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  • Traditional or High Performance - comparing two 2017 Les Paul Standards...

    I really wondered what the differences were between the two different versions of the 2017 Gibson Les Paul Standard, and I was able to get one of each loaned to me to do extensive comparisons... and frankly, I was surprised by what I ended up preferring... for more, check out the reviews right here.

    As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to discuss them here.

    **********

    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

    - George Carlin

    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

  • #2
    Great reviews, just two questions.

    1. When did Gibson improve their heel designs? I wonder why they don't use that superior design on all their 2017 Les Pauls.

    2. I'm surprised they still manufacture guitars with those automatic tuners, I thought there was a ton of backlash back in 2015 or so. .

    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die."

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    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by EmgEsp View Post
      Great reviews, just two questions.

      1. When did Gibson improve their heel designs? I wonder why they don't use that superior design on all their 2017 Les Pauls.
      I'm not sure when they originally developed that heel, but this is the first (or maybe second?) year they've been available on a Les Paul Standard IIRC. I like it a lot. It really does make reaching the highest frets easier.

      As to why they don't use it on everything, I suspect it's for similar reasons as the tuners - some guitarists would complain about Gibson changing an icon. Other players are less trapped in tradition, and are more willing to consider using something with improved features.

      2. I'm surprised they still manufacture guitars with those automatic tuners, I thought there was a ton of backlash back in 2015 or so.
      There was some backlash, but I think that was because they didn't give people a choice... and also because many guitarists are surprisingly traditional and suspicious of anything new or changes being made to an iconic guitar like the Les Paul.

      A lot of players will shoot down anything new - often without giving it a try first. They just think that since they already know how to tune a guitar, they don't need it. I myself thought the same thing, but was even more convinced since I have perfect pitch - not only do I know how to tune, but I have built-in "reference pitches" in my brain, so why on earth would I need a self-tuning guitar?

      But once I tried it, I realized that there are definitely advantages - even for someone like me. I can tune the guitar with the volume down completely, without the audience hearing me do it - I'd have to have it audible in order to use my ears, and I'd have to pay attention to what I was doing, which kind of keeps you from chatting up the audience while you're tuning - which is easy to do with the G Force tuners. And the machines can tune all six strings at once, making it much faster than I am. Not only that, but it can save multiple tunings in memory, which makes switching to open tunings in mid-set much, much faster too.

      But again, not everyone likes them or wants them, so Gibson gives them a choice - and IMO, options are generally good.
      **********

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

      Comment


      • EmgEsp
        EmgEsp commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, at least Gibson is giving people more options. I need to check out those improved heel joints. One of the reasons I never was a fan of set neck designs was that annoying heel.

    • #4
      I always enjoy your articles Phil. But, I find it funny the things Gibson did to the "HP" version. The "zero" nut has been around on guitars since the 40's and 50's, and most notably, on the cheap Japanese imports. The adjustability factor of the nut, I "THINK" was done on Mosrite's in the late 60's early 70's. The full access heel, Aria had with the PE series. That ALL of the "upgrades" were things done by companies that were generally beneath Gibson's notice 30 or 40 years ago. Ahhh, the wheels of progress turn slowly indeed.

      And I find the "Min-E tune" or whatever they call it, while a good idea, was marketed to the wrong buyer at the onset. How many times will the average guitar player retune for a different tuning during a set? Most have a guitar already tuned and set up for that alt tuning. But what about the solo ACOUSTIC player? Why didn't they market it to them first, then cross market into the electric market. Seemed kind of dumb to me.
      My Music: www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=440762
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      Comment


      • #5
        I really like the idea of the HP improvements, especially the neck heel. I've never coped with the normal LP heel.
        What's with the finish on that review guitar? Peyote Burst? That's gotta look better in person?!?

        Comment


        • Phil O'Keefe
          Phil O'Keefe commented
          Editing a comment
          They call it Blueberry Burst, and while colors are definitely subjective, literally everyone that I showed that guitar to in person commented favorably about how it looks.

          Fortunately there are other colors available too, so there are options if that one doesn't do it for you.

      • #6
        T - for the price. A G-Force set only costs around $200 or less installed. I like the Bourbon burst better than the blueberry burst. Of course, some players have a need for a blue guitar.

