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1966 “Torpedo Joe” Les Paul owned by Billy Gibbons (photos)

Doc Sausage

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Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
1,589
I think there’s a Chinaman behind those Ray Ban’s on the bearded one!:peace2
 

59Cherrytop

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Joined
Jul 15, 2001
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122
Hey guys!

Just saw this unique custom Gibson and had to chime in on this thread. Sorry I've been gone so long. Been busy with gigs and my new layouts.

Turns out the Nashville Gibson folks have the Kalamazoo documentation (design work blueprints) dated May 12th of 1967 on this special order. I've seen some of it and we think that Larry Allers personally worked on this one back then. Sports an Epiphone NY type cutaway later used on the LP Professional/Personal models. The headstock details are beautiful!

Best regards >> Robby Lawrence
 

AlienVintage

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
312
Thanks for this great info!
Also, I’d be lying if I didn’t add: it feels pretty good to have been right about this guitar :jim


Hey guys!

Just saw this unique custom Gibson and had to chime in on this thread. Sorry I've been gone so long. Been busy with gigs and my new layouts.

Turns out the Nashville Gibson folks have the Kalamazoo documentation (design work blueprints) dated May 12th of 1967 on this special order. I've seen some of it and we think that Larry Allers personally worked on this one back then. Sports an Epiphone NY type cutaway later used on the LP Professional/Personal models. The headstock details are beautiful!

Best regards >> Robby Lawrence
 

AlienVintage

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
312
Goes to show: with old Gibsons, anything is possible.

All the oddball features only make me more certain it is genuine. The combination of all the little details, when you look at it closely in these photos. The weird round cutaway included. I believe it is a genuine Gibson custom order from circa 1966/1967. It looks like Billy Gibbons believes so, too.
 

gmann

Active member
Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
5,858
Nope, as presented. Not in logs.
Toggle cavity rout, REALLY?
Armrest and engraving?, Ah no, and no.
How'd they make and sell a LES PAUL without Les's royalty renewed? 1968 not 66. Also I was told by several dealers in 70's they could NOT order a Les Paul until 68.
Pickguard and headstock rear long turd thingy,:bigal WTF??
Heal Cap? Headstock shape? Some sharp corners and edges there too.
Flat top?

This is just the kinda thing BG would design in '06 not '66. It doesn't look 66 at all.

Top mounted input jack, the whole thing is weird looking.
 

deytookerjaabs

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
1,483
How did I miss this gem?!

That guitar is crazy.

I'd like to see some verification but..that said. Whomever made this certainly had an eye for detail if you assume it was not Gibson.

Let's see, the ABR looks period correct with those characteristic aggressive slopes at the edge & soft edged nylon saddles, chrome'd up parts with chrome covers, the knobs have that slight yellowing under the clear, Pat Pend Grovers, switch tip & poker look era correct, all the pickguard plys look like the old fashioned wavy/inconsistent glued sheets that are hand cut, the binding looks like white royalite (apposed to white ABS), the fretboard binding edges are heavily rolled off exactly like 50's customs were along with that tooled portion being unfinished with no yellowing, the pickups rings look like correct m69's from those years, Bigs is era correct, the number stamp fonts look Kalamazoo, I wonder and bet the binding dots are tortoise shell and I've probably missed more? The wire is certainly not fretless wonder spec though but they were using bigger wire on the other instruments then anyways.

So, whomever did this (if the story doesn't check out) certainly had a massive hard-on for mid to late 60's Gibson/Kalamazoo materials & specs as all those little details show up no matter how incongruent the design is. If you custom ordered this guitar today without spec'ing vintage to the most insane detail it would look totally different.


Usually, in a fake the design looks good but the details have gaps. Here, the design looks crazy but the details are pretty impressive.
 

neuroy

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
223
How did I miss this gem?!

That guitar is crazy.

I'd like to see some verification but..that said. Whomever made this certainly had an eye for detail if you assume it was not Gibson.

Let's see, the ABR looks period correct with those characteristic aggressive slopes at the edge & soft edged nylon saddles, chrome'd up parts with chrome covers, the knobs have that slight yellowing under the clear, Pat Pend Grovers, switch tip & poker look era correct, all the pickguard plys look like the old fashioned wavy/inconsistent glued sheets that are hand cut, the binding looks like white royalite (apposed to white ABS), the fretboard binding edges are heavily rolled off exactly like 50's customs were along with that tooled portion being unfinished with no yellowing, the pickups rings look like correct m69's from those years, Bigs is era correct, the number stamp fonts look Kalamazoo, I wonder and bet the binding dots are tortoise shell and I've probably missed more? The wire is certainly not fretless wonder spec though but they were using bigger wire on the other instruments then anyways.

So, whomever did this (if the story doesn't check out) certainly had a massive hard-on for mid to late 60's Gibson/Kalamazoo materials & specs as all those little details show up no matter how incongruent the design is. If you custom ordered this guitar today without spec'ing vintage to the most insane detail it would look totally different.


Usually, in a fake the design looks good but the details have gaps. Here, the design looks crazy but the details are pretty impressive.


This point is convincing, isn't it ? Why should a faker fake such wrong ? Nobody would believe in the authenticity !
He would not make much money by this "fake" . So just to confuse the experts ? Fool them ?
 

neuroy

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
223
Billy Gibbons doesn't own this guitar. I do. I purchased
it from the original owner,Torpedo Joe, in the early 1990s. I'm the guy in the photo showing it to Billy.
It is absolutely an authentic custom ordered Gibson made guitar.

So you could be the man to enlighten us !
And 59Cherrytop as well !
If there's really any documentation about this guitar we will see it soon , I hope.

What about the black LP standard , wrap tail , shown in "Toneman" ? Its said to be a 1967 !!!
Should be impossible as well.
 

FirstFlight

New member
Joined
Dec 4, 2020
Messages
4
The plaque between the neck and the neck pickup says "custom made". I am having some trouble uploading a photo close-up of the plaque.
 

SteveWilson

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Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
14
That's the guitar now owned by John Shanks. Around the 16 min mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJyOnw2U2wo&t=1063s

I was in a workshop once where 2 "67" LP's in black were in finishing. Plus 2 black "59" jrs. We had a conversation about rarity and the 67 pots being more available than 68. Easier to age black vs gold and the "fun" of watching them pop up. Also a "58" V hanging on the wall and another in pieces. Oh and a one piece LP and 3 piece LP on duplicarver which were slated for "bursts". Dont know where they ended. I needed a strat refretted properly and this guy was known for vintage work and replication. Refret turned out wonderful and kick myself a little for not getting a few "copies" made as suggested while it was in (to play, the neck is perfect). Ever since I have a hard time buying vintage. Another experience at an almost identical shop across the pond that solidified the conundrum.

The Torpedo Guitar looks legit to me. As someone mentioned they went crazy with the 60's hardware and it all matches. Seems strange thing to do. How much could it possibly sell for?
 

AlienVintage

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2015
Messages
312
I’m just here to say - aside from being technically wrong about Billy Gibbons being the owner of this guitar, all of my other comments and observations earlier/above about this guitar have aged very well, when re-read 😂
 

garywright

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Joined
Aug 17, 2002
Messages
14,115
I’m just here to say - aside from being technically wrong about Billy Gibbons being the owner of this guitar, all of my other comments and observations earlier/above about this guitar have aged very well, when re-read ��

Donald..you’re becoming obnoxious
 

deytookerjaabs

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Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
1,483
Even if it sold for a million bucks in my opinion it's not legit until it's legit and that takes some big marker to move it into that territory no matter how good/bad the details are.

Apparently that verification exists but until then...????
 
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