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Hey it's Mat from Gibson Product Development - AMA

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Hi Mat.

First of all possibly the greatest thread of all time, on any forum. Thank you so much for scratching my obsessive compulsive itch I can’t get enough!

I am the ultimate forum lurker but you have managed to draw me out of the shadows, a dubious honour but an honour nonetheless.

Anyway I would like to ask you 2 questions if I may.
The first is do you have any idea when we might see the epiphone Adam Jones Les Paul, can you give us any kind of info on it? That would be much appreciated.

Secondly I am just a little curious about the process and the pricing of a custom guitar. I own a 2018 LP custom in alpine white it’s a great guitar and I can feel there is a definite difference in the feel of it compared to my 2013 traditional, although that is still an excellent Les Paul. Now I have just ordered a 60th anniversary 1960 V1 LP, I’m obviously like a child at Christmas waiting for it to arrive but that’s par for the course. To get to the point I’m wondering what makes up the price difference between custom shop models. Is it just a question of finishing, man hours, wood selection and appointments? Is there such a thing as a lesser custom model? You have already said white is the hardest colour to finish a guitar with so why are they customs a fair chunk less than the reissues?

I’ve just always wondered if all custom shop guitars are born equal.

Thanks for reading and keep up the good work.
There will be two exciting Adam Jones models launching this year...one soon and one much later. That's all I'll say!

Great question regarding price point of a White Les Paul Custom compared to an average '59 LP Standard Reissue...the answer is yes, the material costs on the LP are much higher (true historic parts, highly figured wood, solid woods throughout, etc) but the binding and finishing time of an LPC takes longer than an LP Standard. In the end it's close to a wash, but a $6500 clone of a $450,000 1959 Les Paul Standard is a pretty compelling call to action...perhaps mores than a white LPC. And time in production is a sliding scale as well and typically accounted for in a blanket way...meaning that the material costs have more influence on pricing than the labor hours. Thanks for the q's!
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Same with the 61 reissue's, they say they 3D scanned them but here in the video u can see the models are not 100% the same with the taper of the horn, neck angle... i'm not mad of it but i want to know why?
"Given this one has been sanded down and refinished several times"...so he's comparing apples and oranges? But to his point, yes the top of the bass side horn is often larger and more squared off on reissues than vintage examples because we followed the original design intent and blueprints after observing how vastly different each vintage example was hand-sanded...some of them are like a spear head and others are more flat. We are getting a 5-axis CNC for Custom Shop which will allow for more precise beveling and remove some of the hand-sanding variables, so I expect to see that bass-side horn get a little more pointy and realistic to an average vintage original.

As for neck heel, I have gone on record in interviews previously explaining why I wasn't comfortable running a '61-style heel on these...AKA the fall-apart neck joint. The '63-later style is vastly superior and makes for a better instrument IMO. I made it to the part in the video about the split diamond being a little different and that is true -- the original was a bit skewed on the veneer and the points didn't line up. We did replicate this feature for the '57 LPC through a vendor partner, but with their lead times it was not possible to make similar modifications for an SG Custom pegged, which is a different size and longer. Hope that helps you peek behind the curtain! Best, Mat
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Yeah, seems unlikely Slash would forget to put the top half of the S on. How could a faker make such an obvious error though? Maybe Slash was drunk, he did drink a lot in those days, might have forget how to write his own name.
It looks like I missed a lot! Lol.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Hey Mat is there any plans to have a double cut les paul jr and special in the original collection
Yes, I think I may have covered this earlier but we really want to reintroduce them, but we would have to reduce or cut production of the single-cut versions, which are in high demand presently. So the consensus among the team here is to keep the single cuts for now and introduce the double cuts when demand wanes. Womp womp.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Howdy Matkoehler - Can you shed any insights on how the exposed wood that you find on some extreme relics (e.g., some of the Collector's Choice guitars) is treated? Is there any treatment on that exposed wood (e.g., an oil of some sort) or is it just exposed wood? I have a couple of CC guitars and love the feel of the exposed wood on the neck.
There is a specific, (unfortunately secret) process that Tom and the aging team follow, which involves some solvents and chemicals.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
Messages
394
Hey Mat, Gibson is my nr 1 brand and i own 5 Gibson atm (61 SG 60 anniv, 2003 SG special, 2016 Historic R9, 1997 Black R4 with staple, 1959 DC LP junior)
I like my reissue's but still they are not a "clone" of a reall vintage guitar. Like the headstock curve, headstock corners, Top carve... the reissue's they made in 68-69 are better at it.
Why can u guys even if u know it not, make this right? is it because of the coste to make it and change the whole proces OR is it that the reissue's will be to good and some ppl can be scammed???

I still buy Gibson guitars even if it won't change, the new customshop guitars are just so so good!
Are you looking at 2019-newer examples? Because that is when we made loads of changes. Also if you are comparing '59 top carves to 68-69 Les Pauls (or even earlier 50s top carves for that matter!), they could not be more different.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
I want to know about this top carve thing. What IS a 59 top carve? Cause as far as I know? Gibson used a 59 to scan and use that during the CNC process. So which 59 are we talking about here for top carve?
For the core LP models (starting in 2018) we chose a combination of the two curviest top profiles we've scanned...Carmelita and Pearly Gates. I am extremely happy with the current top carves.
 
