Are USA Gibson Les Pauls good guitars?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by guitarrhinoceros, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Like, I just don't know how to compartmentalize and value some of the things I've read. I get that they are good guitars. I get that some may even clarify them as being great. I get that they aren't going to be built with as much attention to detail as some higher end Custom Shop Gibson Les Pauls, and also won't have the hardwired components to boots (and will be chambered or holed). I just can't and don't know where to draw the line in the sand though. I like to make wise decisions with my money. The guitar industry does a great job at leaving people with notions of doubt, considering the different levels of guitars they offer. Should I or should I not spend my money on a USA Les Paul Traditional? Or would that money be better served at something in a similar Custom Shop price range, like the ES-335 Satin or ES-339? I gig out and love playing. I also don't like throwing money at things that aren't great. There are so many levels of guitars out there, that it can honestly be a bit confusing. So many little things that plant seeds of doubt as to where to put my money. I actually can't believe more people aren't admitting that they are just as baffled as I am -- Custom v USA made. Where do I go?

    I have a Gibson SG Standard. I like the guitar a lot. It took a lot of tweaking by my tech to get it to sound great and keep tune, but now it plays so fricken nice. I want to move up in the world to a LP or a ES guitar.

    What do you all think?
     
  2. warriorsoldier

    warriorsoldier Member

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    Are USA gibson les pauls good guitars? In general yes. But I think this is if your looking at anything with a gloss finish. I personally feel they cut a lot of corners with the satin finish guitars. Now maybe the better question to ask is are gibson guitars a good Value? That is a little bit trickier to answer. There are many many companies who make guitars that I feel compete with gibsons quality if not even trump them and sell for many hundreds less than that of gibson. But those bargain guitar have almost no chance of becoming valuable. In that sense though you should NEVER buy a guitar as an investment. I think it comes down to plain old personal preference. If you have to have a les paul then I dont think a real les paul fan will ever be truly happy with anything that doesnt say gibson on the headstock. Its just a vibe thing. Sure heritage probably makes a better les paul than gibson but it aint a gibson if that makes any sense. And when I say sense I dont mean logic either.

    Im in a different camp. I dont need a Les paul guitar or a strat guitar or a rickenbacker or any other "iconic" instrument. I want the best possible guitar for the smallest possible price tag. Thats what led me to carvin. IMHO for a quality to dollar ratio I dont think they have any competition. The only ones I think that can touch them are david bunker, US masters and Godin and even those companies have limitations. Im not talking full on customs though. Im talking production guitars made in north america only. We could debate handmade private guitars vs cnc all day. Bottom line is if your the type of person who is going to buy an epiphone LP when you really want a Gibson LP just to save money your always going to wish it was a real gibson. Sometimes hobbies like guitar there is no real rational thought process and we simply want what we want. And if the name on the headstock is going to put you in the mood to play and inspire you then its worth the extra money.
     
  3. buzzp

    buzzp Member

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    Personally, after picking up many newer Gibson LP's, playing them, then looking at the price tag, I have literally laughed out loud... sometimes inappropriately cursing. Gibson's quality control these days is a 5th grade reading level. I'm not saying there aren't good ones still being made, I've just yet to see the quality match the price tag.

    I am the same as warriorsoldier to some extent though. I play a boutique ES/McCarty hollowbody style guitar that I freaking love. To further this, the guitar was built in correctly, the first fret too far from the nut (had to get a custom shelf nut installed) and the bridge may have been drilled in the wrong place. I guess what I'm trying to say is that modern Gibson's have not been inspirational, and that's what I look for in a guitar. my 3 cents. best of luck to you
     
  4. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Move up from an SG? Some guys have made a whole career playing one of those....LOL

    But seriously......don't get caught in the TGP consensus trap. You need to go out and try several Gibson styles (and price points) to see what works for you. Remember this: You will see a lot of Boss Pedals (or Off the shelf brands) on Touring Pro's boards.....but a lot of guys who frequent this forum wouldn't get caught dead with them on their board:omg So the "Advice" won't always be worth the paper it's written on. Personally, I think the Custom Shop vs. Regular is a bit over-rated in some cases.... because I've seen some lousy Custom Shop and Standard products, as well as the opposite.

