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Discussion Starter #1
HI

I recently accepted as partial payment for a '74 precision bass what at the time seemed to me as a strange, mistreated Les Paul (I had never seen a sunburst tone like that). Later I was told it's a Les Paul Deluxe, but cannot determine the date because it was refinished and I suppose the serial nr (as well the made in USA) was somehow "deleted" in the process.

I've sent it to a very good Luthier for a refret and he doesn't think the refinish had anything to do with the disappearance of the serial Nr and "MAde in USa".

I would appreciate any help in determinig this Lp's date of manufacture. What I know is the following:

- It has a 3 piece neck
- It has "Les Paul Model" on the front of the headstock
- It has standard humbuckers (Dimarzio) but the cavity was (roughly) rerouted for their size. There is a sticker on the back of each pickups - One says "LP Deluxe Hals Pickup", and the other "LP Bridge pickup"
- It has a volute on the back of the nut
- The tuners were Kluson-style but not original. No visible brand whatsoever.
- The Pot knobs it came with recall some amplifier knobs (like fender), sort of a tall hat (like witches use :)). I think I may have seen similar knobs in an old SG.
- I saw one of the Pots and it reads 137722 / 70-034

I tried Gibson support an they answered the following: "Based on those pictures, it appears that this model has been modified in a few ways, and it’s hard to tell from pictures, but it also appears to have been refinished. However, it should have a serial number. There was a time in the 1970s (from 1975-77) in which some serial numbers were on a decal on the headstock. If this model were refinished, the serial number could have been taken off during this process. Because there is no serial number and the guitar has been modified, it’s too difficult to put a date on the guitar."

Well, any suggestions are welcome... If there is anyone who would like to see some photos of it, please mail me to [email protected] and I'll be glad to send them the ones I have.

Thank you very much
 

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If it has a volute and a mahogany neck it would be somewhere between late '70 and '74. Maple necks appeared in '75. That pot code is 1972 but it alone can't date the guitar especially if you don't know if it's original. I'd need to see photos of the control cavity and neck pickup route to make any real guess. There may be signs of the original finish in the routes and under the backplates as well. The LPF guys are pretty sharp as Tarbender says. There is also some good info on latesixtieslespauls.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Lester B. Flat said:
If it has a volute and a mahogany neck it would be somewhere between late '70 and '74. Maple necks appeared in '75. That pot code is 1972 but it alone can't date the guitar especially if you don't know if it's original. I'd need to see photos of the control cavity and neck pickup route to make any real guess. There may be signs of the original finish in the routes and under the backplates as well. The LPF guys are pretty sharp as Tarbender says. There is also some good info on latesixtieslespauls.com.
I went to latesixtieslespauls.com and although it's a Late sixtie's oriented site and the author expressly refuses to answer personal mails with specific questions, I saw something there that may be useful: There is a picture in the main page (Home page) showing part of a black Les Paul (I suppose it's a Les Paul) with knobs just like mine! It's the first time I see a picture of a guitar with those knobs...

Regarding the POT code, I read in more than one place that although usually pot codes have 7 digits (xxx - Manufacturer code, xx - Year of production, xx - week of production), sometimes they had only 6 digits (xxx - manufacturer code, x - last digit of year of production, xx - week of production). If this is the case, then 137722 would mean that the pot was produced by CTS (Chicago Telephone Supplies) on the 22nd week of some year ending in "7" (77?).

Do you agree with this?

ANyway, the luthier I mentioned is working on the guitar said that the pots were also not original so the mistery continues... unless he is wrong.

I'll have to wait for the guitar to return from the luthier before I can take some pictores of the cavities, routing, etc...

I tried to join the LEs Paul forum, but I keep getting an error message stating "The administrator has banned your email address", regardless of the mail address I insert... the site administrator is also unreachable, apparently with a full mailbox. I'll just keep trying.

Thank you both very much for the tips!
 

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Yeah, they don't like my e-mail for some reason either. The witch hat knobs would be off a LP Custom so they are not right for the guitar either. I just checked on the 6 digit pot code. They went to 7 digits in 1960 so that pot is either 1947 or 1957, but with a 3 piece neck and volute it can't be a 50's guitar. Need some photos of that sucker! :confused-smiley-010
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi,

I thought the pancake body could only seen by looking at the cavities (where
the wood is unfinished), but after you mentioned there were no edge shots
among the photos I sent you I went to find ou t about that and it seems the
pancake body on Deluxe's is clearly visible under the finish...

Well, my guitar's body seems to be made of one piece (or two piece,
including the maple top) mahogany.

According to http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibson5.html, Gibson dropped the
"pancake" body and started using standard 2-piece bodies on Les Paul Deluxe
in 1977...

What do you think of this?

Thank you very much
 

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Is the neck maple or mahogany? Mahog would be '74 or earlier, maple '75 and on.
re the pots - the 137 is manufacturer (CTS I think), the next 2 would be year (72) then the next 2 should be week, but you only have one. Are you sure the last digit isn't just worn off? Are all 4 the same?

It sounds like a routed Deluxe - routing them for humbuckers was really quite common - lots of them were routed back in the old days.

Sometimes it's hard to see the pancake, if it has lacquer cracking down the center of the side it's a good indicator of a pancake.

Sounds like a cool guitar. Go check out the price on a new Townshend model at L&M.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, so finally the quest ends!

I asked the luthier I sent it to to take a close look and find out if the body is pancake or not, as well as the wood used on the neck.

He said that the neck is made of 3 piece maple and the body is "pancake".

If maple necks were introduced in 1975 and the pancake body was dropped in 1977, the guitar must have been manufactured during this period. That also explains the fact that it has no Serial Nr (decal)...

I just can't understand someone using replacement pots over 20 or 30 years old...

I can't tell you how relieved I feel for clarifying this!! Don't know why, but this "mistery" was becoming a small obsession...

Thank you all very much for your help, especially Lester B. Flat - you've been of great help!

Cheers everyone!
 
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