Tag Archives: Gibson Les Paul

The Great Scandinavian Guitar Show Gallery 2017

Picture gallery from our visit to The Great Scandinavian Guitar Show in Fryshuset / Stockholm. This was the 21nd edition of the show. We had a splendid time and are already looking forward to go next year again.

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Yeahman´s Guitar Fest Burgdorf Picture Gallery

Yeahman´s Guitar Fest is a guitar show located in beautiful Burgdorf in Switzerland, not far from Zürich. We had an invitation to come and visit the show by founder Michael Marti and his brother. So we jumped on a plane and a train and arrived for the show to be there for the opening, sunday sep 17th. This is not a review of the show, but we must say we had a super great time and was welcomed by a very friendly and passionate team of people from the swiss music community running the show. Below you can see some of the pics we shot on the show. We recommend you go visit in 2018.

Awesome food and great service from the guys at the The Lunch Box food truck. (www.lunchbox.ch)

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The Great Scandinavian Guitar Show – photo gallery 2016

Photo gallery from our trip The Great Scandinavian Guitar Show in Stockholm. 20 years anniversary. We had a splendid weekend at the show. Lots of fine vintage guitars and basses along side with luthiers and boutique gear builders. Here is our some of staff favourites that caught our eye over the weekend.


Vintage Epiphone Crestwood from Halkan´s Rock House

Vintage Epiphone Crestwood from Halkan´s Rock House

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Fuzz Guitar Show 2016 – Gothenburg – Sweden

Vintage & Rare team went to the annual Fuzz Guitar Show in Gothenburg / Sweden. Fuzz Guitar Show is one of the biggest guitarshows in Northern Europe and is a mix of retailers, vintage guitar stores, big manufactures, luthiers, boutique effects makers. Has been held annually since 2007.

All in all in a really great show with great atmosphere and very well put together.

Below you can see a gallery of exclusive pics we did from the show this year. We highly recommend you to visit this show if you interested in vintage, new, used electric and acoustic guitars, basses, amps, effects and parts.

Oliver Steffensen & Soren Andersen

Oliver Steffensen & Soren Andersen

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Def Leppard and their guitar harem

Def Leppard is a band known to most people, not at least guitar-enthusiasts due to the bands unique sound of playful melodies and powerful guitar riffs and solos. Rising to prominence in the early to mid 1980s the band was part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, however the bands sound is not so easily contained by specific genres, and Def Leppard can with no doubt in their voices claim to have a sound completely unto themselves. This is in no part due to the hard workmanship of the various guitarists that have blessed the band with their talents through out the years. Currently the role of main guitarist of Def Leppard is shared between two people; Vivian Campbell and Phill Collen. Front singer and founder Joe Elliot also provides guitar from time to time and so does bassplayer Rick Savage, but currently the real guitar talent resides with Campbell and Collen.

Both guitarists have more than two decades of experience behind them, and as during their extensive time of playing guitar at a highly professional level have both gone through a host of guitars of different kinds, brands and wild looks. Campbell appears to perhaps be the more populist or classicists guitar player of the two in regards to brand as he have a long history of playing mostly Gibson Les pauls guitars, however for extended periods of time Campbell have instead favoured playing on the number of custom made guitars he have made for him or have come by during his years of playing, including a three-colour (pink, red and yellow) Rand guitar, handmade by Rand Havener and a guitar built for him by luthier Buddy Blaze. These instruments was however more featured during his time with DIO and Whitesnake, while his Les Pauls have come more into play once again during his time at Def Leppard.

Phill Collen on the other hand uses the less popular Jackson Guitar brand almost exclusively. Formerly known for being one of the most exquisite brands when it came to custom made heavy metal guitars the brand have fallen out of favour since the 1990s, and a now a subsidiary of Fender Guitars. Collen still stands by them however and for almost all of his recording and turing work he exclusively uses Jackson guitars, and more specifically PC1 models. Some of them are modded to suit particular needs while other are left more or less in the state they were in when first bought. Collen having have a unique and self sure sounds for many years, and though his talent and personal flavour is part of this, some of this is also due to the way that his PC1s are equipped. All of them feature Dimarzio which is not unusual in any way, however the fact that almost all of his guitars are also fitted with Floyd Rose Sustainer pickups and the fact that most of them also feature Floyd Rose tremolos makes them stand out from other Jackson PC1s.

