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Any comments on the late 90s Gibson Les Paul Studio Gem guitars??

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dewman, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Found one locally, has a face only a mother could love - repaired headstock, missing a knob or two, significant belt rash...nice P90 tone though and cheap, course it might fall apart if I look at it wrong....I liked the tones, only I have never owned a P90 equipped guitar and dont want to settle for something cause it is cheap if a little bit of saving could get me a better sounding guitar, maybe even something just shy of vintage (SG??) or a used CS model. Any great P90 guitars out there with a comparable setup and tone as the Gem I am looking at, or preferably better?
     
  2. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    i don't have too much experience in this dept., but i have played a few of the LP Gems with the P90s and they're awesome.

    If I were skeptical about the buy, my next choice would most likely be an SG Classic. These can be had used or new for a great price (between $700-900), and they sound killer! Very classy looking SGs too, with neck binding and vintage tuners; the P90s make this thing growl.

    if you wanna go vintage and have the cash for it, the mid/late 60s SG Specials are basically what the SG Classic is based on. poke around and see what you find.

    the SG Classic is definitely worth checking out IMO.
     
  3. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I have one, it's a great guitar. If there's another question in there I'm not sure what it is. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
     
  4. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    You can have mine when you pry it from my cold, dead etc. etc. Great guitars, really.

    Having said that, however, I wouldn't buy one with a repaired headstock but that's a personal thing for me. I don't mind fixing a guitar that I've broken (or has broken under my watch), but I don't like buying other people's problems.

    --chiba
     
  5. Jimi D

    Jimi D Member

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    I owned one for a couple years and it was a great guitar. I only gave it up because of the weight - with a bad back, a 9 lb. guitar was just too much... I really liked mine though - it sounded like a good P90 LP should... Mississippi Queen city, man!! ;)
     
  6. Rich

    Rich Member

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    The Gems are great guitars. But dont bother with one with a headstock repair and a lot of rash, etc, unless the guy is giving it away. They are frequently on ebay and generally run in the 700-900 range depending on condition.

    The SG Classics are definitely nice guitars too. But given the construction differences, they have a less "solid" tone and less "chunk" than the LP. IMO. And the feel is totally different, of course.
     
  7. telemike

    telemike Member

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    I had a Ruby Gem for a couple of years. Honestly, I thought that it was the worst guitar that I ever owned. I hated the pickups and couldn't get a good sound out of them. I ended up trading a guy straight up for a '96 Gibson Nighthawk with an unbelievable, for Gibson, flame maple top. I still have that guitar and have left it totally stock. It gets plenty of play these days. I'm just so glad to be done with the Gem that I had. YMMV.
     
  8. riffpowers

    riffpowers Member

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    TBH I see that as being a positive.Apart from the fact that he's saved you the trouble and expense of doing that repair while you own it (and we all know how inevitable that is) a used guitar like that means its probably great.Given the choice between an immaculate almost untouched 10 year old guitar and one thats been thrashed, which one do you think is the better player??The thrashed one of course, thats why its been so well used!!!
     
  9. Rich

    Rich Member

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    Gimme a break. Like I said, if its cheap....

    But beat-up and broken doesn't mean its a great guitar.


    dewman--
    Chime in here. How much does the dealer want for it?
     
  10. dewman

    dewman Gold Supporting Member

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    Its tagged at 475$. Probably could get it a lot cheaper if I whined a bit about the less than stellar condition. Neck appears straight, tuning looked largely stable after pawing it for some time, of course the G string is moving a bit, but aren't all gibson's with that headstock. The headstock repair isn't cosmetically good. I havent wiggled the joint to see if it is stable..just played on it for some time and it didnt come flying off. I agree, never like to inherit other people's problems, but neck joints are typically either good or really bad, so I at least have an open mind. I just havent played many P90 guitars, at least at med volumes and found that I liked this tone. I just didnt want to buy a cheaper guitar for that tone and sell myself short when the Gem is my only introduction to P90 tone - guess what I mean to say is that I have tried a few P90s but never gave it enough consideration. I didnt like the P90 on a les paul CS historic reissue, just wasn't the blues tone I was looking for. I have felt like the SG was an obvious next choice, and will be trying out the classic. An SG from the early 70s was sold right in front of me recently that I was intending to go for. But I felt that these SGs still had that rock tone more than a bluesy tone. I am now working my way into examining the Les Paul studios and Les Paul juniors now. I picked up this guitar and thought it might give me the opportunity to learn P90 tone and how to work with these guitars with my pedals and amp setup. It might work, although the headstock thing is scary, if it is cheaper than the list it might be ok, although it is going to have no resale anyways given its condition. I wish I knew if the headstock repair killed the guitar for the previous owner or if he/she played the guitar with the repair for some time and just retired it. I might be able to casually find out this info since the owner was mentioning something about the previous owner...anyway, I am justt trying to see if I can find anything better with P90s before sinkling my $$$ into this guitar that I clearly might not be able to get rid of if it doesnt work for me. Thanks for the SG suggestion, I like them and will have to crank it up to see if it is more of a blues machine for me. I heard the SC les paul classic is a nice guitar and tone machine. COuld be big bones though and maybe the studio Gem aint so bad of a deal. Any other nice P90 suggestions for blues/rock for comparison?
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    For whatever its worth -

    When I first picked up the Gem in the store I was totally blown away by the tone. I spent the next couple of months playing every P-90 guitar I could get my hands on, as well as every Les Paul (P-90s or not) I could get my hands on. I played P-90 Hamers, PRSs, old and new Gibsons, Guilds. I played Les Paul Standards, Customs, Juniors, Specials, Deluxes, everything. I think I played every single Les Paul or P-90 guitar for sale in the Atlanta area at that time. Nothing moved me like the Gem (though an old Les Paul Deluxe came pretty close), so I went back and snapped it up. I think it's the body thickness and maple top that make it ring out so strong compared to other guitars, but it was that particular chunk of lumber, too.

    Anyway, that was one guitar in one store, and that was me. Just thought I'd tell the story.

    Since then I had Joe Glaser set it up, put it on the Plek and add shielding. Now it's just about perfect.
     

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