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

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  • #16
    I think Freeman touched upon a point I hinted at in an earlier thread. As guitar "techs" we see them differently then a "player" would. We can see the quality, or lack of. We can see the care in the final factory setup, those little touches that makes it "just right" , or again, the lack of. I think the QC that Freeman described is appalling. The tool marks on the frets, the painted truss rod nut, (Which to me, sounds as if no one at the factory touched it at all, other then to install the nut.) the nut.... Really? For an expensive guitar that someone would buy once in their lifetime?

    I recently set up a Fender that my friend bought NOS. Not as expensive as the Gibson true, but it does show the same kind of QC concerns. It is a 2014 "bowling ball" finished strat. Yeah, those funky blue and silver things that look like it should have "Brunswick" or "AMF" stamped on it. Personally, I feel Fender has the worst factory setup and specs, next to Estaban, and this was no exception. Granted this has sat in a store for 3 years or so, and was never really touched, so I can't lay all of the blame on Fender. The typical truss rod, action, intonation, nut, etc etc. Nothing that unexpected. But what truly blew me away, was the fretboard.. Not the frets, that admittedly were quite nice, but the rosewood board itself. It felt like it was on the band saw for shaping, and only SHOWN the sander, without ever really touching it.. I was able to smooth it a bit with help of a razor and a dremel buffing wheel. And for the person or people who are going to say "that's nice, but you don't really touch the wood...." I say: go, eat a bucket of chicken, then play without washing your hands and how much you don't touch the fretboard.

    These are things that the average player doesn't notice that drive techs, like Freeman and myself, nuts and sends us for the tools, and a shot of tequila to help calm our nerves.
    My Music:
    Some of my guitars: 64 or so Domino Beatle bass; 73 Ibanez 2398; 79 Epiphone Genesis; 79 Manoman; 99 Ric 330; 78 Gibson L6S; 95 Ibanez JS-700; 04 Samick Lasalle JZ3: 05 Ibanez AS73; 81 Paul Custom, 07 Gary Kramer Simulator T and about 50 others.


    • #17
      Played it again last night, much better now. For comparison I played it back to back with my home made one. Mine is not "weight relieved" and has StewMac Golden Era pickups which are supposed to be copies of early PAF's. I play at modest volume levels thru a small clean tube amp with no effects or distortion. I set the tone pots on both guitars full cw so there is not treble cut. Just went back and forth between guitar playing basically the same thing and trying to discern differences.

      I guess the big difference that I can tell is the Gibson is somewhat brighter sounding, in fact I ended up rolling the treble off a bit. I'm not crazy about the coil splits and most of my playing ends up on the neck pup or blended. The Gibson does have the "feature" that with the switch in the middle if you turn either volume control to zero it kills both - mine has a little wiring change that gets around that (and might have an affect on the sound). Whatever the differences are I could certainly live with either guitar for the kind of playing that I do (bluesy, jazzy, folky, some finger picking, not much lead stuff). I'm sure that those of you who really play an electric guitar better than I do would have stronger preferences for the pickups and sound - this comparison just made me happy with my own guitar.

      So, bottom line, nice guitar but I was disappointed with some of the QC issues and definitely the setup. If this had been purchased in a good shop I think it would have been setup correctly there (at least in my local store it would). Playing and inspecting it reaffirmed my belief that I'm making decent quality guitars (or maybe that Gibson's quality is down). I didn't do a new nut yet, I want the owner to play it first and see what he thinks of the action now.


      • #18
        FWIW, here is the truss rod cavity. I knocked some of the paint off the walls when I stuck my nut driver in. The little black thing on the yellow paper is the paint I chipped off the acorn nut so I could get the driver on. The nut was basically finger tight, once I snugged it up I probably gave it a half turn more to take out the excessive relief