New Gibson Les Pauls - what happened?

Quantum

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Hey all,

ive had the opportunity to get back into playing electric and needed to grab a Les Paul. I picked up a 1997 Gibson Les Paul Studio in Wine Red with an Ebony fretboard in immaculate condition. $700 - great deal.

I’m extremely sensitive to smells and Unfortunately like so many used guitars, it’s got an odd cleaner/cologne patchouli smell from the previous owner. It’s not a bad smell but it’s noticeable and I’m having a hard time bonding with the guitar.

well, I decided to head over to guitar center as I needed an amp and also wanted to play a few of the new Les Pauls as I have been out of the loop for awhile.

I plugged into a Blackstar 40W - man that amp sounds great on YouTube, not so good in person. Conversely, I plugged into an amp I didn’t like from YouTube videos, Marshall DSLR40 - loved it! what an amp!

this is where it gets tough. That 97 Les Paul with the 490/498 pups sounded better than any guitar I’ve ever played. I was floored. So sad it smells.

well, I went ahead and plugged in Les Pauls Standards from 2016 and 2019.

what the fuck happened? They sounded dead, felt cheap in my hands and played stiffly. It was really disappointing as these guitars cost $2,000.

what the hell happened while I was away? Is it just crappy new wood? Is it the Burstbucker pups that sound bad? I’m at a loss.

how can I get that amazing growl and alive tone of the 97 Les Paul Studio in a newer Gibson Les Paul ?

I’m going to have to sell this studio if this smell doesn’t go away and I don’t know what I’m going to replace it with.

I know I could replace the pups but I feel it’s the wood and build quietly lacking.
Maybe I just have to fork over for a custom shop?

help :)
 

Neffco

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Don’t spray it with alcohol based anything. Heavy cologne comes to mind. I like guitars that are broken in over brand new. Could be that. A used CS Lester would be nice for sure.


I say burn that pattuie oiled bastard and buy a R9!
 

peobryant

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I have an '18 Traditional and a '19 Wildwood Standard and both guitars are phenomenal, both in build quality and sound quality. There are great guitars and duds built every single year, just because your '97 sounds amazing doesn't mean every '97 will sound amazing. In that same vein, just because the new Standard you played wan't up to your standard (ha!) that doesn't mean every new Standard will disappoint you.

Go out and play a bunch of guitars, I can almost guarantee you that you'll find one you like.
 

Quantum

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I hadn’t thought of that. That it was just I got a good one and the others were duds. You know, the other irritating thing as a guitarist is that I’ll bet you if I go in and play those same guitars next week they will sound different to me. Tis a curse.
 

Wuuthrad

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I’ve been able to remove tobacco, mildew and cat odor to a certain degree with a combination of baking soda, a carbon based deodorizing pack I bought of Amazon for 10$ and also some incense I liked- I stuck it in the guitar sound hole for a few months. Come to think of it I remember using pine cones as well on a few occasions.

Granted this was a Classical Guitar but you can get the smell to go away with some due diligence, different techniques and also time and fresh air! I’ve had equal success with a pipe tobacco SG which wasn’t as bad. I kinda liked the smell- reminded me of poker games my dad used to host way back when. Rest his soul!

Good luck, as it’s hard to replicate the sound and mojo of a well used guitar with a new one, but that also can be done! But it usually takes a bit more time...

Did you never have a patchouli GF? Man oh man you missed out if that’s the case. That funk is probably best left off the guitar tho!
 

ARandall

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There is absolutely ZERO reason why the guitar you already own couldn't be the best guitar the universe will ever make for your ears and tastes.
Of course there is the additional aspect of you perhaps not being able to make low output pickups work, and you can only deal with hot pickups like the 498.

Either way, you can rest assured that 'nothing has happened to Gibson'......and its only your perception that is the issue. And people had been complaining about the demise of quality for a long time before 1997 rolled along too.
 

Quantum

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I’ve been able to remove tobacco, mildew and cat odor to a certain degree with a combination of baking soda, a carbon based deodorizing pack I bought of Amazon for 10$ and also some incense I liked- I stuck it in the guitar sound hole for a few months. Come to think of it I remember using pine cones as well on a few occasions.

Granted this was a Classical Guitar but you can get the smell to go away with some due diligence, different techniques and also time and fresh air! I’ve had equal success with a pipe tobacco SG which wasn’t as bad. I kinda liked the smell- reminded me of poker games my dad used to host way back when. Rest his soul!

Good luck, as it’s hard to replicate the sound and mojo of a well used guitar with a new one, but that also can be done! But it usually takes a bit more time...

