|This guitar has a very special emotional value to me. I bought it new,
back in 1981, I am the original owner, sent the registration card to Gibson, and got it
back stamped, so you will imagine how since 1981 I have become attached to this guitar.
The 1980 Heritage and Heritag Elite guitars were made by Gibson in attempt to make Les Paul sunbursts that were true to the original 1958-1960 models. They came in two flavors: The Heritage Elite Standard '80 which features a three-piece mahogany neck and traditional rosewood fret board, and the Heritage Elite which had a one-piece neck and body, and a rather unusual ebony fret board, traditionally only used for Les Paul Customs. Both variants came with slimmer headstocks (even though the shape still differs from the narrow headstocked originals), Grover tuners, and nickel-plated hardware. To be true to the original, the binding was of uniform width in the cutaway. The most important feature is the maple top. Unlike the rather plain 80's Standard models, the Heritage guitars came with varying degrees of quilted or flamed, center-seamed maple tops. Mine is rather average (just goes to prove my theory that Gibson saved the nicer tops for U.S. and Japanese markets, and sent the plain ones to Europe), and I have seen some very nice ones on other Heritage examples.
The Heritage Elites came in Cherry sunburst or tobacco sunburst, but I have also seen at least one ebony model, one wine red and one very dark red sunburst model.
Heritage Les Pauls have two serial numbers: the 8-digit-number that was typical for that time, stamped into the back of the headstock, and a 4-digit number designating a limited run.
Gibson also tried to emulate its historic predecessors by reissuing the original brown/pink plush-lined case.