The Mighty Oxblood Les Paul

shallbe

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Here is a recap of our gig Friday night, but first a little background.

We were asked to do a musician reunion of sorts by backing a wonderful female vocalist/bassist that was visiting for the weekend. Incredibly talented---sings the gamut of Rickie Lee Jones, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and more----all while killing on the bass. She was in this band 25 years ago, and replaced by the male singer we have now. I had a lot of woodshedding to do on the tunes first, as I had never played any of them, and we had 4 nights of rehearsals. But only 2 with her, and that included a lot of harmony vocal work. I was using Telecasters in rehearsal, and they worked well.

The gig was from 7 to 11, and the monthly Artwalk was happening at the same time. So they want us up by the front door, to draw people into the restaurant/bar. Lots of neon all around us in the windows. Also some volume concerns, so I bring the Gries 12 and mic it. Gibsons into Fender circuits always work well for me. I decide to bring Les Pauls instead, worried about hum.



My favorite LP is a '96 R4 with P90's, but it won't be used it the hum is bad. The backup would be the '97 R4 Oxblood. That guitar is a beast and I used to play it so much I had it refretted with 6100's when the original frets were too low. I later had a truss rod issue and the guitar fell out of rotation. I fixed the truss rod issue and thought it would be my hum-free backup for the night.

Turned out the P90s were fine and the hum wasn't really an issue. I used the goldtop for the first 2 sets. I used the Oxblood for the next 2. Our regular bass player was running sound for us while she played bass and sang. While I thought both guitars were equally fine, that was not shared by the band. Bassist----"Dude, you just need to play that black looking guitar thru that little amp all the time." Keyboard player/other guitarist----"While the goldtop sounded fine, that Jeff Beck LP was so much more everything. I wish I could find a guitar that sounds like that."

The Ox is back and ready to rock! The gig went so well they are looking at giving us that gig monthly for the Artwalk.



If I keep bringing the Gries 12w, I will probably be playing Les Pauls a lot more.



The band then and now. I'm the Packers fan.

 

doublescale1

Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck
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6,995
My favorite LP is a '96 R4 with P90's, but it won't be used it the hum is bad.
You can get an Ilitch Cavity Silent Single Coil system for your R4's P90's and you'll not have 60cycle hum to deal with. I got one for my humble 50's Tribute Les Paul w/P90's and now Hum-be-gone. You can visit their website (Ilitch.com) to see about the Les Paul Cavity system - there are a few to choose from depending on the actual shape of your vol/tone pot cavity, they vary a little bit from guitar to guitar model - they ask you, on the website, to call them to ask about which one to get if you're not sure (if you call, they'll ask you to snap a camera phone photo and send it to them), you can call them again if you have questions when you're installing it, they even invite your tech if you're not DIY'ing it, to call w/questions on install - great people to work with. It's a great system for freeing up the inherent amazing single coil tone in your guitar. I don't even think about hum with my 50's Tribute LP anymore and its become my favorite LP as well.
 

BluesForDan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,893
I have not seen many of the R4 Oxbloods aka Jeff Beck models in the wild. All but one were real chunkers, way over 9 pounds which used to be my weight limit.

The only guitar with P-90s I have is a JJN Gold Glory single pickup LP Custom type. This house has a very problematic electrical system, everything hums here but the P-90 is particularly susceptible. I wonder if Illitch has a hum suppressor for a LP Jr type cavity, which this guitar has.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
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12,561
I have not seen many of the R4 Oxbloods aka Jeff Beck models in the wild. All but one were real chunkers, way over 9 pounds which used to be my weight limit.

The only guitar with P-90s I have is a JJN Gold Glory single pickup LP Custom type. This house has a very problematic electrical system, everything hums here but the P-90 is particularly susceptible. I wonder if Illitch has a hum suppressor for a LP Jr type cavity, which this guitar has.

The 54 Oxblood was released in 1998. Mine is a '97. It was the NAMM show guitar and is exceptionally light. Maybe 8 lbs. I got it from a guy in 1998 that had Gibson connections, and it was shipped right to me from wherever it had been after the show. When I opened the case, I was shocked. Expecting a newish guitar, it was not that. It was filthy, like lots of people had played it after eating chicken wings and then it had been part of a bunch of smoky blues jams. It had a few dings, the strings were corroded so it wasn't really playable. I almost sent it back right away, but the price was low---not even $2K.

The guy that sold it to me said, clean it up, set it up and tell me what you think. I did, and once I plugged it in, it wasn't ever going back. I wanted it as a backup to my goldtop, but it has always been more than that, and seen way more action than the goldtop wraptail over the years.

Some interesting things about the early ones, especially this one. It does not have the high bridge pickup ring, so stringing is easier. The pickup ring screws are black. The pickups are stickered custom shop prototypes, unpotted. The guitar is super resonant---so much so I had to put foam under the pickups and double springs on to keep them from vibrating under loud volumes. I often have to stand close to my amp, and that fixed the problem. Schaller tuners were stock. The MojoAxe bridge is the only thing not stock---and the frets. Goodbye nibs!
 

