This review is for a USA made Gibson Les Paul I bought from a local music store. Mahogany neck and body with a maple top and rosewood fingerboard. Black with gold hardware, Gibson 490R and 498T humbuckers. 2 humbucker, 3 way selector switch and all the rest of your typical Gibson Les Paul features. Got this for a great price as the dealer was on hard times and needed to move stock. Wasn't in the market for this but couldn't resist.
I have to say that newer Gibsons get a bad rap from many guys I know. Maybe with the new fret boards I can see that but this thing is a great playing and extremely well made guitar with the old wood. I have another custom shop Les Paul and it definitely gives it a run for the money. Very good attention to detail compared to some I see sitting in some of the chain music stores for sure.
The guitar plays perfectly but I will say this, I hate stock Gibson pick ups. Maybe for some styles of music, these are sufficient but for hard rock or metal, I definately needed something hotter than the stock pick ups provide. I swapped them out for a MotorCity Detroiter in the bridge and an Suhr Aldrich in the neck and holy moly this thing rips! I like the fact that it is significantly lighter than my other Les Paul but does not lose any of the great sustain and tone I can get from it with exactly the same pick up configuration.
Love everything about the look and feel. For the price I got it for, it was absolutely perfect and worth the money. I would never pay the $3,999 price tag that usually comes with these as no guitar is worth that kind of money. Being that I got it for a fair price, I will say it was well worth it. Having played many Les Pauls in the past, this is right up there with the best of them so in my own mind I put to rest the bad things that are said about newer Gibson products. As I said before, the pick ups weren't my thing so I swapped them out and now the thing is near perfect. In my case, I would easily recommend this guitar to anyone looking for a solid axe to play.
Made in Nashville, TN, USA (older models made in Kalamazoo, MI, USA)
Color: Ebony, Alpine White, Wine Red, others
Body Type: Solidbody
Neck Wood: 1-piece mahogany, set and glued into the body
Neck Shape: rounded profile
Top Wood: Carved maple top
Back Wood: Solid mahogany back
Machine Heads: Metal tulip tuners
No. of Frets: 22
Scale Length: 24-3/4"
Position Markers: Pearl block inlays
Pickups: 490 Alnico (R) and 498 Alnico (T) humbucking
Controls: 2 volume, 2 tone
Pickup Switching: 3-way selector switch
Bridge/Tailpiece: Nashville TOM/Stopbar bridge/tailpiece
Custom Shop case included
Bound fretboard, body top, and body back
This is a perfect guitar. For anyone that likes the Les Paul style, this is the bee's knees, the cream of the crop, the top banana. Nothing sounds, feels, looks, or plays quite like it. From year to year, there are little quirks, little tiny idiosyncrasies that one can look for, but for the most part, this is a guitar that has remained unchanged in design since the late 1950s. The neck plays like pure, silky butter.
Singing, smooth, sensuous sustain meets biting, bold, bright bombast. This guitar can play anything well, from rock, metal, jazz, reggae, ska, country... There are 3 basic tones out of this, as well as variety of variations with the tone pot, volume knob blending, etc, but this guitar can literally sound great in any style of music. I've played this guitar in all manner of setups, in Marshalls, Fenders, Mesas, Bogners, digital amps, solid state, through all kinds of pedals, and no matter what, this guitar's perfect tone soars through.
This guitar is the classiest solidbody guitar ever made, period. I don't think it's possible to compete in the solidbody realm in terms of sheer elegance mixed with simplistic design - this is a perfect guitar. Anyone that hasn't tried one out yet is committing a grave personal offense to themselves!
Gibson releases tons of these guitars every year, and they're probably one of their more consistent guitars. I find that they tend to be put together a bit more than your normal Standard, even though they're all made in the same factory by the same guys. Maybe it's just in my mind. The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple top, mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard, 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, pickguard, binding, hard tail bridge, two humbuckers, two volumes, two tones and a three way switch.
The guitar had some nice inlay and binding work. There were no fillers anywhere, and you could see that they took their time with it. The nut on this was cut properly, and that's a fairly rare thing to see from Gibson. I normally find their nuts to be roughly cut and need some extra work once they get to the shop. The frets on this were good, and I was able to get some nice and low action without much of an issue. There was some slight choking out on certain frets, but it wasn't a big deal given how low I had the action. The rest of the guitar is pretty much your standard Les Paul but with an ebony fingerboard instead of the standard rosewood one.
The guitar had EMGs swapped into it. It had the EMG 81 in the bridge and the EMG 60A in the neck. The 81 was great for metal, and it worked super well with this guitar. It could do In Flames to a T, and that was something that I was real happy with. Boost a 5150 and plug this guitar in -- instant Bjorn tone. However, it lacked the versatility that you'd normally get from a stock Custom due to these pickups. The neck was a 60A, and it worked great for cleans. It's a bit fatter than the normal 60, and I find it has a little more character for lead tones as well. It has an almost single coil tone to it at times, but it's somewhat beefy thanks to the natural construction of the guitar.
These are some of my favorite Gibsons due to the extra bite they tend to have. Gibsons can be a bit too thick at times, and the ebony board really helps keep that in check. It may seem like a small piece of wood, but I always felt it has a big impact on tone. I'm not normally a big fan of ebony as a tone wood, but it works quite well on these guitars. Maybe I'm just too used to how Customs sound to hear the harshness that I hear in other guitars.
This was a guitar made in the 80s, and they started to change things up a bit. While they were built in Nashville, small things like the lower horn and whatnot were changed. The picture above actually isn't a true representation of what this guitar is. The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple top, mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard, 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, pickguard, binding, hard tail bridge, two humbuckers, two volumes, two tones and a three way switch.
The guitar had some wear on it, but it was nothing too bad. I actually find these 80s guitars to be pretty cool, although there are some things about them that are not 100% standard Les Paul. The lower horn is what sticks out the most. If you've ever seen an ESP Eclipse model that comes over here to the US, you'll notice they have a pointer lower horn. These guitars have the same. It's just something a bit different. They also have a slightly different serial number. The headstock is also different on these, so not everyone likes them. I believe these were the predecessors to the well known Heritage company that is now up and running.
These have special PAFs in them generally known as Shaw PAFs. They're pretty sweet PAF pickups, and they work great for rock. The bridge is like your normal PAF, but it has a little bit more sweetness to it. I plugged this through the JCM800 we have, boosted it, and I got an amazing Slash tone going on. The neck was also pretty cool. I got a very sweet blues tone in the neck with this guitar. However, if it were my personal guitar, I'd probably replace them. If you do replace them, you might want to keep the pickups for a bit as they can be a bit hard to find. If you decide to sell them, you might be able to get some good money for them on the used market depending on how the economy is going.
While these guitars are a bit different from what you normally see, I find that they're pretty much all your standard Les Paul. It may look just a hair different, but it still has that classic sound that everyone knows and loves. The guitar was also weight relieved, so it didn't have that back breaking issue like the 70s one tended to have. They can be hard to find on the used market, but you can generally get a good deal once you find one as purists tend to not like these.