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1. 2001 Gibson Les Paul Studio - Wine & Chrome, (front), (flame), (back), (headstock), (case). Rare flametop Studio, this is easily a AA top and although the beauty is somewhat lost on a dark wine stain, it looks great in good lighting. This is one of the older "heavy" Studio's, before chambering became a standard feature on all LP's around 2005. Many players are seeking these out, with the belief that a better tone is worth the extra pound or two. The Studio's remain the best value in the "real" Les Paul line, i.e. gloss finish, carved maple cap over mahogany body, trapezoid inlays, 490R and 498T Alnico humbucker, Gibson deluxe tuners, etc. Basic construction is the same as the Standard with the exception of cosmetic appointments such as body and neck binding. Cosmetically this one has its share of scratches and dings, but there are no breaks, repairs, or other issues. I attribute the flaws to a careless owner rather than extensive playing time as the frets are near perfect. It's a great playing Paul and for a lacquer finish Studio a nice buy, especially for the many players who are looking for a non-chambered body, which are becoming harder to find. With a new Studio in Wine selling for $1319, for the player this guitar offers substantial savings, an a lovely maple top. Just $729 and includes Gibson brown case. Case is missing the combo latch but other latches work fine.
2. Gibson Les Paul "Bugs", (front), (back). Okay, here's a model you've never had a shot at - because it's the only one in existence. Available only through Gibson's "Custom Direct" service, where your $500 membership gives you access to the rarest of the rare. For this particular guitar, Gibson commissioned noted artist Carol Paulsen as part of their "Art of the Guitar II" to paint two "bug" guitars - this Les Paul and an ES-5 ( the ES-5 subsequently sustained a damaged neck, never retailed, and was blown out in a charity auction). As much a work of art as it is a playable instrument, the "Bugs" features a Les Paul Standard with hand-painted bugs on the top, as well as the highest quality Abalone fretboard inlays. It's hard to capture the the beauty and intricacy of her paining in great detail but here are some attempts: pic3, pic4, pic5, pic6, pic7, pic8. Includes original case and warranty card. This guitar was collector owned, unplayed, and mint condition other than very sight tarnish on the edges of the pickups - we can replace the pickup covers if desired. This guitar was obtained through an IRS auction where the original owner, with the finest collection imaginable, was forced to sell off dozens of highly-prized guitars, most of which remained unplayed. Cost to the original owner on this guitar was $10,000. There was not a list price, that was the actual selling price. Offered here, at my humble site, for just $7000. One of these days I hope to contact Ms. Paulsen and, hopefully, offer it on her site as well.
GIBSON OR USA EPI SEMI-HOLLOW & ARCHTOPS:
GIBSON ACOUSTICS/Chet Atkins:
1963 Gibson B25-12 Acoustic 12-String, (front), (back), (headstock). Made during the early part of the folk boom in the 60's, the B-25-12 is appointed like a student model with dot inlays and no ornamentation on the headstock, and unbound neck, although it does have a double-bound body. Not surprisingly, my tech commented that was a great sounding folk instrument. The B25-12 is a 00-size small bodied (14 1/2" lower bout) Gibson flattop, with a solid Spruce top, solid mahogany back, and laminated sides. Other features include multi-ply binding on top, bound back, ebony bridge, long tortoise pickguard, 2" nut width, 24 3/4" scale, and Kluson strip tuners. This one has seen an average amount of playing time I would guess, but was taken care of by previous owners. The only glaring flaw is a small chip out of the front corner of the headstock (shown here). It does indeed look like a 55+ year-old guitar with plenty of finish checking and a slightly dull finish which we can buff out at no cost - but no cracks or repairs. The tone is just what you'd expect from a small Mahogany body - very warm tone with plenty of mid-range - but surprisingly crisp and bright. Itís a fun guitar to play, especially comfortable when sitting around the living room and like an old parlor guitar, doesn't look out of place with the decor. Later in the 60's Gibson went to a small bridge with a trapeze tailpiece but this is the more desirable model with standard bridge with acoustic string pins. The only non-original aspect of this guitar is a replacement bridge, but it's the proper belly bridge - plus a compensated saddle replaces the wooden one. Most of the bridges from this era look identical, but have adjustment screws for the saddle height, plus 2 pearloid plugs that cover the hold-down screws that Gibson used on their bridges (I've never figured out why Gibson couldn't glue down their bridges properly without the use of these screws.) Since most players accuse the stock adjustable bridge in this era as being a "tone robber", it wasn't uncommon for players to do away with this feature. Bottom line though, is this guitar is plenty loud with good sustain, and that may be in part due to the removal of the adjustable saddle. This guitar has a good neck angle and a straight neck so the set up is very comfortable for a 12-string, even with barre chords. A great example of affordable vintage, priced way under what a reissue would sell for, should they ever make one. It's guaranteed to go up as the years pass but unlike a stock or CD, it's something you can enjoy. Gbase prices for 60's B-25-12's, even the trapeze models, are running $1600-$2000 with bad neck angles. This one plays nicely and at $1099, it's a steal for an early 60's Gibson acoustic thatís ready to go. Includes aftermarket hardshell case.
