So I posted a thread in general guitars about how to buy a Les Paul. I've been searching for the "right" guitar for months. I tried every Les Paul that I could get my mitts on in my area and I was getting frustrated. All of the ones that I tried either had finish / playability issues or they just didn't sound like the sound that I heard in my head. As a few folks pointed out - maybe the sound in my head wasn't a Les Paul. I know I just wanted thick, juicy, ballsy - but clear. No mud on the neck pickup, no shrill screech in the bridge, and excellent playability were all paramount. I really thought that was a Les Paul sounded like so I've been scratching my head when I couldn't find it. Several folks on that thread told me to "just got get a Collings City Limits and get it over with". I resisted - I wanted a dang LES PAUL!! But after quite a bit of looking none of them made me excited enough to spend the dough. I eventually found a few nice ones - but the asking price for those was so high that I probably could have gotten Ron Thorn to BUILD me one for those prices and have an actual custom guitar built to my specs. I want good tone but I also don't want to get bent over the counter for it. So I drove 3 hours down to Sound Pure in Durham, NC today to try out a few dual humbucker guitars that weren't Les Pauls. Thank again to Frank for his help - those guys are great (and amazingly patient ). Here are my thoughts on a couple of them as played through a Carr Mercury V and a Suhr Bella reverb . . . BTW @Husky - the Suhr Bella Reverb is now my next amp purchase. Sweet sweet awesomeness - it was love at first strum. It's like a DR and a AC30 had a baby with usable reverb and a loop for my AxeFX. But I'm diverging here . . . Mike Tuttle Carve Top Standard - What an amazing guitar! Amazing fret work and an impeccable setup. The fret ends didn't come to the side of the neck without binding! Great bridge tone but I found the neck to be a bit dull. Very "vintage" tone - this guitar is probably what a "real" Les Paul is supposed to sound like. Like I said - maybe I wasn't looking for a "real" Les Paul? Mr. Tuttle should be proud of this instrument though - it was AMAZING dirty. Anderson Bobcat - This was almost the "one". Lemon Drop on flame = amazing. Great playability and tremendous flexibility with coil taps. Super shimmery ballsy tone. I was impressed by the feel and the tones but it had really hot pickups and it seemed a little further from the Les Paul tone than I was looking for. Very very modern deep and bright. I still want this guitar though. One day . . . . PRS McCarty 10 top - they had two used McCarty's in stock and the both played well. The PRSi just seems to be missing the low lows and the high highs - even acoustically it was obvious that some balls and shimmer were missing. I think it has something to do with the one piece wraparound bridge that took them out of Les Paul land. I'm sure that as a soloing instrument in a mix they would be totally bad@ss though - if anyone is around that area and looking for one the blood orange flame has an amazing feel and super slick action. Kauer Starliner chambered - If I were a jazz cat I would own this guitar. FAT FAT FAT tones and obvious air from the chambering. It was just too soft in the mids for my post-rock and Rush noodling. Fret work was nice - and it had a sweet feel. It was just too far from rock and roll for my ears. Suhr Modern Antique - yeah I know - nothing like a Les Paul. But I have to own this. The fret work is awesome and the tone is just RIPPING. Fantastic shimmery tone even on the neck pickup - and man the middle pickup just screams "strat" and as a Fender man from way back I approve. Absolute love and my next purchase for sure. The reliced white on roasted alder is yummy. But hey - it really doesn't belong in this list other than the fact that I loved it. The elliptical neck is AWESOME! I'll custom order the 1 5/8 nut though . . . Suhr Custom Classic T - I have another hole in my collection and this guitar will fill in one day. It makes every other tele I've ever played feel like it was wrapped in barbed wire. Fat tone with tons of spank and snap. Sigh. Why must I buy only 1!!! Anyway - then out came the mighty Collings . . . Even unplugged it just RINGS. Perfect intonation up the neck even for my meaty hamfisted playing. You know how a great guitar literally makes you play things you normally can't play? That exactly how this guitar worked for me. Have you ever REALLY dug into a Les Paul at the 12th fret E or B and heard that shimmery midrange growl and fat compression from the mahogany? That's exactly what you get from a Collings. I literally can't find enough good words to say about the tone or the feel. I picked it up and literally within 30 seconds knew that this was the one. Yeah - I'm gushing. But I found my ONE!! It's a Standard with a Brock burst and ThroBak Custom ER MXV pickups. She has 50's wiring and Jupiter tone caps. This is honestly the first humbucker based guitar that I find the tone controls to be useful on - it's incredibly vocal as you roll it back with no useless settings. It's one of those guitars that the setup is so perfect that the 11s on it feel like 9s. I registered it and the kind folks at Collings sent me a note to tell me that this guitar had been built as an "artists" model to demo the 2017 line and used by Guthrie Trapp in Nashville to demo the line. Yeah - this is a good one. Ok - I'll shut up now and get back to playing her. Here are a couple of truly awful pics - tomorrow if the sun comes out from the clouds I'll get a few better. Sweet Flying Spaghetti Monster I love this guitar!