Tale of two RIs

Discussion in 'Historics & Reissues' started by ES347KC, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. ES347KC

    ES347KC Junior Member

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    First off, first post. I tried some searches, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for (which ultimately is a discussion.) Anyways, thanks for having me. Here's the story:

    I have had a '58 RI (2007 plain top) for five years. Awesome guitar. Huge neck, quite heavy, it's one of the most harmonically complex guitars I've ever played plugged in (in spite of it being a bit boring unplugged). If you asked me, I'd probably tell you that the burstbuckers that came stock are in the running for the favorite PUPs of any guitar I own.

    Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I just got a LPB-7, a little less than a pound lighter (almost exactly 9 lbs), slightly smaller neck that sounds amazingly dynamic when not plugged in. Sounded fine in the store plugged in, but I never really know unless I plug it into my rig. Tend to make decisions on how they sound acoustically more than anything else.

    Anyways, in theory these two guitars should have the exact same pickups in them (unless I'm looking at the wrong info). I can't tell if they have the same construction (it looks like the '57RI might have a mahogany top, but I can't confirm). What's weird is that the 57 is completely lifeless plugged in on the bridge pup. No dynamics. No harmonic richness. honestly, really boring.

    Not sure if it matters, but the '57 measured 8.23 and the '58 measured 7.99 (which I found shocking, would have guessed that the '58 would have been near 9). Is it possible that I just got a crappy bridge pickup in the '57. Are there any things I should try before I swap it out for a new one?
     
  2. jlb32

    jlb32 Senior Member

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    IMO it's the guitar. They will all differ tonally regardless of the specs, pickups, etc...

    Maybe try some different pickups to see if it comes to life but don't spend major money IMO.

    Some guitars just sound great no matter what, some sound better with different pickups and some just might not sound that good no matter what you do.
     
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  3. Left Paw

    Left Paw Senior Member

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    You can pull the pickup out and see if they are the same. May not be.
     
  4. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    Swap pups and see what happens.

    I want to see this R7. What makes you think it has a hog top?
     
  5. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Senior Member

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    It's the guitar. My old 2010 was the same. How you described it is how many describe an all mahogany Les Paul. I emailed Wolfe, explained how flat it sounded, and he wound a killer set of Legends that turned it into the brightest Les Paul I had.

    LPB-7. B is for black beauty.
     
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  6. ES347KC

    ES347KC Junior Member

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    Thanks for the advice—

    RLP-I noticed that the lacquer on the top is showing the same grain (almost a lack of grain filler) that the back and sides are showing. I’ve done a fair bit of woodworking and guitar building, and it sure doesn’t seem like something that would happen on any maple I’ve seen. I’m nowhere near confident enough in my diagnosis to put any money on it—it just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t find anywhere on gibson’s site to confirm it one way or the other.

    Tim Plains—so Wolfe is the answer...was thinking lollar, but was a little concerned about getting something “off the shelf” when pups I loved in one guitar didn’t sing in this one. If Wolfe still does custom, that sounds like a hell of a place to start. Heard nothing but great things.
     
  7. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Why on earth would you base a decision on an electric guitar by how it sounds acoustically?

    Would you base your decision on how a car dives by letting it idle in the parking lot?

    Seriously though, the set up, pickups, and wiring harness all have significant bearing on things. The same set of pickups will sound different in different guitars.
     
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  8. ES347KC

    ES347KC Junior Member

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    Freebyrd,

    It has been my experience that if an electric guitar sounds bad unplugged, there’s nothing you can do to make it sound good plugged in. Conversely, if it has “something” unplugged, it can sound good plugged in. It just might be a ride to get there.

    I’m not the only one with this philosophy.

    I have had dead guitars before (most notably a heavy strat) that no amount of tinkering could bring to life. Not the case with this one.
     
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  9. scott1970

    scott1970 Senior Member

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  10. jktxs

    jktxs Member

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    8.23 sounds more like Burstbucker 3 range to me. Those bridge pickups might be different models.
     
  11. freebyrd 69

    freebyrd 69 Silver Supporter Premium Member

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    Yeah, well there are people who think the earth is flat too. LOL. That subject has been beaten to death here, but, one has zero to do with the other. By the time you factor in a good set up, pickups, wiring harness, amp, amp settings.....the acoustic thing is a joke.

    Again, try swapping the pickup out on your problem axe. That might do the trick.
     
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  12. korus

    korus Senior Member

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    Which year is '57?

    If stock, R8 2007 has brass studs for tailpiece, and if stock and post 2011 that '57 has carbon steel studs. Also, if both stock R8 has Corian nut, and if post 2009 '57 has Nylon 6/6 nut. Both studs and nut have an effect on primary tone, regardless of pickups. Also, ABR-1 wired and wireless differ, one is wired modern the other '50s...

    Use any magnet, even a fridge one, or any guitar pickup and check studs - carbon steel is attracted to magnet, brass is not. If studs differ in material, losen the strings 6-7 full turns on tuners on both guitars and exchange the studs from one to the other. It costs $0 and 15 minutes of your time.

    This might not be deciding difference, but if studs differ in material, play them some with exchanged studs and report back.

    And do it before any soldering/pickup changing is done.
     
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  13. rich85

    rich85 Senior Member

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    To me mahogany only body Les Pauls are 100% suited to P90 pickups over humbuckers. It is a very, very common complaint that Customs sound "dark"
     
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  14. agquake

    agquake Senior Member

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    Pull the neck pickup and check the grain of the wood of the top.
     
  15. JeffH66

    JeffH66 Pelham Blue Addict Premium Member

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    I've never heard of an all mahogany '57 RI, unless it's a custom one off or something. 57's usually have a plain maple cap.
     
  16. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    ^ black beauty custom RI's all have full mahogany bodies
     
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  17. mudface

    mudface Senior Member

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    Like @ARandall said,....the original 1950's Les Paul Customs were all mahogany construction (no maple cap)...therefore Historic RI Versions of these models would also be constructed in the same fashion......
     

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