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Buying My First Les Paul

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  • Buying My First Les Paul

    Hello everyone, I am actively looking for my 1st LP Standard Sunburst. I have been playing for over 2 decades so I thought it was time I finally got one. My initial idea was to get a new one 2016 and a vintage one or close to vintage that's pretty affordable (88-94 since I read lots of positive things about the LP's of this era). So I have been trying out 88 and 89 LP's only to come across some beat up, broken and fixed pieces of wood. I don't mind the wear and scratches but broken heads and necks are a no no for me. Disillusioned with the idea of getting a vintage LP, I think I will be purchasing a new one. I figured I am the one breaking it in and most importantly I will know 100% where its been and its condition. I'd like to know if its true that the late 70's and early 80's LP's are something to be afraid of because their low quality? I have been offered an 92 sunburst for $2500 (i'll have to play it and negotiate). Is buying LP Standards between 2001-2009 a good idea, I've seen some of these in the nearby market. Lastly, should I just go with a new sunburst and then take my time with the vintage? This past weekend I play a new honey burst and man, it sounded like how I have always wanted to sound.....but I know the sunburst is the one the big boys play, and I am far from a rookie in my playing. Also, I do have a Marshall stack, so my sound is not weak, getting ready to record so please tell me your thoughts and Ideas and please don't argue with each other. I love the Gibson Les Paul and I'd like to get one to record tons of material I have....help a broda out.....FYI I don't care for other Gibson guitar and models or even reissues, not buying any of that any time soon.

  • #2
    Every era has individual pieces that are gems, and some that are disasters. Worry about which years have feature sets you like or would prefer to avoid.
    Tauntr.com - Adding Insult to Everything!Neck Pocket Cavern Surveyor for the Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You club!"In all fairness, Les Pauls have a switch position labeled "Rhythm", while Strats do not, because they are lead guitars for lead guitarists." -Flatspotter

    Comment


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      if you had to buy a relatively new of the past 15 years, les paul standards, which year do you think is the most solid?

  • #3
    I bought my 40th Anniversary model Les Paul in 1992 and its an absolute gem. I bought My Gold top Deluxe for $350 back in the Late 70's during the Norlin era and it was a gem. It would be worth a mint now if I still had it. My buddy has an 80's Norlin with the Gibson Logo Pickups. Its a fantastic sounding guitar.

    I'd do less worrying about what others say, play the instrument, and decide for yourself.
    When I bought my last one I went to sam ash and played a half dozen different Pauls new and used.
    I found the Anniversary model had that 60's feel to the neck and never thought twice about buying it.
    Its doubled in value since I've owned it because there were only 300 made. I'll likely pass it down to my son and hopefully he'll do the same then it will really have a high resale value.
    Last edited by WRGKMC; 12-23-2015, 04:22 PM.

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    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      Playing the 88 LP felt good and I didn't mind negotiating but it had some serious work on it so I passed. I just played a new honeyburst LP Standard and man, it sounds exactly how I've wanted to sound my whole life. Thanks for the advise, and no I don't go exactly by what people say but it is always good to get informed on a product that others know about more. The honeyburst I played had a logo 120th gibson annyversary on the 12th fret, not sure it that was for a special set or something, but the guy left it at 2400. Do you know if there huge differences in a 2009 and a 2016? I read a lot about people upset with LP 2015 model.

  • #4
    I am far from knowledgeable about LP's - the one I built was based on a '57 'burst and I am very pleased with it. The few that I've worked on seem to have slightly different neck profiles (I've taken templates off of a couple so I could duplicate them). Obviously pickups have changed over the years (and of course many owners have changed them too). I think one of the big problems with the 2015 was the auto-tune thingie (what the heck was Gibson thinking?).

    Gibsons break at the headstock - that's just the way they are. They are a bitch to refret because of the little plastic nibs at the ends of the frets. The nitro finishes on the old ones fade - people spend a lot of time trying to duplicate that. There have been different bridges and tail pieces over the years but that pretty easy to change. Neck joints seem to last except for the short tenon guitars (and that my only be ES models)

    My humble advice is to play a bunch of them and decide which one feels, plays and sounds like you expect it to, then buy it. Its about time you had one/

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    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm going to try out a 2001 and 2009 over the weekend, besides being new, do the 2016 LP's have some kind of warranty or something from gibson. I mean, I don't mind paying extra if there are benefits besides the feel. BTW the new honeyburst is a beautiful beast and yes it is about dam time I got one. I was thinking of getting two, a new one and a 20 plus years one.....the 80's guitars I ran into are too beat up. Also trying out an 82 this week, but I read too much that the early 80's has too many hit and misses.....

    • Freeman Keller
      Freeman Keller commented
      Editing a comment
      Jorge, I don't know the details of Gibsons warranty but they are almost never transferable. Warranties usually cover defects and often neck sets but never "abuse" (like dropping one off its stand and breaking the neck). I think warranties are a heck of a deal on acoustics which will need a reset at some time in its life but less so on electrics.

