Bloggin’ ya’ll up to let you know about a couple of interesting guitars we’ve gotten in over the weekend. Both are used Les Pauls, both are as yellow as Keith Richard’s teeth, and both are (and this is coming from a chick who doesn’t typically go for Les Pauls) pretty nifty. In this blog, I’m pitting one LP against another in a battle of…well…nothing really, they’re both pretty neat. As far as what you think of each, the ball is in your court. Here is my review:
Lightly Used 2012 Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded ($1699.99):
Let me just get my personal preferences out of the way before I review this guitar so that you can know how I can’t exactly be one hundred percent objective. Generally speaking, LP’s and LP-style guitars aren’t my friend. This is due to the fact that I have skinny girl arms, a crappy spine, and I’m a tall chick, making me weak and top heavy. If you strap a thirty-pound Gibson around my neck and tell me to play normally, I’m gonna sound and look stupid. That being said, my beef with Gibson has nothing to do with how their Les Paul’s sound: it’s how they play and feel in my hands (or on my spine). But yes, I do enjoy the classic Les Paul sound a whole bunch and consider it a historical staple of the music I love best.
That being said, this guitar is a fantastic example of both things for me: this heavy, honey-laden guitar is the perfect marriage between “oh-god-I’m-playing-a-tree-trunk” and the dark, warm, mahoganizing* tone that makes great blues-rock music. So, I figure if you are a big, muscular dude with an appetite for growly, low-end overdrives and warm, thick cleans, this is your guitar. The thing sounds gorgeous, really, and if I could find any LP style guitar that sounded this good without weighing this much, I’d have to swallow my pride and actually take it home amid my skinny, light-weight arsenal. The arched maple top brings an awesome presence and resonance to every note while the mahogany everything else (sides and neck) give the tone a warmth, woody, full sound that is hard to come by in anything less than a Les.
The honey-burst is just as delicious looking as it sounds when I imagine a guitar made out of honey (mmm…sticky and uncomfortable) and I like the aesthetic choice of the zebra Burstbuckers along with it. Despite the weight, the neck and body have a hand-rubbed satin finish which certainly feels great, makes the neck a little faster despite the thickness of the profile, and helps with sustain. So all and all, if your arms and neck are able to bear it, come on by and give this thing a healthy work-out.
Maple top w/ mahogany back and sides
Solid (and I mean solid) body
Rosewood fretboard with figured trapezoid inlays
Nickel plated stopbar and tune-o-matic bridge
Green vintage-style tuning keys
Two Zebra Burstbucker Pro pickups
Hand-rubbed satin finish in Honeyburst
’50s rounded slim-taper neck
Used 2003 Gibson Les Paul Classic 3-Pickup ($1899.99):
Holy humbuckers, Batman, here’s something interesting to blog about. In honor of Gibson’s weird little transitional phase (when an SG was still technically called a Les Paul Custom and it had, like, sixteen pickups), this Classic Custom Les Paul has added a middle humbucker for added tone and little extra…everything, I guess.
First thing I would have assumed with an extra humbucker would have been that the thing was going to sound muddy and mid-y a bit too much for my taste (I’m that person that flips her mids way down on her amp), but I was surprised to find clarity in almost all settings with this guy. Yes, the added pickup gives everything just a little more punch and volume, but as far as the tone of the thing itself, it’s actually pretty crisp. In fact, it may be unusually crisp compared to most Les Paul’s out there. While fiddling around with the switch settings, I was able to find a sweet spot where the thing almost sounded like a Strat, which I appreciated because versatility in tone is always a must.
I also appreciated the fact that, though a weighty and substantial guitar, this thing was an easier player than most LP’s I pick up. The neck is a little slimmer with the ‘60’s slim-taper and therefore a bit faster, and though the glossy finish may take away a bit from the overall resonance and sustain, the thing played pretty easily (even for a wimp like myself). It was a good healthy contrast to the previous Les Paul mentioned above. Where the ’03 Faded might be more of a tone monster and a bit trickier of a player, this Classic Custom has the disadvantage if you’re craving the “pure Les” sound, but it plays a bit better and faster. All and all, a neat find and a pretty item. Worth giving it a spin next time you’re in the neighborhood!
Carved maple top with mahogany back and sides
Mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard
Vintage green tuning keys
‘60s Slim-taper profile
496R ceramic pickups in Neck and Middle
500T ceramic pickup in bridge
ABR-1 bridge and gold-plate stopbar
Have a good week everyone and stay excellent!
*Mahoganizing - n - : “a guitar-related nuance that I just made up in which the level of mahogany in a Les Paul exceeds that of a mortal capability and therefore cannot be handled without sheer rock ‘n roll gumption.”
- “a nasty word Deric uses to describe uncouth personal habits.”