_MIJ and/or Replica__Les Paul comparison thread

Discussion in 'Other Single-Cuts' started by reborn old, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    A place to post your impressions of MIJ Les Paul brands and/or luthier built Les Paul replicas you have owned.
    The more posts we get, the more new buyers will be able to see patterns, weed out personal biases and fact from fiction.

    Posts can be anything from your impressions of strengths and weaknesses of a brand to audio links of plugged and/or unplugged demos.
    If demo is amplified, please state Les Paul model + pickups + amp model + settings where possible.

    We would like to keep this thread informative, entertaining, and free of brand nazi-ism, so please take objections, dissagreements, negative comments or dissent to private messages, and please do NOT post them this thread.

    If your brand isn't made in Japan or luthier built, kindly start your own dedicated thread.
    Please don't speculate on brands you haven't spent considerable time with. Thanks

    ESP Edwards Les Pauls are considered "made in Japan" for the purposes of this thread.
     
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  2. alexanderja

    alexanderja Senior Member

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    What are we comparing ?
     
  3. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Les Pauls you've owned, your comparative impressions.
    In your case, your impressions of your replicas vs your factory examples, unplugged or amplified, would be of interest to most members here. As much or as little as you care to contribute.
    A lot of MIJ owners here hope to own a replica, or a least a handmade Les Paul someday, so we certainly value your impressions, your personal experience with Les Pauls you've owned. :)
     
  4. pdoodek

    pdoodek Senior Member

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    Something like "how far are MIJ from correct, full handmade replicas".
    That might be helpful, videos and mp3 would be also very nice.

    Maybe some sort of versus ?
     
  5. alexanderja

    alexanderja Senior Member

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    Ok,
    Well I wouldn't pretend to be amongst the MOST experienced on this or the other forum, but my input would be this.
    My first Les Paul style guitar was a Westfield, it did its job at thatw point and was was it was .... a £150 guitar. I broke that in half by accident when I fell over pissed one night, and then bought an Epiphone Standard. The Epiphone was a much better guitar, but very quickly I was looking to finance a genuine Gibson.
    I bought my first USA standard in 2000 which was great (below)

    [​IMG]

    ..... but ..... by the time I had got the finance to do it , and got it, I'd already been doing a lot of reading on the original 50's bursts .... and following the Historic Reissues through their development. In all honesty I never really appreciated that USA Standard..... I'm sure it was fine .... but I had my heart set on the horizon. I did a crap load of mods on that Standard, trying to make it something it wasn't; I put BareKnuckle pickups in, taller Historic surrounds, fitted Klusons, changed the trussrod cover ..... I even had a flamed veneer fitted ! ! ! Jees why didn't I just sell it ! ! The guitar always sounded ok, but it did feel a bit cheap, ... which is wierd considering what I was used to.
    So that went when I finally hit the 'buy it now' without thinking, on a second hand year 2000 R9. That was my dream guitar at the time and when it arrived I loved it (below).

    [​IMG]

    I did a couple of upgrades including pickups and tuner tips , but other than that it was excellent. Compared to the USA it felt just .... right. The neck shape was a tonne better, the play feel, the resonance ... everything just made the USA feel like a pretend one.
    I went through a few R9's over the years (as well as Strats), just out of love for getting a new guitar really ..... changing for a monstertop 1998 model.... which was very pretty (below)

    [​IMG]

    .... a 40th anniversary '99 model, which was so light (below)

    [​IMG]

    .... and then eventually a 2003 Brazilian model with one hell of a top on it(below).

    [​IMG]

    All the Reissues I've owned have been great, there's no doubt whatsoever that they are better built, better all round guitar's than the USA's (IMO)
    I've changed a Hell of a lot on them, for Historic accuracy sake rather than tone in honesty, but they've been great and very closely comparable..... not a lot to pick from between them.

    The 'burst obsession' continued .. and eventually, I just couldnt mod my Reissue enough, so the Braz R9 went to Kim at Historic Makeovers. When that came back the improvement was marked again; the guitar felt much more lively and receptive. It was by far the best guitar I'd owned up to then, both in tone, feel .... and my emotional connection to (pictured below after the Package-A Makeover).