    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

  • #5
    Guitar making has gotten steadily better over the years. I'd find the biggest music store you can and just play new ones until you find the guitar that speaks to you. If you already know the exact model and finish you want just order it online.

    The 80's were a mixed bag and the ones available aren't likely to be the amazing ones. Buy a 2016 is my recommendation.

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    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      you're right, so far the best one I have played is the 120th anniversary one...honeyburst......but I really want a sunburst!

  • #6
    I'm pretty happy with the features on 2016s. Before that, the 2015s have some odd features, the goofy tuners are replaceable, but they also have a fretboard with wide shoulders (space outside the strings) and a funny adjustable nut and zero fret. If these things don't bother you, they are blowing them out. Also, some late 2015s don't have those features. The 2014s had an anniversary logo at the 12th fret, the 2012s had two piece fingerboards due to Gibson's import troubles. Some people view the 2013s as an oasis among some quirkier years, I think Traditionals from then aren't even weight relieved, so overall, as close as you'll get to the50s design without paying for a reissue. 2011 and prior, the variations are pretty minor. I have a 2010 Traditional Pro, which I like a lot. There are occasionally little windows where maybe different caps were employed, or supposedly there was a good run of tops, or whatever

    If you're into slender necks, look at the Classics, they started chambering them around 2007 IIRC, making for lighter weight and brighter sound. The Traditional Pro from 2010-2011 are also slim in the necks, but the Traditional Pro II is not all that close to the original T. Pros, the Signature T being more similar.

    Etc etc. In a given year, Gibson might have 20-40 Les Paul models, so it's all going to be your preference.
    Tauntr.com - Adding Insult to Everything!Neck Pocket Cavern Surveyor for the Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You club!"In all fairness, Les Pauls have a switch position labeled "Rhythm", while Strats do not, because they are lead guitars for lead guitarists." -Flatspotter

    Comment


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      so far the nicest one Ive played has been the 120th Anniversary honey burst.....lol I want a sunburst so bad, but this one calls for me

  • #7
    What's wrong with the following statement?

    Originally posted by Freeman Keller View Post
    I am far from knowledgeable about LP's - the one I built...
    It reads like "I don't know much about Les Pauls (other than enough to build one)."
    Every worm, every insect, every animal is working
    for the ecological wellbeing of the planet.

    Only we humans, who claim to be the most intelligent
    species here, are not doing that. ~Sadhguru

    Comment


    • Freeman Keller
      Freeman Keller commented
      Editing a comment
      Well, I don't know about particular models or years or what is good or bad or who played what. I have a lovely set of plans of a 1957 'burst, which I read somewhere is a pretty good guitar and I know a little about making sawdust. I doubt that Billy Gibbons or Paul Butterfield would mistake mine from theirs, but I kinda like it.

    • wankdeplank
      wankdeplank commented
      Editing a comment
      Paul Butterfield was a harp player. Mike Bloomfield maybe? He was the LP player in that band.

    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      nothing wrong with that statement. I didn't know jack **************** about cars but I suddenly found my self doing a full tune up on mine. Breaks, Oil....the works. The entrepreneur spirit I suppose, maybe some of just like to takes chances.

  • #8
    Picking a guitar (any guitar) is like finding clothes that fit, you need to try them on. I've owned a 25-50 Anniversary model, a 57 gold top RI, two SB standards and now have a 2001 59 RI and a Bulldog bodies 59'profile copy. Every single one of them was unique in the feel and tone.



    i would be much more concerned finding the LP that feels and sounds good regardless of the year it was made.

    A&H GL2800 console, BagEnd Crystals over D-18's, 12"and 15" BagEnd and EAW wedges powered and processed by QSC, Klark, BSS, Symetrix, Valley, Sabine, Peavey and BagEnd INFRA.

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    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      dudeeee! out of all the ones I've played my favorite has been the 2014 honeyburst.....lol I really want a sunburst but as a musician my hands speak to me , then my ears.....lol dilemma

  • #9
    First , if I may say, a 90's Les Paul is not "vintage". The guy asking for $2500 for what is in essence a used mass produced guitar is trying to cash on the "iconic" status of Les Pauls. Now it may happen that this particular guitar is stellar '(Gibson sometimes put out gems if they are not build on a Friday). Only you can judge that after trying that one. You have the advantage of being an experienced player and can judge if it's worth the cash. But I find that money is not the issue. when the money is gone it's gone anyway but remember that you'll be stuck more or less what that guitar once you made that decision and having the cash now means you could have gotten something better maybe.

