For me, there is no better guitar than a Gibson Custom Shop Les Paul.

that's great that you can afford them, at close to 5K used, most people can't afford them
I had a Baker B1 used for under $2000 that I had to part with, which I would put head to head against any guitar out there... I think the problem with Gibson is the prices, and the fact that for players who aren't making 6 figure salaries (which is most players) spending that much on a guitar is just nuts
These were 3-4K new.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Gold Supporting Member
Love these 4---all bought new, all different from each other in terms of pickups/bridges, etc., but with that unique Gibson tone and playing feel. From left to right, 2003 '68 RI, '98 R8, '97 R4 Oxblood, '96 R4.







I really enjoy other guitars as well, especially T-types. And the Gibson CS does produce some average instruments in my experience (I have played a lot of reissues and vintage Gibsons). But when they hit one out of the park, it can be very special. That's why I've kept these and stopped looking. The latest and greatest version is just spin to me when I already know what these guitars can do.
 

27sauce

Member
that's great that you can afford them, at close to 5K used, most people can't afford them
I had a Baker B1 used for under $2000 that I had to part with, which I would put head to head against any guitar out there... I think the problem with Gibson is the prices, and the fact that for players who aren't making 6 figure salaries (which is most players) spending that much on a guitar is just nuts
I play guitar full time, it is my only income. My '13 R8 was only $2750 new. That price seems very reasonable for what I got.
 

C-4

Member
As an aside, having read that if you don't make a high 5-6 figure income, most musicians cannot afford to buy a Custom Shop Gibson, then I must be an exception, just as I know others are.

My net income is $18K per year from my day job. I use my band money to save up and buy what I want to use.

I think nothing of spending whatever it is that I need to save up, if I want a piece of gear. Currently, I have 3 Custom Shop Gibsons, and one USA Production LP as a beater. I have other guitars as well, and they are all high end pieces.

I grew up playing custom shop Gibson guitars, and even was invited too, and went to Kalamazoo, as a guest of Gibson, on two separate occasions for a week each trip. I know and feel the differences between a production USA Gibson and the Custom Shop guitars, just as others do. I simply won't deny myself anything, if I want it.

You can own higher end pieces if you have the patience, temperament, and mind to put yourself to the task of religiously saving up or them. I've done it all of my life.
 

runningman

Member
Ok, break it down on that pawn shop '07 for me. The one I got for $800.
They'd been told by a trusted source that it was fake. They couldn't ring me up fast enough. Was I morally obligated to speak up and inform them of the truth?
Not as I see it. What are your thoughts on that specific deal? Given the facts, not some hypothetical/hyperbolic scenario.
That's an interesting case, partly because they were ostensibly trying to screw you and ended up getting their comeuppance in the process.

I think the fact that it was a retail store as opposed to a private party changes the moral calculus somewhat. They are in the business of buying and selling used stuff, so it isn't really a direct comparison. Lets say a business like that ought to know the value, so the ethical bar is lower from the customer's perspective.

Here's an compelling twist. Say the R8 was listed on Craigslist for $800. Seller believes the guitar is a fake. You arrange to meet, and during the discussion you learn that the seller is a close friend of your wife's family. Or better yet, of your boss's family.

Knowing what you know about the authenticity and market value of the R8, and knowing this is going to get back to your wife (or boss), do you go through with the sale.

And if you don't have a connection to the seller, how does the moral calculus change if you're strangers?
 

27sauce

Member
That's an interesting case, partly because they were ostensibly trying to screw you and ended up getting their comeuppance in the process.

I think the fact that it was a retail store as opposed to a private party changes the moral calculus somewhat. They are in the business of buying and selling used stuff, so it isn't really a direct comparison. Lets say a business like that ought to know the value, so the ethical bar is lower from the customer's perspective.

Here's an compelling twist. Say the R8 was listed on Craigslist for $800. Seller believes the guitar is a fake. You arrange to meet, and during the discussion you learn that the seller is a close friend of your wife's family. Or better yet, of your boss's family.

Knowing what you know about the authenticity and market value of the R8, and knowing this is going to get back to your wife (or boss), do you go through with the sale.

And if you don't have a connection to the seller, how does the moral calculus change if you're strangers?
There’s that hypothetical BS...

Craigslist seller knowingly selling a fake for $800?

They could be my wife’s friend AND boss’s cousin, it wouldn’t change how I approach it.

“Knowing this is going to get back to...”

knowing what is going to get back? That I bought a guitar from someone they knew? What’s the big deal? It was fake anyway.

The $1000 chambered custom came from someone I knew. I even told him I sold it a few month later. I offered it back for the price he sold it to me.
 
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That's an interesting case, partly because they were ostensibly trying to screw you and ended up getting their comeuppance in the process.

