Love my reissue 57 gold top but can't bond with "non custom shop" models. Am I a snob?


Sorry if this Is a stupid question. I openly admit my ignorance when it comes to Les Pauls. I grew up on superstrats and have always leaned towards the Fender end of the spectrum.

I am trying to figure out why I can't bond with the vast majority of Les Pauls that I encounter in stores, while at the same time, I really love my 1957 gold top reissue. I'm not exactly sure if the year - probably late 90s to 2012 or so (second owner).

I would love to pick up a less fancy / expensive Les Paul that I wouldn't have to baby as much as the R7, but whenever I pick up a studio or whatever they have hanging on the rack at the store it feels all wrong. Not a weight issue. Something about the way things line up. The position of the bridge and the angle of attack of my pick seems different somehow. Is this my imagination?

The funny thing is that the gold top was purchased over the internet sight unseen without ever trying it first. A very happy accident, I guess. It just feels right to me.


Vibrato & String Bender on Overdrive
Gold Supporting Member
Well, you found the right Les Paul for you. Consider yourself lucky.....I went through a bunch of em and spent a lot of $$ till I found the right one for me...


Why baby the gold top? Enjoy the heck out of it. You're overthinking it
I agree . Why get a guitar to baby it ? they are meant to be played . You are going to scratch it bump it and put wear on the fret board
and not have to pay extra for it to look like a "played guitar " cause it will be a played guitar.


Snob or connoisseur? I am the same way when I play my PRS core guitars and a but is raving about his S2. They are nice but not the same. I notice it... With that said, I have played a buddies CS gold top LP with bigsby and thought it was nice but didn't like it as much as my classic. But his CS ES-355 is AMAZING compared to my standard line ES-335 or the ES-333 I owned.


I've also yet to play a standard production Gibson that feels or sounds as good as a Historic. Even tried building one from a Precision kit with traditional glues, finishes, hardware, etc. Great guitar, but still wasn't the same magic. Since you already own it, just play the thing and don't worry about price.


I understand anyone finding a custom shop Gibson to be a better playing and sounding guitar then the standard line. Every now and then you find a production line guitar that can hold it's own, but it is seldom. They DON'T make them like they used too.

However, and please do not take offense, but a R7 is the guitar meant to be played and enjoyed, not to be afraid of, or worried that you might ding it up a bit. You want to loosen up on your R7? an R8 or R9, and baby it, although I personally wouldn't baby any guitar I played. That's what they are there for, first an foremost. I'm not encouraging one to mistreat any instrument. But being careful, yet enjoying one's guitar will incur, (God forbid!) honest wear. This includes, but is not limited too fret wear, normal playing marks from how one personally strums a guitar, possible slight dings or bumps received in the normal day to day playing of said guitar, and other assorted slight scratches received while enjoying the instrument.

Think of it this way: you pay for a custom shop Gibson and baby it. Later on, without having played it much, because you don't want to scratch it at all, you eventually, and for whatever reason, sell it. Firstly, you lose money on the sale, because it is no longer brand new, or it may have even been bought used. The guy or gal who buys it for less then you bought it for, takes it out and enjoys playing it just as they might with any other guitar. So you wound up saving a guitar for someone else to play and enjoy. And even if the next person to won that guitar pays more for it then you did, hopefully, that won't stop them from taking it out and enjoying it for what it was meant to be used for.

I read about this stuff happening all too often. I don't understand it, but whoomp! There it is!
I know that when I have returned a guitar to the manufacturer for some needed repair work, they are always happy to see that it has been used. The slight wear and tear are signs that someone has appreciated playing the piece, and this is what makes a builder happy.
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Silver Supporting Member
So, you are thinking of buying a less expensive version of a more expensive guitar you have already purchased so, you don't have to play it? Let me know when you sell the R7, I'm always interested in getting a deal on a nice, babied, virtually unplayed, used guitar.


Silver Supporting Member
When trying out all sorts of custom historic models I realized that the standards/traditionals really did sound different when not plugged in. The historics were more mellow while the later were a bit brighter & snappier. Both good depending on what you want to do. But the sacrilegious truth in my mind is that when unplugged the Tribute models sounded almost as good, very mellow & the chambering added an extra bit of acoustic presence when unplugged. So, if I didn't have my historic I'd go back to a tribute in a heartbeat.


Don't baby the R7. Play it, beat on it, don't be scared of hurting it. If I had an R7, or even a real 57 gold top, I wouldn't treat it any different than I treat my Epiphone. There's no point in owning a guitar to baby it and be scared of actually using it as it was intended to be used.

Tim Plains

I don't get this sort of thinking either. Buying a cheap guitar to go play dive bars, sure, but not the scared to play it mentality. Anyways...I don't mean to sound snobbish here but I can relate to the Custom Shop vs. USA difference. Most Gibson USA line guitars feel like cheap toys to me, much like how Gibson people say Epiphone guitars feel cheap. I wrote 'most' there are always exceptions. A 2010 Traditional I had was a phenomenal guitar, sold it to fund an Easton SG, and of all things SG, a 2013 SGJ I had was on par with a good historic (aside from rough fret ends). That thing was literally a monster of a guitar and only $300 new, felt absolutely amazing, but I sold it because I had too many at the time. I have bought/sold several SGJs since, they all ranged from decent to good, but not like that first one. Never played a great LPJ, though, and I have tried several.

Anyways, what I'm getting it is there are great USAs out there. You just have to search but don't sideline a perfectly good R7 because you're afraid of dirtying it up a bit.

I'm not exactly sure if the year - probably late 90s to 2012 or so (second owner).
Look at the serial number. The second number is the build year, but since they recycle serial numbers every 10 years:
2008/newer will have a black booklet COA.
2003/older will have round corners on the inlays.

If that doesn't help you, and you want to know, post a picture of the guitar.

King Loudness

I've had an R7 for almost 3 years, which I purchased used after an exhaustive search. I bought it used and at the time the guitar was basically in perfect condition and barely played. It was my first Custom Shop model with humbucking pickups, and to date it's the only LP to survive in my collection so far. I don't worry about babying it, even the reissues are a dime a dozen on the used market comparatively. I kept, and play this particular LP because it's just a great, light example. It was expensive, but I've had it next to other LPs that I've owned (of all different levels) and preferred it sonically and weight wise, to the point where the price I paid or what it was "worth" didn't factor in as much. This is not to say that all Historics are somehow magically better (I've played several R models that were fair to midland at best, including a Custom Shop 1960 DC that I once owned) but my experience with the R7 is that it became my go-to Les Paul. If you feel the same way about yours, I would not worry about playing it and using it for anything you'd like to; it's not as though the Historic models are collectors items as far as their regular reissue range. Finding a good Les Paul can take a bit of searching, if you have one you like, just play it.



And now for something completely different!
Give me a R7 and it'll rarely if ever be in its case except for transporting it! The more that you play it the better it will sound and play! Don't believe me? Try it! Lol

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