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Any "Fretless Wonder" fans?

Mukidi

New here
Hi Rick. Thank you for creating this forum. I like the 57 model, but does Gibson still make Les Paul Custom FW?
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
Hi Rick. Thank you for creating this forum. I like the 57 model, but does Gibson still make Les Paul Custom FW?
No, as far as I know that fret design ceased in the mid-70s, never to return. I’m sure that you could have any guitar refretted with very low frets and get a similar feel. As a update, I decided against refretting that one and sold it to someone who wanted the original setup. I bought a 1972 SG Standard, just like the one I started out professionally playing. The new owner of the Les Paul loves it, and I’m very happy with the SG and play it regularly. 72 was a good year for Gibson in Kalamazoo!

By the way, the arm and spring have been removed, and the trem blocked. Those Gibson/Bigsby licensed trems were terrible on staying in tune. My original had the trem removed and a stop tailpiece added. I thought I’d just block this one instead... serves the same purpose, although a stop tailpiece is easier when restringing.

B3BFC737-17FB-4354-BEBA-F434B030FEA9.jpeg
 
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R.D.

Forum Addict
I had an Aunt that worked in Gibson’s shipping department in Kalamazoo for years …. I used her employee discount to buy a 1969 Ebony “Fretless Wonder” w/ Gold Hardware for $ 426 ( and some change ) ….

I was 13 years old and it was my first “real” guitar …. I had it for years from 1970 to 1985 ( or so ). In 1982 I took it back to Gibson and had them mount a Kahler Trem on it ( if not the 1st, it was one of them …. ). Unfortunately, that pretty much destroyed it …. Just gutted the tone, I even ended up installing EMG pickups in an effort to salvage it, but that didn’t help either …. Ruined the re-sale value too …. What is it they say about being “young, dumb and …,” Yup that was certainly me !

Ultimately I moved on to a PRS Custom and then to Strats …. I don’t necessarily miss the guitar, but I do wish I’d have had more respect for it !
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
I think I have a photo or two somewhere, let me check. I think they come down automatically after a while.
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
Here is the 1972 LP Custom I had, at the time I bought it:

65795-1397531488-9deef9e69ebb196d2a52c3b31a2f9b02.jpg
It was in great condition, all original except someone had put speed knobs on it at some point, so I put back the "witch hat" knobs. After they were added back it looked like this:

65796-1397531488-62fa7d52d80bee4a44de768dfb4c3030.jpg
 
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Rick

Fractal Fanatic
View attachment 53505 2018 '57 Historic cost $7.7k. What do you think Rick? If FW only produced in 70, what about "black beauty"? Is it just for 70's name too? I'm sorry, I'm a newby.
If you're looking for the fretless wonder necks, I don't think Gibson offers it in any guitar I am aware of, although you could pick any one you wanted and take it to a competent guitar shop or luthier and have it refretted to something similar for a couple of hundred bucks. I looked up a custom historic at Wildwood Guitars, it was running in the mid $6k area (https://wildwoodguitars.com/product/982363/2018-historic-collection-1959-les-paul-standard-12/?cat_id=21834) but was a burst finish. It has standard frets.

My advice is to get a lower cost used Gibson with a similar neck, refret it and see if you like the result. From what I can surmise, Dunlop 6270 or 6300 fret wire would be about right, or as close as you're likely to find. A competent luthier could tell you much better information, I just offer that as a starting place

No need to apologize, we were all newbies at some point. Questions are what forums are all about!
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
I had an Aunt that worked in Gibson’s shipping department in Kalamazoo for years …. I used her employee discount to buy a 1969 Ebony “Fretless Wonder” w/ Gold Hardware for $ 426 ( and some change ) ….
Every time I hear some of the prices people were able to buy gear for back then, it blows my mind. I'd be embarrassed to tell you what I traded that original SG for back in the late 70s... teenaged wisdom. :confused: It's probably a good thing I never had an inside contact at a guitar company. I'd be bankrupt!
 

addedc

Veteran
Thanks for reposting the picture. I have an Ibanez Les Paul copy from the end of the lawsuit era, I think 1978 or 79. It has really small frets on it that look very similar to that. It plays really well but it does feel very different from my other guitars. I kept it because it's the first good new guitar I ever bought when I was 16. I recently dragged it out again and playing it made me question what I like in fret height. I think I like higher frets for bending but can maybe play legato a little better on the shorter frets. Either because of the fret height or string position, I also find that I am lot more likely to push the high E off the fretboard on that guitar.
 

Mukidi

New here
Thank you Rick. You're very kind. I'm from Indonesia. I love Gibson Les Paul model since I was teenager. I'm thinking about 2018 57 Historic Les Paul Custom Black Beauty and 2019 57 Historic Les Paul Gold Top Dark Back with history behind them. I just can't figure out how come they cost more than twice the price of 2019 Standard HP.
 

Rick

Fractal Fanatic
Thank you Rick. You're very kind. I'm from Indonesia. I love Gibson Les Paul model since I was teenager. I'm thinking about 2018 57 Historic Les Paul Custom Black Beauty and 2019 57 Historic Les Paul Gold Top Dark Back with history behind them. I just can't figure out how come they cost more than twice the price of 2019 Standard HP.
It’s a custom shop guitar, and Gibson puts a high price tag on those. There’s a lot of debate on forums about whether or not the guitars are worth it, which is true of any custom guitar, such as the Paul Reed Smith private stock, which also carries a steep price tag. In my opinion a guitar is worth what it’s worth to the buyer. Everyone has an opinion, and you can learn from others experience, but don’t let anyone tell you what you want or need. There’s a lot to be said for playing on the gear you think you need to make music your own way. Get what moves you.
 

Mukidi

New here
It’s a custom shop guitar, and Gibson puts a high price tag on those. There’s a lot of debate on forums about whether or not the guitars are worth it, which is true of any custom guitar, such as the Paul Reed Smith private stock, which also carries a steep price tag. In my opinion a guitar is worth what it’s worth to the buyer. Everyone has an opinion, and you can learn from others experience, but don’t let anyone tell you what you want or need. There’s a lot to be said for playing on the gear you think you need to make music your own way. Get what moves you.
Wise and brilliant. Thank you Rick.
 
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