In every way a truly iconic band with a unique sound, Def Leppard continues to play and deliver fantastical songs with great splendour, in no small part due to their fantastic and hugely talented guitarist, and for that we are very grateful!

For more on Def Leppard, visit their website here.
For more Premier Guitar videos, visit their youtube channel here.

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Richie Sambora and his 1959 Gibson Les Paul

For those of you who visit our YouTube channel it will already be known that we are currently facilitating the sale of a 1959 Les Paul Standard Burst guitar formerly owned by Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi fame. To spread some more awareness on this beautiful and incredible guitar with a very rich history, we have decided to make this blog post a bit about Richie, a bit about one the other former owners of the guitar and, of course, a bit about the fantastic 59′ Les Paul itself.

The first owner of this particular guitar, that we know the name of anyway, is John Squire, who is best known for his time as the main guitarist of the British rock group The Stone Roses. Pioneers of the Britpop movement that ravished England in the 1990s, Squires career have also included a solo album and stints with The Seahorses and The Shining band, though he is without a doubt most known for his time with The Stone Roses, for whom he is playing again. This particular 1959 Les Paul guitar is featured heavily on The Stone Roses second album, and as such hold a big part of their iconic sound. When John Squire sold the guitar off, it went into hiastatus for a couple of years before being picked up by Richie Sambora, who have since then used it extensively, often pointing out that his 1959 Les Paul guitars are among his wery favorites in his collection.

Richie Sambora brought this 59′ in 1996, but it is far from his first Les Paul guitar. He started playing guitar at age 12, inspired to pick up the axe following the death of Jimi Hendrix. Around age 17 he brought his first real Les Paul, an, for him, iconic instrument which he owned until he was 23 when it was stolen during a rehearsal period with the Bon Jovi band. Though he is most known for his part as the main guitarist for Bon Jovi, Sambora have also toured with Joe Cocker, auditioned for KISS, released a number of solo albums as well as featured on a large number of records with such different artists such as LL Cool J, Kel Spencer and Superbus, as well as having played and released albums together with the bands Shark Frenzy, Message and Cher among others. Never a man to stop playing or touring Sambora is still playing and recently toured as a solo artists, and is expected to join Bon Jovi for their newest album, with an expected release date in 2016.

The 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard Sunburst guitar series is by many viewed as the epitome of guitars. With no real competition to the title of most expensive guitar series in the world. Originally made as an improved version of the 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard, the 59′ version features a number of elements that set it apart from its older brother. Though the 1959 guitars were produced to help fix the declining sales figures of Gibson’s guitar sale, the 1959 models did not succeed. Only a few hundred models were ever made and in the years 1958-1960 less that two thousand Les Paul Standards were created. However the popularity these guitars gained with the most popular rock and pop stars of the late 60s and onwards ensured that the Gibson Les Paul Standards of that time, especially the sunburst models, have received an explosive amount of fame and recognition. It could even be said that the popularity of these models is what have helped Gibson stay in the guitar making business for good. A beautiful example of the famed 59 edition this specific guitar is less bursting that others of its type, giving it a truly unique look. As said in the video above it looks, plays and sounds marvelously, and though some might argue that the autograph on the neck is a blemish on such a beautiful guitar, we have to agree with New Kings Road Guitars in that it only ads to the rich history of this model.

For more on Richie Sambora go his website here.
For New Kings Road Guitars, visit their website here.

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Joe Satriani, Chrome Boys and Vintage Guitars

Joe Satriani is a pure legend when it comes to the guitar world, and it isn’t the first time we have focused on him on this blog (and who’s to say this will be the last time?), not only due to his amazing talent, his ingenuity and studio and live-performance legacy, but also due to the fact that he have been an influential teacher for many other guitar legends throughout the years. A self proclaimed Jimi Hendrix fanatic, Satriani have played guitar for more than 40 years now, for a large number of bands, and have due to his pure talent and constant need to evolve as a musician always been able to keep up with the rest of the world, almost consistently having all of his albums reach to rock billboard charts, a feat few instrumental focused artists can achieve in that genre.

