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Les Paul Recording, is it versatile?

Hylophone

Member
Messages
189
I've got a great Les Paul but am curious about the Recording model. Whats the deal with these? Are they useful, both stage and studio? Anyone in deep with the controls and how it works?
 

Cody

Well, look who’s undead!
Messages
5,532
'70s.

I saw a few in stores when I first started playing. I don't know about the controls because I never "dove into" them - whenever I picked one up, they weighed a ton (even by '70s standards), so after a minute of unamplified strumming, I put them back. The pickups are low impedance thingies (Les' favorite), so unless you're looking for ultra-clean sounds, they might not be your thing.

 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
Les played one until he died. But unless you're dying to sound like Les, don't let your curiosity get the best of you. There are no rock tones to be had from those pickups.
 

Hylophone

Member
Messages
189
I've heard that you can switch between hi and lo impedance pick-ups, using the hi-impedance for playing with an amp. Otherwise it seems that the entire guitar is designed to plug into a multi-track tape recorder without clipping its pre-amps. Shame, its a funky and interesting thing. I still kind of want one just try in the studio.
 

janosfia

Member
Messages
4,026
I've heard that you can switch between hi and lo impedance pick-ups, using the hi-impedance for playing with an amp. Otherwise it seems that the entire guitar is designed to plug into a multi-track tape recorder without clipping its pre-amps. Shame, its a funky and interesting thing. I still kind of want one just try in the studio.
Gibson also designed and briefly produced the Les Paul amplifier specifically for use with this guitar (and a few other low-impedance guitars/basses Gibson made at the time). The amp has both a low and a high impedance input. Here is the one I own:




http://s715.photobucket.com/albums/ww154/janosfia/Guitar/Gibson Amp/
 

Hylophone

Member
Messages
189
Do you think he liked it so much because he was a tinkerer and it was the culmination of all his knob turning addictions or because it had legitimate applications? aha gah, because i dunno.
 

supa-fuzz

Member
Messages
1,340
I never played one, but I had the Les Paul Triumph bass which had the same electronics/pickups basically, it was a phenomenal sounding bass...but it weighed like 24 pounds.

I think Les probably stuck with it cause it gave him alot of variables to play with, sort of the culmination of his tinkering.
 

sleepingtiger

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,331
I believe Les played a Les Paul Personal. That & the LP Professional are similar to the Recording.

Tony
 

vortexxxx

Member
Messages
10,779
Those low impedance pickups sound quite good in high impedance mode. Although I haven't played this particular model they usually have out-of-phase settings etc and can be quite versatile. All the ones I've ever picked up weighed a ton though,
 

moggio

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
101
The Recording is actually quite versatile. While it is not my #1 choice for driving the hell out of a Marshall stack, it excels at jazz and blues. The pickups are very clean, sometimes too much so, but with the right amp/pedal combination it really is a pretty cool axe. The controls are actually quite simple, with the exception of the Decade knob, which does nothing unless you use the low impedance mode and a transformer. (Running the transformer right before the amp, straight in is my personal favorite way to go.) This way, the Decade knob has an interesting effect on the overall tone, particularly in the treble response. My favorite amps to use it with are the Swart 6v6se and a Trinity 18 watt. Great blues tones. Great for recording and stage use. Never really caught on in its day but really quite cool in its own way. It does weigh quite a bit- mine is close to 10.5 lbs. (It's a '78, three piece top, walnut finish)...
 

Taylor 339

Member
Messages
888
Here I am playing mine in 1974. I never did figure out what all the knobs and switches did. I just cranked my Fender Dual Showman and let her rip.

 

Jef Bardsley

Member
Messages
2,951
Do you think he liked it so much because he was a tinkerer and it was the culmination of all his knob turning addictions or because it had legitimate applications? aha gah, because i dunno.
Les played one because:

A) He was under contract to play a Gibson Les Paul. :rotflmao

B) The low impedance pickups Gibson wound for him were better than his own. These pickups were Lester's "secret weapon" that he intended to take to his grave. A doctor told him he was going to die, so Les said "What the heck", and had Gibson make some low impedance pickups that were used in the Personal/Pro/Recording LPs as well as the early L5s's. (Obviously, the doctor was wrong.)

C) The guitar had a 3-piece neck and a pancake body, meaning it was very stiff and had long sustain and low resonance, perfect to enhance Lester's personal style. Most jazz players of the time used big box guitars and rolled the treble off, giving a "plink, plank, plunk" sound. When you're playing chromatic scales and high numbered jazz chords, you don't want a bunch of overtones making beats. Les preferred lots of highs and endless sustain, so he needed a guitar that wouldn't add anything to the sound of the strings or "steal their energy", the whole reason he championed solid bodies in the first place.

D) Les played a couple of custom versions Gibson made for him with flat rather than carved to tops to facilitate his tinkering. It made adding a Bigsby, extra switches, or the 'Les Paulverizer' easy.

In your first post you asked if they were versatile, and that's a tricky question. Yes, they make a lot of different sounds. No, none of those sounds are from classic rock records. Most players would consider a "versatile" Les Paul to be one that could sound like Eric, Jimmy, Duane, and Billy. If that's what you want, you're better off with an Historic. If you want to rock and roll with a different, signature tone, you might consider an L6s. Comparatively, a Recording will be clean, clean, clean. Maybe just the thing for an AxeFX user, or they might find a place in Alt-Country.

Personally, I like them, but my best friend has one, and he's never been happy with it (he plays EC riffs almost exclusively), hence my cautionary tales.
 




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