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Year-by-Year History of the Historic Les Paul Collection

Todd Louis

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
14,526
Les Paul Historic Collection Chronical

1993
* Historic Collection introduced. Models include; '54 Black Beauty, '56 Goldtop, '57 Custom Black Beauty/3 Pickup, '57 Goldtop, '57 Custom Black Beauty/2 Pickup, '57 Custom Black Beauty with optional Bigsby Tailpiece, '59 Flametop, '60 Flametop
* First 25 Sunburst and first 15 Goldtops were painted by Tom Murphy.
* Deep neck joint.
* Holly wood head veneer.
* Silk screened les paul logo.
* Correct pickup routing.
* Les Paul classic aged inlay.
* 57 Classic pickups.
* Kluson replica tuners.
* Vintage letter styled serial#.
*"Historic collection" decal on the headstock.
* Indian rosewood fingerboard.
*"AAAA" grade soft maple top.
* Regular gibson usa brown case.
* Regular early 90s style cherry sunburst.
* Cherry sunburst and heritage darkburst"


1994
* Historic parts; only pickguard, pickup rings, trussrod cover.
* Regular gibson usa white pearloid inlay.
* "AAAA" grade soft maple top.
* Darker transparent orangy cherry sunburst. (1994-1996)
* First year for the R8



1995

1996
* "Flametop" R8 introduced in Buttersctch and Vintage Red finishes

1997
* ID micro chip in the neck joint.
* Brass bridge saddles instead of steel bridge saddles.
* "AAAAA" grade soft maple top.
* Brighter transparent orangy cherry sunburst. (1997-199
* Pickguard blueprinted and caused a gap, revealing improper placement of the bridge pickup
* Brighter back cherry color.
* R4 1997 up
* Junior 57 1997 up
* Junior 58 1997 up
* Special 58 1997-2000?
* Special 60 1997-up (when they discontinued the Special 58, they incoporated the SC into the Special 60)

1998
* R2 1998-2003

1999
* 40th Anniversary '59 RI - Painted and aged by Murphy (100 made?)
* No R8 this year
* COA began.
* Thin body binding.
* Thin lacquer finish.
* "AAA" hard maple top.
* new vintage taste cherry and darkburst.
* Vintage style back red filler color.
* Refined parts positions and neck shape.
* Bridge pickup moved to its proper place
* Tortoise side markers
* R9 Plaintop 1999-2000



2000
* No R8 this year
* Vintage lifton style brown case for R9/R0. (made in Guatemara)
* Lemon Burst, Tri Burst.

2001
* R9 production limited to 500 units US, 1000 worldwide due to "parts constraints"
* Custom Authentic models introduced (broken-in finish, aged hardware, Grovers)
* Dickie Betts '57 Goldtop introduced (limited edition of 114)
* R8 returns with a flametop
* Thin neck binding.
* New round edged pearloid inlay. (2001-2002 only)
* Vintage style mid jumbo size frets.
* New thick jack plate. (2001-2002 only)
* Aluminum tailpiece.
* Very bright red sunburst.
* Faded Tabacco, Iced Tea, Washed Cherry.
* Lifton case is standard for R9/R0

2002
* Genuine Kluson tuners for the early units.
* Improved tuner bushings
* More accurately shaped fingerboard inlays
* Non-wire ABR-1 bridge for the early units.
* Amber tophat knobs
* CTS pots
* Owners Card (listing name, serial number and the dealership), Certificate of Authenticity, Reissue Strap, an Embroidered Les Paul Swatch and a Custom Care Kit.
* Burstbucker type 2 & 3.
* Inlay material changed to swirly plastic, corners sharpened. (only R9/R0, later for all models)
* Vintage style thin jack plate. (only R9/0, later for all models)
* Vintage style thin toggle switch washer. (only R9/0, later for all models)
* Vintage color toggle switch knob. (only R9/0, later for all models)
* Vintage style CTS pots and oil caps. not bumblebee. (only R9/0, later all models)
* Dark deep cherry sunburst.
* R7 gets Bursrtbuckers
* Left handed Historics get side dots added to the underside of the neck.

2003
* Brazilian boards installed from January through May
* Price drop on R8s and R9s
* Truss rod cover moved away from nut
* Headstock shape changed
* Tuners arranged to be inline
* Vintage style CTS pots
* Bumblebee Caps
* Return to wired ABR
* Madagascar rosewood fingerboard.
* Eastern hard maple.
* "AA" grade eastern hard maple top.
* R9 flametop becomes less flashy due to increased use of Eastern Maple
* R8 returns with a plain top
* Burstbucker type 1 & 2.
* Gold knobs instead of previous vintage amber knobs.
* Corrected tuner positions. "V" intead of "l l" way.
* Transparent orange to regular red cherry sunburst.
* " i "dot on gibson logo moved to the correct position.
* Refined parts positions and neck shape.
* Inlays changed to swirly plastic, sharp corners on remaining models


2004
* Cloud 9 chambered models introduced in limited quantities
* Jimmy Page signature model introduced; 25 Murphy aged guitars signed by JP, 150 Murphy aged unsigned models, Custom Authentic non-Murphy aged production begins
* New custom shop black case.
* "AAA" eastern hard maple top.
* Silk screened logo moved to the correct location.
* Short Truss Rod Screws the right size


2005
* TR screws return to the wrong size

2006
* VOS finish with aged hardware introduced
* CS begins using Plek machine used for dressing frets and cutting nut slots
* Real vintage looking maple top grains/figures.

