Ibanez 'Lawsuit' Les Paul Custom Copy - Japan 1977-78

by Ibanez

$1,995.00 22071

Many Japanese-copied "lawsuit era" guitars under names like Greco, Aria, Tokai, and Ibanez have taken on an almost cult-like status today among many guitar collectors. While most guitar enthusiasts understand what a "lawsuit era" guitar refers to, others may not and we’ll try to summarise the term.

In the early 1970s, American guitar manufacturers (particularly Gibson, Fender, and Martin) were experiencing a steady decline in production quality while more Japanese- built guitars were showing up in the American market. By the mid-'70s, these Japanese guitars consisted of mostly blatant copies of popular American designs and the quality was much better than people wanted to admit. In 1977, Gibson sued the Elger Company (the distributor of Ibanez instruments in the U.S. at the time) and demanded they stop producing copies of their instruments, specifically their headstocks. Japanese-built guitars that are copies of American designs before the Gibson lawsuit are commonly referred to as "lawsuit era" guitars today.

Ibanez was certainly guilty of copying Gibson, Fender, and Martin models, among others, but they were also one of the most proactive companies when it came to introducing original designs. Between 1975 and 1977, Ibanez introduced several original designs including the popular Iceman and the Artist Series. In fact, by 1977 when Elger signed an agreement to stop building copies, their entire line consisted of almost all original instruments anyway.

This guitar isn’t to be confused with the lower end bolt on neck Ibanez guitars. This Ibanez has a set neck, just like its Gibson lookalikes. This is as close as you can get to a Gibson Les Paul without the logo. It may be true that this model was the reason for Gibson coming after Ibanez with a lawsuit in the first place. 

This guitar is in excellent condition - it has a few bumps and bruises, but not many for its nearly 40-year history. The neck is super straight, and the frets show very little wear. The action is low, with no fretting out. The neck is fast and smooth - with very few dings or dents.

This Les Paul Custom Copy comes equipped with Zebra pickups that sound fantastic. The sunburst finish really pops on this guitar, which is sure to demand attention. Additionally, the pickguard has gone missing on this guitar.

Overall, a great guitar that looks and sounds like a Gibson, without the Gibson price tag.

This guitar comes as is (without a case).


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