Question for Gibson Les Paul Aficionados

jackson

Member
Messages
3,363
So, I'm looking to buy a high-quality Gibson Les Paul. One that plays and sounds most like the ones they made 58-60. I know that there are many, many models - reissues, classics, traditional, standard, historic, etc..... and I don't know one from the other. I don't have time to do extensive research, and there's no way to try everything available, in person. I was hoping someone could advise me on which year/models to consider. I am most interested in feel and sound, and I don't really care about fancy tops and historical details or aging. I don't want to pay 5k plus,....maybe 2-3k
 

zep41

Member
Messages
3,061
So, I'm looking to buy a high-quality Gibson Les Paul. One that plays and sounds most like the ones they made 58-60. I know that there are many, many models - reissues, classics, traditional, standard, historic, etc..... and I don't know one from the other. I don't have time to do extensive research, and there's no way to try everything available, in person. I was hoping someone could advise me on which year/models to consider. I am most interested in feel and sound, and I don't really care about fancy tops and historical details or aging. I don't want to pay 5k plus,....maybe 2-3k
For 2-3k you need to look into getting a used R8. New R8 Les Pauls usally run 3-4k.

New R9's will be your most expensive -- probably because that was the "year" of the Les Paul.

Check out Mark's and start your research here: http://www.marksguitarloft.com/catalog.php?cat=electrics
 

silvertone

Member
Messages
172
Yes, the R8s are generally cheaper. But most have a very large neck profile. Too big for me, and many others I know. Unfortunately finding any good instrument that speaks to you is not as easy as one simple answer. In my 40 + years finding and playing guitars, I find it's a time consuming process that involves research and hands-on trying-out to get something good. Wish this wasn't the case.
And...I've owned many Historic LPs - They all sounded and felt different from each other.
Also, you could try here:
http://www.lespaulforum.com
 

67blackcherry

Member
Messages
11,858
For 2-3k you need to look into getting a used R8. New R8 Les Pauls usally run 3-4k.

New R9's will be your most expensive -- probably because that was the "year" of the Les Paul.

Check out Mark's and start your research here: http://www.marksguitarloft.com/catalog.php?cat=electrics
Definitely an R8, used, is within your budget. If you can spend a bit more, you can find a flame top.

I picked up the tobacco sunburst R8 in Nov. 2014 for $3400+/-


Customs sound different (all mahogany, no maple cap) they have a bit softer attack but still sound awesome. I picked up the R7 last year and have been playing her more than my R8's lately.
I picked up this R4 & R7 (used) for well under $3k.


If there are any guitar shops that carry the Historic line, I'd go play a few to familiarize yourself with the neck profiles. That cherry sunburst was my first R8, bought new in '98; I quickly acclimated to the chunky neck profile and I don't even have long fingers.

Important question - what's your playing style, what amp(s) and pedal(s) do you use? If you favour higher gain, stick with humbuckers; if not, you might want to check out P90's. They're great pickups and very versatile.

Good luck - happy hunting!
 

Hcklr

Member
Messages
470
I second (or third) the R8 suggestions. I gave under $3,000 for mine - perfect condition.

But yes - it has a HUGE neck profile. Luckily I adapt to it quickly when I play it.

Here's mine.

 
Last edited:

Tim Plains

Member
Messages
6,056
All years have good and bad guitars.
2012s are the black sheep because of the two-piece fretboard but there is actually nothing wrong with them. My 335 is a 2012 and just a fantastic guitar.

It's best to play them and buy the one you like best. From Gibson, the reissues are your best bet but they aren't exact copies of 50s Les Pauls if that's what your after. In that case, you would have to pursue the real deal or a replica.

I wouldn't pay more than $2,500 for a used plain top. R8s are generally plain tops but some have flame. Those are more in the $2,700 - $3,300 range. R9s/R0s cost moee but are the same guitar with a slimmer neck.

The newer the guitar the more vintage accurate it will be. R8s are known to have fat necks but 2009/newer have less shoulders and don't feel insanely fat. 2013/newer should feel even slimmer.
 

jackson

Member
Messages
3,363
I appreciate the information. For comparison, what would be the next best choice, for around 2k or less?
 

amstrtatnut

Member
Messages
12,530
I just bought a used Les Paul Traditional Pro. For me they are the perfect Les Paul. You can get them all day for 1300-1700 bux.

