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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Where are they now...

    I often wonder what became of some of the more unique instruments I built while working for Gibson. I hope to keep this thread alive by occasionally sharing some excerpts from my serial number log book, and / or some actual photos of some of the instruments. If you see something that you're familiar with, I'd love to hear from you!


    To start with, here's a guitar I will always cherish. This prototype double-neck Explorer was the handy work of Mr. James Hutchins. It features an offset body, meaning the lower half is raised slightly higher than the top half. Much easier to see the six string neck while playing. The block inlays have abalone triangle insets. I created a custom wiring harness for it. There are two jacks in the rim with the ability to run mono or stereo (separate amp for each neck). I remember it being very well balanced, and weighing MUCH less than a 1275. Hutch must have spent a lot of time perfecting this prototype. It actually has a 1981 Kalamazoo serial number: 851210XX but I built it on December 10th, 1985. I'll never understand why it never became a production model.


    [IMG][/IMG]

  2. #2

    Re: Where are they now...

    very interesting post plus a cool pic ! ..keep 'em comin whenever you get a chance !

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member PierceLP's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    I once saw a picture of a sunburst les paul with an explorer headstock. After doing some research i found this ad. And ive seen photos of ricky nielson playing one. So im not sure if it was his own custom thing or an actual run of les pauls with an explorer headstock. Either way, ive never seen one in person!


  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Where are they now...

    late 80's or very early 90's, there was a custom ordered LP with an explorer neck in our local shop. It was waiting to be picked up by its owner. At the time it made me inquire as to the economic feasibility of the custom shop. Evidently there was a brief window when they were up just about anything you wanted, for a price, at that point in time.

  5. #5
    Les Paul Forum Member Luke Gibson's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    If I recall correctly the guitarist for Huey Lewis and the New had one as well....
    Lost in the middle of a Brazillian rosewood
    fingerboard......

    http://s97.photobucket.com/home/LukeGibson69

  6. #6

    Re: Where are they now...

    Aldo Nova had some made.

    "...this thing is a destroyer of planets, a tonal doom-bringer, a wooden warrior from another dimension." Frutiger

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Oh I HAVE seen one of those. It wasn't silver, it was red. I was in a pawnshop in Phoenix in 2002, browsing musical gear and that caught my eye. I had never seen one before and the guys behind the counter were just giving me the 'ol palms up. Next to it was an explorer which I'd never seen before either. It was an explorer type body, cherry burst, but with a circular cutout on the bottom. Both were just odd to me.
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Maybe it was a Hamer. Now I'm wondering. I only saw it for a few minutes. BUT it looked just like that double neck with the sharp pointy ends in red. It was just leaning against a shelf because of the necks and the body shape. It wouldn't fit on their vertical hangers.
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by J T View Post
    Oh I HAVE seen one of those. It wasn't silver, it was red. I was in a pawnshop in Phoenix in 2002, browsing musical gear and that caught my eye. I had never seen one before and the guys behind the counter were just giving me the 'ol palms up. Next to it was an explorer which I'd never seen before either. It was an explorer type body, cherry burst, but with a circular cutout on the bottom. Both were just odd to me.
    Wasn't the cherry Explorer type called an XPL?
     photo norlin_logo.jpg

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    YES! That is EXACTLY it! The XPL. That is the one I saw there.



    I'll bet that pawnshop got both of those from the same guy that bought them in the mid eighties.
    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member J T's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Maybe Eric knows something about these. He has some really cool guitars.



    Actually, now that that I think about it, maybe that double neck I saw was a James Hetfield ESP.. (doh!)

    The farther you go, the closer you are.

  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    As far as I know, the Gibson in the original post was a one-off, prototype. Never seen or heard from since. Surely someone here knows what happened to it??

    But since we kinda got off on the LP / XPL thing, here's an "oddball" that came through. It has a LP, double cutaway, carved top body with no binding. Appears to be a rosewood fingerboard with cream binding. I used chrome ES 347 pups with a coil tap. Wired the volume pots like a Jazz bass since there is no toggle switch.

    Where is she now??


    [IMG][/IMG]

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Ok, one more for today. Here's a beautiful EDS-1275 with a flame maple top (and back), finished in a cool looking tobacco / honey burst. It has gold hardware, tortoise shell pickguards, and ivory truss rod covers.

