Become a member
Become a member

or
Continue with Google
Log in
Log in

or
Log in using a Google account
Agrandir
Add this product to
  • Mon ancien matos
  • My current gear
  • My wishlist
Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded 2011
Images
1/133

Review Gibson Les Paul Studio Faded 2011

LP-Shaped Guitar de la marque Gibson appartenant à la série Les Paul

review
Comment

Gibson Les Paul Faded Blue Stain Review

Nice Les Paul You
Share this article

A soft launch last Christmas, the Les Paul Blue with roasted maple fingerboard caught our attention. Get your pick and come meet the beauty.

FBI, Gibson’s official partner?

When special agent Jack Malone arrived at Gibby, we thought it would be for an endorsement contract. But we were wrong. John M. Rayfield (his real identity) was followed by several more agents, who were heavily armed to fight against wood smuggling. In order to cover the event, American media was invited and they broadcast this private showcase to the world. Screeching tires, counter-terrorist arsenal (in case of counterattacks from Nashville’s luthiers), war cries — just like a Hollywood action movie trailer. In spite of a legal loophole to substantiate the claim and ask for the wood purchase and export documents in question, the officer in charge of the investigation, Rayfiled, seized part of the rosewood and ebony in stock, some guitars and computer data.

Roasted? Like coffee?

To make up for the lack of rosewood and ebony, the manufacturer had to improvise in a very unorthodox manner because the only wood at their disposal was maple. Imagine a Les Paul Custom with a maple fingerboard… it’s out of the question! To give the guitars a real Gibson feel rather than a California touch, they decided to roast the fingerboard (yes, in an oven). This made it look like rosewood, but with a dryer feel to it. Skeptical but open-minded, it’s time for me to open the cardboard box and give this new affordable US beauty a try.

Getting Started

Gibson Les Paul Faded Blue Stain

After opening the cardboard box, you’ll discover that the guitar is sold with a classy gigbag with the Gibson USA label on it. Some sort of black quiver with an immaculate white zip. Inside the bag a white and very soft protection foam will fend the guitar against the aggressions of everyday life. First surprise, thanks to a new chambered body, the guitar weights almost the same as an SG (the visits to the physiotherapist won’t be that often, I guess). As for wood, the chambered body and the neck are made out of mahogany with a maple top and the already described roasted maple fingerboard. Everything within typical dimensions: 628.6-mm scale length, 42.8-mm nut width, 22 frets and a '59-type shape. As for electronics, you get two Burstbuckers Pro pickups, a three-way toggle switch, two volume and two tone controls. The beauty wears a translucent blue dress showing the grains of the wood and the maple top. The faded finish gives the guitar an aged look — you’ll either like it or not at all!

First Step: Unplugged

Gibson Les Paul Faded Blue Stain

The guitar sounds, it resonates and it’s wonderful! It’s always important to check if a guitar sounds good unplugged because all perfections and imperfections can be audible when the guitar is electrified. The chambered body generates a wonderful resonance (considering it’s an electric guitar) and a long sustain. The mid frequency range is pretty emphasized, certainly due to the maple top and fingerboard. For my side, I had a lot of fun playing this guitar for hours. The handling is easy, the '59-like neck feels very pleasant. Since I’m not used to varnish-free necks, I had some concerns about the playing comfort, but my doubts disappeared as soon as I experienced its smooth and slick feel under my fingers. The string action is rather low unlike with some factory settings. I know some of you are getting impatient, so it’s time to plug our guitar and check out the sound of the beauty.

Show Time!

Open back

Since wiring is paramount to me, I decided to turn over the beauty and unscrew the protection plate. No wires winded around potentiometers or similar heinousness. Gibson uses a PCB (Printed Circuit Board) where all pickups, toggle switch and 1/4" socket connectors come together. Unfortunately, you’ll notice the use of ceramic condensers instead of Orange Drops like in standard Les Pauls. The polypropylene Orange Drop condensers manufactured by Sprague are the ideal choice to replace ceramic condensers if you want clean and versatile sounds. The PCB certainly looks good, but changing the pickups will be a difficult task because you’ll have to unsolder the connectors and add them to the new pickups.

Now, it’s time to warm up the tubes. I power on my small JTM 45 (yes, my neighbors don’t like me at all) feeding a small Vox cabinet equipped with Celestion Greenback speakers. During warm up, I add a strap to the guitar in order to try it out in stage-like conditions. Playing standing up I noticed that the weight doesn’t really match the Les Pauls I have played before. This guitar is light enough to allow you to jump on stage like a wild animal. The weight is somewhere between an SG and an LP Standard. I’m no muscleman like the Slayer metalheads, but I could surely withstand a full show without wrecking my back. The amp is hot and ready to scream.

Let’s start with low gain. I didn’t touch the EQ settings for any of the samples. The Burstbucker pickups reproduce every nuance of your playing, adding a slightly vintage touch. The neck pickup has a slight lack of warmth because it doesn’t produce too many low frequencies, which is rare on a Les Paul. On the contrary, the bridge pickup faithfully reproduces the brightness and the twang of the mid frequencies I heard when playing the guitar unplugged. Considering the output level of the “BBs”, I set the gain to max. You get an authentic rock/hard rock sound from the 80's. I was surprised to find myself playing Asia songs — don’t laugh.

Gibson Les Paul Faded Blue Stain

In distortion mode, the neck pickup is still bright, but not fat enough for blues. The bridge pickup is biting, but a bit too aggressive for my taste. With my single-channel amp fully cranked up, the most pleasant situation was when the neck pickup volume control was almost set to minimum while the other pickup was set to max. That way I had a clean/crunch sound for verses and a distortion sound for solos and choruses. The pickup set is consistent with regard to the wooden parts of the guitar and keeps a coherent vintage spirit.

 


Conclusion

Gibson Les Paul Faded Blue Stain

Once again, Gibson adds a new Les Paul Studio to their product catalog, but this time for under $800. Sold with a Deluxe gigbag, this young beauty will fulfill the expectations of vintage-sound fans who want a real US-made guitar. The sound variations emphasize the mid-frequency range because of the chambered body and the maple fingerboard. This will certainly not meet everybody’s taste. Moreover, I asked several luthiers about the roasted fingerboard and none of them could tell me how the wood would age and if the fingerboard would withstand a future refretting. Glossy finish fans won’t be too excited about the “old-school” finish. I had the opportunity to see two different guitars of this same model and I noticed inconsistencies in the finish quality. Thus, I recommend you to choose your guitar in a brick and mortar store.

Pros
  • Design
  • Weight
  • Vintage tone
Cons
  • Finish inconsistencies
  • Lack of low frequencies

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages and show you personalised ads (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Google Analytics
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Google Analytics

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.