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1975 Les Paul Deluxe - Victim of 80’s Body Modification - What’s it worth?

phup

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Oct 12, 2020
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I have a 1975 Les Paul Deluxe that I acquired in the 90’s. A previous owner had modified it with a belly cut and Axcess neck. The back and neck are refinished in walnut with clear nitro lacquer. The top is untouched original Tobacco Sunburst. It features a maple neck, Dimarzio pickups, “Humbucker from Hell” at the neck and “Fred” at the bridge, and it’s in a Gibson chainsaw case (Gen 2) with plastic latches intact.

I had never planned to sell this guitar, but I’m getting old. Arthritis has taken the fun out of playing, and I have no descendants to pass the guitar down to. Unmodified, I’m sure it would have fetched over $2,000. But how much value was lost to the body mod’s and refinish? Everyone says “half the value is lost”, but I’ve never actually seen a body-modified original Les Paul for sale.

Would anyone buy this guitar if the price was right? If so, what would be a reasonable asking price?

Here are some pictures:

https://app.photobucket.com/u/philo...0da12f/p/131e4815-76f1-4a47-8a2a-e56cbc1bb4c4

Thanks!
 

marantz1300

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Jun 16, 2008
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307
I could live with the belly cut, but the neck looks like a crimes been committed.
Put it on E Bay. That will be your correct price.
 

Bob Womack

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By the way, IMHO, the maple neck would make it a '76 or later Nashville build and it looks to be stamped three times as a '79 in the control cavity.

Bob
 

phup

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I agree they removed a lot of wood on the neck mod. And while I think exposing the edge of the neck tenon was unavoidable to get the shape right, the contrasting wood tones do not suit a natural finish. Gibson typically hides the neck joint with factory paint.

It’s hard to read in the photos, but it’s actually stamped “1975” in the control cavity. The serial number is also hard to read, but it is “99 217897” which also corresponds with a 1975 build. AFAIK maple necks began in 1971.
 

AJCR

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May 2, 2018
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Maple necks started in 75.....same time the Nashville factory opened and the tenon changed to short.

Les Paul construction was essentially identical from 70-75 (early on). I have an early 1975 Les Paul Custom which would be amongst the last ones of the mahogany neck/transition tenon era guitars.
 

jrgtr42

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Mar 24, 2005
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As a boss of mine once said, referring to a pink and green plaid sportcoat, "There's a used car salesman somewhere."
IN other words, SOMEONE would likely buy this guitar, but you may have it out there for a while to find the buyer.
Mid-70s deluxes are going roughly in the mid-2k - 3k range, but with these mods, who knows. The body cut is one thing, though it's a bit too dramatic for my taste. It's the neck mod that will cause a lot of people to wave off; that exposed neck tenon will cause a lot of worry.
I haven't really kept my eyes on things, but my guestimate, you'd probably be in the $1500 - $1700 range.
 

Maplehead872

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Jun 5, 2003
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Nashville Tn. Plant opened in June 1975 building acoustics only , the first Les Paul model built in Nashville in big numbers was the Les Paul Pro Deluxe in mid 1976 as the plant failed with acoustics. The Les Paul Custom, Standard and Deluxe were never built till the early part of 1977 in Nashville.The Nashville bridge and the maple neck was started in the Kalamazoo plant in mid 1975.

The guitar shown here was Kalamazoo build before the modifications.
 

Drayve85

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Jan 30, 2019
Messages
58
Actually, I REALLY dig this guitar! I LOVE the color, and I like that there is a story that comes with it. I’m into things that are “passed down” and if I bought this guitar, I would feel like it was passed down. How does she sound, and play??
 

Lester

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Mar 5, 2003
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Ebay listing: "Awesome Customized Vintage Les Paul Deluxe! Dimarzio pickups! Made-to-play: "Belly cut" on the rear of body to fit better. Neck Axcess style for easy access to upper frets. Plays like no other Les Paul!. "... "I've owned this beauty for 25 years, but arthritis has stopped me from playing. It needs a new owner who will appreciate this unique axe".

