Signature Les Paul Tone: LP Custom vs LP Standard vs LP Historic Reissue

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Troubleman, May 5, 2008.

  1. Troubleman

    Troubleman Silver Supporting Member

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    I accidentally posted this "in" someone else's thread (idiot!) instead of giving it a thread of its own. I'll also post Austinrocks' reply, since it was also in the other thread....

    I love TGP for the descriptions of tone....

    Since probably just before the beginning of the year, after a couple decades of being a StratCat, the pendulum has again swung to the left; I've really started playing, jonesin' Les Pauls. In becoming re-acclimated with Les Pauls I've noticed/been reminded that in general, Les Paul Customs sound different than Les Paul Standards. I attributed it to a difference in fingerboard and tail piece materials. Then I noticed that Les Paul Standards (regular production) seem to sound different (acoustically) than Historic Reissues. My sample size for that comparison wasn't too large (3 Historic RIs, and many production Standards). That one.... Dunno - wood quality? Neck tenon?

    What's the the observations of the Les Paul nuts around here?
    How would you describe the difference in tone between the LP Custom, production LP Standards, and LP Historic Reissues? I'm not speaking strictly of pickups; the guitars themselves just seem vastly different.

    thanks,

    jb

     
  2. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    That's a tuff question to answer and honestly the best way to find out is go to a dealer and play a quality example of each.

    Being a big fan of LPs in general, I've had quite a few go through my hands. So, fell that I have a decent eye, feel, ear, and judgment on what is a "good" LP. Even though what I like is purely personal preference, I feel overall the best playing and sounding LPs are the Historics by far. I don't think I could actually tell you why in simple terms its something that you have to actually go play, feelm and hear for yourself. To me they are just more musical to my hears.

    Although I do own a killer Custom that I wasn't really even looking for. I've had a bunch of Customs go through my hands and I wasn't ever really taken by them other than being a really nice LP and I never thought I would own one. Well, I ran into the "one" that really blew me away, so I knew I had to get it because it really just stood out over the others.

    I have a harder time finding a decent LP from the regular USA line that can keep up with my Historics, so I usually just pass on most of them...

    Anyway, I think you should play as many of them as you can and develop your own opinion on them.

    YMMV
     
  3. oscar100

    oscar100 Member

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    depends whether any are chambered, have ebony boards, what pups and caps, which bridge, and of course quality fo indiv piece of timber
     
  4. lukeness

    lukeness Member

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    The historics come plecked, so that couldn't hurt either... in terms of "feel".
     
  5. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    When all is said and done, if you are talking averages I think that if you took 10 of each of the series that you mentioned you would find that the historics and customs are more consistent in quality. As far as sound for the "les Paul" sound I vote historics.
     
  6. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

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    Don't forget the '54 and '56 Reissues.
    They have their own special thing going on.
     
  7. stuagu

    stuagu Member

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    its many things,
    wood distribution at gibson is the starting point, best quality ( most resonant but light) to the custom shop (historics), then customs, standards, then in turn down to studios( some of which are hollowed out & filled with resin! because the wood quality is so poor).
    long tenon & thin nitro finish is key (say the people that know more than me although thats hard to prove)...
    in saying that a decent nut (good material/cut well), a lightweight tailpiece, tonepros locking studs & a decent set of pickups can vastly improve the sound of any les paul.
    in saying this ive had late 70,s early 80,s les pauls which are really slagged off for poor quality that i thought were really good guitars... i didnt keep them though so perhaps that tells you everything.
    whats that saying "an ex is an ex for a reason"
    best wishes to everyone.
     
  8. malabarmusic

    malabarmusic Member

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    It's hard to control for variables. My 11-pound 68CA has the ebony board and BBs 2/3. It sounds way different than any of the (many) 9-pound R8s and R9s I've played that have BBs 1/2. This is my second 68CA, and I hear the exact same elements. The pickups are only part of the equation, because the differences are apparent unplugged. The custom is tighter, brighter, and punchier. IMHO, a far better hard rock tone when coupled with the hotter pickups. This is serious personal taste, though, and there's no substitute for first-hand experimenting.

    - DB
     
  9. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    Les Pauls vary in feel, tone and weight a lot. And I do mean a lot. Much more than probably any guitar out their. I played about 75 Les Pauls before I chose my Standard. I had a $3,000 budget and the Standard is what I choose because it was a special one. After that, I bought a Historic R6 with P90's. This time around, I played about 25 R4's and R6's before choosing one.

    I would say in general, the Historics are the best guitars. But I have played Studio, Standards, Classics, and Customs that have been great as well. If you are open minded, you can go play a lot of them until you find the one that sounds right to you.

    My Standard is a really heavy one (almost 11 lbs) but it plays and feels great and gets amazing tone (for me anyway). Many people would dismiss it right away becuase of the weight. I don't think the weight is a problem at all. It is certainly worth it to get the tone this particular one has for me.

    I would recommend that you go play as many as you can. Then come back and ask more questions. However, if you find "the ONE" buy it right away.
     
  10. davess23

    davess23 Member

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    I thought Customs (most versions) have carved mahogany tops, not maple. That'd make them tonally different from the Standards and other Historics.
     
  11. Sniper-V

    Sniper-V Member

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    As far as "new", I believe only the '57 Custom RI has the carved mahogany tops.
     
  12. talpa

    talpa Member

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    Wanted to comment on this old thread. My '68CA (black/ebony) weighs about 9.2 my guess. Solid tone and tight tough bottom..almost too tight, like not sonically wide. Just installed Throbaks overall they sound great over the BBs. Maybe it's just my preference to want a dense but wide bottom. Like imagine a steel pole end slamming concrete (thin) vs. a telephone pole end doing the same (wide).

    There is a happy medium in there somewhere in my low end sonic wishes. My only other LP is a Faded, which is almost exactly opposite of the CA...chambered and airy mids, neutral bottom and creamy upper mids to highs. It sounds killer with BBs suprisingly. Throbak DT-102s currently, but plan on switching the SLE-101 Ltds in the 68CA, per Jon's recommendation. Throbaks are unreal good.
     

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