What a wonderful guitar! Among early 80s Les Pauls there are a few
well-kept secrets, gems that only in later years are receiving the appreciation
they deserve. Special editions such as the Heritage 80 or the 30th Anniversary
are today among the most sought-after Pauls of all times. In my personal
opinion, these guitars are a much more solid investments - both in terms of
monetary and muscial value - than the beautiful but overpriced Custom Shop
reissues, "born as collectibles" and for this very same reason bound to never be
"real" collectibles. The Heritage 80 offers both classic beauty and modern
functionality, enriched by a solid vintage value given by history and not by
marketing strategy. And the pickups.... but we'll talk about them later.
In the Les Paul Model's history, the Heritage 80 stands as a milestone: Gibson
understood that times were mature for a comeback to the original construction,
sound and spirit of the model. From a philological point of view, the results of
this attempt cannot be compared to the almost perfect and expensive modern
reissues, there are too many differences in hardware, neck construction
(3-piece), logo, etc. Nevertheless, the result was really successful: the
long-due "right look" made of precious woods and perfect finishes and the
extraordinary pickups developed by Gibson's Tim Shaw finally made a real Les
Paul available again. And that's why the vintage guitar world has learned to
deeply respect this special model.
We were lucky enough to find (... in Japan!) a peerless guitar. The beauty of
this Heritage 80's flamed maple top is unique. Usually the best
quilted-tops were used for the Elite version, whereas Standards had beautiful
but plainer woods. But this guitar's flames are absolutely stunning, really
exceptional. Just take a look at the pictures, so we can save a lot of words.
We'll focus on the few flaws, of course: the truss-rod cover is correct but non
original (no model's name); the strap buttons have been replaced by two
"security locks" tightened with excessive energy with the result of two small
cracks in the finish; the hsc is a recent Gibson brown case. Yes... That's all
folks! Everything else is just perfect and clean: chrome plated hardware in
excellent shape, a few light belt-buckle marks, minimal traces of wear.
All-original hardware: Grover Rotomatic tuners, Nashville-style bridge, knobs,
etc. The four original potentiometers are all dated 1980.
The pickups are two original Tim Shaw PAFs with the typical stamp on the bottom:
although in auctions and shop websites you often see advertised as Shaw PAFs
every pickup made by Gibson in the early '80s, it must be pointed out that the
real Shaws - developed to equip selected models with faithful PAF recreations -
are only the ones with the ink-stamps you see here: 137 181 for the neck unit
and 138 181 for the bridge. The first three digits are common to all the Shaws
and specify the pickup position (neck/bridge), while the last three or four
indicate month and year (in this case it's January 1981). The sound of this
guitar clearly explains why the Les Paul / Tim Shaw association has become a
Gibson legend. This guitar is ready for the gig: excellent playability, nice
frets and low action, straight neck with a beautifully rounded shape.
The serial number on the headstock's back is followed by the Made In USA stamp
and the limited edition number, 1604.
front - in
case - body1 - body2 - body3 - body4 - back - body
back - headstock - fretboard - switch - knobs - pots - pickup1 - pickup2 - hardware - number - logo - strap1 - strap2 - tuners - tuners2 - case