You get the idea. Some purists will shy away... but there are some who are going to love the idea. Clearly it's honest about all its changes, so hype it up and sell, sell, sell!
 

flognoth

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Feb 8, 2016
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Personally, I'd stay away. To my eyes, the horizontal photos of the back and new heal joint make it look like a turtle's head. The toggle switch plate being the eye. I can't unsee it.
 

Swampy1970

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Nov 24, 2020
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Play it.

If it sounds great before you plug it in and it plays great then it's a keeper. Base the price upon what it sounds like, plays like relative to other guitars you have tried. If it plays like no other and sounds great to you and you're gigging with it, the only person seeing the back of it is likely you.

If you want a guitar to impress others on a forum then I'd look elsewhere :p
 

El Gringo

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I would be surprised if somebody bites on it at that price range . With those type of modifications that will seriously limit buyers and at that price point as well . Maybe i am wrong ?
 

phup

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Oct 12, 2020
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This is an experiment as much as anything. Everyone says "half the value" is lost to modifications, but there's no real evidence of this that I could find. I think most of the watchers are just curious to know what it will sell for. We'll find out!
 

phup

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Oct 12, 2020
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UPDATE:
This guitar was sold at auction on eBay. During the 7-day auction it had almost 2,000 views and 80 watchers. It had one bid, and sold for the initial asking price of $1,110 plus $110 shipping. The buyer emailed me to say

“Hey-- I got the Les Paul today--It is better than I expected---I really LOVE IT !! --- I think every mode done was an improvement—I’ve had some 70's LP's in the past & this is my Favorite--keeper for sure----Merry Christmas”.

I have to agree. The belly cut and axcess neck mods fix the two most common complaints about the Les Paul.

So I guess “half the value is lost” seems fairly accurate after all, for modified LP’s anyway.
 

El Gringo

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UPDATE:
This guitar was sold at auction on eBay. During the 7-day auction it had almost 2,000 views and 80 watchers. It had one bid, and sold for the initial asking price of $1,110 plus $110 shipping. The buyer emailed me to say

“Hey-- I got the Les Paul today--It is better than I expected---I really LOVE IT !! --- I think every mode done was an improvement—I’ve had some 70's LP's in the past & this is my Favorite--keeper for sure----Merry Christmas”.

I have to agree. The belly cut and axcess neck mods fix the two most common complaints about the Les Paul.

So I guess “half the value is lost” seems fairly accurate after all, for modified LP’s anyway. True Les Paul lovers appreciate the body shape and the neck and as it goes into the body . Where do you reference the comment about the "two most common complaints " remark ? As that is the first time I have ever heard that remark ?
 

El Gringo

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Ebay listing: "Awesome Customized Vintage Les Paul Deluxe! Dimarzio pickups! Made-to-play: "Belly cut" on the rear of body to fit better. Neck Axcess style for easy access to upper frets. Plays like no other Les Paul!. "... "I've owned this beauty for 25 years, but arthritis has stopped me from playing. It needs a new owner who will appreciate this unique axe".

You get the idea. Some purists will shy away... but there are some who are going to love the idea. Clearly it's honest about all its changes, so hype it up and sell, sell, sell!
The access to the upper frets is already provided in the original design of the Les Paul guitar , which of course we all know . I am remarking about the Ebay listing -easy access to upper frets -which to me seems so ludicrous .
 

toxpert

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The case accompanying that guitar is the best version of the Protector series. IMHO, the best case Gibson ever sold.
 

Big Al

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Nashville Tn. Plant opened in June 1975 building acoustics only , the first Les Paul model built in Nashville in big numbers was the Les Paul Pro Deluxe in mid 1976 as the plant failed with acoustics. The Les Paul Custom, Standard and Deluxe were never built till the early part of 1977 in Nashville.The Nashville bridge and the maple neck was started in the Kalamazoo plant in mid 1975.

The guitar shown here was Kalamazoo build before the modifications.
Nope, nope and a nope.
 
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