In search for the best les paul

Niilopi

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Hey guys,

I have to ask you guys who have had multiple les paul guitars and can answer to these questions that i got in my mind after trying out 8 Les paul guitars last summer when i was trying to find a keeper.

Ive had a basic good Gibson les paul -76 custom for 8 years now and i just started looking out for another one on the side just so i wouldnt be missing out on something i dont know exists.

So i tried R7,R8,R9 and Tokai Ls guitars all within one week. Most of the guitars were basic good guitars like my own les paul. But a few of them just stood out from the crowd, one of them in particular a R9. The owner wouldnt sell it to me for the right price so i missed out on the deal. But this guitar was nothing ive played before, i tested all the guitars acoustically and this one sounded woody, it was acoustically very loud and beautiful sounding even when it had really old strings installed. Atleast thats what i tought.

Can you verify this is not just a thing in my head but the really good les pauls do stand out from the basic good guitars even in Historic Gibsons? Cause i sure as hell want to find one of those for myself. Im just starting to doubt my sanity, what if its all in my head :D

Recently i also got a -57 Historic B7 les paul custom in a trade. But it feels its on the same line as my other -76 custom.

Thanks!
 

Sct13

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Depends if you want to believe your experience....yes I have been through a lot of guitars, and very few have spoken to me....If you cant get that one out of your head then you may want to reconsider the price "problem".....or keep looking.

I used to just get one I liked off the internet and hoped it sounded good ....that's too stressful. If I had better access to a lot of them it would be different.
but after 20 or so I found three that are suitable.....

So you answer is no, its not in your head, you felt something...and if it feels good? ....do it
 

Crotch

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All guitars are different yes. I personally put 0 stock in what they sound like acoustically, mainly because they are not acoustics and won't be played that way.
 

DanD

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I'm with sct13 here. Bought and sold many off the net in hopes of finding a keeper.

My suggestion would be to hit up one of the larger premier Gibson dealers (not f'n GC or Sam's Ass) and playing through their inventory that's in your price range. No sense in falling for a 10K Brazilian if your pocket is empty at 5k...

Wildwood is my first choice but depending on where you live there are many other knowledgeable dealers with large selections. CME in Chicago, Willcutt's in Lexington, HOG in NY, Wild West, etc...

I'm sure with a large dealer you'll be able to narrow it down to one or two that'll do what you want.

Happy hunting! :cheers:
 

Niilopi

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Would u say that gem can be found within cheaper gibson models like standards and traditionals not just the best historics?

I have to say i think the acoustic play says a lot about a solid body electric. Depends ofcourse what u are looking for. If u use gain and distortion on 10 its all the same what the guitar sounds like. But if u want the sound of the natural guitar its mostly made within the woods not the pickups, the pickups just amplify the sounds the guitar plays. i feel i can hear the sound and resonance of the guitar better acoustically
 

freebyrd 69

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Would u say that gem can be found within cheaper gibson models like standards and traditionals not just the best historics?

I have to say i think the acoustic play says a lot about a solid body electric. Depends ofcourse what u are looking for. If u use gain and distortion on 10 its all the same what the guitar sounds like. But if u want the sound of the natural guitar its mostly made within the woods not the pickups, the pickups just amplify the sounds the guitar plays. i feel i can hear the sound and resonance of the guitar better acoustically
I've had a ton of Historics, and there are problems with your questions. The first one being that what "sounds good" is 100% subjective. Nobody can answer your question as to whether or not less expensive models can sound as good TO YOU.

Acoustic properties have very little to nothing to do with how it will sound plugged in. Period. Give a skilled player a 59 burst through a cheap ass amp, and it will sound like sh!t. On the other hand, put an Epiphone in the hands of a good player, and a quality amplifier, and it will sound excellent. Proven fact, and kind of kills your theory.
 

Crotch

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Would u say that gem can be found within cheaper gibson models like standards and traditionals not just the best historics?

