics of one of my Florentines. This guitar is insane! I agree with the post above - no hollowbody qualities on this one whatsoever - it is one screaming guitar.

    This one is a 2000 CS I believe. My other is a 1996-97 - sounds much much different.


    WOW! I love that one!

  20. #20
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Ya know... A florentine with Standard appointments might have been a better seller. You know. Rosewood board, small headstock, trap inlays, etc.

  21. #21

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    Ya know... A florentine with Standard appointments might have been a better seller. You know. Rosewood board, small headstock, trap inlays, etc.

    They made them. In 1996. Very few were made, maybe 5-10% Mine is one of them. My guitars twin in in the Netherlands somewhere. Wish he'd sell it to me.

    Last edited by trapland; 01-04-10 at 05:10 PM.
    57 preHistoric Goldtop (1987)
    58 Historic Lemonburst Plaintop (2014)
    59 Historic Faded Tea Honeyburst Lightly Aged (2013)
    60 Historic Washed Cherry Sunburst (2008)
    Custom Shop Bantam Plus prototype Florentine (1996)

    and some others......

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zep-H...3427055?ref=hl
    http://www.myspace.com/limeshack


    But the dude has tats. In Austin that will get you a 4pm gig at Emo's any Sunday of the year..... -Pat Boyack

  22. #22
    Administrator MikeSlub's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    1996 Gibson Custom limited run, Florentine Birdseye top with no F-Holes.

    Mike Slubowski

    * "Gibson guitars are like potato chips - you can't have just one!"

    * "So many Gibsons to love, so little time..."

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member rays44's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeSlub View Post
    1996 Gibson Custom limited run, Florentine Birdseye top with no F-Holes.

    Very nice, Mike.

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    That is a really sweet quilt and burst finish on your guitar Mike!

    To me though....I really like the F-holes. Something just so sexy about f-holes.

    Les Paul + F-holes = DROOL

    I do realize that most people here dont adhere to the above equation.

    Still - its really nice to get good tone from a semi-hollow paul without the weight!

    Best,

    asg

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member BillyBling's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I love them too!!!! I wish they had an ABR-1 though.....since I'm a Traditionalist!!!


    b
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  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member bern1's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I've always been curious about these guitars, as well as other Les Paul shaped semis like the Gibson ES 135.

    The question is, how do they balance? Would I need too "hold up" the headstock with my left hand on a Florentine? That was the biggest turn off for the ES 135 I tried, the headstock kept falling. I kept looking through the f hole to see if I could put a big blob of lead down by the rear end pin and how I might do it without ruining the guitar.

  27. #27
    Administrator MikeSlub's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Quote Originally Posted by bern1 View Post
    I've always been curious about these guitars, as well as other Les Paul shaped semis like the Gibson ES 135.

    The question is, how do they balance? Would I need too "hold up" the headstock with my left hand on a Florentine? That was the biggest turn off for the ES 135 I tried, the headstock kept falling. I kept looking through the f hole to see if I could put a big blob of lead down by the rear end pin and how I might do it without ruining the guitar.
    Great question! Yes, they are somewhat "headstock heavy". The key is to use a wide cotton strap that doesn't slip down on your shoulder as readily as a thin leather one.
    Mike Slubowski

    * "Gibson guitars are like potato chips - you can't have just one!"

    * "So many Gibsons to love, so little time..."

  28. #28

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Mike's right of course. The "Custom" appointed versions are really neck heavy. I had 2 of them and sold them both for just that reason. If you play a sticky strap its no problem. I play a 50's style strap and the thing dive bombed on me all the time.

    The "Standard" versions (very rare) balance perfectly. Mine wieghs about 8 lbs. The routing inside on mine is very different than other semi-hollows. It loks like they leave the entire center 5" alone from the neck to the tail (except pickup routes of course). The just route out the sides. Many other semi's have mahogony removed at the tail as well. I believe the "Custom" style has the wood removed at the tail, like a es135 and others. That may help explain the balance on those.