    Now my advice.....well....the band I'm in right now would be a good example. When I joined, the Rhythm Guitar Player used a Les Paul. So what you say? Well...to "balance" out our sound, I left my LP at home, and started to use a Strat and Tele. So my point is, you have to figure out where you want to sit in the "mix", and what guitar will help you accomplish that goal. Don't get hung up on the Brand per se.

    Don't get me wrong....I have a vintage LP and a Brand New Standard Gold Top that's a beauty....but guitars are Tools, and you need the "right" tool to get the job done.
     
  5. The REAL Rocker

    The REAL Rocker Member

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    Really???:rotflmao Do you really need this kind of thread??? Here, I'm going to give you the secret for finding a great guitar for YOU..................Go to whatever dealer you like,and.................wait for it.................PLAY EVERY GUITAR THERE:idea, until you find the one that sounds good to you:beer, and feels good in your hands. BUY THAT ONE, and make music with It. There, now you have the secret of knowing how to buy the guitar that is right for YOU ......................The REAL Rocker.
     
  6. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Good points. I know someone else stated that the satin stuff from Gibson is pretty terrible, and I don't doubt that a lot of it is (since I can't scientifically say), but somehow Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews), Chris Cornell, and Quinn Allman (The Used) all seem to use them just fine. Heck, even Rivers Cuomo stated that all he uses is a Gibson SG Standard -- STOCK! Pretty impressive.

    I am glad I asked this question though since there are so many different opinions out there. You are so right about Boss pedals. I was over at Premier Guitar's website and was checking out the boards of many pros. I couldn't believe how many of them use the DD-7. I have that pedal, and while it is a decent pedal, it doesn't sound great through my amp. I really have to wonder if people are having success with that pedal in a stereo rig or something. I just can't get mine to cut properly. And I play fairly loud. At home, the pedal sounds fab. Go figure.

    Thanks for the feedback. It was much appreciated. All of the feedback thus far has been helpful actually!

    I also like the photo of the three LPs. Very nice indeed!
     
  7. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Why CAN'T I pose this question? It doesn't hurt anyone, it isn't offensive, and it is an honest thought I have from time to time when I am deciding how I would like to spend my gear money. I can see the paper differences between Custom v USA, but how those differences affect the player and the sound? These questions are very interesting to me. At the very least, these seem like legit questions that are worth asking.

    Who said anything about NOT playing guitars. I appreciate your condescending post and all, I mean, whatever makes you feel wiser, right? Anyways ... Playing a guitar before buying it ... that is sort of obvious, don't you think? Who drops over 2K on something they've never played or compared? Not many people do that. Although, I am sure there are a few people out there who do. I use these forums as networking tools in that there are many folks out there who have a wealth of knowledge that can help me make better decisions today. Just like I can try to impart some of my thoughts and mishaps to someone else in an effort to better help them. To me, these forums are sort of like Freemasonry, except without the secret handshakes -- to make ordinary men better.

    Thanks for responding!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  8. goodwater

    goodwater Member

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    i've got an early 90s LP that stacks up to both R8s that I've owned in every way (except it's a helluva lot heavier)
     
  9. The REAL Rocker

    The REAL Rocker Member

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    ----------------If you are wondering about this kind of stuff, then why NOT just go play them?? I'm not ragging on you, but It seems sometimes that people in this world will spend time discussing how to do things, when a trip to your local store will clear some questions you have IMMEDIATELY, and give you a idea of what exactly you are looking for(one of the main reasons for this thread!!). Forget the paper differences, go PLAY the guitars that you like, and the answers will come to you on what will be superior for your use and taste.