Raimond

Member
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6,614
Very informative post, thanks for sharing, but I’m conflicted about the name Oxblood, you mean an innocent ox had to die so we could see what color their blood is :( ,this stirs up the same feelings I had when I found out they killed a real Water buffalo in apocalypse now :(
 
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shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
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12,561
Very informative post, thanks for sharing, but I’m conflicted about the name Oxblood, you mean an innocent ox had to die so we could see what color their blood is :( ,this stirs up the same feelings I had when I found out they killed a real
Water buffalo in apocalypse now :(

The guitar Jeff Beck had was a goldtop 1953 Les Paul that had been routed for humbuckers and repainted painted a dark red/brown/black color. I think he bought it in Memphis. From a distance it looks black, but it is really a very dark maroon black called oxblood. It really looks great with a dark rosewood board, since it is almost the same color. In this picture, the pickup is black to contrast the body color. Still hard to capture.

 

Raimond

Member
Messages
6,614
The guitar Jeff Beck had was a goldtop 1953 Les Paul that had been routed for humbuckers and repainted painted a dark red/brown/black color. I think he bought it in Memphis. From a distance it looks black, but it is really a very dark maroon black called oxblood. It really looks great with a dark rosewood board, since it is almost the same color. In this picture, the pickup is black to contrast the body color. Still hard to capture.

So no ox had to die? That makes me feel better :) but I’m still sad about the water buffalo:(
 

will richardson

The Tennessee to California Connection
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
514
I Have a 2017 Oxblood Non Jeff Beck, no Schaller tuners, no JB Serial #. It sounds as good as anything I've ever played. I have other Tone Monsters, and there is nothing not to like on the Oxblood. Gibson Selected a Small Flame Bookmatched top that you can see through the Oxblood. This one was Used From Wildwood They sold the guitar to the first owner It was near mint with a Smudge under the Clear Coat??? on the upper side, although it was under the clear coat it did buff out 95 % It's hard to see, Im a Stickler for Clean. I think the Oxblood is the best show in the Les Paul world for Newer Gibsons. It will stands up against Vintage Pauls Easily.

I'm from Nashville, when Gibson sucks I say and when They do well I'll also say. I don't even like ABRs anymore, just an extra piece of hardware that I don't need.

Will R
 
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jiml

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,947
Wraptail with twin hums is the only way....
SAM_9093.JPG
 

Jedi

Member
Messages
2,149
Nice! The JB Oxblood Historic LPs sound great. I prefer a one-piece wrap bridge too on a LP. The other thing I remember is that they were all heavy. YMMV
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
7,002
The 54 Oxblood was released in 1998. Mine is a '97. It was the NAMM show guitar and is exceptionally light. Maybe 8 lbs. I got it from a guy in 1998 that had Gibson connections, and it was shipped right to me from wherever it had been after the show. When I opened the case, I was shocked. Expecting a newish guitar, it was not that. It was filthy, like lots of people had played it after eating chicken wings and then it had been part of a bunch of smoky blues jams. It had a few dings, the strings were corroded so it wasn't really playable. I almost sent it back right away, but the price was low---not even $2K.

The guy that sold it to me said, clean it up, set it up and tell me what you think. I did, and once I plugged it in, it wasn't ever going back. I wanted it as a backup to my goldtop, but it has always been more than that, and seen way more action than the goldtop wraptail over the years.

Some interesting things about the early ones, especially this one. It does not have the high bridge pickup ring, so stringing is easier. The pickup ring screws are black. The pickups are stickered custom shop prototypes, unpotted. The guitar is super resonant---so much so I had to put foam under the pickups and double springs on to keep them from vibrating under loud volumes. I often have to stand close to my amp, and that fixed the problem. Schaller tuners were stock. The MojoAxe bridge is the only thing not stock---and the frets. Goodbye nibs!

Always wanted one of these... They're prohibitively expensive now, of course. I've genuinely considered buying a normal R4, routing it for buckers, and getting it refinished because that would actually be cheaper :D

Very jealous.

Sounds like a fun gig. I used to thumb my nose at that sort of gigging when I was younger... But I'm almost 40 and I've been in a similar bar band like that for the last ten years, so here we are :D It's actually quite a bit of fun!
 

will richardson

The Tennessee to California Connection
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
514
Oxblood 2017 with 1990 Fender LJ Stevens Model

No Charge for the Sock and Dish towel, at least they were clean, had a miracle and got this posted.
 

3940bigdaddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,458
Always wanted one of these... They're prohibitively expensive now, of course. I've genuinely considered buying a normal R4, routing it for buckers, and getting it refinished because that would actually be cheaper :D

Very jealous.

Sounds like a fun gig. I used to thumb my nose at that sort of gigging when I was younger... But I'm almost 40 and I've been in a similar bar band like that for the last ten years, so here we are :D It's actually quite a bit of fun!
You can get a 2010 R5 Hot Mod. Some of them came with HB's and wrap tail bridge. Wraptail LP's are fun. Here's my 1960 SC Reissue in Oxblood.
 
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