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1981 Gibson Les Paul Artisan

1981 Gibson Les Paul Artisan, made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, ebony finish, mahogany body with maple cap, laminated maple neck with ebony fingerboard., late 70's to early 80's black hardshell case.

In the eighties, there were some good ideas going around Kalamazoo at the time and some very nice instruments did come out of the period. The Les Paul line ruled the roost, so the Gibson team created several more artistic fancy models to show off their craftsmanship. This is one of the most attractive, the Les Paul Artisan. It was introduced in late 1976 as a limited edition, top of the line Les Paul but proved popular enough to stay in production up into 1982.

The Artisan reached back into Gibson history for some vintage banjo-era aesthetics: Granada-style hearts & flowers mother of pearl inlays in the fingerboard and headstock with the Gibson logo in pre-war pearl script style. Other than this it is basically a Les Paul Custom. The Artisan was initially issued with three pickups, but soon offered in two pickup format as well. The neck and the bridge pickups are Gibson Series VII humbuckers. These pickups are quite powerful and great sounding both clean and cranked.

Many Artisans were issued with a TP-6 fine tuning tailpiece, but this one has the standard type. Other features include all gold hardware, Schaller-made Gibson tuners, multi-ply binding front, back and headstock, multi-ply pickguard, mahogany body with three-piece carved maple top, laminated maple three piece neck, bound ebony fingerboard and an engraved "Artisan" truss rod cover. The neck is shallower than on many 70s Les Pauls, approaching the 1960-era profile. At a little over 11 Lbs this is not the lightest of Les Pauls, but not overly weighty by late '70s standards.

Unlike lower end Les Pauls, Artisans were built at the original Kalamazoo factory right up until production stopped in 1982. 1469 were shipped in 1977, the model's biggest year and about 2,200 were only ever produced. This is a beautiful looking, great sounding, fine playing guitar pretty near the top of the heap for a later 1970s to early 1980s Gibson.
Overall length is 39 3/8 in. (100 cm.), 13 in. (33 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 3/4 in. (629 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.)., 11.2 lbs.

Overall this is a nice relatively clean original guitar. The all-original finish shows minimal wear with only very few dings and dents overall, the gold plating shows some wear especially on the pickup covers, which someone must have picked over for a while.

The hardware is all original. This is a moderately rare and particularly nice early '80s Les Paul, in the original 80's Gibson red lined case.


  • Condition: Excellent (Used)

  • Brand: Gibson

  • Model: Les Paul Artisan

  • Finish: Ebony

  • Categories: Solid Body

  • Year: 1981

  • Made In: United States

  • Number of Strings: 6 String

  • Right / Left Handed: Right Handed

  • Body Shape: LP-Style

  • Body Type: Solid Body

  • Includes: Original case.

Guitar Historical Information:

Purchased from a friend of the Attic. We are the third owner and this now belongs in Amp Attics permanent collection.  This guitar plays and sounds amazing and is not for sale.

Price: Contact for more info...

Interested? Contact us now!

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