Quote :" Q. Garys tone on Still Got The Blues and After Hours is quite good. " Quote
There is a candidate for understatement of the year
Thanks for great info Gary was a fantastic player and an inspiration !!!
For me, Gary is one of my heroes. A man who lived his life doing what he did best. And loved doing it! Eddie Van Halen has spoken in the past about the sound starts with your fingers, and I believe that this is true. It is the distinction between the truly gifted musicians and the rest of us. EVH has a certain touch, Angus Young, Eric Clapton likewise, the list goes on. Gary has that touch too. Power in his playing, passion in his phrasing.
But as sad as I am for his passing, I feel for the family that is left behind. To me, he was a gifted musician whose music touched my life and my soul. But to his wife and children, he was a husband and a father. My heart goes out to them.
Rock on Gary! In my house your music will play forever.
In July 2000 at the Summer NAMM trade show in Nashville, USA, the Gibson Guitar Corp. announced a new limited run signature model in tribute to the legendary British guitarist, Gary Moore.
The "Gary Moore Signature Les Paul" guitar was officially launched at the Winter NAMM show in January 2001.
Body Mahogany back and neck, carved AA maple top
Fingerboard / Inlay 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with pearl trapezoid inlays
Scale / Nut Width 24.75" / 1.6875"
Bridge / Tailpiece Tune-o-matic / Stopbar
Pickups Rhythm: Reversed Zebra Burst-Bucker
Treble: Open-coil Burst-Bucker
Controls Tone and volume controls, 3-way selector switch
Strings Les Paul Signature .009-.046
Gary Moore is known primarily for his use of a couple of particularly fine 1959 Les Pauls - one famously owned by Gary's own hero Peter Green and the other a much meatier-sounding instrument - the new model is going to have to be a pretty fine guitar to tempt Gazza from that luscious pair. Let's see...
Gary wanted a guitar that sounded like a Les Paul through and through, so obviously the time-honoured basic construction details remain. A fine single slab of South American mahogany is the basis for the guitar's substantial body, and a similar chunk - with the traditional added wings for the extra headstock width - creating the neck. The chosen grade of maple for the Signature is AA, so it's not the most figured piece you're ever likely to see, but it's interestingly marked nonetheless. And as we've pointed out many times in the past, the vast majority of original Les Pauls weren't particularly figured - hence the gigantic prices asked for those that are.
Of course the finish is nitro-cellulose, as on most Gibbos, but the colour is unusual and interesting. Based on Gary's old Greeny Les Paul, which has faded to the point where it's become, in vintage dealers' parlance, 'unburst', the GM Signature is finished in what Gibson term Lemon Burst. It's literally the yellow base stain with the tiniest hint of watered-down cherry tinting the perimeter. It certainly gets the thumbs-up from the guitarist taste team.
What we're not so enamoured with is the same thing we seem to criticise every new Gibson for, and that's the dry and anaemic-looking rosewood fingerboard. Really, guys, it wouldn't take much to rub in some lemon oil and make the guitars look and feel far more inspiring to pick up and play. Fretting is perfect though, but we were a little surprised that the frets are Gibson's standard medium oval, when Gary usually has his guitars refretted with much bigger wire. Hardware is all nickel-plated and comprises the Nashville-style tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. The Nashville bridge was first put on Les Pauls coming out of the then-new Nashville factory in the mid-seventies and was an upgrade on the original ABR-1 bridge. Instead of simple threaded rods being sunk into the maple top, the knurled thumbscrews being slipped over them and the bridge itself resting precariously on top, the Nashville employed proper studs into which specially cast height adjusters screwed. It was a far more satisfactory assembly, although not as neat as the original - Gibson still choose to fit the ABR-1 to vintage style instruments. Tuners are Schaller's version of the classic Kluson pegs so perfectly matched to the Gibson headstock shape. The guitars come with Gibson 'Burst-Bucker' pickups.
They're sort of open-topped versions of the Classic '57 - the neck unit having cream and black 'zebra' coils, turned round so the adjustable coil faces inwards, like Gary's Greeny guitar - and the bridge humbucker being all black. We'd half expected them to be wired out of phase with one an other, so that when the toggle selector is set in the middle that typical Need Your Love So Bad tone is achieved. But like Gary's other Les Paul (his main '59er) it's wired traditionally.
Tone and volume-wise it's standard Gibson fare, with a set of each for both neck and bridge pickup. Like many great players, Gary loves to use the Gibson control layout to create a vast range of textures; from soft and mild with the volumes down, to fat and vocal with the tone backed off, or 'woman tone' with the gain set higher, right up to full-blown rock on the treble pickup with everything flat out. We've left the GM Signature's main constructional difference from most other Les Pauls till last.
