Shootout: Gibson Custom, Bartlett, Yaron, Dave Johnson

buckwild

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For quite some time now I’ve been wanting to do a shoot out/comparison video showcasing a few diff modern Les Paul’s that aim to be the pinnacle of attaining that classic “burst tone”. The differences on these guitars is fairly subtle but if you listen on good speakers and or headphones you can really hear them. If listening just through laptop speakers etc you might not catch all the differences. I had fun doing this. I made 2 versions of the shootout. A Short version that’s just me cutting between guitars in real time. And a second Long version that has the full play throughs of each guitar…flubs n all! Anyways, all 4 of these guitars are KILLER Les Pauls...it would be hard for me to pick one that stands out above the others, they all just offer slight diff takes on that classic recipe.

In this shoot out I’m featuring:

Gibson Custom Shop 59 reissue that is all stock, made in 2020.
Tom Bartlett 59’ Singlecut style, outfitted with Throbak SLE pickups
Gil Yaron 59 Singlecut style with his hand would pickups
Dave Johnson 59 Singlecut with Jim Wagner Godwood pickups

All guitars were plugged straight into a Friedman Dirty Shirley set to have just a hair of grit. That ran direct into OX Box with a 4x12 cab sim(with a bit of reverb) which was direct captured in logic. Only other effect used was a Suhr Koko Boost reloaded to get the slightly higher gain tones. You can see me click it on and off a few times. The guitars are accompanied by some programmed drums and a Stingray Bass track.

Tone knobs are on 10 on all guitars, never rolled off. Was trying to keep things as consistent as possible.

MODS: I wasn't entirely sure where to post this, but since I frequent this subforum most I'm dropping it here. It does feature a Historic Reissue.

Short version


Long version
 

cooljuk

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Wow! Some real nice guitars! I know that sort of comparison is a ton of work. Thank you.

Mostly, I was hearing the amp, I think. In the cleaner parts, like the AIC and MJ riffs, I think I caught more of a fullness and character from the Bartlett. Maybe the Yaron, also. Hard to say with different pickups in each.

Would de cool to hear some more clean material, especially with the same pickups/electronics, and even an unplugged acoustic mic'ed take of just the guitars natural voices. How do you feel they compare, in those ways, from personal experience playing them in the room?

Very cool! Thank you for sharing that. I enjoyed it.
 

maicolp

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for me its either yaron or bartlett. unfortunately when the yaron was available i had no money
now they are rare as hell
 

guitarbob123

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The Bartlett was the standout one for me, followed pretty closely by the R9.

Something about the Yaron one that I wasn't a huge fan of but it's all personal preference anyway!
 

mdubya

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Great demo. :applause:

Confirms that I do not want a Dirty Shirley. :p

I would love to hear those through my friend's JTM 50 clone. But every guitar sounds good great unbelievable through that amp. :thumb:
 

buckwild

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Wow! Some real nice guitars! I know that sort of comparison is a ton of work. Thank you.

Mostly, I was hearing the amp, I think. In the cleaner parts, like the AIC and MJ riffs, I think I caught more of a fullness and character from the Bartlett. Maybe the Yaron, also. Hard to say with different pickups in each.

Would de cool to hear some more clean material, especially with the same pickups/electronics, and even an unplugged acoustic mic'ed take of just the guitars natural voices. How do you feel they compare, in those ways, from personal experience playing them in the room?

Very cool! Thank you for sharing that. I enjoyed it.
Thanks! yeah I had considered doing more clean material but truthfully, for me personally, I play a Les Paul to rock...not for clean work.

As you know these videos are a ton of work, so I wanted to play on my rig that I use for streaming, something I know inside and out.

Regarding a unmic'd acoustic video...I think that would be pretty pointless. I can make pretty much any Les Paul sound huge acoustically just by raising the ABR. :)

In the room they are all quite comparable, and I have them all setup fairly similar to accommodate my personal taste. I will say the Bartlett has always been one of my all time favorite Les Pauls I own. Every time I play it it just feels like a beast, with HUGE tone.
 

buckwild

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Some folks on the gear page asked to her more about my thoughts on each guitar...here they are

Fit n finish I’d give to the Bartlett and the Dave Johnson. The woodwork of Dave and Tom is really unrivaled.

In terms of feel this particular Gibson is just dialed...I got it from Mark Bishop and he really found the setup sweet spot. Dave Johnson’s single cut is also really nice to play. On the DJ the ABR is quite low to the body and I attribute that to a great neck angle. Sometimes when the ABR is far off the body it can be because of a diff neck angle slightly, and I’ve found those guitars feel a bit stiffer and the strings don’t have the slink that makes it fun to play. Top wrapping tends to help Les Pauls like that.

Sound wise I really love the Bartlett, I always have. It’s just a fabulous rock n roll Les Paul. The Yaron has that real tele on steroids vibe. It’s a bit more nuanced, and has a little less grunt. The DJ is also a bad ass rock type guitar. A lot of snarl and punch. This particular historic is one of THE best I’ve had in awhile. It has the lower output pickups which I don’t love, but even still it’s really good. If I had to pick...and I was tracking rock n roll or heavy blues I’d use the Bartlett. It’s a bit tougher to play because it has a huge neck, but it has that grunt and push. It still has the beautiful harmonic sustain too.

hope that helps.
 

none2low

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I'll admit I listed on my cell, so maybe not the most accurate interpretation, but to me I preferred the Yaron overall. It sounded a bit more open and detailed to my ear without any fuzzy congestion in the mids.

In the room and in hand, my preference could be different, which is why these comparisons are always difficult. Nonetheless it's great to have the opportunity to hear all these models back to back.

So thank you for all the time and effort that went into doing this! Now we just need you to swap pickups in each guitar and record examples of each. lol :rofl:
 

buckwild

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So thank you for all the time and effort that went into doing this! Now we just need you to swap pickups in each guitar and record examples of each. lol :rofl:
habhahahahahaha yep I’ll get right on that

in all seriousness I think aside from the higher output Wagner’s all the pickups are in same general style
 

jenton70

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I was listening on Airpods at first and then through a good set of speakers after. It's really hard to hear much difference. Very slight isn't it? It's so much more pronounced when playing without a backing track in-room. That said, I liked the DJ. I hear more cutting mids with that one. But I bet if I listened straight through without watching I wouldn't be able to tell where the guitar switches were.

Cool videos and definitely tells the story of "it sounds like a Les Paul" when the whole band kicks in.

Thanks for posting.
 

Socrates

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Very cool video....and to my ears they all sound so good it's hard to pick...if I had to it would probably be the Bartlett.

On another note...I looove the Dirty Shirley. I dont own the amp but bought the pedal recently to try to get close to that sound...and it does sound awesome
 
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BigJim

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I like the sound of the 2020 R9 and then the Bartlett.

Darkbursts always sound better...
 

L96A1

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I listened at a very low volume and I think the Barlett sounds best, Gil Yaron the second.
The SLE lacks that punch when you hit it hard, thats why I changed to Rewind Creme Brûlée for my Bartlett, making the guitar so much more dynamic and expressive. I think you will love them too the way you play.
Great Demo, Thanks for sharing. Love it.
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Duane_the_tub

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The clarity of those Custombuckers is fantastic. Not surprised to hear they are of the lower-wind variety. That's my jam, so to speak.

Very cool video! Thanks for sharing. It's also cool to put a face (and playing) to "Big Top Joe."
 

Crotch

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I have the same Fender floor mat with my last name on it!

Cool video. Yaron sounded the most bass"y". Only listened to it at work though the desktop speaks.
 


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