2007
* Brighter back red filler color.
* Real honduran mahogany.............
* 50th Anniversary Goldtop (Ewwww) 157 to be built

2008
2001
59's where not limited ( But they where suppose be )
The new Jack plate became standard
COA's Standard

2002
59's where limited
Murphy's EXTREAMLY LIMITED!!!
Same Tuners as before but better Bushings
No BB's yet in 59's
No Oil Caps!! there the BB caps without the BB casing on them ..

2003
Tuners are put in the right spot
Head Stock Shape fixed
 

kink56

Les Paul Froum Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
7,672
Todd the 2002 R9 you used to own (I have now) HAS Burstbuckers! I took off the covers and seen for myself. As I say, just because the "wound by" sticker is not there, does not mean they are 57 Classics. One clue is rough magnets (although the earlies BBs had smooth magnets) Japan first got Burstbuckers in there Historics in 1996!!!!!!
 

Todd Louis

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
14,526
Todd the 2002 R9 you used to own (I have now) HAS Burstbuckers! I took off the covers and seen for myself. As I say, just because the "wound by" sticker is not there, does not mean they are 57 Classics. One clue is rough magnets (although the earlies BBs had smooth magnets) Japan first got Burstbuckers in there Historics in 1996!!!!!!
I neva go by the wound by stiker


There not BB man ...

And there not 57's

They where the inbeetween No bukers ...
 

Todd Louis

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2002
Messages
14,526
After I got tos guitar I was asked how I liked the PU's because they where a test for 03' same thing with the Pots and Caps that year
 

axeman565758

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
1,204
You mentioned the flametop R8s in 1998. If memory serves, there were no R8s in 1999 and maybe also in 2000. In 2001 they reintroduced flametop R8s (sold a ton of them that year). I can't remember when they became plaintops after that. :hank
58 Figuretops through 2002......I have seen some late ( 6 digit serial # R8's) with '02 serial numbers as plaintops. My guess is that production on plaintops started sometime around November '02
 

sunburst_59

New member
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
8
A forum member had asked in another thread if there was a definitive list of the year-to-year changes to the Historic line. I'm sure the information is scattered about amongst numerous threads here on the forum, but finding it can be a chore. I thought it would be a good idea to try to collect the history of all changes into one thread. Once the list is complete, it can be organized into a single chart and posted on the web or possibly posted as a sticky in the Historic District.

I am going to maintain a chronological history in post #2 of this thread with milestones for each year. To contribute, just reply to the thread with whatever information you have and I will paste that data into post #2. Sometimes it may be a day or so before I get around to updating the chart with the latest posts, but I'll try to keep up on it. This chronical will only be as good as the information submitted, so try to be accurate with your information. Bear in mind that often times the changes occur mid-year, so there may be some overlap. Corrections are welcome.

I'll get things started with a few pieces of information that I know and then I'll rely on the group to help fill in the blanks.

Hi Danelectro, I've been hoping someone would attempt this for a while, I actually have 5 historic reissue R9 1959 LP's, a 93, 94, 95, 96 and a 97, so if you want any direct comparisons I would be happy to help. As you rightly state the 93 has the Historic decal on the back, R9 brand in the control cavity, fat 59 neck, long tenon, but the Holly head veneer is thinner than the later models, the neck angle is a little less acute, the colour is more of a light sunburst and the guitar never came with a scratchplate. Incidentally mine is # 9 3100 and is an early November 1993 guitar.

The 94 and 95 both have a thicker holly veneer and have a darker, richer colour, also they both have a more yellowed or aged apperarance to the binding.

The 96 is even darker and heavier but then again I have had a light 96 as well, generally though the 96's I have seen tend to have more PRS type very uniform and well bookmatched tops, the 94's and 95's tend to be a bit wilder and probably have a more authentic, less contrived look.

The 97 is the best of the lot flame wise, very broad big leaf maple. I have had a couple of 98's and they tended to have very impressive big leaf tops as well but had the neck pickup route cut a few milimetres lower down the body, hence the gap at the bottom of the pickguard. Also all the 98's I have seen did not have dial pointers on the volume and tone controls. I never liked the the sound of either of the 98's I had, always thought they were a bit thinner sounding on the treble pickup, is that due to the pickup being that little bit further away?