I think the fact that it was a retail store as opposed to a private party changes the moral calculus somewhat. They are in the business of buying and selling used stuff, so it isn't really a direct comparison. Lets say a business like that ought to know the value, so the ethical bar is lower from the customer's perspective.

Here's an compelling twist. Say the R8 was listed on Craigslist for $800. Seller believes the guitar is a fake. You arrange to meet, and during the discussion you learn that the seller is a close friend of your wife's family. Or better yet, of your boss's family.

Knowing what you know about the authenticity and market value of the R8, and knowing this is going to get back to your wife (or boss), do you go through with the sale.

And if you don't have a connection to the seller, how does the moral calculus change if you're strangers?
What a bunch of ridiculousness. It's not morally/ethically wrong if a retail store does it, but it is if I do it in a private sale?

Man you really took this thread offsides.
 

LookerBob

Supporting Member
To me, the biggest difference is simply wood selection. Custom shop gets first choice at the wood pile. Those guys are pretty good (though not perfect) at inspecting a wood haul and knowing what will make the best guitar.
This. I owned an '06 R8 that I sold in '14, and it was a truly great guitar. I just yesterday ordered a used CS Junior, and the piece of wood is pretty dang stunning... under 7 lbs... not here yet, but high hopes:

 

runningman

Member
There’s that hypothetical BS...

Craigslist seller knowingly selling a fake for $800?

They could be my wife’s friend AND boss’s cousin, it wouldn’t change how I approach it.

“Knowing this is going to get back to...”

knowing what is going to get back? That I bought a guitar from someone they knew? What’s the big deal? It was fake anyway.
I think you're missing the point. The seller thinks it's a fake, probably bought it as such. But it's not. And you know it's not. Like the guitar you bought from the pawn shop.

So you're all excited to buy a real R8 for pennies on the dollar from someone who thinks it's a fake. But then it turns out you're connected to the seller, and they will probably find out the truth, and so will your boss.

Maybe a better scenario is to flip it on its head, and summon the Golden Rule while we're at it.

You've got a guitar--let's say an R8--you bought as a fake and want to sell it to a friend. Remember, you think it's a fugazi.

So the friend buys it for the $800 you were asking, but you learn through a mutual friend that he knew the guitar was real when he bought it, but elected not to inform you of the guitar's authenticity.

Still friends?
 

SkydogFan81

Supporting Member
Where I live, I'm near a really skilled luthier who does refinishes and lots of other stuff. I've actually seen a few guys take in a beat up Gibson USA Les Paul and have him refinish similar to what you'd get out of a CS model. Completely strip it down and replace all the hardware/electronics and put on a much thinner nitro finish with a really high quality sheen paint. They saved $1000s this way. The only trade off is you don't really get the prestige of a true Gibson CS, but you definitely get in the feel for a much lower price.
The biggest issue with the USA models is that even those they swiss cheese the mahogany body, they still weigh ~11 lbs. Then you have the short neck tenon, different neck carve etc... There is just no way to polish a turd.

I did forget to to mention, there are 2 guitars I lust after from time to time - a CS SG and an R6
 

27sauce

Member
I think you're missing the point. The seller thinks it's a fake, probably bought it as such. But it's not. And you know it's not. Like the guitar you bought from the pawn shop.

So you're all excited to buy a real R8 for pennies on the dollar from someone who thinks it's a fake. But then it turns out you're connected to the seller, and they will probably find out the truth, and so will your boss.

Maybe a better scenario is to flip it on its head, and summon the Golden Rule while we're at it.

You've got a guitar--let's say an R8--you bought as a fake and want to sell it to a friend. Remember, you think it's a fugazi.

So the friend buys it for the $800 you were asking, but you learn through a mutual friend that he knew the guitar was real when he bought it, but elected not to inform you of the guitar's authenticity.

Still friends?
Holy cow. That doesn’t change anything. I don’t care if I’m connected to the seller. I don’t know how that matters. That’s not even a realistic situation. Everyone within 6 degrees of me knows i deal in guitars. I don’t even have a boss! My wife? She’d try to get more off the price than asking.

And I’m not winding up with something I’m not hip to. It’s just not going to happen.

I have many dealer friends, I buy and sell to dealer friends. I don’t get sad when I sell them a guitar and they mark it up, or get considerably more than I sold it to them for.

I sold it for a reason. I sold it for what I did...for a reason. None of this has to do with the person that gave me the money I asked for.
 
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runningman

Member
Holy cow. That doesn’t change anything. I don’t care if I’m connected to the seller. I don’t know how that matters. That’s not even a realistic situation. Everyone within 6 degrees of me knows i deal in guitars. I don’t even have a boss! My wife? She’d try to get more off the price than asking.

And I’m not winding up with something I’m not hip to. It’s just not going to happen.

