Gibson Les Paul standard 50s vs R7

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by zos, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. xjojox

    xjojox Tardis-dwelling wanker Gold Supporting Member

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    Play them. How do they sound and feel unplugged? How do speak to you plugged in? Every piece of wood is different. Yes, custom shop is more consistent and you are much less likely to get a dog when buying one whereas production you need to be more careful. But you can still get a gem in a production instrument. There are great Norlin era Gibsons out there too. You just gotta sift through more. Also, which vintage features are important to you and which aren't? Some matter to me, some don't.

    Gibson does put the best wood, workmanship, and parts into the Custom Shop instruments. But there is also a nebulous premium placed on vintage correctness. "Vintage Correct" in my view is a double edged sword. Many folks worship at that altar when in fact Gibson and other builders got plenty of things wrong back in the day (and much of what was right was a collection beautiful accidents). What bugs me about the "R's" is that I'm paying a premium for vintage correct features that I don't always like. Good wood, one-piece body, lighter weight mahogany, long tenon, better hardware, pickups and wiring, yeah I'm good with all of that. But why should I pay a premium for frets that are more vintage correct when I actually like my frets a bit bigger? Why should I pay a premium for vintage correct plastic when pickup ring heights and angles were kinda spotty back in the day? Why should I want a guitar with a boat of a neck just because "that's how they made then then", when I prefer more modest proportions? And I don't mind a pretty top, but I have no desire to drop and extra grand or two for flame way beyond what any actual '59 would have had. My R7 blew my R9 out of the water tone-wise. But it had a particularly huge neck, the pickup rings were badly proportioned, the frets were too small, etc. etc. The R9 had larger frets which I liked (vintage incorrect, but that was a good thing to me; they had bigger frets in '99). But the neck, despite being smaller, had huge shoulders and was very square. Some folks like shoulders; I don't. And it just didn't sound as nice as the R7, even unplugged. I wanted a LP-type guitar that I loved in every way, and I wasn't fanatical about the name on the headstock. I would have preferred a Gibson, but I didn't find one that really did it for me (well... I did but it was a very high dollar R9 that would have needed a refret which would have made it even higher dollar). Ultimately I sold both and started looking at more modern takes on the vintage formula and ended up very happy with an instrument from a smaller builder. (We *have* learned some things in the past sixty years LOL). But I digress.

    Buy the one that makes the most sense to you after playing them. That's a pretty hefty uncharge so the difference needs to matter to YOU, in a way that you'll appreciate on a daily basis playing it (not on a forum). Best of luck.
     
  2. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Sound different? I suspect they will. But the difference almost certainly be lost in the weeds. If playing in the living room, there won't be a side by side comparison going on so sonic differences fade into the mist. On the bandstand? In the mix? We know how that goes. Feel? Well the things about feel that make sense to me, action, scale length, how the bridge feels under my palm, the height of the strings off of the body? That kind of stuff? They are both Les Pauls.

    But I cannot say they will sound identical.

    hunter
     
  3. coldengray

    coldengray Supporting Member

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    If you can't plainly see that Custom Shop reissues have better tops then I can't help you. The tops are absolutely selected for Historics, as are backs for weight. You can choose your own top in the Made 2 Measure program and these are not tops available to the USA line. Gibson's own marketing language talks about premium tops and premium 1-piece backs, thinner finishes, different fret wire, historically accurate necks, top carves, etc. It's actually quite well documented!

    Also, aesthetics are a huge part of why people buy Historics. I'm quite certain I could get 95% of the way sonically with a USA model and better pickups/harness but the guitars just don't feel the same. Spend some time comparing at a shop that has dozens of Historics and USA models, like Chicago Music Exchange, and then tell me they don't have clear differences. Sounds like you're only comparing your R7 and your USA guitar. You need a bigger sample size.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  4. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Yes, sorted for weight and maybe selected for tops for a specific model. You must have seen standard models with better tops that R8s for example. I know I have. And how does visual selection figure in to "better" wood for R7s. But R9s yes probably some selection. And almost certainly top selection is pure aesthetics. If the OP values aesthetics that much, and is shopping R9s, then he may find the value. However simply saying better wood is pretty indeterminate. And on other models a questionable basis for the cost.

    As for the don't feel the same? I addressed that earlier. Beyond the hard physical facts, feel mostly is a head deal.

    hunter
     
  5. coldengray

    coldengray Supporting Member

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    For Historics they are going for vintage accuracy; the first bursts in 58 had plain tops so a USA line having a "better top" is kind of comparing apples and oranges.