Gary decided his guitar would look different to other models in the range and did that by asking Gibson to remove the binding from both neck and body. Although some traditionalists might balk at this, it definitely adds the purposeful, workaday vibe that Gary was after, and probably also helps keep the price a little more reasonable - binding a guitar is one of the most time-consuming processes in its entire construction, and craftspeople's time is what you ultimately pay for. Also, you'll notice there's no scratchplate on the guitar (Gary always removes them). It is supplied, though, so you can fit it yourself if you'd prefer
Moore's two main vintage Les Pauls have very different necks. The Greeny one is a veritable tree-trunk of a thing, which even Gary says he finds a bit of a handful at times. The other one has more regular dimensions - much more like a '59 Reissue in fact - and it's that guitar which seems to be the basis for the feel of the Signature.
With its quite chunky C-section, the neck sits comfortably in the crook of the hand. But it's strange because the lack of fingerboard binding makes it seem very different to a '59 Reissue that we compared it to. In some respects it feels fatter, although in fact, while they're identical at the 12th fret (24mm), the GM Signature is shallower at the 1st (20mm compared to the Reissue's 22mm).
But it feels great. Again it's a purposeful neck; a little more PRS in fact, due to the unbound fingerboard. And although the frets are smaller than expected, this doesn't rob the instrument of its inherent bendiness and vibrato-friendly touch.
As on any Les Paul, top-end access isn't as easy as on more modern instruments - they couldn't have imagined what players like Clapton and more especially Gary would be doing up there - but you can make the top one of the 22 frets without too much difficulty. Of course it's no lightweight on a strap, either, but again that's all part of the legend that is the Les Paul - and anyway it wouldn't sound the same if they took too much weight away.
This is a very personable guitar that just lets you get on with the job of playing. And isn't that what it's all about? The way we reviewed the guitar is the way Gary would use it live, which is set so that, with the volume full up, his maximum lead level is achieved, but turning down the guitar it cleans up in a particularly fat and musical way. Actually you just can't get the same tone if the amp is set clean.
So, on the neck pickup with the volume turned down we have a very sweet, gentle sound that you almost confuse with a Fender - think Albatross, which was actually a Strat but which sounds rather like a Les Paul backed off in this way. Keep things down but switch across to the treble pickup and it's a very expressive tone - you can feel the power there but in a restrained and wiry kind of way. Both pickups together gives a more 'quacky' tone, a little more country than blues.
Whack the neck pickup's volume up full and we get that rich, thick but still woody tone used by Gary on tracks such as Still Got The Blues. It's a fluid tone and if you're possessed of Mr Moore's digital dexterity then there's no better vehicle for displaying your chops. Knock back the tone pot and that long note from Parisienne Walkways leaps out. Use this sound with care because it's just so big it can become overbearing; played sparingly, it's one of the greatest tones in rock. Clapton christened it 'woman tone' for its softness and warmth (he must know different women!) but strictly his version employed the same manouevre using the bridge pickup; it's hard to spot the difference, but the treble pickup does give a slightly more middly honk to the proceedings.
Set the toggle switch to the middle position, turn the bridge pickup right up and back the neck pickup off a touch and it's Crossroads time. Clapton used this sound a lot and it just sweetens the bridge pickup's output enough to take away any 'rasp'. A lovely sound. Indeed, a lovely sounding guitar. But why no out of phase? Surely this sound has become as big a trademark for Gary as it was for his mentor, Peter Green, and a lot of potential purchasers will be disappointed not to find it here. Perhaps Gibson should have fitted a push-pull pot to switch the feature in or out.
Gary Moore could have chosen to have his Signature guitar made in Gibson's Custom, Art and Historic division, a direct copy of one or other of his 1959 Les Pauls. Trouble is, it would have cost over £5,000 and Gary was mindful that the majority of his fans just couldn't afford such a figure. So we applaud his decision to create, along with Gibson, an instrument which, while not cheap, should cost no more than a regular Les Paul Standard. Still got the blues? Not at £1,620 we haven't.
If you're a Gary Moore fan and you have a hankering for a guitar like his, then you've got two choices. Find between £25,000 and £50,000 for an original, or pay a grand and a half for this production instrument.
What you'd get would be recognisably different from the pack but with all the power and glory that comes from owning a Gibson Les Paul. Shame the out of phase wiring is not an option, but then Gary uses his other '59 Les Paul (not wired this way) much more than the Greeny one.
All in all, Gary Moore' s Les Paul is a worthy addition to Gibson's long line of Signature models. What's more, it's a sensibly-priced, fun to play instrument which will please Gary's legions of guitar-playing fans.