        BTW, I'm loving my new LP Faded T. I wish I'd gone for the HP. But at my much lower price point, it's worth the upgrade. But at the price the standards are going for -- I'd stick to the T.
        Last edited by Etienne Rambert; 08-17-2017, 07:30 PM.
        He has escaped! Youtube , ‚ÄčMurika , France

        Comment


        • #7
          Just a quick glance at the case photos , I initially thought the HP case was some kind of plastic. I wonder how easily it dents up or how thick the aluminum really is?

          The case along retails for $699. Personally, I think it would have looked sharper with a black leather handle.

          You're almost in Carlton Case territory for $699.













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          Comment


          • #8
            Some of this stuff is new to me and I was jazzed.... for a couple of minutes. I take issue with the idea of not needing two guitars if you use a slide... as well as the Gibson zero-fret-nut page saying "instant slide".

            The only sort-of instant component is if retuning is needed, which the robot tuners take care of. But geez.... that nut... you gotta use allen wrenches to raise that thing, right? And you probably have to loosen all the strings before you do, right?

            That's not really instant slide capability in any remote way. In fact, it appears to be such a hassle, that I personally would just prefer to have a slide guitar there to pick up when needed....now THAT'S instant.

            A motorized nut that raises and lowers...now that would be instant slide. Which no doubt, Gibson will try to design at some point.

            At any rate, the review was cool. I now know more about 2 Les Pauls that I hadn't closely followed before.

            Comment


            • #9
              Originally posted by Etienne Rambert View Post
              T - for the price. A G-Force set only costs around $200 or less installed.
              Personally I wouldn't pay someone to install them - it's a pretty easy DIY job. As long as you get the right ones from Tronical that are designed to work with your guitar and fit it, there should be no drilling or wiring involved. Just take off the strings and pull the old tuners off by removing the rear screw and the nut that goes over the shaft, and install the new tuners and tighten down the new nuts. There's no screws on the back side of the Tronical / G-Force tuners.

              I like the Bourbon burst better than the blueberry burst. Of course, some players have a need for a blue guitar.
              Either color is available with both the HP or T Standard.

              BTW, I'm loving my new LP Faded T. I wish I'd gone for the HP. But at my much lower price point, it's worth the upgrade. But at the price the standards are going for -- I'd stick to the T.
              In addition to the more expensive tuners, there's a difference in the quality of the maple caps too (AAA vs AAAA grade), which adds to the cost of building a HP, as well as the different cases and the costs of those, but again, not everyone wants those features, so it's nice that they're giving us a choice.

              Glad to hear you're loving your LP Faded T!

              **********

              "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

              - George Carlin

              "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

              - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

              "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

              - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

              Comment


              • #10
                I really dislike a few things on them. No poker chip is an instant "thats wrong" from me. It jumped out. I dislike both the selector knurling and the hideous knobs on the HP. The fading color did nothing for me. I can handle the blue, but not the color transition. Frankly, I think what bothers me the most is that if you are going to change the LP so much, it should just be a new model guitar. It really isn't a LP to me. Thats ok though. I like my NightHawk, so it doesn't have to be a LP for me to like it.

                I guess I just think a LP is a slice of time as well as a model. It should be as simple as Studio, Standard and Custom, with the difference being the dressing out. If you keep upgrading the model over 50 years, you eventually have a radically different guitar. If someone says they want a LP, you shouldn't have to ask:
                Is that the Studio?
                Is that the Tribute?
                Is that the Traditional?
                Is that the Classic?
                Is that the Standard?
                Is that the Deluxe?
                Is that the Custom?
                Is that the Historic?
                Is that the HP?

                When is it really not a Les Paul any more? I will get off my soapbox now.

                Comment


                • Grant Harding
                  Grant Harding commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's just marketing 101. More editions mean more money. The LP brand is the strongest or second strongest in the electric guitar world (they spend a fortune making it so), so it would be crazy to call them anything else.

                • Axisplayer
                  Axisplayer commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Grant, I understand that. My degree is in Business/Accounting. I am just frustrated with it. I get REALLY irritated when someone advertises Les Paul for sale, and you open the ad to find an Epiphone LP. I know Les Paul is a huge family, but it just gets ridiculous after a while.

