NGD - Epiphone '59 Les Paul Standard

Glynn

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Sorry, I am getting this up so late, but I had some things to take care first.

I received this from Sweetwater today and the pictures don't do it justice!! I opened it up hoping I was sent an R9 by mistake, but my hopes were swept away by what I saw in the case. It was very cool to open it up and see I got what I ordered and waited so long for. It arrived with no issues that I can see right off the bat, so I took it out of the case and set it on my table and got the reading glasses on. I went over every bit of it.

I really love this kind of finish and it feels great on the neck. I have dry hands, so glossy necks don't really bother me, but this was slick like my Fender AM Elite Strat with the satin neck.

I took off both covers on the back side and looked underneath. I took some pictures.

The worst thing I could find was a sloppy solder joint on one of the pickup wires. No dents or scratches anywhere. The binding looked great. The frets look great.

I took the guitar and plugged it into my amp and checked the pickups, the switch and the volume and tone pots. Everything worked great!!

It came from Sweetwater with a higher string height than I like, so I did a setup on it with the strings that came on it. The neck relief was where I like it. I lowered the bridge a bit to get my desired action an then I tuned it up and checked intonation. Only the low E was slightly off.

This thing sounds glorious!! I played it clean and dirty and it was great! The thing I didn't like was how gummy the strings felt. Felt like they treat them with something at the factory. I wiped them down and kept playing with it. I love the tones you can get with it and how much better the pots worked compared to my Epi ES-335 Pro I just got.

This Epi Les Paul sounded like the real deal to me. I am very happy with how it sounds and I haven't played with the pickup height yet!

I took it back to my table and took the strings off, then took the pickups out and looked underneath and took some pictures. The neck was a BB2 with a date of 2015. The bridge was a BB3 with a date of 2016.

Now, I am a newbie when it comes to veneers and Les Pauls, but in the bridge pickup cavity, the side was pretty unfinished and I couldn't see a veneer and the vertical grains in the cross section of the maple took looked to line up with the exterior. If it is a veneer, I can't see it. It must be 1/16th of an inch or less. I am not sure what to look for but I looked at it really close and it puzzled me why I couldn't see it. I was expecting like a 2mm veneer. It doesn't matter to me either way, but was just wondering about this.

Now, we come to the neck. The thing that everyone is speculating about and expressing their feelings on. The neck was great and I do like it. Here are the measurements:

1st Fret - .906 in.
12th Fret - 1.023 in.

It is a pretty round and full C neck. The only other Epi guitar I have is a slim D 60s type of neck. I do have some Fenders and I can show pictures later of of 70s U neck on a strat and some Fender medium C necks II have for comparison. I really do like it and feels fine to me.

Now for some pictures...I will add some more to this thread later.

59 Lester1.jpg

20200811_213111.jpg

59 Lester Bridge Cavity.jpg

59 Body Shot.jpg
 

peobryant

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Congratulations, that is gorgeous. I ordered mine on March 6th and Sweewater said I should get it September 24th. Yours has a great top and a nice fretboard as well.
 

cliffenstein

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Dang...so beautiful, insanely so. Congratulations!!!!! Neck measurements are well appreciated. I can’t imagine that would feel too thin to me at all.
 

Pop1655

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Congrats! Thanks. Great write up. Beautiful piece!
 

DrBGood

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Now, I am a newbie when it comes to veneers and Les Pauls, but in the bridge pickup cavity, the side was pretty unfinished and I couldn't see a veneer and the vertical grains in the cross section of the maple took looked to line up with the exterior. If it is a veneer, I can't see it. It must be 1/16th of an inch or less. I am not sure what to look for but I looked at it really close and it puzzled me why I couldn't see it. I was expecting like a 2mm veneer. It doesn't matter to me either way, but was just wondering about this.
A 2mm veneer would need much work to bend enough to follow the carved top curves. Veneers on Epiphone have always been paper thin. It doesn't matter, as long as the grain is there.
 

jbash

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If the whole top is flame and not a veneer, the grain lines will match up in the PUP cavities.

Congrats!
 

sdmusic15

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That is beautiful. Best review of it yet. Really making me wish I would have held out for it. I think you’re the only one who gave a neck measurement. There’s definitely a veneer on there though. If you look in the cavity, it touches the backwards N. It’s bright yellow, nearly white from the lighting and what the camera picks up it is very thin. Just trying to point it out.

how do the volume and tone pots clean up?
like with a tube amp at a good volume, can you have the neck pickup volume at 2-3 and still sound clear or does it get muddy?

congrats buddy. It’s good to see you got one without any issues
 

Pappy35

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Looking at those pics, it looks to me like the cap is three pieces (one on top of the other). Like it was made from three thinner pieces of maple. Interesting. As there's no visible center seam, that's definitely a flame maple veneer. Those are usually so thin that the seam is not distinguishable and may be obscured by the finish. All of these are ok by me in order to bring an affordable, yet high quality, instrument to market. You are going to love it.

