Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup

Lotus “Pawn Shop” Les Paul – Setup

Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup
Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup Lotus "Pawn Shop" Les Paul Copy - Setup .


I don’t usually blog about setups… they’re… well… there’s nothing all that interesting about them. It’s very important aspect of guitar maintenance, but there’s not a whole lot of magic that goes into the process. This guitar, however, made the cut. It was almost like something out of a movie. It was too bad to be true and yet, there it was.

The customer said she bought this from a pawn shop in her hometown of Burnet, Texas. It was purchased “as-is” and from the looks of it, whoever sold it to the pawn shop, had no idea what they were doing, and like the patron trying to make a quick buck, neither did the manager of the pawn shop.

The strings were fed through the bridge, some of them rested on the saddles, others were not so fortunate. The strings were string up backwards into each tuner. The pickups lost their soldering on their underside and were falling apart, the saddles of the tune-o-matic saddles were all screwed as far forward as possible (not measured and offset for actual intionation purposes)… Aye yey yey.

Well, with a set of new DR Pure Blues and a few turns of the screwdriver, this guitar cleaned up nicely and was back to the customer within the hour. So remember, even if it’s a good deal to you, pawn store guitars usually need a check up after purchasing.


    • It’s been a few years. Can’t really say at this point. The company made instruments under that name from the 1970’s-1990’s. Judging by the weathering in the finish, my bet is sometime in the 70’s for this one.

  1. That is a Lotus L520. I got one new in 1996, exact same paint and probably same finish (the finish wasn’t robust on L520s). The tailpiece on mine is closer to the bridge than the one in the pic, but otherwise the guitars look identical. Great sound, ash body, good pickups.

  2. Thank you so much for the I.D.
    There is one here in a pawn shop, in Texas!
    I could Not find any information on it, usually can.
    Not much on Lotus guitars out there, concerning specifications, models, etc.

  3. I had this same guitar for a while in high school. I had nothing but problems with it. Aside from constantly falling apart, I could never get any kind of aggressive sound out of no matter what I tried And it buzzed like crazy. Finally took it to the local shop to have it diagnosed. He started pulling it apart in front of me, and lo and behold it simply had 2 single coil pickups covered up with humbucker covers. Not sure if it was an anomaly or standard practice, but it sure is funnier now than it was back then.

    • Not an anomaly! A few years back, a friend of mine brought me another 70’s Japanese made Les Paul copy, not of the Lotus name, but made in the same factory (Matsumoku) that had a single coil pickup under both humbucker covers. I have no idea why they were doing that, but between your experience and mine, they were very much intentionally doing it then.

  4. Here again after reading the comments……. The Lotus L520 I have is made in India, 1996 model (as said before), and the pickups are real humbuckers, dual coils, potted, with presumably ceramic magnets. The guitar is wired so that the two pickups mix very well, with a wide range of tones. Can’t compare it to a Gibson because I’ve never played a Gibson except in Guitar Center, and a pal’s LP that was set up bizarrely, but the pickups on my Lotus are capable of hard rock, blues rock, and probably some hard rock/metal depending on amp used. I use mine for slide, blues rock, and hard rock. The guitar is solid, the main weakness is after 20 years I need a new toggle switch for it. Doesn’t want to stay in the bridge position unless I shoot cleaner into the mechanism, which makes it work well for another six months…. The tuners are pretty good — not as solid as Gotohs but better than the Schalers I put on it (the Schalers were worse than the original tuners — took the Schalers off and put the originals back on, probably in 2000).

    Whoever made these (Lotus was apparently an Indian company, but the name was also used by another maker earlier on, I think, if memory serves…) was trying to turn out quality at a budget…

    What Douglas encountered may have been either an anomaly, or it might have been another model of Lotus. There isn’t much info on Lotus LP’s online, but like a lot of overseas makers they had different lines of guitars, and varying quality apparently. Most of the reviews of L520s and similar Lotus Les Pauls I’ve seen online (at Harmony Central especially) the players said they played well, sounded good, and were built like tanks (which mine is). My Lotus L520 is heavier than a Gibson Les Paul. When I bought it the only issue was a few high frets high up on the neck. A flat needle file fixed that issue quickly. The G string would pop at the bridge, until I raised the tailpiece. Really, it’s a solid guitar. If anyone chances across one of these, they’re worth it once you set them up right.

    Hope this helps internetters looking for info on these guitars. Peace out to all.

Leave a Reply