• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

LP Classic/1960 Reissue myth?

Breakfastime

New member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
535
TW mentioned in a thread in the Baywatch section that the LP Classic is not a 1960 reissue, yet Gibson has perpetuated this myth for 20 years now.

Alright, I'm hoping you guys can shed some light on this for me.

I have always been under the impression (thanks to the mythbuilding skills of Gibson's marketing team I guess) that indeed the Classic was supposed to be at least, something of a 1960 reissue.

Since my first LP in about 15 years is a Black LP Classic, I'm curious about this. Not like i'm gonna ditch the guitar or anything, but just out of curiosity.

Of course, i figured the Classic isn't going to be as accurate/nifty as the numerous higher priced versions, but again, always been led to believe that it's an affordable 1960-like guitar. I know the Classsic has a short neck tenon and is weight relieved...but what other factors seperate the Classsic from a 'proper' 1960 reissue?

Also, is there a model called "Classic" and another model called "1960 Classic"? Those are one and the same, correct?

thanks!
 

reswot

Active member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
3,295
I think the Classic may have been an early attempt to make a guitar with similar features to a vintage model -- specifically, the thin 1960 neck profile, narrow binding in the cutaway, ABR bridge, two-piece top, etc.

Of course, the neck profile was too thin, the narrow binding disappeared in a few years, the ABR a few years later. Standards starting getting the two-piece tops and thin binding; Classics started getting two-piece backs and piss-yellow inlays.

Of course, the pickups in the Classic were never a reissue of anything vintage.

Not bad guitars, but definitely not a reissue.
 

BobV

New member
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
831
Look at Mike Slubowsky's articles and you'll see that the Classics are pretty well regarded, basically they were seen as more accurate than the early Historics. What you have there is a Les Paul with a slim-taper neck - first and foremost. Also you have an ABR-1 bridge rather than a Nashville, no? And press-fit bushings on the keystone tuners instead of bolt bushings. Pointy inlay instead of rounded? The Classics had "1960" etched on the pickguard for some strange reason. So, it's not a Custom Shop Historic Reissue, but it's a special model reminiscent of the features from '60, is that so wrong?
 

1fastdog

New member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Messages
683
I think the Classic may have been an early attempt to make a guitar with similar features to a vintage model -- specifically, the thin 1960 neck profile, narrow binding in the cutaway, ABR bridge, two-piece top, etc.

Of course, the neck profile was too thin, the narrow binding disappeared in a few years, the ABR a few years later. Standards starting getting the two-piece tops and thin binding; Classics started getting two-piece backs and piss-yellow inlays.

Of course, the pickups in the Classic were never a reissue of anything vintage.

Not bad guitars, but definitely not a reissue.

Gibson made a few stabs in the late 60's and on at reissue stuff.

In that respect the Classic 1960's were not early at all.

My recollection of Gibson addressing the buyer that wanted a vintage style Les Paul Standard which was even vaguely correct was the Heritage Series in 1980. It's been awhile but I believe this was in the 1980's timeframe. I think they were "Heritage Series Standard 80" and "Heritage Series Elite 80". Difference between the two series was Standards were curly maple tops and Elites were quilted maple tops.

I was so intrigued by the thread that I went and found a pic of a Heritage Series LP that I was offered at an non-refusable price and played as a backup guitar way back when.

They certainly were not correct in a few respects. No Klusons, truss rod cover misplacement, etc. etc. However, I will tell you that if you could go through a few of them there was some magic to be found.

Here's a pic hard dated 1980 that shows me playing a far earlier go by Gibson of a "vintage" style LP as opposed to a 1990 or 1991 1960 Classic.

1980-1.jpg


heritage80.jpg
 

Breakfastime

New member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
535
Yeah, I remember those from the early 80's and even the old Guitar Trader ads (i started playing in '77). Didn't see anything in the Slubowski article about the 1960 classic tho.

Mostly right now I'm interested in the 'Classicc" since that's what is coming my way in a few more weeks.

BUT-this morning I found this:
http://austin.craigslist.org/msg/1291067315.html
a 1987 Pre-Historic, the guy will let it go for $3300 (unfortunateely it ain't gonna happen for me)
don't know where to post this since it's not an Ebay thing...
 

Jimi_AlnicoII

New member
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
566
Now it's nowhere near a 1960 les paul.
90s classics at least had the nickel and ABR-1.
I really don't get why they have high output pickups, end up sounding like bloody zakk wylde with these pickups.
The chrome and nashville now make it so far from a reissue, it's terrible. The only thing is the slim neck, nothing more.
 

blueguitar

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2005
Messages
173
From Breakfastime´s Post:

"...Didn't see anything in the Slubowski article about the 1960 classic tho..."


Look at this one (browse the articles section a bit...)

>>Gibson Les Paul Classic Premium Plus: Flametop Wonder<<
By Mike Slubowski
 

Breakfastime

New member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
535
From Breakfastime´s Post:

"...Didn't see anything in the Slubowski article about the 1960 classic tho..."