    Where is she now??


    [IMG][/IMG]

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member Mars Hall's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Cool thread, thanks for posting!
    "What's that man movin' cross the stage?
    It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page..." Paul McCartney

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Here's a special order Alpine White ES-347. They wanted "Lucille" electronics, and to keep the 347 coil tap. So I did it. There is also the name STEVE in the fingerboard at the 11th fret.

    [IMG][/IMG]

    Anyone seen STEVE?


    I found where I had logged this one in my book. It was built on August 1st, 1985. Oh, and look. The same day I built one of the three guitars I built for Chris Hayes. Now those guitars were awesome. Tim Shaw hand delivered the pickups to me for each one.


    [IMG][/IMG]

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member Jignant's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by Strings Jr. View Post
    Ok, one more for today. Here's a beautiful EDS-1275 with a flame maple top (and back), finished in a cool looking tobacco / honey burst. It has gold hardware, tortoise shell pickguards, and ivory truss rod covers.

    Where is she now??


    [IMG][/IMG]
    Umm nothing but LUST for that 1275!!!
    Souly Noted - Classic Rock, Modern Rock and Original Music.

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Here's another one-off for ya. Alpine White Moderne with a black Supertune vibrola, and maple fingerboard. It has open face Dirty Fingers pickups.

    Where is she now?


    [IMG][/IMG]

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Randy, any chance you worked on this '82 Moderne? (not mine, but popped up on Craigslist..)

    http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/sh...-on-Detroit-CL
     photo norlin_logo.jpg

  19. #19
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Randy, any chance you worked on this '82 Moderne? (not mine, but popped up on Craigslist..)

    Yes, there's a very good chance, especially if it's one of the early ones. If we knew the serial number I could tell you for sure.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Here's a little Moderne history for you Kris. I built two on November 1st, 1982 then, several each day thereafter. As you can see, numbers A 002 thru A 006, built on November 2nd, were prototypes. I have prototype numbers recorded thru A 018, so maybe safe to say the first 20 were prototypes. My numbers for the A 02X guitars were not prototypes. My records show that we were already into the "E" series numbers by the end of December.

    [IMG][/IMG]

  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    My buddy Dennis posing with Rudolf Schenker's double-neck V shortly after it was born.

    Where is it now?

    I once heard it was on display at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

    Can anyone here confirm that?


    [IMG][/IMG]

  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Love this thread. Keep the pics coming!
    GuitarMikey

  23. #23
    Administrator MikeSlub's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Really cool stuff!
    Mike Slubowski

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

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

  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Member Marcel M's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Cool thread! Thanks for sharing!
    Let it bleed!

  25. #25
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Where's the love for my synth guitars?

    I was the sole builder of all the LP's and Explorer's that came with the Roland kits until they finally let me train one other guy.

    The Studio Custom was used for the Les Paul version. That's why the Studio Customs have the ABR bridge, and the Studio Standards don't. I had to use an ABR with the adjusting screws facing the tailpiece in order for the GK pickup to fit.

    Here's a one off Cherry Sunburst with a nice top.

    Where is she now?


    [IMG][/IMG]



    Here's a special order black one where the customer requested no covers on the PAF's.

    Mr. Billy Gibbons.


    [IMG][/IMG]

  26. #26
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Sweet!

    Randy, do you recall when the green keystone keyed, screw in front bushing "Gibson Deluxe" tuners were first used?
     photo norlin_logo.jpg

  27. #27
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Ford View Post
    Sweet!

    Randy, do you recall when the green keystone keyed, screw in front bushing "Gibson Deluxe" tuners were first used?

    Kris, I can't give you an exact date, but maybe I can help get you close. These LP Synths were built in '85 and those tuners had already been around for a while at that point. My first job when I started in 1977 was installing the tuners. At that time all LP Standards and Deluxes were still getting the old style tuners with the press-in bushings. ( I still have nightmares about the lacquer cracking on the peghead face while pressing those bushings in ) I started assembly in late 1978 and they were still being used at that time. So my best guess for the changeover would be sometime between 1979 and maybe '81 or '82. Hope that helps.