Joe Satriani made up his mind and chose to pursue a career as a professional guitar player on the moment of receiving the news of Jimi Hendrix’s death, and spent the next couple of years completing his education all the while constantly practicing his skills. In 1978 he moved to California where his career as a guitar teacher and professional performer truly began to take root. 11 years later, after performing for a number of groups of various sizes, Satriani released his first solo album. The album was in part paid for the money he earned by touring with Mick Jagger in a period, and the combination of this, paired with his former students beginning to achieve fame as well and then in beginning to talk to the press and public about where they have received their training from gained Satriani quite some attention from the public. Though never a big rock star in the traditional way, his tenaciousness, talent and always working – always touring life ethos have ensured that Satriani is still a much beloved artists, currently playing in the supergroup Chickenfoot and playing and recording as a solo artist. Having put a considerable number of famous artists collaborations on his resume since the late 80s.

When it comes to guitars it at first appears as if surprisingly simplistic in his choice of guitars, mainly playing his own signature Ibanez JS series both when recording and when playing live, whether it be for his solo project or with Chickenfoot. And though the Ibanez JS series is in no way uninteresting – it features a series of rare chrome covered guitars after all – when one digs a little deeper it becomes apparent that like most guitar enthusiasts, and as a true Hendrix fanatic, Joe Satriani does indeed possess a sizeable collection of vintage guitars and rarities.

Here at Vintage & Rare we think that both the strange story of the Chromeboy Ibanez guitars as well as Satriani’s vintage collection deserves some room, and to that end we will now share some thoughts on both subjects. Here’s to hoping you’ll like it as much as we do!

The Ibanez JS series started off as a prototype model, modified from the Ibanez 540 Radius model, that Satriani originally endorsed in the late 80s, however when Ibanez approached him in regards to producing his own signature series, the collaboration led to the JS series replacing the Radius model completely. The main difference between the two series was originally the different pickups used, but there have since been made greater chances, both in regards to the body composition, the cutaway as well as the electronics. The JS series have also mainly been using DiMarzio pickups, and ever since Satriani got his own signature pickups from DiMarzio, the JS series have also featured these as the standard pickup of choice for the various JS guitars. For some people, the most interesting part of the story about the JS series is the Chromeboy versions of the series. Made in two generations, the Chromeboy guitar, have since then become a minor rarity, as there was only released a relative small amount of models of each version, both of which are prone to catastrophic breakdowns. As the name implies the Chromeboy guitars were actually chromed, i.e. that the body of the guitars were dipped in liquid metal that then covered the entire body. This method was highly controversial, due to a number of reasons. First and foremost the process is extremely difficult, especially on such a curved body, not to mention the difficulty in getting the metal to stick to the wood without destroying the body in the process. Besides this the process is also quite toxic, and potentially dangerous to the people involved in the process. Finally, the instability of the metal/wood combination leads to a high risk for fractures and cracks, all of which are extremely sharp and almost impossible to mend probably, leading to many a bleeding guitarist – something that everybody is keen to avoid! Though the chromeboy versions are now collector items, the regular JS series have instead become a staple product for Ibanez, and various new versions of the guitars are still being produced, all in close colaboration with Joe Satriani himself.

However, even though Satriani most often plays on his own signature series, it doesn’t mean that he only owns and only plays the Ibanez JS series. He does collect other kinds of guitars as well, but always with a very specific mindset. If he does not feel that he can play the guitars to the ability which he desires, then he has no problem with selling the guitar off again. While this might sound maddening to many collectors, there is a pureness to this mentality. Why rob other people of the opportunity to own these fantastic guitars, if he gets no joy from simply possessing them. For a technical innovator and workaholic like Satriani, having a guitar and not being able to play it properly seems to be an out of this world thought. As such his collection of rare and vintage instruments often reflects either the pursuit of a specific sound or a need for emulating they way some of Satriani’s idols played. His collection includes such rarities such as a 1948 Martin 000-21 acoustic guitar, 3 Gibsons from 1958 ( one Les Paul Junior, one TV Special and one L-5CES) as well as a beautiful 1966 Fender XII that Satriani likes so much that it have featured on almost every album he have been on since he procured the guitar.

No matter what he plays on we will be happy and content as long as he keeps up the tempo and value he have become famous for, and we hope that Joe Satriani will continue to create and inspire new works of guitar masterpieces.

For more guitar extravaganza visit Guitar world on youtube or on their webpage.
For more rig rundowns, visit Premier Guitars youtube channel or visit their homepage.
For more Joe Satriani videos, visit his fan-community youtube channel here, and if you just need more Satriani in general visit his webpage here.