    [​IMG]


    My story will end soon I promise :laugh2:

    Well .... vintage burst obsession is a progressive, persistent Bugger, as some will know .... and the obsessive reading I'd been doing on Burst Replicas was taking hold. Details like hide glue, 'F.Formaldehyde top bonds, old growth correct woods ..... and genuinely EXACT specs, were swimming round my head .... till ... I just had to have one.
    Long story short, i sold the R9 again, fast forward 6 months and the Replica was finished and in my hands.
    Now, I'm not a good enough player to really qualify shit like - "the tone on this thing is way way beyond.....", but it does sound and play VERY, VERY good. It feels like a million dollars and speaks a million words ... even when I'm not playing it (if that makes any sense).
    The finish, the balance, the vibration, the smell, the look, the inspiration, the motivation.... the love I have for that thing is way beyond any other guitar.... any other 'THING' I've owned or had the pleasure to be near.
    Truth is, ... any guitar in the right hands can sound good, ...... nearly all the top end guitars ARE good ...... but there is a certain something extra that comes with a well done luthier replica ... beyond the final cure for the 'vintage accuracy cravings' ....... its an emotional thing.
    And even if my replica didn't sound 'better' than my Reissues...... and feel 'sweeter' in my hands ...... I'd still prefer it ..... because of what it is.
    The old wood, old designs, old techniques ... and possibly a bit of bullsh#t, all add to the experience with a guitar like this that make it more than the sum of its parts.....and make you want to play it every second spare.

    [​IMG]

    Now, unless I win the lottery and can buy a genuine burst, I've got my ultimate guitar .....Thankyou T.B :dude:

    I hope you all reach this point some day in your search for 'the one' .....whether it's made in Nashville, ... Japan, ... Canada, .... your house or China !

    This long long dialogue may not have been what you were after.... or of any educational use ..... but its my thoughts in your title.
     
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  6. pdoodek

    pdoodek Senior Member

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    just not another piece of wood, more like a living tree itself.
     
  7. Steinmetzify

    Steinmetzify Banned

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    Great idea for a thread, from a noob standpoint.....there's a TON of info on this site about MIJ/replicas, and it can be daunting after a while to realize you haven't even scratched the surface. One thread with everything organized is going to be a tremendous help to people like me.

    Thanks, Reborn Old......subscribed.
     
  8. alexanderja

    alexanderja Senior Member

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    It's all in the heart ...... other than that, everything's made of the same atoms as dog shit.
     
  9. vintageJIM

    vintageJIM Banned

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    I will add a contribution here & will try to make it as brief as possible ..........

    many years ago I bought my first Burny & over time I have owned right @ 30 examples; mostly RLGs (standards) & RLCs (customs).
    I currently own one 1987 Burny RLC & one 1978 Fernandes FLG.
    The Burny examples I owned were not IMO high end guitars but rather lower to mid grade LP copies.
    They are great 'bang for the buck' guitars IMO, many have some undefinable 'mojo' but the neck profiles are all over the map which is a bit annoying.
    Build quality can vary as different factories made these over the course of their production history but over all build quality is generally pretty good.
    Build quality IMO also includes body back specs, which from my experience with the Burny brand is pretty loose.
    Examples I have owned typically had 3 piece body backs but sometimes 1, 2, and 4 pieces :shock:
    The weights ranged from 8 lb. even to over 10 lb.

    I have owned many Greco EGs & a few EGFs.
    From examples I have owned these have a varying build spec/quality, along with a big variance in neck profile size.
    My favorite thing about the older Grecos is the electronics; the best overall electronics IMO of the older MIJs.

    I have owned a few Tokais, and from different production eras.
    Necks from examples I have owned tend to typically have smaller profiles than I prefer.
    Build quality from examples I have had seem to be fairly consistent, particularly so in regard to specs for body back pieces.
    I currently own one Tokai; a 2000 LS-320 = Honduran, Brazilian, 4A maple but she doesn't get played a lot because of the smaller neck profile.

    I have owned right @ 30 Bacchus examples, and every example from the older mid 1990 to mid 2000 Vintage Series.
    The build quality for Bacchus IMO is as good as it gets as far as consistency & quality of build for any brand that I have experience with.
    Bacchus LPs seemed to progress from smaller neck profiles, to larger neck profiles thru the production eras.
    Neck profiles in each respective production era also have very similar profiles which means Bacchus was quite consistent within each respective production era.
    I have yet to see such consistency from other examples, from other makers; at least from examples thru my hands.
    The progression of attributes thru the time frame of the Vintage Series is impressive; from the BLS-95 era to the BLS-120 era to the BLS-59 era, Bacchus was IMO continually improving the attributes of their instruments.

