1979 Greco LP Deluxe
Grecos are well known around these parts. We love them here, and with good reason. They're amazing guitars and great value compared to the big names they're copying. This one is no exception.
This is a 1979 Greco Les Paul Deluxe copy and is a sight (and structure) to behold.
Made in the amazing Fujigen factory it shows all the signs of it's more expensive relative but made in Japan instead of USA. I'm a huge fan of the Fujigen factory and have written lots about it in my blog. They were one of the THE Japanese woodworking factories that made top quality guitars for a few brands both domestic and international and of course were the factory picked by Fender (USA) to make the liscenced Fender Japan guitars from 1982 to 1996.
While Greco guitars were made in several factories over the years the Fujigen and Matsumoku made ones are considered the best and Fujigen started making the "Super Real" (and "Mint Collection" in '82) series of Gibson copies in 1979 for Greco, which are considered the pick of the lot, although I personally think guitars outside these models stand up just as well.
This Greco has all the features of the Gibson LP Deluxe of the time (I own a '78 Gibson LP Dlx) with a pancake solid mahogany body with solid carved maple cap.
The set neck is three piece mahogany (some Gibsons were maple) with a volute just like the seventies Gibson version. The neck on this one is slightly more substantial than my Gibson but still feels very comfortable. This Greco also has fret end binding like a Gibson which is not used on many cheaper and inferior copies due to it's lengthy manner of manufacture.
The mini humbuckers are made by Maxon and are .... amazing. I'm a HUGE fan of P-90's but I always say "if you can't have P-90's in a Les Paul you want mini humbuckers" They are a great blend of both with the sharp attack of a P-90 with the bottom end and thickness of a humbucker. These Maxon ones sound every bit as good as the Gibson ones I've owned.
The bridge and tailpiece are quality Fujigen hardware and (almost) exact copies of the Gibson ones. The neck angle on this guitar was perfect for stringing over the tailpiece, which I do on all my Gibsons when the neck angle allows.
The tuners are Gibson copies with the vintage Kluson look with the nut and washer through the headstock. The headstock is the slightly larger mid-late seventies Gibson headstock too.
The thing that makes me smile is the "goof rings" around the pickups as used by Gibson at the time due to worn out machinery. Gibsons machines were suffering by the late seventies and they added these mistake rings around the pickup rout when things got messy. The rout is the same as a P-90 rout as Gibson were trying to save money and had left over mini humbuckers so a new model was introduced called a LP Deluxe to use up these pickups. The surround was designed to drop straight into the P-90 cavity and make the mini humbucker adjustable.
These Greco LP Deluxes were offered with and without goof rings, just like Gibsons except, they didn't have to for reasons of bad quality control. The goof rings are purely cosmetic on these Grecos as the routs were perfect, as you'd expect from this factory. They just made them because Gibson did....
This guitar plays and sounds AMAZING. It's a GREAT late seventies Les Paul copy for a great price. The mahogany is great and apart from the paint flaking off the gold top (and the trussrod cover), is in original and good condition with a few small battle scars and aging.
These late seventies through the eighties Grecos are some of my favourite Gibson copies but there are also so many other Japanese brands that stand up well against them. Most of the brands coming out of these two factories made some amazing Gibson copies in this period and Japan still makes great copies to this day.
Burny, Fernandes, Yamaha, Aria, Tokai, Kasuga, Ibanez, Epiphone, Orville ..... The list goes on and on and there are GREAT Gibson copies among all of them, and usually for much less than an equivalent year Gibson. Next time you're in a second hand guitar shop and catch one of these names, give it a try. You might be VERY surprised.