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post #31 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 12:21 PM
 
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Location: Memphis, TN
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

My local luthier who is a vintage guitar freak, Pauls and Strats in particular has warned me about buy anything new from Gibson. He is constantly shocked at the shoddy workmanship coming out of the Gibson line. I was shown a terrible fret job from the factory on a $4000 Les Paul that he's having to re-fret for a customer. He gets those all the time, and worse.

I would avoid new Gibsons if I were you. It's a lot of money for something substandard. As much as I hate the hype around PRS, they do build a better guitar. I want a Les Pual type guitar, too, and I have decided on the ESP Eclipse II. $1300 street price and it gets excellent reviews.

Don't fall victim to the brand name trap. Gibson is in the throes of it's "CBS Fender" decline as we speak. Avoid them.

Ryan
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post #32 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 01:19 PM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Quote:
Don't get caught up in the anti 70's (Norlin era) LP's. They get trashed because of the way they were built but I've played many a good 70''s LP's, Customs included. I think they can be great guitars, rivaling the Custom Shop...
So, how were the 70s built? would the 80s be any better?
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post #33 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 01:45 PM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Some Norlin era Les Pauls have whats called pancake bodies. What they did was sandwich 3-5 pieces of mahogany to make the body. Sometimes they would put a maple strip in the middle of the body. They also went to 3 piece necks, which they get slammed alot for. LP purists think the neck should be 1 piece, but they have been making multi-ply necks for a long time now. Thier higher end Jazz Boxes all had 3-5 piece necks. You can see the pancake body on most of the old ones due to the finish. Same for the neck...

Would the 80's be any better? That's all opinion, I'm not too fond of 80's era Les Pauls. All the ones I've owned save my Herritage 80 Reissue were dogs. But I like the 70's era LP's and those are consistantly slammed so I'm not above thinking there were some really nice Les Pauls made in the 80's...

Another good era was in the early 90's. I really like the Studio's I've owned from that time. Most had Grover tuners, which is a plus in my book. And most of the early to mid 90's LP Standards and Customs I've owned have been killer....
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post #34 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 02:02 PM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Cool, thanx for all the info...

Would the one in the pic on this page be a case of "sandwiched" wood in the body?
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post #35 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 02:33 PM
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Those early 80's Heritage reissues were and are absolutely slammin' guitars. I'd grab one of those if you could find one. They played very well, and looked fantastic as well.
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post #36 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by red5
If you play 100 standard line Les Pauls, you may not find one without a warped neck.
That isn't falling standards, that is a complete loss of QC!
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post #37 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Smith
Where to start with the problems at Gibson? Understand that I'm a Gibson freak, been my favorite guitar maker since 1976 when I saw Ace playing a Tobacco Sunburst Standard. Back when he only had 2 pickups in his LP's...

First problem I have with them is thier sales policy. I cannot support any coompany that will willingly screw over the small "Mom and Pop" stores then get in bed with Musicians Friend. Reason #1 why I won't buy a new Gibson...

Second, I don't trust them. Hang out in the Les Paul forum and read for a couple of weeks. You'll hear some interesting things. Like Gibson necks stamped "Made in USA" being shipped over here from China. That is an interesting rumor, I don't know if I belive that one but if you look at their policy regarding the posting of pics on the internet, I wouldn't doubt it...

Next, they have started to whore out the Gibson name. Product placement in new car Commercials? Gibson advertising on TV? Huh? When did that become nessassarry?

Next is weight relief holes. I use to not have a problem with this but I now do. If you buy a new production line Gibson has drilled 13 holes in the mahogany, to make it weigh less. What? Aren't LP's suppose to be heavy? I think so. But others bitched so in go the 13 holes. Don't believe me? XRay your new production line LP and post the pic...

Quality control. Gibson has had a problem lately with LP's and quality. Gouged fretboards due to improper cleaning of the frets. Poor inlays. improper position of the studs for the stop tailpiece. Saddles installed crooked. Unaccepable "lemon peal" finish issues, most apparant around the neck where it meets the body. Crappy use of wood. I've seen some pieces of rosewood on $5000 Custom Shop LP's that shouldn't be on a Harmony. One question though, why do LP's have most of the quality control problems? SG's seem to come right out of the box ready to go. I would estimate 4-10 LP's to be good, 8-10 SG's. That's my expierience anyway...

Don't get caught up in the anti 70's (Norlin era) LP's. They get trashed because of the way they were built but I've played many a good 70''s LP's, Customs included. I think they can be great guitars, rivaling the Custom Shop...

Like I said, I love Gibson. I don't like to see what they are doing now. But it won't change until the president steps down. Harry is not a musician, guitar lover or anything like that. He's a total businessman. He's doing what he knows. But I don't think that's a good idea for a instrument company, maybe a dot com but not Gibson...
Thanks for that - many thing to be careful of. What I don't understand is why in the UK the MRRP is almost twice the actual store price - seems dumb to me. You would always expect a drop, but 1000? That isn't a marketing gimmick, it is Gibson misjudging the market entirely!