I have many dealer friends, I buy and sell to dealer friends. I don’t get sad when I sell them a guitar and they mark it up, or get considerably more than I sold it to them for.

I sold it for a reason. I sold it for what I did...for a reason. None of this has to do with the person that gave me the money I asked for.
something tells me you don't enjoy hypothetical philosophical discussions...:rotflmao

no worries, different strokes.

I will leave you with one thought regarding your apparent confidence in never 'winding up with something you're not hip to'. Go watch the movie Sour Grapes. It's about a counterfeit wine swindle, and how some very wealthy and knowledgeable wine enthusiasts got scammed by a clever and charming con artist.

None other than billionaire Bill Koch--yes, the Koch Brother Koch--ended up with several million dollars worth of phony wine in his wine cellar.
 

27sauce

Member
something tells me you don't enjoy hypothetical philosophical discussions...:rotflmao

no worries, different strokes.

I will leave you with one thought regarding your apparent confidence in never 'winding up with something you're not hip to'. Go watch the movie Sour Grapes. It's about a counterfeit wine swindle, and how some very wealthy and knowledgeable wine enthusiasts got scammed by a clever and charming con artist.

None other than billionaire Bill Koch--yes, the Koch Brother Koch--ended up with several million dollars worth of phony wine in his wine cellar.
The difference between Koch and I is my knowledge greatly exceeds my wealth. I don’t pay retail, I don’t pay premium...I’ve never spent more than $3k on a guitar.

I’m not going to wind up with something I’m not knowledgable about. It’s not going to happen. I don’t spend money on anything but a sure thing.
 

riscado

Member
It's funny how mileage varies... having owned multiple historic reissues throughout the years, including some recent ones. As well as a 1964 SG junior, a 1958 Les paul single cut junior and several Memphis ES type guitars. I've sold all the historic reissues because they never did it for me. Sold my vintage ones because I wasn't playing them enough and kept a nice ES-335 Warren Haynes and ES-330 wildwood 59 from Memphis.

For Les Pauls I much prefer my Navigators to any of the custom shop reissues I've owned. They always seem to have more of the dryness in the response that the old ones have.
 
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fjrabon

Member
The biggest issue with the USA models is that even those they swiss cheese the mahogany body, they still weigh ~11 lbs. Then you have the short neck tenon, different neck carve etc... There is just no way to polish a turd.

I did forget to to mention, there are 2 guitars I lust after from time to time - a CS SG and an R6
My traditional is nine pounds flat and non-weight relieved. The vast majority of the non-weight relieved USA Les Pauls are between 9-10 pounds. CS models are generally between 8-9 pounds.

Very few hit 11 pounds, in fact I can’t find a single one at 11 pounds anywhere right now. You can scan Sweetwater where they list the weights and see that. Sure, there’s some difference between weights on CS stuff and the USA stuff, but let’s not make stuff up here.

These are all non-weight relief:
 

70' s Tone

Member
Yes, another Gibson thread, but let me share a new perspective to the countless regurgitations we see posted on TGP in the last week or so.

This whole video thing brought up a lot of emotions in a lot of people, including myself initially. With all the discussions that were picking Gibson apart, from marketing techniques to quality control to my own pleas for them to make a production guitar with long tenons and true ABR1's.... There's one thing that I kept going back to in my mind, which is...

I've played hundreds of guitars, but I've never played one better than a Custom Shop Les Paul.

I've played all the alternatives that people tout about, and I've tried modding and souping up Gibson USA Les Paul's to get them as close to CS's as I could... I've heard all the arguments and counter arguments against tonewoods and electronics and hardware and all the things people go on about not mattering these days....

But when I pick up my CME LP's from the Custom Shop, none of that matters at all, because they're the best guitars I've ever played.

Describing why that is will just invoke a lot of buzz words... and those of us on TGP who have the same experience have been trying to pinpoint "why" they're so great for years... attributing it to craftsmanship, better quality woods, long tenons, hide glues, ABR1's, lightweight hardware, electronics, general worksmanship, etc etc.... but it seems to be a useless effort to attribute it to any 1 thing.

In the end, trying to understand fully WHY they're so great is kind of pointless... because it'll never take away the fact that... they just are! All things combined, when I pick them up and play them, it still keeps blowing me away. They feel absolutely perfect for everything I'd ever want to do with a guitar. It's effortless to get the sound I want, and feels like an extension of myself when I'm playing.

When I am holding one of these 2 Les Paul's pictured below, the rest of the world melts away, and I'm just left with a perfect guitar, and a huge smile on my face.


Very nice indeed. Enjoy!
But don't you think it's time to reach deep into those pockets and get a vintage one to savor? We only live once. ;)
I see one of these two in your future... :D
https://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-les-paul-standard-1960-sunburst-9
https://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-les-paul-standard-1959-sunburst-4
Smell that vintage vibe. :)
 


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