    My gut feeling from your post is get a new one, think of the fuel of your car as part of the cost of the guitar. Drive to a HUGE mega Music store and try a BUNCH of new ones. Of the 25 + LP's they have on stock, that gem of yours is there somewhere.. Be the first owner, do all the relicing yourself. Have fun!
    __________________________________________________ ___________________

    Yamaholic --- PpP --- Old geezer with a grey beard

    Comment


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      You're absolutely right. I dont think I want the 82, I noticed it is a 3 piece body... out of all the ones I've played my favorite has been the 2014 honeyburst.....lol I really want a sunburst but as a musician my hands speak to me , then my ears.....lol dilemma

    • badpenguin
      badpenguin commented
      Editing a comment
      I don't know about that statement about the 90's not being vintage. technically, anything over 25 years old can be considered vintage.

    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      well that's what I meant, hence the reason I said relatively vintage or vintage. I read good things about the 88-94 LP standards...the 2 88's I've played dont come close to the 2014

  • #10
    Sit down, and play it. Period. Doesn't matter what year it is, the warranty, whatever. What matters is: Does it sound right? Does it play right? Does it FEEL right?
    A warranty on a guitar, unless it's like Martin's lifetime warranty, is worthless. I've seen brand new Gibbys with a headstock crack, and it took an act of Congress to get the to replace the guitar. Pick it up, and play it. If it's right, it will tell you. Used or new, it will tell you.
    My Music: www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=440762
    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.

    Comment


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      thanks for the adivce... out of all the ones I've played my favorite has been the 2014 honeyburst.....lol I really want a sunburst but as a musician my hands speak to me , then my ears.....lol dilemma

  • #11
    out of all the ones I've played my favorite has been the 2014 honeyburst...
    I really liked the 2014 Les Paul Standard that I reviewed... I still kick myself for not finding a way to buy it, but I just couldn't afford / justify the purchase at the time. Still, it was an amazing guitar - it played great and sounded fantastic.

    They can have my 2013 SG Standard when they pry it from my cold, dead hands. I really bonded with it, and there was no way I was going to let them have that one back, so I bought it after I finished the review. It's the main guitar I use now when reviewing gear - at least for humbucker tests; I still use one of my Fenders to test how things sound with single coils, and my Casino to see how P90s sound.

    **********

    "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

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    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      yeah, I agree 100% , nice review. My stupid issue is Ive always wanted a sunburst lol man that honeyburst sounded perfect and played like heaven.....or maybe it was me jajaja still the best guitar I have ever played and i've played a lot

  • #12
    Don't let the cosmetics rule your choice ! Now having said that, I can guarantee that if you search long enough, you will find a cherry SB you like but if I came across a killer player in another finish, I'd probably learn to like it.

    A&H GL2800 console, BagEnd Crystals over D-18's, 12"and 15" BagEnd and EAW wedges powered and processed by QSC, Klark, BSS, Symetrix, Valley, Sabine, Peavey and BagEnd INFRA.

    Comment


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      I have never been all cosmetics in anything in life but for this particular guitar I always loved the sunburst. I will be trying out 2 more, a 2015 w pickguard and 2016 without it. And youre right I think I may have to learn to like it, it is a beauty in person so its not exactly an ugly ass guitar. The sunburst its just the classic one you know.

  • #13
    I suppose if the color matters that much, and you find the perfect sounding and playing guitar that you feel would be the ideal lifetime partner if only it was a heritage cherry sunburst you could always have it refinished. I don't know if Gibson offers that service or not, but lots of third parties do great refinishing work.
    **********

    "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


    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      Well you do put it nicely, lifetime partner because thats what it will be. I was just that much impressed with the honeyburst. My fav has always been the sunburst and ill be trying out a 2015 w the guard and 2016 without it over this week.

    • Freeman Keller
      Freeman Keller commented
      Editing a comment
      Phil, refinishing is a giant hassle, particularly on newer guitars that have some of the modern poly finishes. In addition it is fairly common to have stains applied directly to the wood (don't know if Gibson still does this but at one time that's how they did the tobacco 'burst) - that would make changing color really difficult. I have a friend that does custom solid color paint jobs on guitars (his main business is motorcycles) - his prices start at a grand and go up, way up. And if someone brought me a Lester and asked for a refin I would turn it down - I simply can't duplicate factory finish.

      Speaking of the cherry 'bursts - don't forget that they have a bad habit of fading as they become "vintage" just like most of the clear lacquers turn amber.

      My humble advice to Jorge is to keep looking - Gibson has made so many different permutations that he is sure to find his dream.

    • jorgembg
      jorgembg commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Freeman. My buddy told me to take my time with it. I just got so hyped about it a couple of week sback when I went to Sam Ash and bought my niece her first guitar and decided to try a strat then the Les Paul. I was like F it why not, I can afford one and Ive been writing a lot lately, plus its about dam time. So I played the only LP standard they had (the 2014 honeyburst) and man I couldnt leave it alone. The guy was let me jam with it for a while. This guitar picked up every little detail about my strumming and scratching I do with my right hand and it got every mute and slight muting I do when I play and it sounded amazing....I would go as far as addicting. Im that hooked and I havent been hyped about playing in a while. I want to record in 2016 and I wont do it unless I have a Les Paul.....weird but I suppose I havent been impresssed with a lot of things in a long time......
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