                • badpenguin
                  badpenguin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Axis, the Craigslist ads you refer to, doesn't enter into what you posted above. Yeah, you'll have the idiots who say "Paul" or "Fender Strat" when it's an Epi or a Squire. And I come from an older time, when you had 3, yes, that's right 3 Pauls to choose from. The Standard, the Deluxe, and the Custom. And Gibson now has some 40 variations. Could be worse I suppose. Last time I looked Ibanez, of whom I am a major fan of, had over 180 past and present variations of the RG. It's only been around since 87.
                  Last edited by badpenguin; 08-19-2017, 08:32 PM.

              • #11
                Yes, I am from the same time, maybe earlier. I am 64 and started buying guitars when I was 6, so buying since 1959. The Epi comment was an aside that it is almost another model of Les Paul. Ibanez is a brand I don't keep track of so had no idea, but it is also ridiculous. I am old school mainly. If it isn't Gibson, Guild, Fender, Gretsch or Rickenbacher it isn't even on my radar (except for Music Man which is why I am AXIS player. That was my mainstay guitar for 18 years.) I will never keep up with so many variations...
                Last edited by Axisplayer; 08-20-2017, 11:34 AM.

                Comment


                • #12
                  Yo, Phil, look what came to visit.





                  There was a knock on the door, a friend was standing there with a case in his hand. He said "we're going on vacation, would you exercise my new toy while we are gone. Oh, and if you want to tweak it, go ahead" Well, OK.....

                  Comment


                  • badpenguin
                    badpenguin commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Very interesting way to get a setup.......

                • #13
                  Yeah, I'm with Badpenguin - pretty clever way to get your guitar set up.

                  It looks like a new one - there's no "poker chip" around the switch. Do you know what year it is?




                  (And yes, before some smartypants chimes in, I already know it's currently 2017 thankyouverymuch! )
                  **********

                  "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                  - George Carlin

                  "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                  - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                  "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                  - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                  Comment


                  • #14
                    Originally posted by Axisplayer View Post
                    I really dislike a few things on them. No poker chip is an instant "thats wrong" from me. It jumped out. I dislike both the selector knurling and the hideous knobs on the HP. The fading color did nothing for me. I can handle the blue, but not the color transition. Frankly, I think what bothers me the most is that if you are going to change the LP so much, it should just be a new model guitar. It really isn't a LP to me. Thats ok though. I like my NightHawk, so it doesn't have to be a LP for me to like it.

                    I guess I just think a LP is a slice of time as well as a model. It should be as simple as Studio, Standard and Custom, with the difference being the dressing out. If you keep upgrading the model over 50 years, you eventually have a radically different guitar. If someone says they want a LP, you shouldn't have to ask:
                    Is that the Studio?
                    Is that the Tribute?
                    Is that the Traditional?
                    Is that the Classic?
                    Is that the Standard?
                    Is that the Deluxe?
                    Is that the Custom?
                    Is that the Historic?
                    Is that the HP?

                    When is it really not a Les Paul any more? I will get off my soapbox now.
                    I hear you - there certainly are a lot of different versions of the Les Paul, but that's been true for quite a while. Even fairly early on (prior to 1964) we had Goldtops, Standards, Juniors, Customs, single cutaways and even double cutaways... Deluxes came along in the late 60s, and Studios came along in the early 80s... many of the various Les Paul models / versions predate the sale of Gibson by Norlin in 1986.

                    As long as it doesn't get out of hand, I think that having different versions of the same model available isn't necessarily a bad thing since it gives you more opportunities to get closer to the exact features you want, and makes the model available at a variety of different price points. Fender, PRS, Ibanez - heck most guitar companies with a really successful design do something similar.
                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #15
                      Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
                      Yeah, I'm with Badpenguin - pretty clever way to get your guitar set up.

                      It looks like a new one - there's no "poker chip" around the switch. Do you know what year it is?