    I was fortunate to snag a Combat Custom Guitars Les Paul Model a little over a year ago; it is a custom order/one off.
    Having owned only one Combat, I can say without a doubt it is as good quality wise as any Bacchus I have owned; maybe better, and that is saying a lot, especially with having only one Combat example in my hands.
    This guitar feels perfect for me, has the perfect weight (8 lb. 11 oz.), and it certainly has the 'mojo' factor goin' on; whatever that is ..........
    The Combat is without a doubt my favorite Les Paul I have ever owned, or played.
    I wish I could find a few more :hmm: ...........
     
  10. emptyisvarah

    emptyisvarah Senior Member

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    Exactly.
     
  11. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Great post alexanderja ! and thank you for the pics also. Loving #9 0511
    and the work Historic Makeovers did with your 2003 R-9.
    Did Kim elaborate on changes he made to make it sound more lively ?

    Thanks again.

    You summed up most of what I was going to post about Burny and Greco construction. :)

    The only thing I would add about Greco 1982 -1991 Mint collection models,
    is that neck sizes are somewhat consistent within given model numbers,
    using the second number as a profile guide, and first number is the model number.

    EG-45-59
    EG-50-57, EG-50-58, EG-50-59
    EG-60-??
    EG-65-59
    EG-70-59
    EG-75-59 Tokai produced
    EG-85-59
    EG-100-59
    EG-120-58
    EG-150-59, EG-150-60
    EG-170-59
    EG-180-60

    EGC-50-68
    EGC-80-68
    EGC-100-(58 or 68) ?

    On earlier 1979 - 1981 EGF models, most EGF-1000 + 1200 models are reported to have 58 necks
    while EGF 850s are a mix of mostly 58 necks with a few 59 necks.
    I've never held one, but my understanding is that EGF-1800's generally have 60's profile necks.
     
  12. alexanderja

    alexanderja Senior Member

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    The Package A includes a hide glue bonded braz board, sheathless truss rod and decent brittle nitro finish .... these are the most important alterations for the transformation.
    I also had the neck and top carve reshaped..... but I wouldn't think that made any noticeable difference.
     
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  13. tonebone

    tonebone Senior Member

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    What a great list! Can you update it with simple body construction detail, too? How many piece backs, solid or veneer tops - in just a few letters or words?

    Sadly, this info didn't exist in such a clear cut manner even 2 years ago. Or if someone did know this back then, they certainly didn't share it. Good deals on these have become very scarce as more and more get savvy.
     
  14. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Model specs are briefly outlined in the Greco section here: http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/other-les-pauls/167868-_mij__faq_-_links.html#post3214637
    There is no hard and fast rule for Greco backs, however.
    For EG-120 (+ EGF-1200) models and up, I have seen evidence of 1 piece backs... and some EG-180's with 2 piece backs. :wow:
    I owned a Mint Collection EG-70 that has a 1 piece back... or the best concealed center seam ever... from all sides and angles
    and from pickup cavities it appears to be 1 piece. It has a gold Greco inlay intead of silver, if that really means anything. :confused:
     
  15. muccax

    muccax Senior Member

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    hi
    greco eg 450 from 1982 long tenor and solid top :applause::applause: ,,,, the neck is not slim ...
    but not like a 1980 egf 1000 :laugh2::laugh2:
    i do own a greco egc 75 tokai made greco ,,, and that one has a slim neck
    :applause:
    all the later 80 models i own has a slim neck ,,, eg 700 egc 600 lp jr
    i think the later the models the slimmer the necks are :thumb:
    all the best
    otto
     
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  16. tonebone

    tonebone Senior Member

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    You need to incorporate this list above into the MIJ FAQ thread. Looks like you have more work to do, reborn. :)
     
  17. reborn old

    reborn old Senior Member

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    Based on Otto's and Wulfman's greater experience with MC era Grecos,
    Gammybird's MIJ neck size thread is probably a better way to determine neck profile patterns,
    if any actually exist. :) http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/other-les-pauls/157844-made-japan-neck-profiles.html#post3026627 I now have serious doubts.
    Looking over Gammy's chart, it appears EG-180 + EGF-1800 necks might be thicker profile
    than I suspected, also.
    Perhaps middle numbers in Mint Collection serial numbers simply commemorate a year, but not neck profiles :confused:
    Serial numbers did correspond to neck profiles with mine, anyway...


    OK.. back to comparing MIJ brands and/or replicas.
     
