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Complete Tonal Differences between Similar Model Gibson Les Paul's 57/57+

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  • Complete Tonal Differences between Similar Model Gibson Les Paul's 57/57+

    Recently had home a New 2017 Gibson LP Classic Goldtop with 57/57+ and typically I've not been a fan of these pups but after some time spent on a setup they actually impressed me I then get a call informing me a customer had traded in a dead mint 2016 Traditional in Lightburst with same pickups... No matter how I attempt to tweak this Trad, it's very disappointing considering how impressive the Classic is... both guitars have been set out to be Plek'd which truly helped them considering how Gibson allowed them to leave their factory (nothing new) so they both play excellent with 3/64 treble side and 4-4.5/64 on bass side but man this Trad is very disappointing tone wise...

    I typically swap out factory pickups and why I was in disbelief when the Classic sounded so incredibly good when I normally don't care for these 57's

    Rather than swap pups out in Hopes of tonal improvements or swap out guitars Again plus the additional $700 for the new GT, I thought I'd reach out to the members here first for some Experienced opinions....

    Tnx in advance
    Last edited by Gearjunkie60; 11-10-2017, 11:39 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gearjunkie60 View Post
    ... both guitars have been set out to be Plek'd which truly helped them considering how Gibson allowed them to leave their factory (nothing new) so they both play excellent with 3/64 treble side and 4-4.5/64 on bass side but man this Trad is very disappointing tone wise...
    I'm going to avoid any discussion about why one guitar sounds better than another, but I am interested in your setup experiences. First, I thought every guitar from both standard production and the custom shop are being Plek'd now so why send them out to have it done again?

    Second, even if a guitar has been Plek'd, lots of people who I respect seem to feel that a human touch can improve the fretwork.

    Third, I concur with your opinion about Gibson quality control - I have had three LP's on my bench recently, a 2017 Standard, a 2015 Classic and a (recent, don't know the year) Epi "New Standard". Both the domestic guitars had serious fret and setup issues, the Epi was the best of the lot. I've discussed them here at HCEG before, I'm not going to go thru all of that again, but the consensus at one of the lutherie forums is that Gibbie's quality is at a low.

    Fourth, welcome to the forum

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    • #3
      Freeman, appreciate the response and it's comical to hear some people's varied comments over time, hey why should you touch Anything on a guitar when the factory sent it out that way and they know what their doing so it has to be right haha. Are you kidding me. I have friends that simply refuse to make pickups height adjustments bc of this very reason. If that works for some that's fine but in my opinion they don't know what they've been missing from either improper setups and or robbing themselves of huge tonal improvements by not trying different things, if measurements are taken prior to adjustments they can always be set back to stock form.

      I'd venture to say I've had at least 15-20 Gibson's over the years and maybe more than that. For the money they command they "should" be leaving their factories with some form of better QC than what I've been witness to for too long no matter how many times I vow to not spend another dime on another of their guitars I walk into the store and one catches me eye and home it comes. then once I get it home and get it on the bench and get the fret rocker out, I can't get over how many of these "fine" guitars seemed to have missed the infamous Plek machine, absolutely a disgrace in my opinion.

      Sure I can spend my time and do the frets myself but with warranty on them then I'll take full advantage of it...

      Not sure how much truth here is to the rumour that Gibson sends up their 2nd's to the Canadian market and maybe it's true. The company up here I deal with is Long and Mcquade which is the largest retailer in Canada that have over 70 stores and also is Canada's Gibson's distributor... L&M is owned by Yorkville who obviously felt the need to invest in their own Plek machine. That 2017 Goldtop Classic was an absolute dream to play once it came back from being Plek'd but the 2016 Trad that came in on trade was a considerable difference in price so I took a chance and made the trade. Last night trying to set the trad up a terrible buzzing on 1rst string from about the 7th on up into upper registry... I kept gradually raising the treble side thumbwheel to over 5/64 until it finally went away.. something isn't right here so out comes the feet rocker, now this guitar again was suppose to have been sent to Yorkville for a Plek job, well maybe from the nut up to the 6th but up past that wow what a mess..

      Other then the 2 Epiphone Elitist Las Paul's I own, I've not experienced one single Gibson within last 10yrs that haven't required fret and nut work, which is not acceptable especially considering their price points. Can't imagine how prideful employees of that company must feel turning out products they choose to send to customers !

      Agreed, hand done fret work is superior

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      • #4
        I'm only sharing my very limited observations, the two guitars that I mentioned above are kind of interesting. The Standard was a brand new guitar, yet it had 0.024 of relief (from the factory). The fascinating thing is that the truss rod nut had been painted (and obviously not touched after)Click image for larger version

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        You can see the black paint in the cavity, the thing on the paper is the paint that I chipped off the nut before adjusting it. Another minor but in my opinion, intolerable point is the the sharp outside corners on the (Plek'd?) nut - I hate it when my hand runs into something like that. This was a friends guitar, he loaned it to me while he was on vacation - I did the setup and when I returned he said "wow, that is amazing". To add insult to injury, this is in the case

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        The second one was a lesser model (Classic) and was about two years old. It had been given to the guy by his wife, he said it was so difficult to play that he just put it under the bed. The biggest problem with it was that the first fret was actually coming out of the slot at the bass side - I could slide a feeler gauge blade under it.

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        Once that was fixed all it needed was a pretty standard setup and last I heard from the guy he was playing it regularly.

        I think this is kind of ironic, here is the T/R cover on an Epiphone LP - what, 25 percent of the cost of the Gibbies.

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        Think about that, "The New Standard". Mmmmmm..

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