The Custom Gold top guitars are fantastic instruments but they do stretch of the large amount of money for their price point. These guitars are outrageously expensive and the new little ones don't really hold up to the older models. I've played a number of Gibson custom shop Les Paul's and many of them just don't carry that same weight and feel that you found in many of the vintage style guitars from Gibson. Although this is a great guitar and it does carry that same tone that you would find in many of the older guitars but it just doesn't have that feel that some of the 70s and early 80s guitars had in my opinion.
This guitar features to humbucking pickups two volume control knobs and two tone control knobs as well as a pickup selector. There isn't whole lot features that come with this guitar other than it's simply a six string guitar that has a nice warm juicy tone.
This guitar features mahogany wood and the body in the back as well as rosewood fretboard. The nice pearl block inlays give this axe a great-looking appearance. This is a historic 1957 to reissue goal top and it looks just as good as it sounds. Some of these guitars can vary from feel so I suggest playing a few of the Gibson custom shops and getting an understanding of what you're getting into. Overall this is going to sound great and pretty much any musical setting that you put it.
These guitars fetch for $3000 new, but you can certainly find them in many used sections of classifieds or auction sites. If you have the means to spend several thousand dollars for a guitar that I suggest looking around and finding an older used Gibson goal top because it'll serve you right to play a few and get the right perfect one that matches your playing style.
This guitar is a total throwback to the old school Les Paul days, and it happens to be a throwback to my favorite era of the Les Paul Standard -- the 1957. On top of that, it even has my favorite finish on a Les Paul -- the (cliché) Gold top. The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple top, mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, pickguard, binding, hard tail bridge, two humbuckers, two volumes, two tones and a three way switch.
The guitar was pretty much perfect in ever way you could think of. The weight was the first thing I noticed. It seemed to have the absolute perfect weight for a Les Paul, as it was in the 8 lb range. I find this to be perfect as the super heavy ones tend to be back killers and don't resonate like the lighter ones do, but the super light ones seem to lack girth. The frets on this were nicely done. The ends were rounded nicely so they don't cut your hand every time you move up and down the neck. The frets were properly leveled, and I was able to get some really nice action with this. The nut was cut nicely, although I added a bit of graphite to it to help with tuning stability.
These had the "old school" Gibson PAFs in them. I say old school in quotes because they're not exactly old school... they're recreations of the PAFs, and they don't sound quite as nice as the older ones do. I've never been a fan of Gibson pickups, save for a few out there. These are pretty much the same. They can deliver a very cool blues and rock tone, but considering I'm actually more of a metal player, they tend to be a bit lacking to me. I wish the neck pickup was fatter sounding as I prefer fat, warm lead tones with some great character on the wound strings. The bridge pickup doesn't have the tightness for metal, and it doesn't have the output I'm looking for, either. That's not to say I want some super high output pickup in these, but something like a JB would be nice.
These guitars are awesome if you're looking for that real old school Gibson look and feel. Be sure to play a few out there to find the one that really speaks to you. There are a few of these that have some issues despite coming out of the Custom Shop, and it's a bit of a shame. If you buy used, be prepared to potentially sell it, and be very careful if you buy on eBay due to all the fakes out there.
The Gibson Les Paul R7 is designed to be a very accurate and high quality reproduction of an original 1957 Les Paul Goldtop down to the last detail. It features high quality mahogany for the body and neck with a maple top, rosewood fretboard with 22 frets and the classic trapezoid inlays, vintage style Kluson tuners and a tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece. The pickups are excellent reproductions of the classic Gibson PAF that came out right around this time, and they have a great vintage quality that is open and airy, great for many different styles of music ranging from blues to jazz to rock. It is capped off with the typical Les Paul control layout, and inside the guitar are some vintage type capacitors to really round out the tonal spectrum. It also features the gleaming gold finish that captivated many an eye in the '50s and still does today... the sign of something done right the first time.
The Gibson R7 Les Paul is a very weighty and solid guitar to hold and play. It is not chambered like many of the USA division Les Pauls are and it can be a bit cumbersome to play for long hours. However, being used to a non chambered Les Paul myself, I was prepared for the heavier weight of this guitar. Otherwise it is designed and feels like a regular Les Paul, just to a higher quality level. It has the same ergonomics and upper fret access of every other LP that Gibson makes (save for the Axcess models).
The tones in this guitar are of a much higher quality than many of the USA guitars. I'm not sure what specifically causes the better tonal spectrum that this guitar offers, but it certainly has a superior sound to many of the USA Les Pauls I have tried over the years.
I've tried this guitar through a multitude of rigs and have concluded that it sounds best through a proper Fender or Mesa Boogie amp. The clean tones are extremely rich and GREAT for jazz and R&B tones. The neck pickup has a wonderful low end character that is perfect for playing bebop lines, and the bridge pickup has a great spongy feel (not too bright and harsh) that works really well for classic rhythm and blues sounds. Putting it in the center position (both pickups on) provides a sort of quasi country sound that is great for chicken pickin' textures.
The drive tones are really quite good as well. They're far more refined sounding to my ears than most USA Les Pauls. It sounds smoother and clearer, without that abrupt and jarring quality that a lot of modern pickups have. The tone is natural and allows the guitar tone to really come through the pickups. This is an excellent quality to have in an overdriven Les Paul and as a result all the tones are thick, syrupy, viscous, and a whole bunch of other synonyms. It never sounds thin, weak or compressed, and works perfectly for classic rock and hard rock rhythm and lead, especially when put through a smooth high gain amp such as a Mesa Boogie.
All in all I think the Gibson R7 Les Paul is a great buy for someone who wants a great no compromises Les Paul that also happens to be a near dead on reissue of a real 1957 goldtop! It sells for about $3,400 new, so it isn't cheap. However you're paying for the quality and tone that you're not going to get anywhere else other than PRS or a custom build like David McNaught or Nik Huber. Well worth it!
The 1957 is probably one of the more sought after years of Les Pauls, so it's no wonder that they did a re-release of this guitar. It's got tone for days, and it sounds absolutely huge. The guitar features a mahogany body with a maple top, mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, trapezoid inlays, pickguard, binding, hard tail bridge, two humbuckers, two volumes, two tones and a three way switch.
These models are put together very well. The first thing you notice is that the finish itself was pretty much flawless. I couldn't find any drips or any issues where the binding meets the paint. The nut itself was cut perfectly, so there were no tuning problems to worry about. The frets on this were nicely leveled, and I was able to get some nice action going. The ends were also not sharp, so it didn't hurt your hand every time you went up and down the neck.
The guitar sounded pretty good. The pickups aren't really my thing, to be honest. The pickups are standard Gibson pickups, but they seem to work for most. The bridge pickup has some nice bite to it, and it has some decent output. I find they lack the character for heavy metal, but they can work for 80s metal. The neck is a bit too bright for me. I like a thick, fat sounding neck tone, and these generally have a bit too much bite for me. However, they're clean sounding, and that works awesome for clean tones.
These are some of the more consistent Les Pauls out there, but they're a bit expensive. If you can afford this, go for it. However, if you need something a little cheaper, check out the Les Paul Classic. There are a few killer Classics out there, and if you can get past the ugly green inlays, you can get a real solid guitar.