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Musical Mastermind and Guitar Nerd at the same time: Joe Bonamassa

When Joe Bonamassa first started his career at age 12, few would have believed that it would carry him this far. Though he was from the very beginning viewed as something of a prodigal son for the blues genre he would later become a master of, few indeed could have guessed how massive his success and talent would become. Bonamassa, son of a guitar player and dealer, first became noticed by the wider blues community when he was around 13 years old, due to two things: First, and most importantly; he got a gig, opening for B.B. King – something almost unbelievable, considering that Bonamossa was an unknown teenager at that time, and secondly, his opening act for King ensured that he was featured in the american TV show Real Life with Jane Pauley, which was shown all over the US at that time.

During the next couple of years he would play in the band Bloodlines, which consisted of the sons of famous and exemplary music stars. The group released a single album before parting ways, paving the way for Bonamassa’s solo career. A few years later in 2000 he released his first solo studio album and it seems that he has in now way slowed down ever since releasing 23 albums and 9 video albums since then, which comes to an average of more than two albums per year! Having partnered with his studio-producer and his very first manager to create his own label J&R Adventures, Joe Bonamassa have found his own alternative to the established music business, and as such his rise to stardom have been harder but more rewarding (at least according to himself), and his shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, the Vienna Opera House and other venues all over the world shows that he has indeed come out on top. Touring for about 9 months each year, all the while managing various trust funds and charity organisations to further musical endeavours for youth all around America plus writing and recording new material, one could easily believe it when people claim that he is the busiest of guitarists out there.

Speaking of guitars it quickly becomes apparant that Joe Bonamassa prefers one type of guitars beyond all others – Gibsons. And though the Gibson range in general seems to appeal to him, and though he in no way exclusively owns or plays Gibsons (in a recent interview he claimed to own more than 300 guitars!) there can be no doubt as to what his favorite type of guitar is after watching the rundown of his rig – The Gibson ’59 Standard.

And from the man himself:

Though most collectors would give their right arm to get to own a Gibson Les Paul ’59 Standard (or from €224859/$300906 and upwards to at least €579095/$775000) it is a testimony to Joe Bonamassa’s success that he owns no more than three of them! The famous guitars, known to be among the most expensive guitars in the whole world are not only part of a collectors passion, or a stable of iconic symbols for the blues and rock culture, they are a rarity that most guitar fanatics treasure above almost any other instrument. However to Joe Bonamassa they are even more yet; they are also instruments. Not a single of his treasured 59′ Les Pauls are left sealed away in a treasure chamber as one might expect. Instead he records and tours with them, claiming that not to use them would be the real waste, as their unique sound and the associated imagery that they carry should be shared with as many as possible.
Though many might consider this to challenge fate, Bonamassa have taken his precautions, among other things hiring an ex-secret service employe to guard his guitars. One thing is certain, as long as he handles them with care, we here at Vintage & Rare are pleased that Bonamassa is generous enough to share the wonderful sound of such great instruments with the world at large!

For more of Premier Guitar’s rig rundowns check out their youtube channel.
For more great videos, equipment walkthroughs and much more visit Musicians Friends’ youtube channel here.
For more Joe Bonamassa videos, visit his youtube channel,
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Hey.What’s Wrong With My Wood!? The Search For My Les Paul By Dan Yablonka

Hi all ….. I hope the crazy world we live in these days is treating you well!!

This particular installment regards a topic that changed mid stream. I started out to write about Les Paul’s and the history behind them but it has been done so well by guys like Robbie Lawrence and Vic DaPra and as I ventured into it I realized where I was going was more of a combination of a personal journey to buy a guitar for myself and after 39 years of buying. selling, collecting and some writing as well as 50 years of playing, diving even deeper into what makes a great guitar “tick!

The story starts by my humbling myself and saying that as a smaller dealer than many this economy has hit me below the belt as hard as anyone . Guys haven’t thought about expensive gear as much since their houses went “south.” BUT … housing is going North again and I am seeing the signs!