Look at this one (browse the articles section a bit...)

>>Gibson Les Paul Classic Premium Plus: Flametop Wonder<<
By Mike Slubowski


Ahhhh...found it! (I kept looking at the links on the front page...d'oh) Thanks!
 

D'Mule

New member
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
4,619
All Les Pauls since 1968 are 'reissues'.








Now you may all begin to argue.
 

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
42,567
All Les Pauls since 1968 are 'reissues'.








Now you may all begin to argue.

Exactly what was a Les Paul Signature a reissue of? :ganz
I've got a few more dozen examples, but let's get your explanation of you statement starting with this one. :spabout
 

Tom Wittrock

Les Paul Forum Co-Owner
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
42,567
The Les Paul Classic is not a reissue, but Gibson skewed this idea with their putting 1960 on the pickguard, and with many dealers claiming that Classics are reissues. It came out in 1990. They are still perpetuating this myth.

Classics are great Les Pauls in their own right, and don't need this BS to be marketable.
 

m_rambler

New member
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
555
The Classic is a "reissue" of a classic design in exactly the same way as the new "Traditional" is a traditional Les Paul design. what with it's new electrics, straplocks, fender-style burst paint job (which allways reminds me of a receeding hairline)...


In other words...not at all.

As always, Gibson marketing monkeys need to stay away from the crack pipe.

still, they are fairly decent entry-level Les Paul models IF you find a light one (the ones I have owned have mostly been boat anchors for some reason) and IF you can deal with the ceramic magnet pickups (never kept a pair in any of mine, I find they drown out the sound of the actual guitar) and IF you can get used to the weirdly shaved neck shape (allways used to make my hand go numb).

Of course, this is personal taste, some people swear by them. and I have heard some pretty nice sounding ones.
 

mca

New member
Joined
Apr 9, 2007
Messages
330
From Vintage Guitar magazine, May 1998, Eric Shoaf's definitive article on the evolution of the Les Paul Classic:

"Late in the decade, Gibson's head of research and development, J.T. Riboloff, designed a reissue Les Paul based on the popular and collectible 1960 model. The key difference between this guitar and other Les Pauls in production at the time was the slim neck profile. In addition, Riboloff added other features to make the instrument faithful to the original such as a narrow headstock, thin cutaway binding, aged fingerboard inlays, inked-on serial number, nickel hardware, vintage-style logo and aged binding on body and neck.

The Les Paul Classic, as it was to be called, did have a couple of concessions to marketing such as a truss rod cover with "Classic" and pickguard marked "1960." The pickups came with no covers so the coils were exposed, another characteristic to differentiate it from other Les Pauls, though this was fairly realistic and a tip of the hat to those who traditionally removed covers to get a better tone on their old Pauls.

The Classic was introduced in 1990 with a retail price of $1,529. The least expensive Les Paul Standard at the time was the ebony finished version costing $1,169 while the sunburst model was $1,399. The Classic's higher price was justified by its reissue-yet-modern vibe and was further enhanced by availability in several sunburst finishes, and in bullion gold on the top, sides, back and neck. Most of the tops on sunburst models were plain and no extra effort was made to use fancy wood on these.

An immediate hit for Gibson, the Classic was tweaked further as time passed. The first change was the addition of a curly or "Plus" top in April 1991. Using maple which was deemed lacking in figure for the vaunted '59 reissue line, the Classic received nicely flamed tops and the designation Les Paul Classic Plus. Pricing was also adjusted as the Classic rose to $1,699 and the Classic Plus debuted at 2,099. By way of comparison, the '59 Reissue listed for $4,199 at the time. The Classic line continued to be a popular seller.

The success of the Classic and its new brother, the flamed top Classic Plus presented some difficult marketing problems for Gibson. The fact was that in many ways, the Classic was more of an accurate reissue than the '59 Les Paul of the early 1990s which still had a wide headstock, bright fingerboard and inlays, and wrong tuner bushings. The '59 did have a beefier neck and a highly flamed top, but the issue was further clouded when some highly figured Classic Plus models came to market. Wood grading is not an exact science, and some of the tops rejected for '59 reissues were in fact quite highly figured. Others had only mild flame. But with just a few easily obtainable parts, a blank truss rod cover, pickup covers, and a new pick guard, the owner of a particularly flamey Classic Plus could have a guitar that appeared to be just as nice as a '59 reissue while saving over $2,000 in the process.

Customers weren't the only ones who noticed this. Dealers were equally aware and they had a further beef with Gibson. As previously mentioned, tops on the Classic Plus ran the gamut from fairly mild flame to highly figured. A dealer ordering four Classic Plus models from Gibson might receive two which were nicely figured and two which were much less flamey. But the price was the same for each and explaining the difference to customers wasn't easy. The dealer gripes became louder in 1992 when the Historic Collection was announced. Dealers receiving the Historic Collection franchise were required to place a cash deposit with Gibson in order to participate in the program. Included among designated Historic Collection instruments was the Les Paul '59 reissue which, at that time, had not yet been reconfigured to Historic Collection specifications. Some dealers felt that a premium was being charged for a guitar which wasn't as faithful to the original as lower priced offerings.