I have to say i think the acoustic play says a lot about a solid body electric. Depends ofcourse what u are looking for. If u use gain and distortion on 10 its all the same what the guitar sounds like. But if u want the sound of the natural guitar its mostly made within the woods not the pickups, the pickups just amplify the sounds the guitar plays. i feel i can hear the sound and resonance of the guitar better acoustically
To the first part, yes. I have played standards, artist models, etc. that have been as good as the historic lineup. There are shining stars and dogs in every price point.

The 2nd part I disagree with. Playing a guitar plugged in will give you a true sense of what it will actually sound like if that is how it is intended to be played. You may get a nice resonance out of unplugged but what does that do to how it will sound when played? I think pickups are the most important part of the sound of the guitar. Amps matter. Wiring Harness matters too but people may disagree with that.
 

Niilopi

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Hmm yeah. I know what u guys mean. But im trying to point to the guitar as an instrument before theres any electrics added. Pickups can be changed and a good player will make a bad guitar sound good but thats not what im after. Im after the magic that a guitar can be when all the ingredients go right. Building: which is pretty consistant in the high end models. Wood: can be hand chosen by the looks of it but no one will know how the woods work together after making them an instrument.

And this i believe is what the original -58 -59s are praised for. The wood.

Yea its always up to the player to determine what sounds good to him. But if 10 similar looking guitars were put in a row and one of them was exceptionally well resonating guitar compared to the other. Would anyone pick another?
 

jeff_farkas

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Hmm yeah. I know what u guys mean. But im trying to point to the guitar as an instrument before theres any electrics added. Pickups can be changed and a good player will make a bad guitar sound good but thats not what im after. Im after the magic that a guitar can be when all the ingredients go right. Building: which is pretty consistant in the high end models. Wood: can be hand chosen by the looks of it but no one will know how the woods work together after making them an instrument.

And this i believe is what the original -58 -59s are praised for. The wood.

Yea its always up to the player to determine what sounds good to him. But if 10 similar looking guitars were put in a row and one of them was exceptionally well resonating guitar compared to the other. Would anyone pick another?
I would pick the one out of the 10 that sounds the best and plays the best when hooked up to an amp. Otherwise I would be wasting my time and I don't know of any situation when I would judge an electric guitar played acoustically.

Do you ever play an electric guitar for listeners acoustically?
 

freebyrd 69

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Hmm yeah. I know what u guys mean. But im trying to point to the guitar as an instrument before theres any electrics added. Pickups can be changed and a good player will make a bad guitar sound good but thats not what im after. Im after the magic that a guitar can be when all the ingredients go right. Building: which is pretty consistant in the high end models. Wood: can be hand chosen by the looks of it but no one will know how the woods work together after making them an instrument.

And this i believe is what the original -58 -59s are praised for. The wood.

Yea its always up to the player to determine what sounds good to him. But if 10 similar looking guitars were put in a row and one of them was exceptionally well resonating guitar compared to the other. Would anyone pick another?
Would I pick another? Maybe. I'd plug them all into my rig, and see which one sounded better PLUGGED IN. Give me any old R9, Traditional, R8, R7, Fender.....whatever. I'll plug it into my Friedman, with no pedals, the gain on 5, and I promise you, they will ALL resonate......for days.

What exactly is your question? I don't mean to be rude, but, I don't understand what you are asking for? Crotch said it best, you can find guitars that play well and sound good at just about any price point. Are the Historics "better"? That's a personal preference. I prefer them to standards or traditionals. They have a different feel to them. That being said, a buddy of mine brought a Bonamassa Epiphone to a gig we had. He wanted to hear it in a live setting with a band. I played it for a whole set. Nobody in the bar would have ever known the difference between that and my R9. "I" did. It felt different, and didn't quite play the same, but it sounded damn good. I could have put it down after one song, but again, played it the whole set. So, there ya have it.
I'm confusing myself....what's your question again?
 

freebyrd 69

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Hmm yeah. I know what u guys mean. But im trying to point to the guitar as an instrument before theres any electrics added. Pickups can be changed and a good player will make a bad guitar sound good but thats not what im after. Im after the magic that a guitar can be when all the ingredients go right. Building: which is pretty consistant in the high end models. Wood: can be hand chosen by the looks of it but no one will know how the woods work together after making them an instrument.

