First Gibson Les Paul buying advice

John Nada

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Hey everyone,

I'm new here on the forum. After going back and forth on Les Pauls and owning a few Epiphone versions of them, I think it's finally time to go on the prowl for a genuine Gibson Les Paul.

I know there have been plenty of these threads and many things are subjective. The thing is: I kind of know my likes and dislikes, but I live in the Netherlands, and there's nowhere I can go to try different Les Pauls used and new.

So here's where I'm coming from. I prefer the sounds of people like Jimmy Page, Allman/Betts and those kind of old school guitarist from the early 70's. I also play and write in this genre with my band. So not really a modern player perse and not a shredder. I play mostly plexi style Marshalls, sometimes a silverface Fender and use very few pedals.

What I'm looking for in a Les Paul is a nice burst (I prefer something like a honeyburst or iced tea) visually, and one that is not chambered, while I think I wouldn't mind traditional weight relief that much. What I'm looking for on the used market is a standard from before 2006 or a traditional from the years after that. A new standard might also be an option, while that would be the absolute max of my budget.

The pickups, pots and wiring are something I can get changed to my own liking, so that's not the biggest consideration, though I usually prefer 50's wiring with a good audio taper pot and I don't need any push-pulls. Currently I have the Gibson 61 pickups in my Gibson SG Standard 2018 and the Seymour Duncan Seth Lovers in my Epiphone Les Paul and I like both.

Neck carve is difficult to estimate. I've got a 2020 Epiphone 50's Les Paul that's at the maximum of chunky to me, a bit slimmer than this would be great, but I do prefer full and rounder necks though. I never liked the flat slim tapers necks on the previous Epiphones, but I did like the rounded c shape they had on some limited editions. I tend to like a round c or soft v on other typed of guitars as well.

Is it worth to look at the new standard models and what are your experiences with these, compared to the Traditionals that came before? I mostly find standards from the 2000's in the used market and ofcourse the Traditionals. Already found a great website to compare the different year models of the Traditionals. But given my information, I hope some of you can tell me something or give me tips based on your own experiences!
 

jvin248

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.

If skinnier neck carves are desired ... focus your search on 60s not 50s.

The main concern you need to feel ok with is the whole drama around Gibson headstock breakage. Check forums, picture searches, and more. A broken headstock cuts the value of the repaired guitar in half. I've had sellers not put repair notes in listings then drive an hour out to find it on my own. They break inside hard cases. Good repairs are expensive. A lot of tough guys say they don't worry about it .. until they break one they cry like everyone else. You have the drama of finding and paying for repairs and the drama when trying to sell a repaired guitar later, oh the questions you will get.

And watch out for fakes. Many Gibson fakes out there.

If you are just chasing the tones .. Put a set of Gibson pickups And Gibson pots and caps in any other guitar, even an old Strat.

Look at PRS 22 fret models (24fret models will be more SG), or the hundred other LP like guitars.

.
 

John Nada

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I am aware of the breaking necks on Gibsons, but I've owned and gigged with two Gibson SG's the past couple of years and so far so good.

Regarding neck carve I think I am somewhere in between skinny and chunky. The necks on my SG's or alright for these guitars, but I'd prefer them a bit fatter than that.

I am not planning on buying without testing. I will go to a guitar store to check the current models and get an idea. That also gives me something to compare when I go check out a used one.

Budget wise a new Gibson Standard is the top of my budget. I am not looking for other types/brands of Les Pauls. I own a 2020 Epiphone and I really like it, but I just need to scratch the Gibson Les Paul edge after 15 years of playing.
 

jb_abides

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It sounds like you are on the right track with new Original Standards. You'll have to try 50s versus 60s to dial in your neck profile. My first path would be to try many of these given your budget can accommodate.

Also: Traditionals are more 50s, whereas Trad Pros have 60s, if looking used. Specs vary during time things were branded Traditional, Ts. Many good tops, you may find a bargain once you understand the specs over these years.

Have you tried the asymmetrical taper on the old Standards? They may be something which pleases you. Once you know if that's true... you can hunt for used Standards with other features (burst, finish) that meet your needs. [New, they are now 'Modern' LPs]
 

dro

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Only thing I don't like about used is, somebody else has pre dent and dinged. If you can get past that, used is definitely the way to go.
 

John Nada

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Since I like the new Epiphone line of Les Pauls, it would make sense that I'll like the Gibsons as well. And the current line-up makes it easy to compare the 50's vs 60's neck. I've read a lot about Traditionals as well, there's a website devoted to them which lets you check the specs of each year.

Actually I don't mind a bit of (reasonable) wear and tear on a used one. I like it when a guitar is worn in. A new one is more expensive so you're more carefull, but I don't need them to be all shiny and mint, I want to gig it after all.

I've been in touch with someone selling a 2005 Standard Plus with a beautiful looking iced tea burst. It would be at least 500 bucks less than a new one. The problem is that I'm not allowed to travel there at the moment due to current corona restrictions. And the other problem is that I could only compare it to my Epiphone Les Paul, which wouldn't be entirely fair.
 

dro

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05" are great I've had a few of 'em. Burstbucker Pros if they haven't been changed sound great.
Cherrybed.JPG
This one sounds so good, it finds it's way on to nearly all my tracks.
 

John Nada

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I would probably not buy new if you're planning to change most of the electronics.
The new ones have the electronics I already like! But changing pots and wiring isn't that expensive, the pickups can be though. And I can always put the Seth Lovers from my Epi in the Gibby ;)
 

John Nada

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05" are great I've had a few of 'em. Burstbucker Pros if they haven't been changed sound great.
View attachment 457100
This one sounds so good, it finds it's way on to nearly all my tracks.
Nice! Really curious about that '05 standard. I really like the 61 pickups in my SG, I reckon the BBPro's are in the same realm.
 

rjwilson37

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Hmmm. I have a custom that came with the Medium C neck and it is the best and most comfortable to play. But.... The customs might be out of your price range. You might be able to find a custom with the medium C neck for a good price.
 

John Nada

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Hmmm. I have a custom that came with the Medium C neck and it is the best and most comfortable to play. But.... The customs might be out of your price range. You might be able to find a custom with the medium C neck for a good price.
Medium C sounds great, but I think a custom is out of range. And I have to admit that I prefer a standard visually. Although I love the Black Beauty that Page used to have, and those tuxedo '55 customs with P90's.
 

rjwilson37

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Pic of my custom is my Avatar, Yellow Widow Burst which is a very sweet flame I think.
 

Benniator

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If buying new, the Classic or the ‘60s Standard would fit your criteria. Both have slim-taper necks, come in honeyburst and Iced Tea, and have 61 Burstbuckers. The Standard also has ‘50s wiring.
 

Thebigt71

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I've owned and own quite a few les pauls. Based on your description, I would recommend the following:

2013 or 2014 Les Paul Traditional. These models don't have any weight relief. The 2014 come with the 59 tribute humbuckers which are very vintage sounding.

2002 to 2005 Les Paul standard. These LP's just have the right mix of appointments and tone. They can be had with either 50's or 60's necks.

Good luck with your search. Just my two cents.
 

Sposey549

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If you want a solid body you will have to go with a Paul before 1982 (I think) or a 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 Traditional or the new Standard.
 

Ripgut

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Look for a '13 Traditional Caramel Burst, that sounds like it's right up your alley, or a early 2000s Standard, or if you max out and go new, get a '19 or '20 Original Collection Standard like I did, I got a '19 Unburst that I modified the shit out of. Check it out here...
 


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