Further, in 1992 a 1960 style slim tapered neck was mated with a '59 reissue body to create a Les Paul 1960 reissue which some customers confused with the Classic Plus until they checked the price tag. Worse, some dealers may have felt compelled to pass off a tarted-up Classic Plus as a 1960 reissue in order to improve profitability.

To complicate things even more, the Classic line was extended again in early 1993 with the introduction of the Premium Plus model. Responding to complaints about top grading, Gibson set up yet another line of figured tops which were nicer than "plus" tops but not as nice (in most cases) as '59 reissue tops. For dealers, the basic concern still remained: these guitars were almost like reissues for a lot less money. The only real difference between the Plus and Premium Plus was the top and the fact that the Premium designated guitars had no pickguard installed. It was delivered in the case pocket. The buyer also paid a $500 premium for the Premium Plus compared to the Plus.

While having the appearance of corporate bumbling, Gibson was actually trying to work out the differences and, also in 1993, they managed to get it right. The Historic Collection '59 Les Paul introduced that year was the most accurate reissue of the model to date in details which went far beyond appearances. The '59 has become the most popular of Gibson's Historic line. Still, for those who wanted the look of a '59 without the cost there was the Classic Premium Plus with a few changed parts for a lot less money. But Gibson solved that problem as well in mid-1993 when the decal on the headstock of all Classics was changed from "Les Paul Model" to "Les Paul Classic." This finally differentiated the Classic from other Les Paul models in a way which couldn't be easily tampered. Late in 1993 the binding in the cutaway of the Classic was widened, a further distancing from the '59 reissue.
 

Breakfastime

New member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
535
Great post mca. very informative. Thanks everybody for the lowdown!

Hopefully (barring any unforseen financial circumstances) i'll have my new Classic in another two weeks, in time for a 'big gig' down Houston way...can't wait!
 

D'Mule

New member
Joined
Apr 5, 2003
Messages
4,619
Exactly what was a Les Paul Signature a reissue of? :ganz
I've got a few more dozen examples, but let's get your explanation of you statement starting with this one. :spabout

That's a good example, Tom. Fair enough, that guitar is definitely no reissue of anything.

But from my point of view, calling that guitar a Les Paul is a much greater sin than referring to an LP Classic as a 1960 reissue.:jim
 

dj335

New member
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
120
Classics are great Les Pauls in their own right, and don't need this BS to be marketable.

I agree with TW59 & Schtang, the Classic is still a really nice Les Paul, regardless if it's not a true reissue of something.

Since buying my 2005 Classic Goldtop last October, I've studied dozens of Classics on eBay & Craigslist, and find it interested that Gibson didn't seem to adhere to a certain set of build plans for the Classic over the years.

The main (negative) comments I hear about the Classics is that, unless you have a 1990 to 1992 model, the later Classics drifted away from the first ones, got heavier, lost the thin binding in the cutaway, etc. Yet my 2005 has a one piece back, has thin binding in the cutaway (you can see the maple cap), small headstock with ink stamped serial number and no "Made In Usa". Like the regular Standard, it's weight-relieved/swiss cheesed, not chambered. Yes, it still has "Les Paul Classic" on the headstock, which I've noticed went back to "Les Paul Model" in 2007.

Mine has a Nashville bridge; I've seen 2006 Classics later than mine that have an ABR (?!). I don't mind has a Nashville instead of an ABR. Other than the vintage look of an ABR, I've posted that I think the Nashville is a better engineered bridge with no real tonal difference that could be accurately measured. Still, I do like the look of the ABR, and think Gibson should have kept it to stay in line with the other "early" features of the Classics.

The best part about mine is that it weighs 8.4 lbs on the expensive digital scale at my office. Way nicer than my old '79 Deluxe Goldtop that was an 11.5 pound monster. I changed the pickups to 57 Classic and Classic Plus, and love the way mine sounds and plays, especially the thin '60's neck. In my opinion, it's a nicer guitar than my old '79.

So... why would Gibson have returned to the thin binding on my 2005? And why would they have switched back & forth on the bridge? Just to keep things interesting? Or to keep forum members like us trying to guess the method to their madness?

Dave in So Cal
 

DonP

Active member
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
3,020
So... why would Gibson have returned to the thin binding on my 2005?

My only guess is that they feel with the Nashville bridge, green/yellow inlays and other things, people won't confuse a Classic with a historic any more.
 

Manolian

Les Paul Froum Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2008
Messages
645
Classics are great Les Pauls in their own right, and don't need this BS to be marketable.


+1 .
My '00 classic plus plays, and sounds great with 57 classic/57classic+
PUPs. Looks pretty good too.:)

00clscplusanglesml.jpg
 
Top