2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio -This is way I chose it.

nayoud

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2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio -This is why I chose it.


After 30 years of debating about buying a Les Paul (Traditional, vs Standard, vs Studio, vs Classic, etc...) I finally received my lightly used 2002 Gibson Les Paul Studio AAA flametop (Yup, I was slow, GASing for one since 1983, but then again I'm more of an acoustic and Strat player). It's either Dark Cherry or Wine Red.

It isn't the Premium plus series because the hardware is chrome, and I asked Gibson and they confirmed that it's a Studio plain and simple. Money was not the deciding factor, although it's always a consideration, but here is why I went down that route:

What I lost by this purchase

1-The pickups: the 57 classic in the Traditional are by far my favorite Gibson pickups. The 490/498 are dark, a bit muddy to my (strat accustomed) ears, especially the neck pup and maybe I'll have to change them... any suggestions here folks? I might swap them for Seymour Duncan JB/Jazz I already have in my Schecter, they're definitely clearer!
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/archive/index.php/t-1012995.html

2-Body thickness: The Studios are thinner, no doubt, than the Standards, Traditionals and the Custom shops. Mine measured 4.5 cm (compared to 4.7 for the Standard).. or around 1.8" compared to 2.0". I don't know if the Maple cap is any thinner than the other models (any info ?) but it seems likely. Sustain and tone will surely be affected, how much of that will be detected by my ears, I honestly don't know! YMMV !!

The guitar weights 8.8 lbs (4 Kgs). Heavy but not 10 lbs (4.5 kgs) either. The downside, is that it's really body heavy compared to Strats, Schecters and the LP chambered models, so you have to balance it with your fretting hand.

The only consolation is that this Studio has a one piece back that is NOT chambered as well as fifties thick one piece neck, so the mass of the guitar will probably help counterbalance the loss in thickness compared to a chambered model for instance.
(http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/gibson-les-pauls/55429-standard-vs-studio-body-thickness.html).

3-The binding: Binding is always nice, especially if you just play at home (beauty becomes an important part). But yet again, I don't have binding on 2 of my high end acoustic guitars either. This was not an issue for me.

4-Tuners: I always liked the green Kluson tuners. So the Grover locking tuners on the Standard were not missed. I already have locking tuners on my strats, they're nice but not a necessity for me.

5-Head stock: It has this yellow decal, not as nice as the acrylic or MOP logo. But then I had a nice eye of Horus TRC put into the guitar. Looks good to me now!

6- Case: It didn't come with the OHSC, it came with an SKB case in relatively good condition (Which might affect resale value from a purists point of view, but not mine).

7- Finish: Probably the guitar has 4-5 layers of Nitro vs 7 layers on the more expensive models.

8- The neck joint: All studios probably have the shorter neck joint. I would have wanted to get the longer neck joint NO DOUBT (for more sustain), this is a major structural difference. These can be found on the 2008 Standard and the historic models. The 2008 Standard had a chambered body (not to my liking) and the historic models were too expensive to buy as a first Les Paul. The new Traditionals and Standards have the same shorter set-in neck joint. So I guess that point evened out within my pool of eligible LP's .
http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/gibson-les-pauls/50210-gibson-les-paul-101-a.html

What I gained by this purchase

1-Condition: A lightly used 2002 weight relived studio, not too light and not too heavy, with very light wear + untarnished hardware + probably medium jumbo frets.

2-Top: A nice AAA flametop.

3-Body: A one piece back.. a big plus for me. The guitar is very acoustically resonant unplugged. I'm surprised given the lack of a hollow sounding chamber like on the ES models or chambering on other Les Pauls!

4-Neck: A one piece neck (red translucent finish... I just have to see the grain on any wood, but that's just me) ... I don't know how long this will continue with Gibson.

5-Fretboard: A one piece closed grained rosewood fret board, not the current laminated 2 piece fret board of the Gibsons of today. They even had a laminated bridge on their high end acoustics up until late 2011. This may not affect tone in any detectable way, but honestly folks, it annoys me!. This was a deciding factor against buying a new Gibson acoustic or a new Traditional because when you pay premium dollars you expect premium materials, even if it costs Gibson more in terms of labor, I just can't get myself to justify it, but that could be only me. This won't pass unnoticed in the acoustic guitar world. In addition, coming from Strats I think I know how a fret board material change can be audibly detectable (from maple, maple with a maple cap, and rosewood), at least IMHO.

I also bought 4 knob pointers, took off the pickguard, installed a custom TRC... and maybe I'll change the pups! .. any maybe I'll install the Seymour Duncan triple shot for the extra out of phase/ parallel/series/ coil splitting tones.. but I'm more old school. I hardly used the coil taps on my Schecter E-1 elite with Seymour Duncan JB/JAZZ anyway.

In the end what really mattered to me in all this Studio vs Traditional vs Standard debate was the body thickness, I would have prefered a thicker body, why ? It just gives me a sense of quality and hopefully more sustain and tone! I'm not certain that I could notice the difference, at least without real time comparison ... anything else was either acceptable to me (no binding, decal etc..) or changeable (pups). The main plus points were definitely the one piece body, the AAA top, the one piece fretboard.

What really took time, was either I buy this guitar or the new 2013 Traditional with no weight relief. The price together with the laminated fret board made the choice easier.

Sorry about the quality of the pic but it gives you an idea how the guitar looks.

Any ideas about the pickups, any comments on the above would be appreciated.
Thanks and have a happy weekend

Next GAS stop : Gibson ES-355 :)

Cheers
 

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nayoud

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These pics are from the seller...
 