So in order to keep the doors open at a few slow moments I too, had to thin out the herd. I had about 14 or 15 guitars. Most of the axes I  sold hurt a little but I usually had a plan. I sold my 56 Strat but I have a 64 for example. I sold 1 of 4 Weissenborns BUT the one guitar that had none similar was my 50s gold top Les Paul that I had to sell. Don’t get me wrong …. no pity parties  here. I still have my 1961 ES335TD Dot Neck … but as I sold off about 4 or 5 guitars I promised myself i’d set aside a little to buy a Les Paul… ok … maybe a reissue or similar. It was  on that quest that my digging went deeper and I wound up finding the perfect scenario for me and a ton of reaffirmation of why we love vintage guitars and/or that quality of manufacturing and materials.

I want to start by saying that the guitar companies of today are really good companies and you get a good bang for the buck and this is by no means a criticism or comparison. They have been subjected to environmental laws like the Lacey act and in many cases it is Apples and Oranges to  compare and not by their hands. But there are  many differences with age and different manufacturing between an old one and a new one  or people wouldn’t be paying 2k for a newer used Les Paul Standard and $350,000.00 for a 1958-60 really flamey standard. That is of course the most inflated and extreme example on the most iconic of guitars. But a 1995 Strat can be had for 9-$1200 usd and guys pay 15-40k for a 50s or 60s pre cbs one. As we all know those numbers are adjusted to the current market. They were 20-75k prior to 2008.

So … as I went looking for a Les Paul I had some time on my hands to find  what exactly was available to me for not too much $Jing (money). I liked some of the reissues I played and I played a lot of them. Also in my range were some 70s possibilities or maybe a late 60s in player condition. But most that I played and saw were newer guitars. There was just an “oomph”  in the body that I was used to with my gold top that I wasn’t finding. That little extra that make an old guitar 110% that we pay exponentially for just wasn’t there for me.

At that point I started researching because it also dawned on me that I know a few builders and one of them is the absolute best restoration place I have had the pleasure of dealing with. Their finish work is outrageous! Because of the nature of building me a Les Paul and also that they are not at all in that business but restoration they shall remain nameless. So as I studied further I found that everything I had been spouting out of theory regarding solid bodies for years was even more true than I knew!

I found out that there is a large sonic difference between Honduras mahogany and other woods (yes .. even other mahogany) being used today. It  wound up being AS significant as Brazilian is to an old acoustic Martin when compared to Indian rosewood!

The same holds true for the finish. Nitrocellulose allows for the wood to breathe better and age too! Much more so than the polyurethane ever could. Hide Glue is a MAJOR factor. The environmental laws today  allow (in the U.S.A.) the use if “titebond” otherwise known as Elmer’s yellow or wood glue but up until recently would no longer permit hide glue (It is being re-introduced and allowed again on some parts of the guitar). The problem is wood glue dries as a plastic  so you now have a layer of plastic between your neck and body, and your Mahogany body and maple top diminishing the sound transference. On a really well made hide glue guitar you get more of that ax working as one entity because all sections are connected as well as possible. You knock on the headstock and the body starts vibrating uncontrollably  …. ok now we’re just getting into guitar porn!

Even something one would think as small as a Brazilian fingerboard can change the sound. The warmth of the board can be discerned.. Now again … these are restrictions put on the new manufacturers and it is not their doing. Think about the sonic difference between a maple and rosewood board Strat! Ok … one form of rosewood to another is possibly not as notable but when you’re evaluating what makes an old iconic machine work so well .. no stone should be left unturned! Slightly warmer tone is one result that the board contributes to.

So … being lucky and patient enough … it took 6 years to convince my friends to build me one. Now I am not suggesting that everyone do this because there really aren’t that many great guys out there and to many, a newer Gibson fills all of their needs. BUT I am suggesting that there is a  large difference to the discerning ear or studio musician and the reasons we buy the old ones are because of the way they sound and play. What I was able to find was that the materials were absolutely critical as well. I personally play player’s pieces as I still work as a musician (which explains why I have always kept a smaller business … split paths). My 64 Strat is a refin … my 61 ES335 that I mentioned is beat to death, but the old wood and time and workmanship taken are irreplaceable to me. I “beat the system” on this Les Paul, but great time and effort went into producing just a handful of guitars achieving results that were the best of both worlds.

So what I wound up with is a guitar that is only a year old but made out of country so it has Honduras Mahogany body and neck/head, Hide Glue which forms to the wood and bonds it, Nitro Finish and a Brazilian Rosewood Board and it honks like a real one! Though I wound up with a new guitar. It was built to old specs and old materials and the result was that body alive as one could hope for and the closest thing I have ever played to an original burst  (’59 Les Paul) and as good or better guitar than the 50s gold top  I parted with.

