1980 Navigator LPS-200(?)
Navigator equivalent to a Tokai LS-200 or Greco EGF 1800
This is a very rare Navigator which, while I can’t be certain, I believe is an LPS-200, the highest grade model they offered in 1980. I’ll explain why below.
When people typically think about the pinnacle of vintage Japanese LP copies, the Tokai LS-200 and Greco Super Real EGF 1800 are what usually come to mind and these are ultra high end models from the early 80’s. What may not be as well known, is that other brands produced comparable models at the time, and this early Navigator is one of those.
Since its inception, Navigator has been known as one of the absolute top brands in Japan, producing hand made guitars of the highest quality all the way through to today. The CTS pots in this Navigator have date codes from the second week of October 1979, which would date this guitar as being made in 1980 as it would take some time for the pots to ship from the US to Japan.
So to run down the specs on this particular Navigator, it appears to be all original other than its jack plate. The body has a very attractive two piece center seam mahogany back and beautiful solid two piece flame maple top, with the flames easily traceable from the pickup cavities to the top and also visible in the control cavity. The body is finished in pure nitro lacquer, instantly reacting to acetone and that the past 40 years has turned into a great looking aged burst.
The neck is one piece mahogany just as nice as the back, with no wings on the headstock. Fretboard is rosewood with fret edge binding and topped with a 1-11/6” brass nut. Tuners are US made, milk bottle style Grovers. The neck has a large, but not massive, vintage profile.
Pickups are US made double cream DiMarzio PAF’s that have no sign of ever having covers in place. As mentioned above pots are CTS. Caps are PIO with all components wired in 50’s style.
The 1980 Navigator catalog shows Les Paul Standard models LPS-90, 100, 120, 150 and 200 with prices, but unfortunately no specifications. With a solid flame maple top, one piece mahogany neck with no wings on the headstock, DiMarzio PAF’s, US made Grovers, US made CTS pots, brass nut, pure nitro finish and built to vintage specs, this was a very high grade model. While there is no way to be certain, I believe it could well be an LPS-200, the highest grade model, as there isn’t anything it is missing to push it higher. It specs are at least equal to the highest production models from Greco or Tokai, the EGF 1800 and LS-200.
A very rare early Navigator, all original and in fantastic condition.
Click on main image above for full size pictures