From 99 onwards I lost interest, Gibson started making them in huge numbers and they lost their rarity value for me after that.

For my opinion, (for what it's worth!!) the best years of the historics are 93-97 with 97 having the best tops, but I like the colour of the 94/95's and the 93's are the rarest.

Keep up the good work!!
 

pinefd

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
3,060
This is a great thread!! when everything gets sorted this should become a sticky IMO.

Yes, a sticky would be great, but I'm thinking this would make an even better book! And just in time for the '59's 50th anniversary! I can picture it now...lots of photos of guitars from each year with closeups of some of the new/changed features for each year.
 

wavygravy

New member
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Messages
790
Hi Danelectro, I've been hoping someone would attempt this for a while, I actually have 5 historic reissue R9 1959 LP's, a 93, 94, 95, 96 and a 97, so if you want any direct comparisons I would be happy to help. As you rightly state the 93 has the Historic decal on the back, R9 brand in the control cavity, fat 59 neck, long tenon, but the Holly head veneer is thinner than the later models, the neck angle is a little less acute, the colour is more of a light sunburst and the guitar never came with a scratchplate. Incidentally mine is # 9 3100 and is an early November 1993 guitar.

The 94 and 95 both have a thicker holly veneer and have a darker, richer colour, also they both have a more yellowed or aged apperarance to the binding.

The 96 is even darker and heavier but then again I have had a light 96 as well, generally though the 96's I have seen tend to have more PRS type very uniform and well bookmatched tops, the 94's and 95's tend to be a bit wilder and probably have a more authentic, less contrived look.

The 97 is the best of the lot flame wise, very broad big leaf maple. I have had a couple of 98's and they tended to have very impressive big leaf tops as well but had the neck pickup route cut a few milimetres lower down the body, hence the gap at the bottom of the pickguard. Also all the 98's I have seen did not have dial pointers on the volume and tone controls. I never liked the the sound of either of the 98's I had, always thought they were a bit thinner sounding on the treble pickup, is that due to the pickup being that little bit further away?

From 99 onwards I lost interest, Gibson started making them in huge numbers and they lost their rarity value for me after that.

For my opinion, (for what it's worth!!) the best years of the historics are 93-97 with 97 having the best tops, but I like the colour of the 94/95's and the 93's are the rarest.

Keep up the good work!!

:photos :photos :photos :photos :photos
 

LesterP

New member
Joined
May 13, 2003
Messages
1,249
Few things I can add:

2001 Custom Authentics were only 3 models. R7 Goldtop, R8 Standard, and the Black Beauty Custom (not sure of the year replicated).

Also, BurstBucker #2 and #3 were standard on these 2001 Authentics. (2002 was not the first year for these pickups).
 
Last edited:

kink56

Les Paul Froum Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
7,672
Few things I can add:

2001 Custom Authentics were only 3 models. R7 Goldtop, R8 Standard, and the Black Beauty Custom (not sure of the year replicated).

Also, BurstBucker #2 and #3 were standard on these 2001 Authentics. (2002 was not the first year for these pickups).

Thank you!!
 

fjminor

Active member
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
3,623
Yessir! You're right! Thanks for reminding me! Here is my "Historic Collection" certificate for my early '93 Les Paul Reissue (pre-Historic):

1004_p15604.jpg

Shouldn't that be your "Hysteric Collection" certificate Mike.....:ganz
 

delawaregold

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2005
Messages
1,829
As you rightly state the 93 has the Historic decal on the back, R9 brand in the control cavity, fat 59 neck, long tenon, but the Holly head veneer is thinner than the later models, the neck angle is a little less acute, the colour is more of a light sunburst and the guitar never came with a scratchplate. Incidentally mine is # 9 3100 and is an early November 1993 guitar.

Sunburst_59.

I would love to see some photo’s of your guitars, especially that ‘93.
 
Last edited:

DucRyder

Active member
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Messages
2,123
I'm just compiling information that has either been posted by forum members or found within articles on the Gibson website. You''ll have to be more specific about any errors and provide corrections.

What did you mean by "soft maple top" for the 1993 and 1994?
 

MikeSlub

Administrator
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
15,266
Just remembered - in 1999 they also made a small number of R9s with "Killertop" designation - highly figured (many were quilted); they called them "AAAAA" tops. And they had an "R9K" designation in the control cavity. :hank
 

kink56

Les Paul Froum Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
7,672
Murphy on the first 15 93 R7 and the first 25 93 R9s. ALL 50 (or so) 94 R8s.
 

kink56

Les Paul Froum Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2004
Messages
7,672
Soft Maple=Western big leaf. I am not so sure, I think they started using that in mid 94 or so. Except for the quilts all along.
 
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