1982 Les Paul XR-III with Tim Shaw 'Zebra' Humbuckers
1982 Gibson Les Paul XR-III.
This somewhat rare May 1982 Les Paul "XR-III" weighs a fraction under 10.00 lbs. and features an unbound solid mahogany body with a carved maple top. One-piece mahogany neck with a nice fat nut width of just over 1 11/16 inches, a standard Gibson scale length of 24 3/4 inches, and a wonderful medium thick profile. Unbound ebony fretboard with 22 original jumbo frets and inlaid pearl dot position markers. Ebony-faced headstock with gold silk-screened "Gibson" logo and "Les Paul Model". Bell-shaped, two-layer black over white plastic truss-rod cover secured by two screws with "XR III" engraved in white. Serial number "81522686" stamped in blind onto the back of the headstock, with "Made in U.S.A." below it. Individual Gibson (Grover) Roto-Matic tuners with tulip-shaped metal buttons. Two Tim Shaw reissue PAF 'Zebra' Humbuckers with outputs of 7.41k and 6.70k, each engraved on the underside "Pat No. 2,737,842". Neck pickup stamped in black "137 582" bridge pickup stamped "138 582". Four controls (two volume, two tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch on upper bass bout. Black plastic barrel-shape "Speed" control knobs. The potentiometers are stamped "137 8049" and "137 8135" (CTS December 1980 and September 1981). Nashville-style Tune-O-Matic bridge with separate stud tailpiece. The original frets show very little sign of wear and there is no wear to the fretboard. This guitar is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition, with just some very minor belt-buckle rash on the back (nothing through the finish) and a few very minor and insignificant marks or indentations on the top and sides. This is a very unusual and beautiful Les Paul. It has a perfect '58 neck profile, a good weight and those wonderful Tim Shaw humbuckers are tonally outstanding. Housed in the original Gibson three-latch 'Protector' black hardshell case with red plush lining (8.75).
"By 1981, Gibson realized that there was a market and consumer demand for these older pickups. They assigned engineer Tim Shaw to research and create a re-issue of the older PAF pickups. Gibson at the time were now releasing Les Pauls that were built to somewhat vintage specifications for the first time (these guitars would later be called pre-historics, as they were the pre-cursor to the Gibson Custom Shop re-issue line, which built to vintage specifications). Tim Shaw researched and tried to recreate the old toolmarks and other details that made these pickups what they were. Unfortunately, under the strict Norlin owners, many of his ideas were seen as too expensive and not cost effective. However Shaw was able to re tool the bobbin without the "T" that had been used throughout the past decade and re-introduce the correct square hole back into the bobbin, and more importantly use a thicker magnet which was the correct thickness to magnets used in PAFs. He also discovered that the wire used was enamel. Realizing that they used poly-coated wire, he tried to convince corporate that they needed the enamel coated wire. At the time however the enamel coated wire cost about 1 dollar more, and was not approved to be bought or used. He also found old sheets that explained the number of winds used, and even contacted the original designer Seth Lover and spoke to him about parts used on these pickups. Tim Shaw's efforts, even though not reaching the desired end goal he wanted, were a big leap forward in finding out information about these pickups. His efforts were considered by many to be the first in the long journey many would take in re-creating the PAF humbucking pickup." (Wikipedia). (#2079)
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