OTHER USA GIBSONS: MELODY MAKERS, NIGHTHAWKS, FIRBIRDS, EXPLORERS, V'S, ETC.:
Epiphone Les Paul Pee Wee Package, Unlike the Ibanez kit above this is a smaller guitar aimed at younger players and includes everything your little rocker needs to get started on guitar including a Les Paul Pee Wee electric guitar (picture 2), amplifier, strap, cable, pics, and instructions. The Les Paul Pee Wee is 1/2 the size of a regular guitar but with a full width neck, suitable for both kids but also adults looking to take the party anywhere. This pack includes the Epiphone Studio Mini amp that's also portable and features a shoulder strap and runs on either a 9V battery or via 9V adapter (not included). The amp features volume and tone controls, with a switch to choose clean or overdrive channel plus a headphone jack for private practice. Due to the short scale we recommend tuning them up around a fifth which also allows them to occupy the frequency range of a mandolin, which really stands out in a jam session. Don't think you're going to get a crappy playing guitar because of the cost. All of these short scale V's and LP's we've had actually set up with excellent action and even an accomplished player should be happy with the playability. With a list price of $252, this is a fairly inexpensive way to get Junior started on a real guitar setup at just $149, set up and ready to jam as soon as you open the box.
2008 Epiphone Sheraton II - Ebony, (front), (back), (headstock). Probably our best seller among hollow/semi-hollowbody guitars is the Epi Sheraton II. It's solidly built, generally sets up very well, and sounds much better than it's price tag would lead you to believe. Sheraton's proud history goes back to '59, when, owned by Gibson, Epi started producing the Sheraton, which was a model unique to that company, rather than an Epi version of a Gibson, which was the fashion in the early Gibson days† Today, models that are unique to the Epiphone line, including the Sheraton, Zephyr, Riviera and Emperor, seem to be built to higher standards than their Gibson copy line (Les Paul, SG, Dot, Hummingbird, etc.).† The Sheraton does share design features with the Gibson ES-335, but the cosmetic appointments are much higher on the Sheraton.† The original Sheraton was outfitted with a Frequensator tailpiece but didn't gain much popularity until Epi changed to a stop bar and Tuneomatic bridge, i.e. the Sheraton II.† Like the Gibson ES-335, the Sheraton has a laminated maple body, top, back and sides, which, with its bright tone, works well with the darker tone of PAF humbuckers.† Unlike the Dot's mahogany neck, the Sheraton features a maple neck, for increased stability, capped with a rosewood fretboard.† High-end cosmetics include gold hardware, multi-layer binding on all edges including body, fretboard, neck, and headstock; abalone block & triangle fretboard inlays, headstock overlay with inlaid logo and vine inlay, and multi-ply tortoise pickguard with raised "e" logo.† Players as diverse as Oasis guitarist, Noel Gallagher and blues legend John Lee Hooker both have signature model Sheratons, which is testimony to the versatility of these guitars.† It's capable of high gain without feedback, which makes it attractive to rock players, but sounds equally good on more mellow jazz or blues.† Cosmetically, itís in great condition having been buffed out beautifully by Martin, and he also gave it an excellent setup with very comfortable action throughout the neck. For killer looks it's hard to beat black and gold. This is a lot of guitar for the money in my opinion. $399(SOLD-Javier S 8/12). Add a clean MBT gigbag for $19 (pic).