Neal Schon Axcess finally getting mass produced??

irocdave12

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Looks like Neal might be back in the fold with Gibson as he's blasting new Custom shop Les Pauls all over his Instagram today and an interesting picture of an Axcess asking if he should reclaim his design. Wonder how Lifeson feels about this lol
 

dspelman

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The Axcess really isn't quite "his design." Nor is the Lifeson version.

Neal's Gibson was full thickness (the Axcess is not), and while his had a sculpted neck heel, they didn't have a tummy cut (the Axcess does). I think most of the sig guitars sold by Gibson may have been solid body (won't swear to that), and they definitely had the controls spaced differently. The Schon guitars also had split diamond inlays on the fretboard and something different on the headstock. The Schon guitars have an ebony fretboard. Most Axcess' have rosewood (don't remember what the Lifeson has) fretboards.

The Lifeson is solid body (thinner than standard), but the Axcess was weight relieved (or in my case, chambered). Most Axcess' were single-layer titty pink bound (mine is a Custom with white multilayer binding). The Lifeson has a piezo, and the Schon doesn't. The controls on a standard Axcess are standard LP stuff, and the humbuckers are standard. On the Schon guitars, the bridge pickup is a slightly hotter than normal '57 (about 9.2kohm). The neck pickup ring is occupied by the single coil size sustainer driver (some of Neal's guitars have the Sustainiac single coil size driver) *and* a DiMarzio Fast Track II single coil size humbucker (which is about three times louder than the bridge pickup).

The two Sustainer switch controls are behind the Floyd. The four pots are a master volume, master tone, Sustainer Intensity pot and a passive sweepable-frequency mids cut (some subbed in a Chandler Tone-X an *active* sweepable frequency mids boost) on a push-pull.

The usual orientation of the control quad of pots is reversed, which puts the master volume between the bridge and the bridge pickup, which is where Neal likes it for pinky swells.

I have both a converted Gibson Axcess Custom and an Agile converted to Schon spec. The Agile is actually closer to the Gibson Schon -- it's a full thickness solid body with neck-through construction and a carved neck heel and multi-layer binding (ditto on the headstock). The master volume has been moved to the bridge/bridge pickup position and the old "tone" position is now a buckethead-style killswitch. Everything else (except the spacing) regarding the controls is the same as the Schon (Sustainer Intensity pot and a Chandler Tone X on a push-pull). The Agile has an ebony fretboard and jumbo frets. The Agile differs from the usual Axcess in that it has jumbo frets and a 16" radius board with a 1 3/4" nut width. The Axcess comes with medium frets (medium jumbo?) and a 12" radius. And I ordered a thinner neck on the Agile, so the depth at the 1st fret is about 17mm and at the 12th fret it's about 20.5mm.

Probably the best Schon starter kit, short of an accurate Gibson reissue, would be an Agile AL-3200 custom with a Floyd installed at the factory. It comes with the shaved neck heel, neck-through construction and a tummy cut. If we could persuade Kurt to have the Koreans match the extended four-pot pattern of the Schon Sig guitar, we'd be home free. Gary Brawer in San Francisco is probably the guy who built *all* of the Gibson run (electrics-wise), and Gibson has no interest in installing things like sustainers. My guitars were run on his PLEK machine and remain bang-on since then.
 

LPJNoob

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Thanks for the info. .. Neal should just stick to lps, as they're fantastic guitars.
 

irocdave12

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The Axcess really isn't quite "his design." Nor is the Lifeson version.

Neal's Gibson was full thickness (the Axcess is not), and while his had a sculpted neck heel, they didn't have a tummy cut (the Axcess does). I think most of the sig guitars sold by Gibson may have been solid body (won't swear to that), and they definitely had the controls spaced differently. The Schon guitars also had split diamond inlays on the fretboard and something different on the headstock. The Schon guitars have an ebony fretboard. Most Axcess' have rosewood (don't remember what the Lifeson has) fretboards.

The Lifeson is solid body (thinner than standard), but the Axcess was weight relieved (or in my case, chambered). Most Axcess' were single-layer titty pink bound (mine is a Custom with white multilayer binding). The Lifeson has a piezo, and the Schon doesn't. The controls on a standard Axcess are standard LP stuff, and the humbuckers are standard. On the Schon guitars, the bridge pickup is a slightly hotter than normal '57 (about 9.2kohm). The neck pickup ring is occupied by the single coil size sustainer driver (some of Neal's guitars have the Sustainiac single coil size driver) *and* a DiMarzio Fast Track II single coil size humbucker (which is about three times louder than the bridge pickup).

The two Sustainer switch controls are behind the Floyd. The four pots are a master volume, master tone, Sustainer Intensity pot and a passive sweepable-frequency mids cut (some subbed in a Chandler Tone-X an *active* sweepable frequency mids boost) on a push-pull.

