Which Les Paul is for me?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by RocknPop, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Hi guys, since I traded my Les Paul Trad Pro I've been wanting to buy another one. I think you guys have more experience than I do and would appreciate some help with my next purchase.

    What I have:
    PRS CE22 with Dragon II pickups. Great cleans, some nice humbucking creamy sound. Pop-ish for the most part.
    Gibson ES-335. Talk about versatility. I love the tones of the 57s on it. In particular when I can get that true semi-hollow tone.
    Vox Lil Night Train. I bought it mainly because I enjoy the classic British rock tone.

    What I want:
    - A set of pickups that does not sound harsh or are meant to be design to shred. Basically not looking for any heavy metal, I don't play distorted.
    - My favorite tone in general is when the tubes in my Vox Night Train become saturated and there's a clean distortion.
    - A full clean tone from the pickups

    Traditional
    Standard
    Classic
    Custom Classic
    Studio

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    Traditional
     
  3. Lublin

    Lublin Senior Member

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    LP Jr. They're the mutt's nuts!
     
  4. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Thanks, why do you say so?
     
  5. GulfportBound

    GulfportBound Member

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    You can get a good clean through just about any good Les Paul. But if you've got money to spend on another Trad or a Standard, you might consider that this baby can be found (not necessarily with this top) for within that dollar range, maybe a few dollars more (but worth it!) if you know where to look . . .

    [​IMG]

    I play her through Fender amps (either a Twin Reverb or a Deluxe Reverb, depending on the venue) and get beautiful, chiming cleans out of her. (At least, I will through the Deluxe Reverb again after I change two pre-amp tubes . . . )

    I also have a Studio and a Classic Antique and get beautiful cleans out of both those guitars, but the R6 above has become my go-to gig guitar.
     
  6. 52ftbuddha

    52ftbuddha Member

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    Any that is set up and plays correctly. Then install Lollar imperials and some decent caps and pots of a known value.

    rob
     
  7. hardys

    hardys Member

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    I've been through a number of Les Paul Standards and Traditionals over the last few years and played a bunch more. While many looked good and played well, they only sounded okay. Not bad, not great...just uninspiring. The only new production Les Pauls I've recently played that had the "It" factor are the historics. Not all of them have been great, but most have. The problem for me was that I could only afford the R8s and lower years, but the necks were way to fat for me.

    A few months ago I discovered that Musician’s Friend had a Historic 1960 VOS plain top made especially for them selling for $3299.00. I called their Private Reserve number and talked to Scott. I told him what type of tone I was looking for and he played all of them and gave me a tone report on a few that fit my description. He also sent me photos of each one. After getting the price down to $2800.00 shipped, I bought one. Before shipping he put my choice of strings on it and did a setup. Needless to say I LOVE that guitar. It sounds incredible, the playability is superb, tuning is stable and fit and finish is great. I’ve did a LOT of homework before buying it and these are made exactly like the other historics, including NO SWISS CHEESE. I removed the nasty VOS gunk with some cleaner and a buffer and it shines like a non-VOS model. Now, I basically have a $6000.00, R0 with a plain top. For a difference of $3200.00, I can live without a figured top. I did change the bogus reissue bumblebee caps to Russian PIOs.

    You may want to look at one of these before buying a non-historic model, as these are made much better. BTW...you may want to buy one soon, as I just found out yesterday that Gibson will no longer be using soild rosewood fretboard blanks. Instead, they are laminating 2 pieces together, essentially giving us plywood fretboards. They are also going to start using other woods for fretboads, including baked maple! Hold on to your solid fretboard Gibsons kids, 'cause they're going away!

    Here's a stock photo from MF's website.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    You already said you like the tone of 57 classics, and that's the only one in your list that has them. I prefer them too. The Classics have harsher ceramic pickups, and I don't really care for the tone of Burstbuckers. A Traditional to me is everything a good Les Paul is supposed to be.
     
  9. bwires

    bwires Member

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    :agree... Very Nice!
     
  10. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Thanks. How would you compare the 57s with the burstbuckers?
     
  11. jb2

    jb2 Member

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    what about used custom lp- r8 or G0? swap pickups to taste. i have set of seth lovers sound great clean.
     
