on February 26, 2012
For a few months after the initial release of this guitar information was both scarce and incorrect. Sites will often have this guitar displayed under various names, the reality is this is a studio model, but with a whole lot more going on. A Gibson Les Paul is the electric guitar in my books. Yes Jimmy Page actually used a Fender Telecaster for many recordings, but one can't help but take to his iconic Les Paul. Gary Moore, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Joe Bonamassa, Mastodon, My Chemical Romance, Slash, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, ZZ Top, Eric Clapton, all Les Paul players. Why? Gibson LPs have taken a hit over the years, people debate the Norlin era, the advent of chambering, differences in an R8 or an R9, whether or not the bumblebee caps are authentic, but this LP destroys, and at the asking price it's hard to argue. Yes you could go out and find a decent used standard for this price, but you know... I saw a used Studio Deluxe 60 for 600$ and another for 800$.
To keep this simple, this guitar is top notch. Studio models feature the same innards and functionality as standards and even custom shop Gibson Les Paul models, the main difference is the sugar coating. No binding, no frills, it says studio for a reason! The maple cap is a pinch bit thinner, history lesson though, many customs had mahogany only bodies (no maple to speak of). The Studio Deluxe however introduced some nice touches to line, and is more so a hybrid if anything. Some worry about the beauty of their investment, so if it makes you feel any better this is a lovely instrument. Most will buy a studio model and as time goes on get buyers remorse as they really shot for a standard, never have I felt that with this guitar.
Speaking of the maple cap, you can see it run alongside the body, it's as though Gibson eyed out some nice PRS. The finish can either come in vintage sunburst or a cherry sunburst. In my books the cherry looks a bit dull, but I've always preferred tobacco bursts and deeper finishes. I'll upload a picture of the VS finish for those interested. It is lively, smoothly transitioning the colors in a much better fashion than Epiphone dynamics of light and dark (not an Epi hater, I really like my Epi LP Ultra). This isn't a tear drop finish either, and is said to be bookmatched to give better symmetry in the grain.
The body isn't chambered though, making it an affordable way to obtain a more authentic Les Paul, tonally and feel. This model, like most LPs, is 'Swiss cheesed', a weight relieving process that involves a few holes drilled internally. The pots are 500k cts, this is great for those who use tube amps and wish to dial down the gain to just the perfect level. The tone controls are responsive as can be, which is worth noting as the pickup compliments run sharply and dynamically apart from one another. The Burstbucker Pro in the bridge uses an alnico 5 magnet and runs pretty hot, it is wax potted, eliminating that loud volume squeeling. BB Pros tend to receive some flak for being the supposed least PAF (Gibsons original humbucker) like BB (pickups based off PAF) around and are considered harsh in nature. I can't help but like them, they are incredibly sensitive pickups and require a bit of taming. The neck pickup is a 490r, a smooth darker sounding pup.
If you couldn't guess based on the name, the 60 is a reference the guitars 60's style slim tapper neck. In comparison to the late 50's standard, LP's of the 60s had thinner necks. Other history lesson, LPs disappeared for a bit in the 60s. The neck is fast, and if the wielder desires speed this is the way to go. I have used this guitar through many choice tube amps Vox AC15C1, Fender DRRI, some smaller amps a Vox AC4TV mini, a Fender Vibro Champ XD and some solid state gear too (Crate flexwave, line 6 spyder). The most noticeable thing off the bat is the long sustain. Overall one might not hear the nuances the pickups can offer if the the amp has too much gain or is a cheaper model (production quality wise not price). The moment I plugged this into my Vox the guitars tone was truly revealed, I liked what I heard. Coil tapping can be accessed via the volume pot upon being lifted up. This cuts down the output in half, some say it 'taps' off one of the coils and debate the fine line differences in coil splitting/tapping, at the end of the day it gives a single coil like sound. You can do this in any of the three positions as the pickups are configured in a way four way method, making this extremely versatile out of the case (great hardshell case by the way). The fretboard may be rosewood or baked maple depending on the year of the model. Mine is an 09' rosewood and feels quite nice.
At the end of the day, this is a powerhouse guitar, and it should be, it's a Les Paul! Play with the volume, mix and match the coil splitting options and experiment to find your definitive tone. This guitar is capable of dishing out whatever you put into to it. Yes it's a bit more vintage voiced, but can get into contemporary rock territory with ease. Take some time and look around, no two guitars are built the same, try a few of these if you're truly interested. The nitrocellulose finish provides some durability, the grover tuners provide stability, when seen as a whole the guitar provides excellence.
on June 26, 2011
In my opinion, this is one of the best valued Gibson Les Paul. This is certainly very subjective, but I'm basing my verdict alongside another highly rated Gibson Les Paul Faded in mind.
I don't own a Les Paul faded but I have played it a few times at the Rock Shop in New Zealand. There's no doubt that it is a great instrument and represents one of the best valued Gibson Les Paul on offer. However, to my ears, there isn't much between the faded or the Deluxe in terms of sound.
The deluxe is listed at @1400 while the faded is listed @800. So how can the deluxe be of greater value than the faded? Ok, if you have to include a genuine Gibson case, this could easily add 200-250 dollars to the equation. So we're now talking a difference of less than 350-400 - and if Music123 or GuitarCenter is running a 15% sale - we can be talking even smaller margins.
With the extra 400 dollars, you get A grade mahogany neck and back, A grade maple, 60's neck (instead of 50's), painted finish and non-chambered construction + Grover tuners. Then you also get the coil tapping, which allows the pickup to behave like a single coil. This definitely adds to the already impressive tone diversity of the guitar.
A non-chambered finish with 60 neck are important attributes - I'm used to playing a solid body guitar with a slim neck - it was an Ibanez beginner package guitar, but its got decent action and feel, and I'm also used to a heavy guitar with a non-chambered construction.
I think the painted finish is also an important factor. I visited the shop while checking out the Faded and found myself in a situation that I would not want to pick either of the faded finish - because it really looked dull (And I did not like the 50's neck as much). I thought to myself if I'm going to own one and only one Gibson, I should own one that I think it looks nice (to my taste). (Insteading of spending 800 and still look dull)
So I have comfortably found a justification of spending the extra $400 :).
How did it play? Like a Gibson I suppose. Famous low action, great tone choice, charming style, massive sustain, looked great too. One thing I did not like, perhaps that is just on my guitar, is that the pickup switch don't seem to work how I'm expecting it to. In the middle position, the neck pickup seems to be dependent on the bridge pickup's setting.
I wish my opinion is of good reference for people with similar budget. Even if you don't end up buying this guitar, you should have a good glance at it.