  18. amused

    amused Senior Member

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    Beautiful replica Alexander, I am lucky enough to have been well educated very early in my search for the ultimate LP, so my quest began more than 10 years ago with my first LP, a Studio Gem, then it took some times and some different brands in my hands to get to the evidence that Les Paul are my favorite, so I bought a Standard, then the Aged Bonamassa Goldtop, then I had vintage ES335 and LP Junior in my hands, and I was about to pull the trigger on a collector choice but decided I would invest my money on something a lot more special, a replica.

    THe built started in december or january so I am very anxious to take it in my hands and play it this summer hopefully. And when I see yours, I can only be confident in the one that he is building for me :D

    any videos or soundfile with the guitar??
     
  19. JamesT

    JamesT Senior Member

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    OK here is my stab at this...

    Having owned one or more example of all the major MIJ brands and lots of obscure ones, I've developed an opinion on a few elements of their construction and general value. I will do a post on each brand....

    Greco:

    My basic overview on Greco is this: If you stay between late '79 and '89 for production years. With the '89s, they shifted some production to Korea so make sure you are getting MIJ but the '89 EG59-100 I had was a GREAT guitar, no question. As a brand Greco may have the widest range of specs and least consistent spec quality control of any MIJ brand. There are countless examples on this forum of the same year and model Greco having different body back pieces, headstock scripts, fret wire size, etc. This could be viewed as a red flag and in some cases it is, but if you aren't a stickler for spec consistency, there are some really nice guitars to be found in this range. Their production numbers seem to have decreased greatly between '83 and '89 so these models are more scarce, but the "Mint Collection" years of '82-'89 yielded some great guitars nonetheless.

    The numbering system really does a good job of denoting value from a material and spec standpoint. The lower model guitars (EG-450, 500, 600, and 700) are all very good entry level MIJ guitars. The stock electronics on these Grecos are more than passable for most players. What you will miss out on in this range is the higher end pickups (U3000 and up, PU-2, Dry Zs, Dry 82s, Double Tricks, etc.) and often the bodies will be 3 or 4 pieces tops or backs. You can however find some nice feature like two piece tops and backs, fret edge binding, and PIO caps in this range.

    The higher end models really increase in value significantly from a sound feel and spec standpoint. The EG-800, EGF-850, EGF-1000, EGF-1200, and up all get high marks for their great stock pickups and unique sound. You will still find maddening inconsistencies on some models like an EGF-1200 with a 3 or 4 piece back (WTF Greco?) and the 850-1200 all have veneer tops, but tonally, these guitars are stellar out of the box. That's probably why they are so collectible.

    Neck profiles are all over the map with Greco, another sign pointing to inconsistency or poor quality control. I would say most of the models I have owned are somewhere in the middle range of neck profiles or what most would call a '59 profile. The notable exceptions to this that I have owned and played were a three pickup '82 EG-600 Ace Frehley LP (largest neck on an LP I have ever played, wish I had measured it! Talk about a round baseball bat profile), and the Super Real 1980 EGF-1000 with it's broad shouldered and thick '58 style neck.

    I find the finishes on most Grecos to be rather thick be it poly or nitro. I've always felt this was a negative in terms of feel and probably deadening the tone of the wood. It's not a fatal strike, just not my favorite feature. Greco did however come out with some beautiful finishes as their Violin and Honeyburst finishes are two of my favorites on any MIJ.

    Final Analysis:

    Greco is a great brand to start with on your MIJ learning curve. The entry level models are great from a value to cost ratio, they are abundant in numbers, and they represent a good picture into what the MIJ world has to offer. Pre '79 Greco have features I don't like to mess with and on some models you will find things like pancake bodies, poor electronics, bolt on necks, and poor hardware. By '80, these things were mostly all gone and the '80-'82 models are some of the best you will play from a tone standpoint. I give Greco a one thumb up, one thumb down as a brand. As long as you ask questions and no what to look for before you buy, a Greco is a great choice.
     
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  20. alexanderja

    alexanderja Senior Member

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    You won't be disappointed mate .... a wise choice.

    The only recordings I have of my guitars, is this one of the 2003 Historic Makeover R9. This was done professionally when it was being sold a while down the line (not by me). It was a great guitar .... here it is -

    Historic Makeovers 1959 Reissue - 9 3187 - YouTube

    I really don't have the facilities at this very mo for worthwhile recording of the replica unfortunately. It always seems to me that sound demos people do to show off a guitar's tone end up being more about the amp ... and player than anything else anyway. To know the difference from one guitar to the next...especially at this level, you need to plug more than one guitar into the exact same set up ... quickly... and have very good quality recording gear.

    But for comparison.....I prefer the replica to the Makeover R9.... if that's any use as a demo ?

    .
     

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