Is The Tone of a '59 Les Paul Tones Really That Unique?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Soyuz, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. MKB

    MKB Silver Supporting Member

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    In my experience with vintage Gibsons and Fenders, including owning a 1960 non-SG LP Special, the tone mojo exists mostly in the pickups. I have no idea why that is from an engineering perspective. It's a combination of clarity and warmth, lots of highs but zero harshness.

    Other characteristics of the vintage guitars; they were light, had a great feel to the finish, and were generally more difficult to play than newer guitars. The Fenders were especially poor playing.

    I strongly suspect that the reason for the high prices of the vintage guitars now is due to mostly legend from past players. Back in the 70s and 80s the big players played the vintage stuff as it was better sounding than what was available off the shelf. Nowadays it seems thhat many of the legendary players that made their fame with vintage guitars are now playing new ones right out of the factory. In general, in the last few years, most of the guitar companies have relearned what they forgot from the golden years, and are making great guitars again.
     
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  2. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    Seriously guys, this info is all over the place. If someone can show me a reason, other than poor sales, Bursts were discontinued, then color me wrong. EVERYTHING I’ve read says they sold poorly (how many were ordered has nothing to do with how many were sold). I don’t know, but maybe Gibson had more margin on the 335. Maybe since they’d been making and selling semi hollows for a long time, and pretty much had the lion’s share of semi hollow business. Fender’s slab guitars were selling like hot cakes, and Gibson wanted in on the exploding student market that was occurring after the British Invasion.
     
  3. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    I always thought Bloomfield was American. Intersting
     
  4. Cody

    Cody Well, look who’s undead!

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    Here’s a 1961 Les Paul Custom for sale at Gruhn’s:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    I always associated him with John Mayall and that whole thing, I just assumed. I was wrong about that, my bad, it happens.
    Point still being, it’s well documented the British guys were trying to get that cranked tube, Chicago Blues sound. They all didn’t just get together and decide to use LPs for nothing.
     
  6. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    Reread that book. They only began making semi hollows in ‘58. Double cutaway ones, at that. ;)

    The poor sales thing gets tied in with the legend. It’s romantic, it sounds good.

    “Gibson discontinued the sunburst, single cutaway junior in ‘58 due to poor sales”

    Nobody ever says that, do they? No, because it’s pribably not true, and there’s no lore, legend tied to single cut juniors. There’s no justification to their value/collectibility.

    It’s a romantic interpretation of a model redesign. It happened to a lot of models/brands, but none more romantic than the burst.
     
  7. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    Color me wrong, I guess I misread.
    They just discontinued the Standard?
     
  8. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    Wow, a model produced in far fewer numbers than bursts survived into 1961?!
     
  9. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    I was wrong regarding the years. I assumed it was Les Paul propers, not just the Standards. Sorry guys!
     
  10. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

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    I have played '58 and '59 Bursts and all of them were stellar sounding guitars. That's not to say all Bursts were great. I'm sure there were some dogs among the gems. It seems though, that the period from '58-60 was magical for some reason on Parsons Street in Kalamazoo. Billy Gibbons once said to the effect of; the wood was right, the glue was right, the pickups were right, the wiring was right, all the parts were right, the employees were motivated and proud of what they made, and the stars were in alignment. I believe this could be true. And Ted McCarty, one of great visionaries of the guitar business, was president of the company.

    When you compare him to the yutz who runs the company now, it boggles the mind.
     
  11. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    Maybe the double cuts were selling better? You seem to know the legend, but not the facts. How do you know they’re just “romantic interpretations”, if you don’t know what the real reason was.
    Companies (present day Gibson excluded) make decisions based on projections and past sales performance. They don’t change their flagship product that drastically for nothing.
    First sentence of the paragraph regarding the es335 is I DONT KNOW, BUT MAYBE...
    When did they start producing hollow body electrics? The infrastructure to build a hollow electric is a lot closer in build than solid body. Point being, Gibson didn’t discontinue Bursts for nothing.
    What’s you’re theory why the Bursts were discontinued?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
  12. Cody

    Cody Well, look who’s undead!

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    Fenders were appealing to the kids - much sexier than Gibson’s “dad” guitars (like solid jazz boxes), so Gibson decided to spruce up their Les Paul line by making the bodies thinner double cutaways.
     
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  13. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    The same reason they went to 3 pickups on the Custom.
    The same reason Gretsch went to double cutaways on their models in 61. The same reason they designed the Firebird line in 63. The same reason every other solid body in gibson’s line went from single cut to double cut between 58-61. The same reason they made vibrolas standard on solid body electrics by 61.

    ...to keep up with Fender.

    They weren’t killing an unpopular model, they were making it more popular. The entire line changed, not just the burst.
     
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  14. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    Too keep up with Fender, who was gobbling up the entry level market. You just made my point. If the Burst’s were selling what the Fenders were they wouldn’t have discontinued them. I.e. Les Paul Burst and other highly crafted guitarsales weren’t keeping up with inexpensive bolt on Fenders.
    That’s why most early to mid sixties Gibson’s were Jr.s, SG, and Melody Maker, Firebirds, V’s, etc. Gibson was playing catch up with entry level student guitars, and less traditional shapes, etc.
     
  15. Cody

    Cody Well, look who’s undead!

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    There’s a difference between discontinuing a model because a competitor “gobbled up” the market, and just keeping an eye on the future - taking the appropriate steps to stay relevant.
     
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  16. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    The Stratocaster was anything but entry level.

    I’d wager that Gibson did better in the entry level market. They had more models to chose from.
     
  17. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    You’re right! Feel better?
    Unless I write a dissertation there’ll be an exception to just about everything.
    Strats were selling in the late ‘50’s and early sixties partly because it was still the 1st wave of RnR. Surf music, Buddy Holly, etc.
    Anything else you feel like nit picking? Actually, nit pick away, I won’t see it.
     
  18. Cody

    Cody Well, look who’s undead!

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    So you were just doing this to win an argument - no room for learning?
    And now you’re taking your ball home?

    Come on.
     
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  19. eddie101

    eddie101 Gold Supporting Member

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    TGP threads - such as this - usually turn into pissing contests and I always wonder why that is. Too old to learn or too young (w/fragile ego) to admit that you're wrong? :huh
     
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  20. J.Eric B

    J.Eric B Member

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    They’re all starting to be like this. Have you seen the Origin thread?Just a suggestion, maybe they ought to reign in the mean girls, and quit worrying about members posting warnings about shady gear purveyors.
    I come on here for advice and to BS about gear, not be insulted and bullied. This forum has become what HC was when they (TGP) broke off. Maybe the problem wasn’t Harmony Central? Just sayin!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018

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