Did you never have a patchouli GF? Man oh man you missed out if that’s the case. That funk is probably best left off the guitar tho!
ill give the baking soda a try, oddly enough the smell is worst on the pickups which are not covered.

no - no patchouli girlfriends im only 40. So most of my girlfriends didn’t wear perfume. I dated goth chicks. They smelled like cloves or nothing :)
 

Quantum

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There is absolutely ZERO reason why the guitar you already own couldn't be the best guitar the universe will ever make for your ears and tastes.
Of course there is the additional aspect of you perhaps not being able to make low output pickups work, and you can only deal with hot pickups like the 498.

Either way, you can rest assured that 'nothing has happened to Gibson'......and its only your perception that is the issue. And people had been complaining about the demise of quality for a long time before 1997 rolled along too.
yeh you’re probably right, I’m a bit of a nut job. My wife says I’m crazy. Probably just imaging a lot of it.
 

kenmarkat

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Just suggesting one additional possible attempt here...when I received a new Carvin bass years ago I loved the smell and thought it might all be from the guitar finish or case glue, then a Carvin rep told me they actually put a little vanilla in the case to make it smell that way when new. If I loved the guitar but couldn't stand the odor I'd clean the guitar well to remove any possible surface residue, then put a few drops of vanilla extract on a small rag, stick it in the case under the headstock and see what happens after a week or so. I know it makes guitar cases smell great but not sure if it would help or not with your issue. But if I really like the guitar it might be worth the try at least...
 

Latearrival

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Most likely it is the Pick-ups that are giving you the sound you like!

498T in particular is a very hot, articulate, bright pick-up! Lower output pick-ups (i.e. most others!) - sound and feel a bit flat in comparison, in my experience!

Do you keep your 97 in a case? Try changing the strings, cleaning it with Guitar polish (and oiling the fretboard), and leaving it out on a stand for a few weeks. The original smell must surely dissipate?
 

mudface

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Sometimes a used instrument will end up back in a store because it sucked to begin with..... a 2016 Standard isn't brand new.......... and the 2019 might have been left there for the same reason. Awesome LPs find a home rather quickly. Not to say that good timing can fetch your dream guitar.

Though i agree with the other posters here..... it may be the hot pups in that studio you have.
 

BKS

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Just send it over i take care of it so you don't have to think about it anymore. No charge at all, i like patchouli...to a degree...
 

Justin_Case

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I've bought quite a few guitars that had smells to them, the worst was from a sweat dripping chain smoking doper who I swear never bothered to once wipe the guitar down. Totally neglect - bent tuners and green shit on the hardware. That said - it was a killer player and looker under the grime.

I removed all the hardware and used Virtuoso Cleaner on the entire body, then polish. The case was the real offender. Spray Auto Upholstery Cleaner for the interior did a lot. A few days in the sun with the lid open, and nights with activated charcoal got the rest out.
 

JMP

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I agree with others. Invest a little time into getting the smell off of your Studio. Be patient, it’ll go away.
 

dro

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Charcoal, as well as baking soda, will absorb odors.
What happened? One thing is, split coil pickups. I love the bursbucker pro's. But the 4 wire coil splitting models have lost the beef. Also love the 490/498 studio's. 700 great buy/.
Windex fixes everything
 

pillbug

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Hey man, '90s Les Pauls are awesome. So I'd try what others suggested above for getting the smells out. Plus you can't go wrong with just letting it sit outside during the day (on a covered porch or something so it doesn't get tree sap or bird crap on it).

And the other good news is there are tons of other great LPs with the 490/498 combo including '90s Classics and 2010-2013 Tributes. I had a 2011 '50s Tribute Gold Top that sounded awesome and 490/498 is my favorite pickup combo. Of course '90s LP Customs also have this pickup combo (but are obviously priced way higher because of all the other bling).

Anyway, good luck with your great guitar.
 

Dirtyclinic

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When I was younger I put orange peels in my violin case as a humidifier. I didn't have them touching the violin itself, I just put them in the accessories place. It also gave the case and violin a very mild and pleasant scent.
 

dro

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You could try dryer sheets.
In the 80's one night after a gig there were a pair of panties on the stage. I picked em up and put them in my case.
Next week at rehearsal, got a pleasant surprise when I opened my case.
 

kakerlak

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How long have you had the '97? Gotta think the smell can be addressed and there are a lot of good suggestions in here. With summer approaching, it's a good opportunity to leave the case sitting open in the sun, or you could replace it altogether, if you think it's the main culprit (often the case, pun intended). If you're into triple digit temps, though, you might be cautious of getting the case hot enough for the glue holding the wood together and/or the lining to soften and release.

But, just generally, take the guitar all the way apart, clean everything and you might leave it out on a stand/wall hanger for a few months continuously. Letting it breathe should help.
 


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