Les Paul Magic?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by melvin, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. melvin

    melvin Member

    Jan 10, 2008
    So after a longtime of buying, swapping pickups, pot kits and the these items do help. The "magic" where does it come from? i have had custom guitars built with great wood and they were good guitars but that special Les paul "Magic" age? wood? pickups done in such a way that it has been unable to be duplicated?
    Some of you may own one with Magic and others any input?
  2. frankencat

    frankencat Guitarded Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2004
    Tampa Bay
    I think it just happens. It doesn't seem to matter if it'a Studio, Special, DC, Classic, Standard or Custom. either. Some just have it and some don't. I love it when you get a nice Studio that blows away a CS/Historic piece. This has happened to me a couple of times, most recently with the VM I just picked up. You KNOW the higher end LP's are "made better" with better woods, construction etc., but somehow the "lesser" LP is just so much better in terms of tone and playability and even sometimes in looks. It's definitely a weirdness that I have noticed with Gibson for many years.
  3. Caretaker

    Caretaker Silver Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    I have owned in excess of 300 Les Pauls in my life. From late 60`s Standards and Customs, Studios, and Historics. There were maybe 10 that had "IT". But I always knew I would find anothger one so eventually all were sold/traded/whatever. I have one now. A 2001 R8 that is by far the BEST guitar I have ever had in my hands. I have sat and A/B`d it with a REAL 57 Goldtop, a 57 and 58 Custom and it was right there with them, but felt better.Only 2 people will ever own this guitar. It is in my will to go to my best friend. I just hope he doesn`t get it anytime soon. My point is, it doesn`t have to be old, or Historic, etc. It just has to speak to YOU. If it happens to be a Studio, so be it.
  4. JimH

    JimH Member

    Jun 22, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    I think it's really really rare that there's a guitar that everybody who plays it loves every time they play it. I think it's more likely that a guitar really suits one person or one type of player or whatever - and they just happen to play it on the right day, with the right frame of mind, with the right set up and the right amp with the tone controls in the right place and the voltage in the building just right.... Why do we go off guitars that were once 'magic'? Why did people ever sell these 'magical' guitars? ... I think 'magic's a transient thing... hmmm, all getting a bit metaphysical.
  5. CitizenCain

    CitizenCain Member

    Jan 10, 2004
    Magdalena, NM, US
    Hear, hear! :BEER
  6. Thwap

    Thwap Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    There is no magic.

    There is the perfect combining of an instrument and player, at a given time. And that instrument may match with another player in the same way...or not. It may change over time with the same player...as the player changes.

    There are very good guitars...and not so great ones.

    Magic is a construct of vintage dealers.:D
  7. WordMan

    WordMan Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2004

    I pretty much agree with this - I will say though, that Les Paul's were used on much of the music that DEFINES THE TONE for what we think a guitar should sound like. So it stands to reason that certain LP's, in a specific player's hands, will enable that player to most clearly "hear what they have in their head."

    I will also say that while I don't place much stock in "mojo," a guitar is, mechanically, a system. A bunch of parts that are put together in a certain way to contribute to an overall objective - in this case, to be a tool to produce sound. It stands to reason that amongst any set of guitars, from ANY era, some are going to "hang together" better than the ones produced right next to them in the factory.

    Now - one person's definition of "hang together" can be very different than another's, and I believe that some folks have better-trained ears and hands vs. other folks when it comes to picking out guitars that hang together from a system standpoint. We gearheads can try all we want to isolate certain characteristics - weight, tenon, resonance, old wood, whatever - but there is no substitute for an experience hand and ear immediately knowing the difference...
  8. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    British Columbia
    The vast majority of the magic is the natuaral resonance of the guitar once it's glued together. No matter how many PU's you put in the guitar, the fundamental note that projects off of that guitar is what is getting picked up. You can't change that. Good electronics and better hardware can improve any guitar but only so much.

    I've owned over 30 LP's. Huge huge variations between guitars in terms of tone. I've changed PU's on some of them. Never been able to turn a dog into a winner with PU's.

    I've owned vintage - vintage is usually best

    I own replicas - A good replica is the best LP tone "bang for the buck" in town

    I've owned historics - hugely disappointed in all 5.

    I've owned standards - A few great ones (please let me find that 89 GT again)

    I've owned customs - never liked the tone of the ebony board.
  9. Custom50

    Custom50 Member

    Nov 3, 2007
    Nova Scotia, Canada.
    It's random, just depends on getting the right day at the factory. best les Paul I ever owned was my old Mid-90s Studio. That guitar was magic, and I really regret selling it. :(
  10. Birdy

    Birdy Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    BC,eh ?
    I played/owned a few. My '07 Antique DeLuxe Goldtop that I bought new
    is the shitzma, not just for me but anyone that plays/hears it.
    Acousticaly, it rings like a bell being VERY resonant (more than any LP I've played) and sounds amazing plugged in. Even stock, it sounded waaaay better than any I've played.
    Changes I made;

    Bone nut (stock nut still in pic)
    Level/polish frets
    50s wiring
    Lollar p90s
    orange drop caps
    RS tailpiece

    This baby sounds just awesome grinding thru my '66 Bassman/AX greenback 4x12 cab.....no pedals needed. Hotplate occasionaly.


    Cheap,basic amp/guitar setup :cool:
  11. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

    Aug 30, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    I think there is a bit of mojo magic within a good Lester.

    I mean once you find one there isn't another humbucking guitar that can touch it.
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    On top a mountain of Chocolate Chips
    300 LP's and 10 good ones, hmm...those are terrible odds. Maybe it's why I gave up on mine and sold it.
  13. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    This is why I only buy locally now: you NEED to run the racks with guitars; they are a very, very, very personal thing and no two will ever sound the same, so find the ones that are a cut above the rest.

    I ended up with 2 of my 3 keepers this way (1 ended up being a fluke, bought it sight unseen and it was simply amazing, but that's been a rarity). I've played enough piss poor made Gibsons from lines even as "prestigious" as their custom shop, historic stuff that I put no stock in what model they say it is. The two best Gibsons I've ever owned was a standard production '76 RI Explorer and a 2007 Firebird V. I sold the Explorer and I really, really, really miss that one - probably more than any other guitar I've ever sold. Anybody who has ever played or seen my Firebird will attest to how lively and loud it sounds unplugged - it's like an odd mix of a hollowbody and a solidbody and it's perfectly balanced.

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