And this i believe is what the original -58 -59s are praised for. The wood.

Yea its always up to the player to determine what sounds good to him. But if 10 similar looking guitars were put in a row and one of them was exceptionally well resonating guitar compared to the other. Would anyone pick another?
The 58's and 59's weren't praised for a long time. They were praised because artists like Page, Beck, Green, and Clapton started using them 5-10 years later, and made some iconic recordings with them.
 

cherrysunburst00

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I love Standards and Customs especially older ones from the early '90s. I think build-wise these are fantastic; I believe the idea that Gibson's workers had something to prove.

There is also something special to the Historics and Prehistoric that I own.

I guess the bottom line is if a guitar speaks to you, and you csn afford it (even if it is a little more expensive than you would like to pay) it is worth getting, otherwise it will haunt you.

What is "best" is what speaks to you.
 

Crotch

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The Joe Bonamassa Standard I have I would put up against my other Historics past and present. Why? Neck Profile and Pickups.
 

Sct13

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After all these guitars the subjective answer for me is how it speaks to me as an extension of my artistic soul....(ok sorry too artsy) but really, if its dead its dead....I cant speak for anyone else, but I can feel the response of the guitar, plugged in or not. Too many factors play into my way of selection, one of those is playing it unplugged. This is to effectively subtract the amp. When I actually plug it in, its generally pretty loud and any acoustic response is obviously negated .....but I still feel the way it responds.

To each his own.
 

Sct13

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Hmm yeah. I know what u guys mean. But im trying to point to the guitar as an instrument before theres any electrics added. Pickups can be changed and a good player will make a bad guitar sound good but thats not what im after. Im after the magic that a guitar can be when all the ingredients go right. Building: which is pretty consistant in the high end models. Wood: can be hand chosen by the looks of it but no one will know how the woods work together after making them an instrument.

And this i believe is what the original -58 -59s are praised for. The wood.

Yea its always up to the player to determine what sounds good to him. But if 10 similar looking guitars were put in a row and one of them was exceptionally well resonating guitar compared to the other. Would anyone pick another?

I think you'll be looking a long time...
 

alnico59

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I agree with the pickups, wiring and then the amp as the final authority on how the guitar will sound. Not so much the wood unless we're talking about a light guitar vs a heavy guitar.

Example: I have a '14 R8 which weighs 9 lbs 1 oz that was a borderline dog, tone wise. After a maple flame mod, pickups and NOS caps it's now incredible. I didn't change the wood.
 

Farquad

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Its the feel and your fingers.
You pick up a guitar and the feel will either be good or you need to cope with something.
Then the way you fret and strum/pick will define the sound. All the other bits (pups, caps, strings, wood...) also contribute, but its the players style that makes the tone.

Simple test. Plug in a guitar to a decent to great amp. (Crap amps just make crap sound period.) Then play a bit. hear the sound. Have a friend play the same thing you just played. Sounds totally different.

By the way, the best Les Paul is always the one that someone is selling.
 

rockinlespaul

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I dunno....

When I'm in a music store and I see something I'm interested in, I play it first acoustically. If it isn't vibrating and shaking me like a mofo, I don't bother even plugging it in.

YMMV, imho, etc....
 

L96A1

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The chase for a keeper Les Paul is an endless quest, can be fun though. But I doublt there is such thing as a best Les Paul, it only gets closer and closer to what you like to play.
I’ve tried LP with rather small volumn unplugged and very lively and woody plugged in. So I guess it is important that you don’t buy with this acoustic-eletric logic. Good luck with the hunting and have fun.:fingersx:
 




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