I played a shed load today, and most were good but there were definately a few duffers. The variation in the quality of the tops was surprising too, from flamed to plain (often on the same guitar). Nuts were usually not cut too well, and the set up was grim on a few, both easily fixable but you shouldn't have to. The same can be said of Ibanez mind you. I looked closely at the finishes but didn't find any flaws. Most of them had really crappy, dry looking planks for fretboards.

That said, there were a couple that played and sounded great. I have my eye on one but I'll go back and try it again another day with a fresh mindset.
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post #38 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 01:53 AM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

I can't tell in the pic of the Custom above if it's a pancake or not. I'm betting it is because of the 3 piece top, at least I think it's 3 pieces. That was another thing I forgot to mention, 3-5 piece tops. Purists hate that. I saw a 7 piece top on a 75 Cherry Sunburst Custom, looked cool I thought...

Gibsons set up is horrible out of the box. Always have been. But then again, most are...

Improperly cut nuts really pisses me off. It's not that hard, what's the issue? The stuff that gets by QC is amazing right now. But its all about the bottom line or $ to Gibson these days. They are not interested in making great instruments, only making cash. Somebody said that Gibson is in their "CBS" era, couldn't have said it better myself...

(Although that being said, there are some good 70's Strats, you just have to hunt for them)
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post #39 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 04:38 PM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Algiman
That isn't falling standards, that is a complete loss of QC!
Well it is both. I don't think Gibson has a quality control problem, honestly. I think they have a quality problem, which is a bit different.

I've heard the loser who owns Gibson is getting a divorce and trying to drive the value of the company down as far as he can, figuring he can bring the company back at a later date. It makes perfect sense. Some of the new Les Pauls are worse than they were in the late 70s, and that is BAD!
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post #40 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

My theory is that Gibsons (and PRS, but they're similar markets) have been highly fashionable for the last 10 years. These things are cyclic (noticed the increase in strats in music videos recently?) so Gibson need to ring every $ out of the product that they can now.

Who knows, the super strat may become cool again in 5 years or so!
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post #41 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 05:34 PM
 
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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!

Cheers

David
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post #42 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 09:14 PM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Algiman
My theory is that Gibsons (and PRS, but they're similar markets) have been highly fashionable for the last 10 years. These things are cyclic (noticed the increase in strats in music videos recently?) so Gibson need to ring every $ out of the product that they can now.

Who knows, the super strat may become cool again in 5 years or so!
Need someone to start playing them and revive them like Slash did to the Les Paul...
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post #43 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-08-2006, 05:04 AM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

David,
Nice sales pitch but I have to bring up a couple of points. First of all, the Burstbuckers. I'm not a fan, never have been. Give me the old 490 and 498 combo anyday over the BB's. It's all opinion...

A few pounds on fret polishing? What about badly seated frets? What about gouged fretboards? What about improperly cut nuts? If you've seen alot of new LP's you have to have seen some with those problems, Lord knows, I have. What about the fact that it's costing you $3199 and your cool with adding more money after that to make it right? Wow...

Not all 70's Les Pauls had Maple necks. Most did but some didn't. I've owned a couple that were Mahogany, albiet sandwiched necks...

You must not have a problem with weight relief holes drilled into the body? That bugs me greatly. Which brings me to the weight issue. No, Les Pauls don't have to be heavy. I'm a firm believer that heavy guitars have a distict tone, if they can resonate right. A darker tone. A heavier tone than a lighter piece of mahogany. Back to opinion. But to drill 13 holes to force them to be lighter is a cop out. Period. I don't want wood missing from my Les Paul, unless it's an Elegant or something like that...

You bring up some points but it's all Ice Cream. I won't dismiss any guitar untill I pick it up and nail out an E...
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post #44 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-08-2006, 06:44 AM
 
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Hi,

as you're in the UK I suggest you take a look at

http://www.blackmachine.co.uk/

Les Paul tone with strat playability, or so I'm told. Clive (Earthman) who hangs round here occasionally has one and loves it.

I priced one up a while ago, around £1500 so not much more than a STD.

Unless you got to have the Les Paul look which I can totally understand. For me, they are the coolest looking guitars ever.

I have had 2 and sold them both as I find them not comfortable to play. There are alternatives which offer better playability and a similar sound. Just not the look.

But I still want another one !!. The probelm is I think I have the JEM to fall back on. I should buy one and lock the other guitars away for 6 months
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post #45 of 74 (permalink) Old 02-08-2006, 12:09 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Re: Les Paul freaks - your advice please.

Why don't you just spend the $3000 + on THIS, instead:



Oh yes! THEEEEEYYYYY'RE BAAAAAAAACK.

RR
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