    One other thing. Mine has a long tenon. I love this guitar!
    57 preHistoric Goldtop (1987)
    58 Historic Lemonburst Plaintop (2014)
    59 Historic Faded Tea Honeyburst Lightly Aged (2013)
    60 Historic Washed Cherry Sunburst (2008)
    Custom Shop Bantam Plus prototype Florentine (1996)

    and some others......

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zep-H...3427055?ref=hl
    http://www.myspace.com/limeshack


    But the dude has tats. In Austin that will get you a 4pm gig at Emo's any Sunday of the year..... -Pat Boyack

  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Member rhubarbred's Avatar
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    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    I saw a band out of Philly a few months back called Mo Faux and one of the guitar players had a silver sparkle florentine that looked awesome on stage....I never got to ask him about it, wonder if it was a factory finish?

  30. #30

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Sparkle top Florentines were all the rage in 1995-1996! Here's a scan of a photo of one I owned in 1996. It was a 1995"titanium sparkle" Kind of a silver/grey.

    In 1995 Gibson called these guitars "bantams" My 1995 shown was called a "Bantam Elite" on the Gibson paperwork (Box sticker, tags). Supposedly, Gretch took issue with the bantam part since they were making a drumset under that name. The guitars were changed to the name FLORENTINE sometime in 1996.
    If I remember right, the uncovered pickup was NOT stock, but one I threw in there. I bought this one new in 1996 (about $2800 then) and sold it the next year due to heavy headstock balance.

    Variations I have seen in person:

    Pale blue sparkle with f holes (custom style)
    Pale Blue Sparkle no F holes (still hollow)
    Pale pink sparkle with f holes (standard style)
    Pale pink sparkle with DIAMOND HOLES! (custom style)
    To the best of my recollection all of those models were monikered "Bantams" All four were shipped to 2 stores in the Minneapolis area. The titanium one I bought was from GC in MPLS.

    I LOVE these guitars!! Even though I dont really dig the balance on the more common "custom" style ones. I REALLY want another standard!! But even after 15 years of searching and researching them, I have only seen 4! The one I own, its twin in the netherlands, the 1995 sparkle mentioned above and a gorgeous green flame standard that was owned by another LPF member and he sold.

    Any other info about these guitars, ESPECIALLY the ones built in 1995-96 I would love to learn.

    57 preHistoric Goldtop (1987)
    58 Historic Lemonburst Plaintop (2014)
    59 Historic Faded Tea Honeyburst Lightly Aged (2013)
    60 Historic Washed Cherry Sunburst (2008)
    Custom Shop Bantam Plus prototype Florentine (1996)

    and some others......

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zep-H...3427055?ref=hl
    http://www.myspace.com/limeshack


    But the dude has tats. In Austin that will get you a 4pm gig at Emo's any Sunday of the year..... -Pat Boyack

  31. #31

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    Quote Originally Posted by trapland View Post
    ...I LOVE these guitars!! Even though I dont really dig the balance on the more common "custom" style ones. I REALLY want another standard!! But even after 15 years of searching and researching them, I have only seen 4! The one I own, its twin in the netherlands, the 1995 sparkle mentioned above and a gorgeous green flame standard that was owned by another LPF member and he sold.

    Any other info about these guitars, ESPECIALLY the ones built in 1995-96 I would love to learn.
    Here (no affiliation):
    http://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-ban...-1995-brunswic
    O. DiBella Music 456Music.com
    (877) 634-2355
    Year: 1995
    Manufacturer: Gibson
    Model: Bantam Les Paul Standard Custom Shop
    Case: Hard
    Color: Brunswick Blue
    Condition: Brand New
    Description: Gibson Bantam Les Paul Standard Custom Shop guitar in mint condition. Chambered mahogany body with rosewood fingerboard and gold hardware. Brunswick Blue finish. Serial #: 59227. Includes hardshell case. One of a kind prototype that never saw production!
    Last edited by Hammertone; 01-07-15 at 08:56 PM.

  32. #32

    Re: Why so little love for the Florentine?

    if anyone is interested an epiphone les paul es (their version of the florentine) is on ebay right now. $100
    "Playing guitar allows me to dream out loud."--Michael Hedges

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