I don't read a lot of guitar magazines, and mostly because there aren't many available in my area, but I do pick up Guitar World occasionally (lately every other month or so if there's something that interests me). Anyway one thing that I've been noticing the last few months is whether its in the ads or the articles, there are all these obscure bands I've never heard of and they're all shown holding Les Pauls. ??
Now there's no way all these guys could possibly be in endorsement deals with Gibson. So it makes me wonder... With guys like Satch and Vai, Ibanez can say "see, we make great guitars.. THESE guys play them.". But with all these other misc. guys shown playing Les Pauls, (assuming they're not all in endorsement deals) its more like "See.. look at me, I'm cool because I play a Les Paul." Which is like reverse endorsement sorta.
Has anyone else noticed this?
And what is so great about a Les Paul anyway? (No, I've never held or played one... yet).
Youíve never played a Les Paul? Well I guess you have good reason to be so curious.
Yes it is cool to play a Les Paul. Itís cool like an old corvette or mustang is cool to drive. But just because you have a Skyline R34 doesnít mean you can drive well either! What you donít seem to understand is that THE JEM!! Is the poser guitar, whereas the Les Paul is a classic. Ok so half the board is upset and half of them are going yeah my Jem makes me feel so cool
It sounds like you have begun to question why you play a gem and others play a Les Paul. For a start there is not really any Les Paul craze. Les Paul models have been used for Blues, Rock, Jazz, Country, Pop, Metal so you would see them a lot because a lot of people play them. Most bands in guitar player are rock bands. Most rock bands play Gibsonís. They give a great rock tone, always have and always will. The first thing about a Les Paul is that TONE comes first. If you donít want to compromise on TONE, you play a Les Paul. To me the GEM has a pretty ordinary sounding McTone. It cuts through well, but has no character. The number of tones you can get from the middle position of a LP with the variations on each tone and volume control is brilliant. You can tune the sound to be just right at any point. You can also set up two different sounds and toggle between them, like clean and lead and the middle point is an edgy rhythm sound. This is just by moving the conveniently located toggle switch, no need to touch a knob. The single cut gives the upper fret access, but the thing about it is that the way the body contacts so much of the neck gives a tonal enhancement.
Les Paul -> Amp = Tone
Ok another way of looking at it. The Evolution pickups have little treble response to compensate for the lack of bass brought about by the Floyd Rose. Right there you have compressed the tonal range of the guitar signal before itís even gone down the guitar lead. A Les Paul gets extended bass and treble response from using a maple top. It expands the response of the mahogany. Plug in a Junior or a special and you have more midrange because it has no top. So a Les Paul with its mahogany/maple body has an expanded frequency response before it leaves the guitar.
Anyway if you like Jems thatís good but donít screw up your face at photos of people using Les Pauls. They are really not as bad as you might think. The last Ibanez I owned this year was an RGT42DXFX model with Evolution Pickups installed. Before that maybe 4 years back I had an RG570FM. I used to own an RG470 in the 90ís and loved it. Since then though I have played and owned quite a few guitars of all different sorts. Now with regards to the Wizard necks I donít find them at all comfortable to play. A Gibson Ď60ís slim taper neck is comfortable and fast. I have owned 6 Gibsons with this particular neck profile. It suits my hand, and I can play my Les Paul as fast as I could my Ibanez or any other guitar. Donít mistake Vai and Satch playing Ibanez as meaning they are good or thatís all you can play. The Jem and JS
are very different animals anyway. There are many brands, many players and many tones. Also feel free to buy another guitar or ten and piss Ďem off if you donít like them.
I am always! Buying another guitar to try out. So far only a Gibson is good enough
My keepers are Les Paul Junior Special Plus (Transparent Amber flame top), and a Les Paul Junior (Vintage sunburst). I love them, but it doesnít close my mind to buying and trying other guitars. I am a huge Vai and Satch fan, amoung many others but I play what I like and what I play suits me the best.