Monster Gibson Heritage 80 Standard from the early ‘80s, a period of Gibson production that in often unfairly overlooked. As Gibson emerged from the 1970s, a time that saw declining sales and a surge in demand for the golden era instruments of the ’50s and early’ 60s, it turned its attention to those very instruments and started to tentatively explore the idea of reissuing these models with closer attention to original spec. The beloved 1959 Les Paul Standard was one such model. With original examples in high demand and prices rocketing Gibson reacted and the result (with the exception of a few prototypes, special orders and one offs) was the new Heritage 80 Series.
The Heritage 80 Les Paul Models were constructed in the new Gibson Nashville factory and were much closer in appearance to late ’50s Les Pauls when compared to the regular production Standard of the time. The guitars were produced between 1980 and 1982 and feature a standard 8 digit serial number with a second 4 digit number beneath it. There were 3 Heritage 80 models available, the Standard, Award and Elite.
This ’81 example is in excellent condition, the guitar backlights well with no evidence of breaks or overspray. The maple tops on Heritage 80’s can vary, with some guitars having plain tops and others having only moderate figuring, the example here has a striking wide ribbon flame accentuated by the dark cherry sunburst finish. The all important Tim Shaw pickups are present and sound fantastic. The full compliment of CTS pot sit in the 1981 range with both tone pots matching and one of the volume pots code covered by solder. The guitar has had some solder touch up done prior to coming to us and it looks like the pickup covers have been removed and reattached. The pickup surrounds also fluoresce differently to the rest of the guitars plastics.
The finish is excellent overall but there is a small amount of worming to the back by the switch cavity plastics and the guitar has various nicks and bruises throughout. Nothing to distract or affect playability and as to be expected for a 40 year old cherished instrument.
The Guitar benefits from a recent refret and plays well strung with 10 gauge strings, the neck is a comfortable medium profile that feels closer to the modern ’59 neck than the reissue ’60 profile. The Heritage 80 instruments are typically on the heavy side (high 9-high 10lbs) with this one weighing 9.5lbs even.
The Guitar ships in its original, albeit a little tatty, Gibson case.