Those who've played real 59 LPs, are they really THAT good?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by lightningsmith, Feb 15, 2009.


  1. lightningsmith

    lightningsmith Member

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    Collectibility and value aside, when you played one, did it sound half a million better than the Historic counterpart?
     
  2. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    my body.
  3. Rumble

    Rumble Instrumental Rocker Silver Supporting Member

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    Long, long ago, my younger brother and I were out selling newspapers. One day we go to this old codgers house and ask him if he wanted a paper, which were 15 cents. He looked at us like he was pissed, and took some change out of his pocket. Giving us a nickel and dime he sarcastically replied: "the nickel is for the paper, the damn dime I'm just giving you."

    When it comes to things overpriced, I always think about that old man. And no, I've never played a '59.
     
  4. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    watch this video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgbgUMqUMns

    its not a 100% fair comparison. but i think the unplugged 59 vs the unplugged R9 says a lot.

    i havent played a real 50s les paul, but i can say that the difference between guitars here is similar to what i've heard with a gustavsson.
     
  5. esoteric pete

    esoteric pete Supporting Member

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    the 3 that ive played sounded a lot like my les paul. just different becuase it was a different guitar. but the all sounded great in their own way.
     
  6. matte

    matte Senior Member

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    how many real bursts have you played?
     
  7. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    I played a 59 a couple of years ago and what stuck me was how resonant it was unplugged. Then when plugged in (Tweed Deluxe) ...I don't know why but the only way to describe it is a 6 string grand piano. One of the most pure musical experiences I've ever had.
    Last Thursday I had a simular experience with a real 1960 Strat..not as intense but there's something about older instruments thats real and VERY different.
     
  8. Mike Duncan

    Mike Duncan Silver Supporting Member

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    Fantastic video clip! Thanks!
     
  9. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    what matte said.
     
  10. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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  11. John Bell

    John Bell Member

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    I've played quite a few and not a dog in the bunch.All were exceptional sounding and surprisingly consistent in tone.I found it interesting that no two necks felt exactly the same.To answer your question yes they are that good.Unless I win the mega-millions I won't be owning one in my life time.
     
  12. zosozep7

    zosozep7 Gold Supporting Member

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    Sounds just like my 58 Historic RI!!
     
  13. guitarstan

    guitarstan Member

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    I owned one back in the early 70's and it was my favorite guitar of all time. I sent it back to Gibson for a factory refret, they did a great job. Sold the guitar to return to college and get a real job :messedup. I've been trying to replace that guitar ever since. Bought a prehistoric 59 in 1990 and with new pots, caps and pups it is close enough for me plus I can sleep at night and even take the guitar to gigs. For me that is more important than bragging rights. I don't want any vintage gear. No way do I want to be at the mercy of an Insurance Company!
     
  14. markom89

    markom89 Senior Member

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    Sorry to hear that man:NUTS
     
  15. doc

    doc Member

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    I've played a couple of real 'bursts, but only at modest volumes and not comparing head to head with my '59 RI. I think they do have a slight edge overall compared to the Historics tonally, both acoustically and amplified, but I'm not sure that difference is worth more than a quarter million - much of the money difference in my opinion is based on the variables that affect collectibles, not the variables that affect musical instrument merit. I think with upgraded pickups and hardware (mine has Tims and Pigtails and 50s wiring) you can get pretty close to the vintage sound. I think the originals have a bit more clarity and openess, and on the ones I played the neck feel was somewhat different - the RI has a clubbier C shape while the original was a soft V and not as big.

    Bottom line, is the real thing better? Sure.
    Is the better tone worth the difference in money? Not unless money isn't an issue for you.

    I'm glad I'm not posting this on the Les Paul forum - I'd be having a hit squad in the drive any minute now.:eek:
     
  16. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Oh, I want! I want! But I am not able to afford vintage gear, anymore. I had my chance but that ship has sailed and now I have AS MUCH fun chasing the tone in my head from the glory days. My neighbor has fake flowers in front of her house; People comment how lovely they are all the time. Because I know the truth it makes me shake my head. I wish I never played a vintage strat, tele, les paul, etc guitar, because I'd probably appreciate the reissues so much more - and fake flowers.
     
  17. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Had a '59 in the later 70's.
    Got it when it was 19 years old, not so vintage then.

    One of my most favorite guitars but I have to honestly say that I am just as happy with the Historics I have.
    Better? MAybe but in my satisfaction I'm not at a loss nowadays (except for not being able to sell and pay the mortgage off in one shot!).
     
  18. cottoneyedjoe

    cottoneyedjoe Member

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    There are two things you have to ask yourself here:

    What did the "real" 59 sound like in 59?

    What will my "historic 59" sound like in 50 years?

    It is not all about construction. There are a lot of factors that go into making a guitar sound that good. Wood changes with time and environment. It's science.

    I have played two 59s in my life. One was wonderful. Resonant, clear and bright. The second sounded like a train had run over it twice. The reason the second didn't sound so great is that it wasn't well maintained in its lifetime, had been in some "questionable" environment situations. Now the second probably could have been repaired, but you have to think about how the repair will effect the sound quality of the instrument.

    Until the "new" 59s reach 50 years old, I think you are going to have a hard time making a fair comparison.

    The electronics are only a percentage of the total "wow" yield... Also, you have to think about how the electronics in that guitar have changed over time as well. Capacitors loose the ability to capacitate, tone bleed, and resistance are all also effected by time and environment.

    These are all factors that make a guitar great or not so much.
     
  19. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Of course it's not! But they sound really, really great. I'm all about sounds great and cost around two grand, give or take a few hundred.
     
  20. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    I think this tends to be the case with many vintage guitars. A well built, properly maintained, guitar will tend to show tonal improvements as the wood ages. This is true of many vintage Martin acoustics for sure.

    BTW, I've never played a real 50's Les Paul, but my guess is that they will sound better compared to a reissue. The wood will resonate better and the pickup magnets will have weakened slightly. Can anyone verify this?

    -KD
     

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