Last edited:

Gibsonsg

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Dec 26, 2021
Messages
40
Are you looking at 2019-newer examples? Because that is when we made loads of changes. Also if you are comparing '59 top carves to 68-69 Les Pauls (or even earlier 50s top carves for that matter!), they could not be more different.
I did not check the new one's because they are not in stock in the area but i read on this forum that the new one's are still not like the 59 carves, i will check it myself when they are in stock ;) thanks for the answer Mat!!!
 

83Custom

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Jun 25, 2006
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For the core LP models (starting in 2018) we chose a combination of the two curviest top profiles we've scanned...Carmelita and Pearly Gates. I am extremely happy with the current top carves.

I’m going to guess there isn’t any way to differentiate between the two unless one has either of those CC models to compare in person?

All I can say is that my 2019 R8 is the most comfortable and best feeling Reissue I’ve ever played. For a quite while I had been searching for something that feels and looks like a friend’s real ‘59 and this R8 is it.

Kudos to you and your staff.
 

Der_Kaiser

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Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
25
There will be two exciting Adam Jones models launching this year...one soon and one much later. That's all I'll say!

Great question regarding price point of a White Les Paul Custom compared to an average '59 LP Standard Reissue...the answer is yes, the material costs on the LP are much higher (true historic parts, highly figured wood, solid woods throughout, etc) but the binding and finishing time of an LPC takes longer than an LP Standard. In the end it's close to a wash, but a $6500 clone of a $450,000 1959 Les Paul Standard is a pretty compelling call to action...perhaps mores than a white LPC. And time in production is a sliding scale as well and typically accounted for in a blanket way...meaning that the material costs have more influence on pricing than the labor hours. Thanks for the q's!
Thanks for reply Mat, you’re a top man.

My 1960 V1 arrived and to my hands it feels like a slight step up from the custom, it has exceeded my expectations. The only slight issue is an overly buffed head stock that has gone through the finish on one corner but I will live with it.

I’m excited about the AJ models coming out although my other half will probably kill me if I buy another guitar, I promised her I’d stop at 10 but the LP is number 11 (6 Gibson’s, 3 Epiphone’s and 2 Fender’s) so it’s looking like it’ll be 12.

Keep up the good work!
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
I’m going to guess there isn’t any way to differentiate between the two unless one has either of those CC models to compare in person?

All I can say is that my 2019 R8 is the most comfortable and best feeling Reissue I’ve ever played. For a quite while I had been searching for something that feels and looks like a friend’s real ‘59 and this R8 is it.

Kudos to you and your staff.
We were experimenting with several different carves in 2017 actually...Pearly carve ran for a little while but I preferred Carmelita because the curve on the bass side of the neck pickup was more pronounced. So 2018 and later is the Carmelita profile, and continues to be used until we find something equally cool!
 

goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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Hi Mat, here's one for you.
With the M2M program do you think we could specify an ES 330 with a stoptail at some stage in the future when these hopefully come back into production.
And would that mean that it has a centre block as with a 335.
 

matkoehler

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Sep 12, 2014
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394
Hi Mat, here's one for you.
With the M2M program do you think we could specify an ES 330 with a stoptail at some stage in the future when these hopefully come back into production.
And would that mean that it has a centre block as with a 335.
You can order a 335 with dogear P90s currently through M2M (they are killer by the way). But we cannot yet make a true hollowbody ES-330 that meets the body at the 17th fret out of Custom Shop for the reasons mentioned earlier...we can only run so many styles at one time because of capacity and space limitations...and with the demand being so strong for the existing ES models, that means ES-330s will have to wait for a little while. Best, Mat
 

goldtop0

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You can order a 335 with dogear P90s currently through M2M (they are killer by the way). But we cannot yet make a true hollowbody ES-330 that meets the body at the 17th fret out of Custom Shop for the reasons mentioned earlier...we can only run so many styles at one time because of capacity and space limitations...and with the demand being so strong for the existing ES models, that means ES-330s will have to wait for a little while. Best, Mat
Good to know, thanks Mat (y)
 

Dr. Green

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Dec 12, 2018
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683
Mat -

what do you guys at Gibson think of the secondary Guitar " re finishers" such as Historic Makeovers ?

has there been a situation where one of the shop guys has pulled you aside and said :

" look at the amazing job they did here refinishing one of our guitars - dang why are we not doing this ? "

anything on this subject I would find interesting
 

sws1

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Dec 4, 2001
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2,752
We were experimenting with several different carves in 2017 actually...Pearly carve ran for a little while but I preferred Carmelita because the curve on the bass side of the neck pickup was more pronounced. So 2018 and later is the Carmelita profile, and continues to be used until we find something equally cool!

You do have a scan of this top...and it's definitely more curvy than than the R9s I'd had over the past 4 years, which I presume are the Carmelita specs. Feel free to use..royalty free. ;)

RidKKqh.jpg
 

J.R.

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Joined
Jun 27, 2019
Messages
8
Hi Mat!

Currently I am looking for a ‘59 or ‘60 Les Paul from the custom shop. I have found two great ones and will buy one of them shortly.

The ‘60 I’m looking at is from 2020, and the ‘59 from the end of 2021. The latter has a much brighter red color on the back, while the ‘60 is very dark red. In the shop the guy told me is is a ‘dark back’, but I can’t find any information about ‘dark back’ bursts. The brighter red looks a bit more accurate to a vintage burst, though the dark red looks beautiful.

Could elaborate on the red color of the back of custom shop Les Pauls? Why did Gibson use more dark red for a while? Thank you so much!
 
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