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Cmartin

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wow!! That guitar makes me want to get a Studio-great looking guitar you got there. I just took out the bridge pickup from my 2002 Les Paul Standard if you're interested, I don't know the going rate for one but I'm open to offers...
 

Ansen

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Nice one, killer top. Good decision, HNGD :applause::applause:


Btw, i think the gauge of the mapletop is even on Standards, Customs and Studios. There're enought fotos around here, which focussed the pupcaves, so you can see the size of the maple. Comparing Standards and Studios at the jack aera, will show the mahagony plank size differences, which is about ca. 5 mm.
 

9unslin9er

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Yeah, I was referring to bodies and necks in the other thread, but yeah. No laminate boards on Traditionals.
 

nayoud

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2013' LP Traditionals don't have "laminate" fretboards.

Glad you found a guitar you like.

Thanks GibsonMarshallGuy

Are you sure? Well the website doesn't say anything definitive to that effect. I read something on Gibson.com that was in defense of a two piece fingerboard, claiming that it costs them more and doesn't affect tone. The info on the 2013 Trad doesn't say anything to change that. Gibson did not answer my request.



2012 Laminated Fingerboard Dissected - Les Paul Forum
 

Burst Boy

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I fail to see how you “lost” anything given you didn't have “it” in the first place. Everything is good with a Studio from my experience (noting that there is varying degrees of quality).

Thinner body, loss of tone? I doubt it.

More sustain with a longer neck tenon? I doubt it.

I couldn't be bothered rebutting the rest of your "losses'. The guitar is what it is and is the sum of its parts. If it's good it's good, and it is a very nice looking guitar too.
 

nayoud

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I fail to see how you “lost” anything given you didn't have “it” in the first place. Everything is good with a Studio from my experience (noting that there is varying degrees of quality).

Thinner body, loss of tone? I doubt it.

More sustain with a longer neck tenon? I doubt it.

I couldn't be bothered rebutting the rest of your "losses'. The guitar is what it is and is the sum of its parts. If it's good it's good, and it is a very nice looking guitar too.

Thanks for your post.... What I meant was in comparison to a 2013 traditional.

There is definitely a tonal difference between Studios and Traditionals (those with a thicker maple cap). The former is more creamy with a darker tone (probably because some of the things I mentioned including the maple cap, pups, etc) and the latter is brighter and has "more" attack/clarity, which is better is opinion. Both are good guitars. All Gibson Les Pauls are "relatively" different, every guitar is unique, but all have that typical LP mojo and tone.

Also remember that the historics, AFAIK, as well as the Satin Traditional mahogany don't have a maple cap as well, All LP's have different configurations but all are within the same tonal family
 

nayoud

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hngd!
2013 trads also have a one piece back,well mine does!

Congrats !! that's why they are considered "better" and command a higher price. My studio is also a one piece back. Enjoy !
cheers
 

Burst Boy

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I have a 2012 Traditional with Gibson '57 classics which is the creamy, darker toned (in a very sweet way) LP in my collection.

I have a mahogany capped 2010 Studio with Burstbucker pros. In comparison to the Trad, this one is brighter with more attack. At first I wasn't a fan but have since learnt that by manipulating the tone & volume controls I can get it sounding very close to the Trad. The more distorted, the difference narrows to almost zero. I now appreciate what the guitar is about and use its strengths to advantage.

The Studio is all mahogany and chambered with a single piece rosewood fretboard. The Trad is mahogany with maple cap, cheese hole weight relieved and has a two-piece rosewood fretboard.

Both are just as lively and sustain about the same unplugged. The difference is the unplugged tone as is described with the electric tone above, but less noticeable.

I don’t care about thin bodies, multi-piece backs multi-piece fret boards, numbers of layers of paint or short tenons because if it’s a well put together guitar with attention to detail none of that matters.

Make your new guitar work for you and stop obsessing about what you think you don’t have.
 

nayoud

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I have a 2012 Traditional with Gibson '57 classics which is the creamy, darker toned (in a very sweet way) LP in my collection.

I have a mahogany capped 2010 Studio with Burstbucker pros. In comparison to the Trad, this one is brighter with more attack. At first I wasn't a fan but have since learnt that by manipulating the tone & volume controls I can get it sounding very close to the Trad. The more distorted, the difference narrows to almost zero. I now appreciate what the guitar is about and use its strengths to advantage.

The Studio is all mahogany and chambered with a single piece rosewood fretboard. The Trad is mahogany with maple cap, cheese hole weight relieved and has a two-piece rosewood fretboard.

Both are just as lively and sustain about the same unplugged. The difference is the unplugged tone as is described with the electric tone above, but less noticeable.

I don’t care about thin bodies, multi-piece backs multi-piece fret boards, numbers of layers of paint or short tenons because if it’s a well put together guitar with attention to detail none of that matters.

Make your new guitar work for you and stop obsessing about what you think you don’t have.


Thanks Burst Boy !
I agree with you, I was just describing the process I went through, and I wouldn't have bought that particular studio after serious consideration if I obsessed about what it doesn't have. I'm satisfied with the studio, it isn't a historic but it suits me fine. The creamy darker tone of this LP is exactly what I was after to compliment my strat single coil tones.



The question that I'm faced with now right now is whether it would be a good idea to swap the 490/498 with something else that would still give me a darker but not muddy tone?

The stock pups are very responsive to the touch especially at the lower registers, much more than the JB/Jazz on my Schecter (I don't know if its the guitar or the pups that gives this quality). Unfortunately, the bass strings sound quite lifeless and the neck pup gets a little muddy.

On my DRRI set at 6 for bass, the output is quite thumpy (when played clean, tone knobs at full treble).

I'll be fiddling around with the pup height (which is already quite low) and other strings, any help here is appreciated.
 

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