  28. #28
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Cool thread, thanks... and I gotta say, super styleeee look here!

    Otherwise known as Grant.

  29. #29

    Re: Where are they now...

    that beauty would make the Gibbs proud !

  30. #30
    Les Paul Forum Member Kris Ford's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by Strings Jr. View Post
    Kris, I can't give you an exact date, but maybe I can help get you close. These LP Synths were built in '85 and those tuners had already been around for a while at that point. My first job when I started in 1977 was installing the tuners. At that time all LP Standards and Deluxes were still getting the old style tuners with the press-in bushings. ( I still have nightmares about the lacquer cracking on the peghead face while pressing those bushings in ) I started assembly in late 1978 and they were still being used at that time. So my best guess for the changeover would be sometime between 1979 and maybe '81 or '82. Hope that helps.
    Sweet, thanks Randy!
     photo norlin_logo.jpg

  31. #31
    Les Paul Forum Member AXE752's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by Strings Jr. View Post
    Here's a little Moderne history for you Kris. I built two on November 1st, 1982 then, several each day thereafter. As you can see, numbers A 002 thru A 006, built on November 2nd, were prototypes. I have prototype numbers recorded thru A 018, so maybe safe to say the first 20 were prototypes. My numbers for the A 02X guitars were not prototypes. My records show that we were already into the "E" series numbers by the end of December.

    [IMG][/IMG]


    Just out of curiosity, did you work on any of the Heritage Series korina explorers in the ~'84 era?

    Thanks
    George
    "Be the ball."

  32. #32
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by AXE752 View Post
    Just out of curiosity, did you work on any of the Heritage Series korina explorers in the ~'84 era?

    Thanks
    George

    Yes sir!

    Here's the first one I have listed in my book (or maybe I should start calling it my "ledger". That word seems to get a lot of attention around here.)

    Build #6 for me on September 15th, 1983.


    [IMG][/IMG]

  33. #33
    Les Paul Forum Member AXE752's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    [QUOTE=Strings Jr.;2711215]Yes sir!

    Here's the first one I have listed in my book (or maybe I should start calling it my "ledger". That word seems to get a lot of attention around here.)

    Build #6 for me on September 15th, 1983.





    Very cool! I have one I bought brand new in Corpus Christi, TX in 1984. Ser # "1 0025" inked on. I still own it. It is one of the ones with the "tulip" type tuners and black knobs, natural Korina, and Shaw pickups. It is a great guitar.

    George
    "Be the ball."

  34. #34
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    [QUOTE=AXE752;2711360]
    Quote Originally Posted by Strings Jr. View Post
    Yes sir!

    Here's the first one I have listed in my book (or maybe I should start calling it my "ledger". That word seems to get a lot of attention around here.)

    Build #6 for me on September 15th, 1983.





    Very cool! I have one I bought brand new in Corpus Christi, TX in 1984. Ser # "1 0025" inked on. I still own it. It is one of the ones with the "tulip" type tuners and black knobs, natural Korina, and Shaw pickups. It is a great guitar.

    George

    Congrats! Those are great guitars. I did a little more research in my book and found more serial numbers that I missed the first time.
    The first one I have recorded is 1 0030 built on May 27th, 1983. Very close to yours.

    Thanks!!

  35. #35

    Re: Where are they now...

    This is my favourite thread.

  36. #36
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Here's something you don't see every day.

    3 pickup Custom with a natural, birdseye top, maple fingerboard, and Ivory tuners.

    I built this one on December 31st, 1985.

    Come on, who's got it now?


    [IMG][/IMG]

  37. #37
    Les Paul Forum Member DanD's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    This is my favourite thread.
    +1
    "In Heaven all the interesting people are missing."

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member Breakrite's Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    Man...just incredibly cool history!

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member Strings Jr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Where are they now...

    This one's for Big Al.

    Occasionally, a guitar would come through that was hard to let go of. This was one of those.

    LP Deluxe with a nice 2 piece top, in Tobacco Brown Sunburst.

    Built mid '85.

    Where is she now?


    [IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by Strings Jr.; 06-27-16 at 07:33 PM.

  40. #40
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    Re: Where are they now...

    one like that sold in Baltimore area a few years ago - I was more than tempted.

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