The usual orientation of the control quad of pots is reversed, which puts the master volume between the bridge and the bridge pickup, which is where Neal likes it for pinky swells.

I have both a converted Gibson Axcess Custom and an Agile converted to Schon spec. The Agile is actually closer to the Gibson Schon -- it's a full thickness solid body with neck-through construction and a carved neck heel and multi-layer binding (ditto on the headstock). The master volume has been moved to the bridge/bridge pickup position and the old "tone" position is now a buckethead-style killswitch. Everything else (except the spacing) regarding the controls is the same as the Schon (Sustainer Intensity pot and a Chandler Tone X on a push-pull). The Agile has an ebony fretboard and jumbo frets. The Agile differs from the usual Axcess in that it has jumbo frets and a 16" radius board with a 1 3/4" nut width. The Axcess comes with medium frets (medium jumbo?) and a 12" radius. And I ordered a thinner neck on the Agile, so the depth at the 1st fret is about 17mm and at the 12th fret it's about 20.5mm.

Probably the best Schon starter kit, short of an accurate Gibson reissue, would be an Agile AL-3200 custom with a Floyd installed at the factory. It comes with the shaved neck heel, neck-through construction and a tummy cut. If we could persuade Kurt to have the Koreans match the extended four-pot pattern of the Schon Sig guitar, we'd be home free. Gary Brawer in San Francisco is probably the guy who built *all* of the Gibson run (electrics-wise), and Gibson has no interest in installing things like sustainers. My guitars were run on his PLEK machine and remain bang-on since then.
I think what Neal feels strongly about based on what he's said in the past and even today commenting to Instagram users is he credits himself for the idea of a Floyd on a les Paul and doing the R&D to get it right but that neck heel carve is what gets him fired up most it seems. My Lifeson comment wasn't to say that his signature model was a copy of the Schon but it's not secret that when the Schon signature deal fell apart they took the few biggest features slapped them on a guitar and gave it to Lifeson. I'm guessing the Lifeson contract is done with because it sure sounds like Neal been talking to Gibson and he's strongly hinting that his Gibson is likely coming down the line. With Neal's monster ego I highly doubt he's going to do his guitar if they still working with the guy they gave his original planned features to instead. That's why I think Lifeson is done with Gibson or he's getting a new les paul too. Although after seeing the Cornell coming back I'd die and go to heaven if they'd do the Lifeson white 355 again. They'd sell a pile of those bad boys...if they can place the volute correctly this time around
 

rockstar232007

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Rat's ass.

Neal used to be a great guitarists. Now, he's not only a great guitarist, but also a world-class, douche-nozzel.
 

dspelman

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I think what Neal feels strongly about based on what he's said in the past and even today commenting to Instagram users is he credits himself for the idea of a Floyd on a les Paul and doing the R&D to get it right but that neck heel carve is what gets him fired up most it seems. My Lifeson comment wasn't to say that his signature model was a copy of the Schon but it's not secret that when the Schon signature deal fell apart they took the few biggest features slapped them on a guitar and gave it to Lifeson. I'm guessing the Lifeson contract is done with because it sure sounds like Neal been talking to Gibson and he's strongly hinting that his Gibson is likely coming down the line. With Neal's monster ego I highly doubt he's going to do his guitar if they still working with the guy they gave his original planned features to instead. That's why I think Lifeson is done with Gibson or he's getting a new les paul too.
Neal had perhaps the second or third Floyd Rose after Eddie. Since he's mostly had LPs in his career, it's likely that he IS the one who mounted it first on an LP. And the neck angle makes a big difference for a Floyd, so he likely had Gibson modify a neck angle or find one of their haphazard guitars that happened to have been built with a reduced neck angle. He didn't invent a heel carve, obviously, but I think he brought it over from one of his custom-built guitars when he first discussed building a sig guitar with Gibson. They turned around and slapped it on the Axcess, and without mentioning it to him, and I'm pretty sure that was one of the things that set him off. Lifeson probably had nothing to do with it -- the Axcess itself preceded Lifeson's interest by a couple of years. It's only after Gibson had been selling the weight-relieved Axcess for a while that the solid body Lifeson version with the piezo appeared. Neal had had his spat with Gibson and the sig guitar was ended long before there was a Lifeson version.

In theory, only 35 Gibson Schon sig guitars were built in a "pilot" program, though rumor has it that as many as 90 were actually built. Original price was $10K, with a street of around $6500, and all were sold out seemingly in seconds. Very rare to find one that an owner is willing to part with, and the price will be substantial. Most were fanbois and remain so, and I think there's one guy who bought two.

I haven't paid much attention to what Schon has been doing over the past couple of years, but he's vacillated between PRS and Gibson before, and the last time he left Gibson he auditioned Yamahas, Tom Andersons and several other builders before Paul Smith talked him back into the PRS fold. Schon sold off *one* of his Gibson sig (prototype) guitars for something like $25K when he joined PRS, but there are a number of them still in Neal's possession.
 




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