My point I am making is not that we should all go out and design a guitar to fit old specs. That was my process since I was trying an experiment to see how much the actual woods and workmanship of yesteryear  mattered though it was a pivotal part of why I got a great guitar. My point however IS … there is a reason we buy old guitars and the reasons are many but the result is mostly the same. Like Hugh Hefner always said … “it’s in the wood!”

WE LOVE the way the old ones play and sound. I think the vintage market is on it’s way back and my excitement is renewed.

So …. if you’re a serious player and want to maximize the experience … even if they are “player’s pieces” with strays from originality to save you a ton of Euros …  instead of buying 5 newer guitars to do what one can, try a vintage guitar. It’s easy. Go to your favorite dealer on Vintage and Rare and get your hands on 3 or 50!!!  You’ll be hooked and you’ll be hooked to this site for life because it is now your Mistress!!! You already know WHERE to get them!! https://www.vintageandrare.com/ where you can find my site as Dan Yablonka Guitars aka “Axes Of E-Ville”

Until we gig again!! Happy Happy. Dan Yablonka

Visit Dan´s shop on Vintage & Rare here



Gibson Les Paul Heritage Series Standard 80 Model Information

The Gibson Les Paul Heritage Series Standard 80 models – Finding that 1959 Burst tone on a budget.

Guest blog by Henrik Berger.

It can haunt you in your dreams, and follow you around the entire night and day, it can drive you into countless hours of searching the internet, daydreaming, while listening to Youtube- clips, finding articles, talking to friends.. What am I talking about?…… I am talking about the 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard..

Unless you are very wealthy, or extremely lucky, you will not be able to claim your 1959 Burst, since prices are in the big boys league, and have been rising for quite some time. But today´s economy on the other hand, suggests that now, it would be a good time to invest in one, if you have around, 100.000 – 400.000 $ (depending on the condition & originality) to spare for a 1959 Burst.

But!…… If you (like me) don’t have that kind of money, what do you then do?
Since the age of 5 I have played guitar, but at the age of 16, I started to have a great interest in vintage guitars, and  I have always been on the look out for that special guitar.

At first I only looked for vintage Fender Stratocasters because Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Eric Clapton, John Norum and Yngwie Malmsteen played on those beat up Strats.

But several years later I got turned on to Gibson.
I had read up on the Gibson Les Paul history and of course stumbled upon the 1959 Burst…. The holy grail of guitars. So I set out to get myself one of those;).

Not surprisingly that did not happen or should  I say, has not happened yet. But I came across this series of guitars that apparently should be very very good. And they were affordable!
The Gibson Les Paul heritage series standard 80!

Starting the 59 reissue era
It all started back in the late 70´s when different shops requested Gibson to make a guitar that had the same features as the 1959 Les Paul Standard, the first models that Gibson attempted to build were far from the real deal. But at some point the Nashville factory set out to release the Heritage Series 80.

The Heritage Series Standard 80
Production started early in 1980 and ended late in 1982. There were between 2-3000 of these guitars built, I have conflicting info on this matter, however most people recognize 2000 to be the right number. The author of this article do not know the exact number, so if any of you have that information we will be more than happy to hear from you.

The Heritage series standard 80, was not completely true to the Gibson 1959 Burst in a lot of ways, but all guitars were made with no weight relief or tone chambers, and they are solid body guitars.
There were 3 types of Gibson Les Paul Heritage Series Standard 80. The Standard, The Elite and The Award.
Here is a quick overview of the general specs on those guitars. Generally all of the models mentioned below feature a sharper horn at the cutaway than the original 1959 Les paul.
Colours vary from Cherry Burst- Honey Burst- “Lemon Dropish” – Black – Wine Red – Goldtop.
However most were coloured in the CherryBurst and the HoneyBurst. Black- Wine Red- Goldtop only exist in very small numbers. (personally I have only seen 3 Goldtops, 2 Black, 1 Wine Red in my search and they were all Standards).