    In terms of "better wood", not sure how else wood can be "better" for a guitar besides 1.) being one-piece 2.) being lighter and 3.) looking better aesthetically, all of which you have agreed the Historics have. So yeah, Historics have better wood that is chosen for that purpose. If you think they are using the same wood for the USA line as the Historic line then take a factory tour so you can see for yourself.

    I have yet to play a USA Les Paul that impressed me as much as a Historic Les Paul. That is a subjective opinion so I'll leave it at that.
     
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  6. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    Didn't think Nashville offered factory tours. The wood may wind up in a different pile because of weight or cosmetics but it started in the same pile.

    hunter
     
  7. coldengray

    coldengray Supporting Member

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    That is exactly my point: Gibson sorts the wood for the different lines, the Historics get "better" wood...along with different finishes, specs, and a whole lot of other documented differences that I for one notice. Chicago Music Exchange actually sends employees to Nashville to hand-pick tops (for looks), backs (for weight) and fretboards (for darkness) for their CME Spec Historic Les Pauls. Most of the CME LPs are under 8.5 pounds, a lot of them right around 8 pounds. People can decide for themselves if that's a good thing, I personally think 8.5 is the ideal weight for a Les Paul.
     
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  8. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Gotta disagree. The R7 comes with unpotted A3 pickups. The 50s Std has potted A2 pickups. That's one (or two?) notable difference and it's not subtle. Try them both with a variety of gain levels and amps at volume. Maybe these details don't matter to you, but not everybody shares your opinion. Maybe you aren't terribly concerned about your sound. I'm not one of those guys that says any guitar, any amp is good enough. Even when the drummer is playing. And I don't think all Les Pauls sound and feel the same (or close enough), even if they are set up to the same spec.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
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  9. Bankston

    Bankston Supporting Member

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    Dang it.

    And I almost convinced myself to replace my stolen R9 with a Gibson USA LP with 50's specs. Until I clicked on this thread.

    I'll just have to keep saving up my nickels.
     
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  10. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    If that important to you, pickups are cheap compared to the price difference between a reissue and a standard.

    hunter
     
  11. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    How is an R7 top better than a standard top? For example. If those are in separate piles it is only because the factory lines are in different locations. R7 weights seem pretty in line with standard weights FWIW. The OP was looking at goldtops. Do CME spec historics carry an additional premium?

    hunter
     
  12. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    That's beside the point.
     
  13. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    You believe that? There was a 50s Standard on Sweetwater's site yesterday that is 10 lbs 10 oz. What's the heaviest 2019 R7 you can find? I checked two major retailers - 8 lbs 13 oz. That's nearly a 2 pound difference. From what I have seen, it's very rare that the Standard 50s drop below 9 and it's rare that the R7s exceed 9 lbs.
     
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  14. hunter

    hunter Supporting Member

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    If you say so.

    And FWIW, A3 vs A2 will not make any difference to me when it is time to get the job done. In the weeds. My R7 weighs 9.3 lbs. You just have a small snapshot slice of time. R7s are often over 9. And even over 10.

    As always, I don't care what people spend on gear. Want what you want. Buy what you can. Where things get tricky is when they try to justify spending the money.

    hunter
     
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  15. Magnets And Melodies

    Magnets And Melodies Member

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    Me and my 2 CME LP's agree with you.

    Also, these fingerboards are the darkest FB's I've had. Can you tell which one is the USA Standard and which one is the CME Custom Shop?

    [​IMG]

    That's in full sun.

    Even more telling are full pics of the 2...

    CME LP
    [​IMG]

    Gibson USA Standard
    [​IMG]

    Betcha can't guess which one is 10 pounds?
     
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  16. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    Alright then. Check out #108890179 at SW right now. It's 10 lbs 6 oz.

    Now it's your turn. Find an R7 (not B7) from the last 5 model years (ie 2015-present) that weighs that much and get back to me with a link.
     
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  17. fancychords

    fancychords Member

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    With Sweetwater just sit back until you see a weight you want. That’s what I did my 50’s is 9.3 and I couldn’t be happier haven’t put the guitar down it’s always in my hands.
     
  18. coldengray

    coldengray Supporting Member

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    Sorry but no. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. I have never seen an R7 over 10 pounds and neither have you, because they don’t exist. I have seen MANY 11 pound USA guitars, I briefly owned one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  19. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

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    Try both if you can and let your hands and ears decide.
     
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  20. coldengray

    coldengray Supporting Member

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    Hunter says feel is “in the head” and pickups don’t matter when “it’s time to get the job done”. By that logic just get a Studio and have fun. Personally I see, hear and feel a difference. To each their own I suppose.
     

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