    There's no reason to NOT pose this question, and I don't think that the question was out of line, just strange. Listen, none of us on this board have your hands, your ears, your sense of melody, or any of the other things that shaped you, so anything you get here is nice, but It still comes down to you. You have to go out there, YOU have to try the various guitars, You have to like the sound that emulates from it................and while I'm sure that everyone here will help you with their thoughts, you get their BIASES as well, and maybe you don't need to have your thoughts on guitar buying shaped by the constant Gibson bashing that goes on here. The guitar you are wanting to buy will be owned by YOU, AND HOPEFULLY, played by you. Go do the work, and find that guitar, and Happy Playing in the future...................The REAL Rocker.
     
  10. yell03

    yell03 Member

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    I have owned 5 Custom Shop Gibsons (2 Gibson Les Paul Customs, a Gibson Les Paul 1960 VOS, a Gibson SG/Les Paul VOS, and a Gibson SG/Les Paul Custom) and now my only Gibson is a USA Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro Goldtop.

    The only ones that compared to the Traditional Pro were the Les Paul 1960 VOS and the SG/Les Paul VOS, and they weren't better, but they were great.

    Keep in mind, I have played and owned many USA Les Pauls that were not as good, but if you find a good USA, it will give up nothing to most Custom Shops.
    I went through quite a few Trad Pros that weren't nearly as good until I found this one.

    The advantage of the Custom Shop is you won't find as many bad ones, most will be good, the consistency is better, but if you search and find a good USA you will be very happy.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, I did previously own a USA Gibson SG 61 RI that was amazing also, but it was neck heavy.
     
  11. tnt365

    tnt365 Supporting Member

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    Your SG is fine. LP's are nice but I think you can cop a lot of the LP humbucker tones with an SG. Get a single coil guitar ie Tele or Strat!
     
  12. Stratoben127

    Stratoben127 Member

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    I have an 05 Standard faded, before the quality control started getting "bad." I love it. Ate just like and historic I've played and isn't chambered. I got it used in good condition from a friend for $1500 and put some custom Wolfetones in it and it's amazing. I'd say look at older Les Pauls, especially fadeds and get some good pickups. On the other hand, I was about to get a new Traditional and all of the ones I played we're very nice but I decided to get the deal on the faded.
     
  13. stratman89

    stratman89 Supporting Member

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    I have a Traditional an a '58 VOS. I bought both brand new, and both great Les Pauls.

    If you can find a good used R8, it would probably end up costing around the same or less than I paid for the Traditional brand new.
     
  14. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Yes, they are.
    I had an '02 that gave my Historics a good run for the money.
     
  15. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    Go try out some guitars. Buy the one you like. Honestly, that's all there is to it.
     
  16. budglo58

    budglo58 Member

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    I bought a LP Deluxe Studio in May and its a great guitar, the build quality is great. It has a 1 piece body and not a flaw on it.It holds its own against any les paul as far as tone.I wouldnt say a more expensive Gibson would get you a better built guitar. You just have to check each one out and determine for yourself which guitar you want.
     
  17. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Great points, Real! Thanks!
     
  18. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    The SG is such a good guitar. I agree 100%. After a good setup, the thing just rips. And stays in tune. It also doesn't suffer from neck dives. I just want to add something else to the stable of guitars.
     
  19. guitarrhinoceros

    guitarrhinoceros Senior Member

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    Thanks for the responses, folks ...
     
  20. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Perhaps if you'd been here more than a month, you'd realize it was a pointless, worn out, nonsensical topic that nevertheless gets beaten to deat at least once a week.

    Of course they're good guitars. Look how many people that could play anything play them and look how many great, classic songs have been played on them. Sheesh. :bonk I suppose they may not be good enough for the crowd that plays blues tracks in the bedroom, but countless A list rockers seem to get by on them somehow.

    It's not an upgrade from an SG though, just different.
     

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