Can you post a picture of the switch and control cavity? I'm curious the switch and pots.
 

sdmusic15

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Looking at those pics, it looks to me like the cap is three pieces (one on top of the other). Like it was made from three thinner pieces of maple. Interesting. As there's no visible center seam, that's definitely a flame maple veneer. Those are usually so thin that the seam is not distinguishable and may be obscured by the finish. All of these are ok by me in order to bring an affordable, yet high quality, instrument to market. You are going to love it.

Can you post a picture of the switch and control cavity? I'm curious the switch and pots.
I was thinking the same thing with the cap being 3 pieces. It could possibly be 3 levels of routing that was done? Hell Gibson did similar with the 3 layers of Mahogany for the backs, in the late 70s or early 80s I believe
 

Glynn

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Thanks for all the compliments!!

Now that I have had some sleep, I can finish this off.

I was very impressed with the build quality. The inlays on the fretboard were fitted great and I didn't see any filler.

If I looked close enough with my reading glasses on, I could see very faint marks on the fretboard binding where they were rounding and dressing the fretwire. Very hard to see unless you have the right light and good eyes. Nothing noticeable. I think they did a great job on the frets. There were no high ones etc. It was pretty level. No buzzing at 1.2mm to 1.5mm string height. I have it set somewhere in between that. It might be too low for me on bends, I will have to see.

The closest neck profile I have that matches this is my 70's Strat U Neck. I will attach pictures of the two necks I compared this Lester to.

One is a Ritchie Blackmore Strat and the other is a California Series Tele. The Tele is a 43mm wide neck at the nut just like the LP. The tele neck is listed as a medium C. I tried to take pictures that could show the profiles of the necks so you could see.

I am going to have to read up on the veneer process for manufacturing. That yellow edge you see in the cavity is just where the finish ends, can't really see under it well without scraping and I am not gonna do that on a new guitar. I wonder how they can cut a maple veneer so thin without it falling apart or breaking? They must get it really wet to form fit it over shaped maple cap. Must have a special planer type saw that can cut off very thin slices of veneer and it must be very sharp. Anyone who has tried to cut thin sheets of wood will know what I mean. It would break so easy. It will be interesting to learn about this kind of process. I am not claiming no veneer or veneer on this. I am just showing my ignorance on the subject.

This guitar has greatly exceeded my expectations based on what I have seen on other Epiphones LPs I have held or played. It is right up there with my higher end USA Fenders and I have noodled on a few high end Gibsons as well and this Epiphone Les Paul can hold its head up high around such esteemed company. To me based on what I am familiar with, this is a $1300 to $1500 type of guitar. The value I saw on paper has successfully transitioned to the actual product I hold in my hand.

Concerning the pots. The taper is very nice and on my SS Blackstar, I can clean up the tone by rolling off the volume. I haven't played with it enough yet to say for sure it doesn't get muddy, but my recollection is that it doesn't. I was very happy with the pots. The dates on them are pretty old. I think all of them were 2010.

Here are some more pictures.

Lester Pots.jpg
Cali Tele and Lester Neck Profile.jpg
Ritchie And Lester Neck Profiles.jpg
 

Pappy35

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I wonder how they can cut a maple veneer so thin without it falling apart or breaking? They must get it really wet to form fit it over shaped maple cap. Must have a special planer type saw that can cut off very thin slices of veneer and it must be very sharp. Anyone who has tried to cut thin sheets of wood will know what I mean. It would break so easy. It will be interesting to learn about this kind of process. I am not claiming no veneer or veneer on this.
Making Veneer. Pretty cool.
 

Glynn

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Oh I forgot one thing. It weights 8lbs. 2oz.
 

Pappy35

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Oh I forgot one thing. It weights 8lbs. 2oz.
What?!? Must be one of those new ones with balsa wood and helium cores. :rofl:
My 60's is 8 lbs 12 oz. and I thought that was light. Day-am!
 

Glynn

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What?!? Must be one of those new ones with balsa wood and helium cores. :rofl:
My 60's is 8 lbs 12 oz. and I thought that was light. Day-am!
Well, I have a digital scale for weighing myself. Guitar wasn't heavy enough by itself to trigger it. I held the guitar close to my body and weighed myself, then weighed myself without the guitar. That is how I got it. The scale is very accurate, so that should be close to the weight of the guitar. Doesn't feel very heavy. Maybe I got a flamed balsa cap on the body. :p
 

DrBGood

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I am going to have to read up on the veneer process for manufacturing. That yellow edge you see in the cavity is just where the finish ends, can't really see under it well without scraping and I am not gonna do that on a new guitar. I wonder how they can cut a maple veneer so thin without it falling apart or breaking? They must get it really wet to form fit it over shaped maple cap. Must have a special planer type saw that can cut off very thin slices of veneer and it must be very sharp. Anyone who has tried to cut thin sheets of wood will know what I mean. It would break so easy. It will be interesting to learn about this kind of process. I am not claiming no veneer or veneer on this. I am just showing my ignorance on the subject.
On guitars, veneer is glued under a vacuum so it follows any curve. So it has to be real thin for a LP top.
 


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