You can also get a used Standard in the 2k range. Black ones tend to sell for even less. Also the Traditional, not to be confused with traditional pro. I played one Traditional and it was a boat anchor and had a huge neck, so not for me.

None of those have the prestige associated with r9s and such, but I dont care. The Traditional pro is cool. Imo ymmv.
 

jackson

Member
Messages
3,363
I just bought a used Les Paul Traditional Pro. For me they are the perfect Les Paul. You can get them all day for 1300-1700 bux.

You can also get a used Standard in the 2k range. Black ones tend to sell for even less. Also the Traditional, not to be confused with traditional pro. I played one Traditional and it was a boat anchor and had a huge neck, so not for me.

None of those have the prestige associated with r9s and such, but I dont care. The Traditional pro is cool. Imo ymmv.
Thanks. I'll look into the tradional pro. I'm mostly a fender player, but once in a while it would be nice to do the les paul -> marshall thing. I did buy a brand new lp standard 5-6 years ago, and it didn't do it for me.
 

Tim Plains

Member
Messages
6,056
Standards before 2007 had weight releif (swiss cheese holes). 2007 is when Gibson started chambering them and now switched to modern weight relief. Google these terms if you want to see the pattern.

Traditionals first came out in 2008 and are the same as pre-2007 Standards. 2013, 14, 15 Traditionals have solid bodies. 2016s have swiss cheese holes again but some dealers are also getting solid bodies from what I gather.
 

67blackcherry

Member
Messages
11,858
A proper Les Paul should weight in 8-10lbs maybe slightly more and I'd avoid the weight relieved models; it's that solid mass of mahogany that gives it that sound.
 

Black Blade

Member
Messages
74
If you can find a Les Paul Classic Premium Plus....say 1995 - 1997
Those were great guitars - Incredible flame tops and didn't have the green inlays.
I would replace the pups however if you don't play hard rock/metal, as those 496r - 500t pups are hot!
 

Imperial_Tone

All things with a Maple Cap
Messages
1,188
If your looking for the most accurate 60-58' LP. Your definitely going to want the R8 over a Standard, Traditional or a Classic. I don't mind the larger profiles on LP's generally because I prefer beefier necks. I wouldn't rule out an R7.

Also, many guys swear by lighter LP's, imo, I haven't been impressed by anything under 8.7lbs. There's nothing wrong with the lower tier, but if your going for an "accurate" representation get the Reissue/Historic.
 

67blackcherry

Member
Messages
11,858
Any Standard from the late 80's on would be a good bet as well for under $2k, that's when Gibson finally started getting their act together.
Here's my '88 Standard, picked up very gently used in '91 ($600!) - she's been a workhorse, stays in tune and plays great. Typical 3 piece top and I installed humbucker sized P90's; my Historics do sound better but that's not to take anything away from her, she's a great guitar. Natural wear by yours truly, she was damn near mint when I got her.


 

Frozen Rat

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,198
The reissues are made to spec to be as closely matched to the original they are copying as possible. They are made in the custom shop by the more experienced craftsman and take longer to create.

Everything else, practically, is more modern but has naming that confuses the market because they want you to think they are similar to the originals, which they may be, 'similar' but only the reissues get as close as possible without being an original from that era. You definitely want a reissue based on what you're saying.

You have several choices:

52, 54 — these are rare, p-90 style guitars. The 52 has that weird trapeze type tailpiece. The 54 has a stop-tail wraparound.

56 — still p-90 pickups, but now with a tune-o-metic bridge. These still aren't terribly common, but they're out there and you could find one with some searching.

57 — first version of hum bucker, done in gold except for very rare special runs. Big neck. Great guitar, you certainly want to play before you buy.

58 — best bang for your buck here. It's almost identical to the revered 59 except with a plainer top and a bigger neck. Again, if you're finicky about necks, play first, and no two are exactly alike.

59 — this is the year everyone drools over their lower lip about because Jimmy Page owned one. It has a smaller profile neck than the 58 or 57. Usually a pretty flamey top top.