Heritage series standard 80 /Standard model
One piece Maghogany Body
Tops range from regular plain top to really flamy.
3 piece Maghogany neck medium to semi big profile.
Rosewood fingerboard
Trapeze mother of pearl inlay
Narrow binding in the cut away.
Grover kidney tuners.
2 Tim Shaw designed Humbuckers
Neckplate says Heritage series standard – 80.
Back of headstock has regular serial number and 4 extra digits underneath, and a “made in the U.S.A” stamp. all numbers and letters are stamped into the neck
Heritage series standard 80 / Elite model.
One piece Maghogany Body
quilted tops
1 piece Maghogany neck neck medium to semi big profile.
Ebony  Fingerboard
Trapeze mother of pearl inlay
Narrow binding in the cut away.
Grover kidney tuners.
2 Tim Shaw designed Humbuckers
Neckplate says Heritage series standard – 80 Elite.
Back of headstock has regular serial number and 4 extra digits underneath, and a “made in the U.S.A” stamp. all numbers and letters are stamped into the neck
Heritage Series / Award model
Same as the Elite. with a few exceptions.
Tops are quilt or flame
Features a plate on the back of the neck with a number
The neckplate says Heritage Award
The  guitar was fitted with gold hardware.
About 50 of these where made.
These were given to the sellers that could sell the most guitars from this line. I have seen about 5 for sale the last 5 years.
The odd crossover 80 / Elite and Award models
Since the Elite and Award have ebony fingerboards, they are somewhat a freak crossover between a Gibson les paul custom and a standard/ reissue. But a good  odd crossovers I mind you!. They are excellent guitars and plays very smoothly. But in terms of getting close to the original 59 burst they are far from close. However fitted with the Tim Shaw PAF-clone humbucker pickups, they have a very warm and true vintage  sound to them. Soundwise I would compare them to a 1957 Les Paul Custom fitted with P.A.F pickups. They have a bit more edge to the tone than the rosewood Standard.

The Tim Shaw P.A.F recreation
Gibson had Tim Shaw to recreate the famous P.A.F pickups, and his determination to recreate an exact copy of the P.A.F pickup drove him into investigating how the coils were spun,, which magnets they used, how many windings etc. Tim Shaw was very meticulous about the design of these pickups, and he managed to produce a very close clone to the original P.A.F pickup. They go by the name of “Shawbuckers” or “TimBuckers” in the collectors society, and they fetch a fair amount of money when they get sold on various sites and auctions. These pickups are marked with numbers underneath, 137 being the neck pick up with less windings, and 138 being the bridge pickup with more windings. There is also a date after the first 3 numbers so lets say a pickup would read 1370581 then its a neck pickup made in May 1981.

Serialization and identification
The serialization on these Gibsons is the system that Gibson used from 1977-2005
The pattern is YDDDYPPP. And you decode it this way.
Y        =   First number in year.     (10´s)
DDD  =   Number of day in that year.
Y       =    Second number in year  (1´s)
PPP  =    Place of production (001-499 = Kalamazoo, 500-999 = Nashville)
Lets say you have 82760599 ( 82760599 )stamped on your neck.
That means your guitar was made in 1980 on the 276th. day in the Nashville plant
The additional  4 digits below the serialnumber, do not have any code, they were random numbers that was stamped into the neck to show that this guitar was part of a limited guitar run.
The Heritage series 80 is fairly easy to pick out from the crowd, and it is pretty easy to determine whether or not it is an original guitar you have in your hands.
I have a small checklist inside my head that hopefully can help you out.
1. Back of the headstock has a normal serial number and 4 extra digits.
2. Grover Tuners.
3. Neckplate states  Gibson Heritage series standard 80 / – Elite / or Heritage Award.
4. Nickel hardware.
5. Pickups must have the “TimBucker/Shawbucker” code.
6. Serialnumber must be in the 1980-1982 range*.
*I have seen 1 Heritage 80 Les Paul with a very early 1983 serial number which indicates that they made the very last ones in early 1983. But I cant say if that guitar was 100% original, since it was a listing on an auction site.
History books and information from Gibson states that production years was 1980-1982.
If you want to make sure everything is original, look for faded plastic parts and worn nickel hardware, check for screwholes that shouldn´t be there, and take a look inside the cavities..
Finally if you are in doubt, bring a camera, and take some shots of the guitar, that way you can post them in forums, and I´m sure people will help you out.

The feel… The tone….
My hunt for the holy grail will never stop I guess, but so far I have had great success in my quest for the classic Gibson tone.
I have found an instrument that really inspires me, and sounds so good, that I look forward to play my trusted Gibson Heritage series standard 80´s everytime.

