Upon my initial inspection of this Les Paul, my first and immediate thought was, "Damn. Somebody actually played
this guitar." It's an odd thing: of the four Elites we've bought over the years, three of them were darn near mint and all looked to be virtually unplayed, so when I sat down with the gentleman selling this one, I naturally had questions because my curiosity was eating me up.
I looked at the guy. "Damn, dude," I said. "You actually played this thing, didn't you?" I was turning the guitar over in my hands and checking it out. There are dings and surface scratches on it, there are some belt worm marks on the back and light pitting on the bridge and tailpiece. "Hell yeah I played it," he said and then he uttered what will one day go down in history as a classic guitar phrase: "It's those Shaws, man." I was still looking at the guitar when what he said actually struck me. These Tim Shaw pickups are revered among Les Paul players and usually are the first things to get ganked when one of these early 80's Gibsons move between players. So I looked at him again and said, "I'm blown away. You really, really played this guitar," and he back looked at me like I was a baby that was hearing the word "cat," but couldn't repeat it back to him. "Yeah dude, I told you. It's those pickups," he said so without further ado, I swung around and hit the on/off switch on the '62 tweed Super we had in the booth. I plugged up the Les Paul and handed it to him. "I gotta hear 'em," I said and stepped back.
The guy didn't hesitate. He hit a chord, turned the amp up to a low, but hearable level (as you all should know, the poorer the guitarist, the louder they will play. Especially at a guitar show. Truth!) and sat back down. Yep, he had the goods and this guitar, plugged straight into a '62 Fender Super sounded good enough to attract a small crowd of onlookers. After the guy finished playing, he handed the guitar back to my widely smiling self and I cut off the amp and lay everything down. "I told you," he said and I put my hand up. "Brother, you made a believer out of me and that's a hard thing to do. Let's go on and finish this up." We made the deal happen and this beauty is now here at home with us. Lee's played it a couple of times through one of his Marshalls and our tech extraordinaire, Kevin the Magnificent had a fit when I pried it out of his hands, so it's tried and true, proven and tested.
To the guitarist or collector that is going to ask about the condition or any imperfections, I can only say, please read the above. She's been played, but to the guy that wants to strap this guitar on and step up on a stage in front of a roomful of people that love Rock music, I can only say this: It's the Shaws, man...