  12. jjp

    jjp Senior Member

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    PUs can be changed. Necks, not so much. Aside from the chambering in the Standard vs. the relief holes in the Traditional (swiss cheese, as some call it - there are nine holes, grouped together), the biggest difference is the neck. The Standard has a profiled (asymmetrical) neck, and the Traditional has a much more evenly tapered, though beefy neck (traditional). I preferred the Traditional.

    The Gibson web site states that the Standard comes with a one piece (chambered) mahogony body whereas the Traditional comes with either a one or two piece (reliefed) body. If that is an issue, look for the one piece (if you go for the Traditional). The web site also puts more emphasis on the choice of maple top for the Standard. That, depends, big time. I have seen average to mediocre tops on Standards and some really nice ones. Same for the Traditional.

    They feel and sound different, but like I said, the PUs (and the pots and caps) can easily be changed. Traditional comes with 57 PAF PUs and the Standard comes with Burst Buckers (a little hotter and more "modern" sounding - too my ears). I believe they both come with the same Gibson branded pots and caps (500k tone and 300k volume), though the spec sheet on the Standard does not mention the pots and caps where as the Traditional spec sheet does.

    There is not a big price difference between them ($150-$200), so I would NOT equate price difference as an issue of better or worse. Do you need locking tuners on a Gibson without a Bigsby? Do you need a locking guitar jack (do you even want one)?? Do you need a profiled neck?? Does half a pound or so (achieved with the chambering in the Standard) in weight savings matter to you? Those are changes on the Standard that you have to pay for, the same for the profiled neck. Many people here say that the current Traditional is the way the Standard use to be. They come with the same case.
     
  13. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info. Definitely not a big deal for me if the guitar is heavier unless it affects tone.

    Necks: I like the wide fat neck on my strat a lot. As long as it's not a baseball bat, I think I'm ok.
     
  14. stratman89

    stratman89 Supporting Member

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    I have a Traditional and an '58 VOS.

    I love the '57s in the Traditional but didn't like the Burstbuckers in the R8 so I replaced them with WCR pups.
     
  15. Whale

    Whale Member

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    I own an LP Jr. Special Doublecut (limited edition), but I wouldn't suggest that you get one. It's not because it's a bad guitar. In fact, I love mine to death!!! It is, by far, one of the best axes I've ever owned (and I've had everything from a '59 ES-335 to an R9).

    But when it comes to solid bodies it seems that it is harder to get the creamy jazz tones that you're looking for with P90 pickups compared to humbuckers. That said, I love the jazz tones I can get from the P90 in my ancient ES-150. But then, that's a totally different guitar.

    Now, if you were looking to rock and rip the joint, I cannot think of a better guitar than a LP Jr. Special Doublecut. It is the type of guitar that grabs you by the ears and forces you to listen.
     
  16. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Nice, thanks for the suggestion and welcome to the forum!
     
  17. RocknPop

    RocknPop Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input and welcome to the board!
     
  18. TheCount0212

    TheCount0212 Member

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    I have a pair of 2010 Juniors (one w/ a Stephens P-90, one with a Duncan Antiquity), and a Studio Faded (one-piece back, maple cap, 50s neck) w/ a pair of Antiquities in it. They all got 500k RS audio SuperPots for volume and vintage wiring. Love 'em all...
     
  19. Ron

    Ron Supporting Member

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    This is such a personal choice that I can only recommend that you try to play some at GC or another dealer with a big selection. Find and play different models and discover the one that spins your propeller. There's nothing wrong with a used Gibson Les Paul or other model, in fact I prefer a guitar that's had some play. Necks especially are a personal preference that you should put your hands on as many as you can find. '57 Classic PUs are good, but there are better PUs available in the after market and the search for the "best" PUs is unending and expensive. I have six LPs and there is no best one, each has its own feel and sound (none still have their '57 Classics).

    Finally, given the two guitars that you mentioned, you may find the usual LP has a difficult reach on the high frets by comparison. If you normally play high on the neck, then another model may work better for you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  20. stratplexi

    stratplexi Member

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    I think you traded the best value in the Gibson USA lineup. I foolishly recently sold my Traditional Pro to fund a 335 that ultimately didn't happen. I still have a LP Traditional Plus with the 57s but the Trad Pro smokes the Trad Plus in terms of sound due to the 500K volume pots. I will be swapping the volume pots on my Trad Pro to open up the sound. If you love the 57s, get a Trad Plus and swap the volume pots to 500K and you are set.
     

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