The thrill is, that since these guitars probably never will reach a “darling” status with the collectors, there is hope that they will stay in current pricerange more or less. You can get a fair condition Heritage Series standard 80 for around 3500 $, the better ones with nicer tops generally go for a bit more, and then there are the “collector” ones in mint condition which is set at a even higher price.
The thing is that this series of guitars was intended to fill a hole in Gibson´s line of guitars, because a lot of players and dealers wanted a reissue 1959 burst, so there was a demand for this type of guitar.
And even though they missed out on a fair amount of details, which resulted in Gibson not getting as close to a real 1959 Les Paul standard as they  intended, these guitars are truely excellent. And I´m personally grateful  that they are  not 100% perfect clones of a 1959 burst, if they were, you couldn´t buy them with my kind of money.
But the most important thing about  these guitars is, than when you pick up a Heritage series standard 80, you just know that you have a very good and special guitar in your hands.

In my opinion The Gibson Les Paul Heritage series standard 80 is by far superior to the build- quality that Gibson offers today, at least in the price range  of a secondhand Heritage series standard 80.
The more expensive ones that Gibson builds today,of course has another feel to them.  I have tried some recent reissue Les Pauls that blew me away, I remember in particular a Sunburst washed cherry 1960 R0 that just kept singing, but the price was way over my budget, I remember it being 42.000 Danish Kroner ( appr. 5600 Euro / 7400 $).

I wouldnt mind getting my hands on one of those, but on the other hand I just like the feel of a 30 + year old Guitar. And I feel that with todays prices, I might as well spend 3-4.000 $ on a guitar that I know will conquer my heart, and I still will be able to take out to gigs in small clubs or bigger venues, without worrying too much about the accidents waiting to happen.

Introducing myself and final thoughts
My name is Henrik Berger, Im a guitarplayer/singer/writer from Denmark, and I have been playing guitar since the age of  5, my biggest influences are  Eric Johnson, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Steve Lukather, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Gary Moore and of course  the late great Jimi Hendrix. When I turned 16 years old I started to have a great interest in vintage guitars, and  I have always been on the look out, for that special guitar.
At first I only looked out for vintage Fender Stratocasters because Jimi Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Eric Clapton, John Norum and Yngwie Malmsteen played on those beat up Strats.
But several years later I got turned on to Gibson.

It all started with a 1972 Gibson SG special, then I got a 1977 SG Standard. Then I flirted with the Les Paul, and had a 1976 Les Paul Goldtop Deluxe, which honestly wasn’t a great guitar, so I decided to buy a 1976 Gibson Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty).
The Les Paul custom was a better guitar but still “it” wasn’t there, and by  that time I had read up on the Gibson Les Paul history and of course stumbled upon the 1959 Burst…. The holy grail of guitars. I didnt have the money so I discovered the Heritage series standard 80.
I have always collected guitars, but “collected” in the sense of having some guitars to take out to gigs and make use of them.
All my guitars are in players condition, some even beaten close to death, because I played so many gigs on them. I just love to I bring my Heritage series standard 80 Les paul to a club job, and take my 80-Elite  alongside for backups, without having second thoughts about it.
The only thing that I always think about though is when bringing my Heritage 80´s on the road I will always place them securely in a guitarstand, Fenders tend to uphold if they are knocked over, Gibson´s don´t;).

In my point of view a Heritage Series 80 Standard, is one of the best options out there, if you are looking for that Burst tone on a budget. You get the feel and sound of a vintage instrument, they may not be the perfect clone, but feel- and soundwise they come pretty darn close if you ask me. And you just now that you are holding a great guitar in your hands when you pick up a Heritage series Les Paul .
And should you decide to sell it at some point ( I bet you wont  you probably won´t lose a lot of money…. maybe you will gain some instead.
So go out and grab yourself a great player!
All the best
Henrik Berger

This article is  written entirely by myself, I would however like give credit to  “Gruhns guide to vintage guitars” written by George Gruhn and Walter Carter, and to Mike Slubowski for giving me some of the  knowlegde about these guitars and all the other 59 reissues out there. I would also like to thank Søren Larsen for taking the time to read correcteur on this piece.
This article and the media connected to it ,is owned by Henrik Berger. Please ask for permission before reproducing anything from it.