Gibson 1957 Les Paul Goldtop VOS
Gibson 1957 Les Paul Goldtop VOS

1957 Les Paul Goldtop VOS, LP-Shaped Guitar from Gibson in the Custom Shop Les Paul series.

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King Loudness 08/13/2011

Gibson 1957 Les Paul Goldtop VOS : King Loudness's user review

« Great reissue of a classic »

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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!