Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.
This stuff about seventies and eighties Les Pauls is nonsense - I worked for several years in a shop here in Sydney which sells more CS Gibsons than any other shop in Australia, along with being the biggest "vintage" guitar shop in Australia - the new LP Standard (from 2004 onwards) with the nitro finish, burstbuckers and flamed tops are the best "new" guitar Gibson have done in ages - they are a vast improvement over just about anything that came from Gibson in the seventies, eighties, and for that part I might as well throw in the nineties as well - generally they are hefty but not heavy, they have a one piece Mahogany back, a one piece Mahogany neck with the correct nut break angle of 14 degrees (which makes a HUGE difference to the tone of the guitar), a good, figured two piece top, and the Burstbuckers are really nice pickups. The '50s profile neck is big and comfortable in the hand and the frets are fine.
Quibbles? - occasional poor fret dressing, signs of hastily finished fretboards - these problems plague almost all brands today as the demand for guitars is higher now than ever, and most brands are churning 'em out as quickly as possible - the quibbles, while I suppose not what you should have to tolerate from a new, expensive instrument are fixable for a few pounds of fret crowning and polishing.
Personally (IMHO) I wouldn't touch anything that came from Gibson in the seventies or eighties (sorry everyone) - pancake bodies made up of up to six, even eight bits of wood, flat carved tops which look and feel totally wrong, crap pickups, 7 degree headstocks held on by volutes so massive that you could carve another guitar out of them, weight? Talk about weight! (and LPs shouldn't be super heavy - myth!), and to add the final insult, in the late seventies, Gibson/Norlin were so cheap that they made the necks out of Maple rather than Mahogany - poor Maple at that - I've seen forward bows, backward bows, twists everywhere and even one Deluxe which had a visibly noticeable sideways bow!
The new Les Paul Standards are great, really, and at least when they first appeared here in Oz, that was reflected in an RRP of $5295 (!!!!!) - now you can pick them up in Sydney new for $3199, so I assume that you can do likewise in London. The Custom is currently only a Custom Shop order (figures I suppose), and you will pay a LOT more for a guitar which in some ways is a lesser instrument (ie: solid Mahogany body, no Maple cap, as per '50s spec).
There are plenty around, generally - play as many as you can - choose the one that feels right to you, but a a word of warning, my medium weight CS '57 reissue resulted in six months or so of physiotherapy after cutting off the blood flow to my left arm - not really fun!