                      (And yes, before some smartypants chimes in, I already know it's currently 2017 thankyouverymuch! )
                      The QC inspection form in the case says its March of 2017. Which brings up some interesting observations. I just went back and reread your review of the T and HP, this fits the T description perfectly. If you don't mind, I'm going to make some comments

                      Aesthetics - When you open the case the guitar looks stunning. Upon closer scrutiny I'm not as impressed

                      - I would call the top AA, maybe AAA but that might be a stretch. It has good flame but is poorly book matched and has fairly significant runout. Certainly not what you would see on a PRS.
                      - I like the 'burst, it has some subtle red in it that I will have to remember for my next one. I don't like the black back and neck at all - when I see a solid painted guitar I think they are trying to hide something. Much better would be a dark stain (matching the 'burst) showing the grain of the mahogany.
                      - the finish is obviously lacquer - not only does it have that subtle amber hint but it has a modest amount of orange peel. That should have been buffed out on a guitar of this price, but at least it isn't dipped in plastic
                      - while we are talking finish, the inside of the truss rod cavity, including the adjuster nut, were painted black. No attempt at masking the cavity. I'll come back to this in a minute.
                      - I expect LP's to be bound - body and neck, but why not bind the head also? It just looks wrong.
                      - speaking of the head, the white plastic backing on the t/r cover looks wrong with the other cream binding. The pearl "Gibson", gold "Les Paul" and white "Standard" don't work well together - doesn't someone at Gibson have a sense of art?
                      - the white synthetic nut looks wrong too - since it needs work I'll just make a new one out of unbleached bone.

                      Setup - Oh boy, this was a surprise. Remember what my buddy said about tweaking it if I wanted to. Remember, this guitar is 6 months from factory inspection (which said it was perfect) and as far as we know, has never been touched

                      - Relief was 0.022 inch. That's right, over two times Gibson's specs (taken from the little booklet in the case) and five or six times what many techs feel is ideal. Remember what I said about paint in the t/r cavity - the nut was screwed on the end of the rod and then painted. It had never been turned after that. My wrench wouldn't fit on the nut until I scraped the paint off - it actually came off in the shape of the nut. I adjusted the nut until it came up tight, then another half turn or so to bring the relief down to 0.006. I might go a little lower after I've played this.
                      - Action was 0.080 (high E) to 0.095 (low) before I adjusted the t/r. Once the relief was set I took it to 0.060 to 0.075.
                      - Intonation was reasonable, I left it alone
                      - Frets were fine but the tops of all of them show slight machining marks. I suppose this is from the Plek. That certainly isn't the standard I would expect on an expensive guitar - if I get some time I'll polish them
                      - Nut slots, after setting relief, were about 0.020 - 0.022. I think thats too high, again, when I get some time I'll lower them (and probably make a new bone nut).
                      - the edges of the nut were kind of sharp - since I play in the first position I notice things like that. New nut will fix

                      Miscellaneous -

                      - the guitar had several loose screws - mainly jack plate and pickup rings
                      - Grover locking tuners are fine but I don't need locking.
                      - binding nubs on the fret ends might be vintage correct but they are a pain in the ass for a repair tech when it comes time for a refret. I basically refuse to do them on a true vintage instrument and on a reproduction I would just scrape them off (or send you to a different tech)
                      - I have neck profile templates from a '58 'burst (which is what I use when I build) - the 1st fret sorta fits this neck, the 12th fret isn't close. I would say this neck is much more D shaped and the 'burst is more C. All the more reason to play before you buy.
                      - this guitar is slightly lighter than my LP clone (8 lb 12 oz vs 9 lb 3 oz), The chambered LP that I built was around 7-1/2 pounds)

                      I played it for an hour last night experimenting with the different pickup combinations but frankly was fighting the setup so I'm going to play it again tonight. I'll report back tomorrow (if anyone wants to hear). And before anyone thinks I'm ragging on this guitar, I really was pretty impressed but for this price I shouldn't have to do a setup.

                      Comment


                      • Grant Harding
                        Grant Harding commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I just checked and it seems these are almost as much as an Anderson.

                        The fact that the truss rod might never have been touched after paint is a big issue for me on a high end guitar. Only thing I can imagine is that they put that black paint in to prove that the truss rod has been adjusted after leaving the factory?

                        I don't have an issue with the sticker price, but this is an example of why I'd buy (and do buy) an Anderson without playing it, but would never buy a Gibson without playing it. My main TA is now 14 years old and has never needed more than a seasonal truss rod tweak and 1/4 turn on each bridge saddle when I've changed string gauge. The $3200 I paid seems like a bargain now.
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