60 — pretty much a 59 with a smaller neck. These come with the slimmest of the necks and they are almost identical to a modern American Strat. You want to know what a 60 reissue Les Paul feels like, check out a Strat neck. It's not exact in the carve, but the thickness is nearly spot on.

Price tends to be reasonable for the 52-58 version, usually anywhere from 2k-3.5k used. 59s and 60s are more, even used. If you have to have a slimmer neck you'll need to search for a decent priced 60. You can have a new 58 right now for around 3.5k if you look around. I found one, plenty others have too. They're not scarce, yet. Try to get a '13 or '14 model, these years are pretty special for the reissues. These years feature the Custombucker, prior years the Burstbucker 1/2.

Tributes and what-have-you are not reissues. It's only a reissue if it says it is, otherwise it's some modern guitar with a poor naming choice.

I haven't played a reissue yet that I didn't think was superb. I've played plenty of other models though that have left me unimpressed.
 
Messages
345
I have a '14 Traditional that nails the "'59" sound. You ought to be able to find one for around $2000. The only downside is the 120th anniversary inlay. Some hate it but it doesn't bother me at all. Mine is in Tobacco burst:
 

67blackcherry

Member
Messages
11,858
The reissues are made to spec to be as closely matched to the original they are copying as possible. They are made in the custom shop by the more experienced craftsman and take longer to create.

Everything else, practically, is more modern but has naming that confuses the market because they want you to think they are similar to the originals, which they may be, 'similar' but only the reissues get as close as possible without being an original from that era. You definitely want a reissue based on what you're saying.

You have several choices:

52, 54 — these are rare, p-90 style guitars. The 52 has that weird trapeze type tailpiece. The 54 has a stop-tail wraparound.

56 — still p-90 pickups, but now with a tune-o-metic bridge. These still aren't terribly common, but they're out there and you could find one with some searching.

57 — first version of hum bucker, done in gold except for very rare special runs. Big neck. Great guitar, you certainly want to play before you buy.

58 — best bang for your buck here. It's almost identical to the revered 59 except with a plainer top and a bigger neck. Again, if you're finicky about necks, play first, and no two are exactly alike.

59 — this is the year everyone drools over their lower lip about because Jimmy Page owned one. It has a smaller profile neck than the 58 or 57. Usually a pretty flamey top top.

60 — pretty much a 59 with a smaller neck. These come with the slimmest of the necks and they are almost identical to a modern American Strat. You want to know what a 60 reissue Les Paul feels like, check out a Strat neck. It's not exact in the carve, but the thickness is nearly spot on.

Price tends to be reasonable for the 52-58 version, usually anywhere from 2k-3.5k used. 59s and 60s are more, even used. If you have to have a slimmer neck you'll need to search for a decent priced 60. You can have a new 58 right now for around 3.5k if you look around. I found one, plenty others have too. They're not scarce, yet. Try to get a '13 or '14 model, these years are pretty special for the reissues. These years feature the Custombucker, prior years the Burstbucker 1/2.

Tributes and what-have-you are not reissues. It's only a reissue if it says it is, otherwise it's some modern guitar with a poor naming choice.

I haven't played a reissue yet that I didn't think was superb. I've played plenty of other models though that have left me unimpressed.
Very well put, you sound like a well informed boutique shop employee or owner and I mean that as a compliment!

My Historics are all great guitars, not a turd in the bunch! Missing the R7 BB need to do a new group shot.



I have a '14 Traditional that nails the "'59" sound. You ought to be able to find one for around $2000. The only downside is the 120th anniversary inlay. Some hate it but it doesn't bother me at all. Mine is in Tobacco burst:
Beautiful guitar!!
Again, if you're a Strat player and you don't play with a lot of gain, you might want to check out P90 equipped Lesters, they're awesome.
 

jmccann040878

Member
Messages
435
Checkout the 2016 Gibson Traditional Plain Top LP's Sweetwater is selling for 2K. They are non weight relieved if that's what you are looking for.
 

RayBarbeeMusic

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,911
Used G0, best bang for the buck. They were R0s with plain tops and a GC exclusive, same specs as normal R0 but with plain top, which frankly, a lot of R0s have pretty plain tops anyway.
 




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