Ultra modern weight relief x resonance

diogoguitar

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hey guys

For context, I put my LP traditional up for sale because it weighs like 10lbs and I wasn't so happy about it due to its weight. But I REALLY like the way it plays, feels and sounds. I've never had another LP in my life and this one feels like an old broken in mustang. I was kind of expecting that all other LPs would feel the same

but stopped by Guitar Center today and tested a 2018 Les Paul Standard (with ultra modern weight relief). I played with the instrument unplugged like I typically do with my other guitars.

Man, I definitely feel the guitar was "missing something". While I could noticeably see a difference in weight, which felt better on my lap, I couldn't like to play the guitar acoustically. It could have been because the strings are SUPER OLD... maybe it was the fretboard that was so dry that it was kind of grey (instead of the regular rosewood color).

The resonance wasn't there. I don't know if there is anything to do with the neck thickness (my LP Trad has a 50's neck whereas that one had a 60's neck), the weight relief, the old strings... Despite the somewhat acceptable guitar setup, there was no fret buzz and the action was a-ok.

What are your guys thoughts? I think the only way for me to find out if I would like hte guitar is to buy it and do a proper setup? Opinions?

Thanks
 
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jstarr823

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I had a 2018 Studio with Ultra Modern Weight Relief and that guitar was absolutely killer. As with damn near every guitar, it’s a crap shoot. Some dense and heavy guitars sound like garbage and don’t resonate at all, while others are tone monsters. I’ve experienced both with every type of weight relief. Every guitar is different.
 

Scream And Fly

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I’ll share a somewhat similar story of mine. Back around 2005 or so I purchased a new Les Paul Classic. It was the first year that Gibson began making Les Pauls with chambered bodies across most models, but I didn’t know that when I purchased it.

The guitar arrived and it looked great, but it sounded very dull to me when played acoustically and it just felt different, but not in a good way. It didn’t have the same solid chunky weight to it. I realize the guitar is meant to perform through an amp however its acoustic tonal characteristic definitely affects its sound though an amp. Plugged in, it sounded fairly good but not as good as my other older Les Pauls. I didn’t know why until I found out the guitar was chambered.

When chambering was introduced it created some controversy and back then Gibson only mentioned it in one post on their blog. The guitar model pages on the Gibson website didn’t even mention which guitars were chambered, if you can imagine that. Well a month or two later I found out my Classic was chambered but it was too late to return it so I sold it. I bought a then-new Les Paul Traditional Pro, which had the old 9-hole weight relief and that guitar sounds amazing. It had the sounds of a Les Paul that I’m familiar with.

And I will never own any chambered or ultra-modern weight relieved Les Paul again.

The 9-hole weight relief is fine, and Gibson has been doing that since the 1980s, but I’m dead-set against any chambering. I don’t know what tonal differences there might be from the original chambering and the newer ultra-modern type, but I’m playing it safe by avoiding either henceforth.
 

Michael Matyas

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Absolutely the strings are a problem. Every electric guitar I ever tried at GC had strings that were put on incorrectly and the wound strings were dead. But there is more at play here. There are so many variables and one I think is important (and often ignored) is the interaction between the strings and the magnetic field of the pickups. For instance, raising pickups too close to the strings can muddy the sound and inhibit sustain. Pickups too low and the guitar can sound too clean and not kick the front end of your amp. Throw in the string gauge, alloy, windings, the break angle over the bridge, the size and depth of the slots in the nut and the bridge saddles, and you've got a puzzle that is just too complex to unravel. The simple truth is that guitars are like women--you might love one or hate it, or anything in between, but you will never fully understand it. You can generalize about some things (e.g. set neck vs. bolt on, maple vs. mahogany) but you can't predict what will happen between the strings and your ear. For instance, I have a $75 ugly-ass bolt on LP wannabee that sounds great and rings forever. The only thing I did to it was clean it up, restring it, and turn the tuneomatic around because it played sharp (it was so cheap the bridge was put in the wrong place). I would not dream of doing anything else to that guitar. So if you are going to shell out Les Paul type money for a new, lighter guitar you are going to have to like everything about it better than the one you have. Maybe there's an SG out there that will become your new soulmate? Keep looking, take your time, and keep an open mind. Best of luck!
 

mudface

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I have a 2013 Standard that has the original version of the modern weight relief... the spokes being wider than the Ultra Modern WR.... and I also had a chambered Studio Shred with a Floyd.

I still own the Standard,.. a monster of a guitar....harmonics and complex overtones that simply amaze. Outstanding instrument.

The Studio was traded for a Historic deal.... it was a sweet guitar as well. It was a triple threat. It had a Floyd, chambered and a Richlite fretboard.:rofl:

Someone I knew wanted that Studio and I wanted this Historic CC so I made the deal.

It’s a crap shoot with these guitars.... there is a POS in every bunch. But I wouldn’t knock chambering or weight relief as a direct issue. Custom Shop Historics with solid hand selected BS wood can be turds too.
 

diogoguitar

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I had a 2018 Studio with Ultra Modern Weight Relief and that guitar was absolutely killer. As with damn near every guitar, it’s a crap shoot. Some dense and heavy guitars sound like garbage and don’t resonate at all, while others are tone monsters. I’ve experienced both with every type of weight relief. Every guitar is different.
Okay, this is the kind of answer I was looking for.
Not that I wanted a positive confirmation or anything, but wanted to hear from someone who played a relieved guitar and had first hand experience. Makes sense, so probably is the strings that are deadening the vibration of the instrument maybe?

I remember having the same feeling when I played a PRS Custom 10 top... I was so unimpressed with the instrument. Maybe same reason.

I did strum a bit a Slash signature and the newer Standard 50's that were sitting there and they felt better, but I think it's an unfair comparison vs the Std I played because the STD had been sitting for longer (and the strings are like a year older vs a couple of weeks on the newer guitars)
 

ARandall

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Well, this topic is essentially a moving set of goalposts.

Construction is not a be all and end all......not only do people like a wide range of guitar types, but the tone and feel even within one construction method can be wildly variable. Hell you can pull 3 of the same model and likely find 1 that is either very much better or much worse than the other 2.
Some don't like any weight relief to a Les Paul, because 'thats not what a LP is supposed to be'. But a good proportion of the history of the guitar features weight relief of some from or another.
But even then a non solid guitar doesn't just sound bad....there are countless semi-hollow aficionados both in Es 335 type size and even the ES Les Paul to realise it is a valid build method.
But even a few blind tests done here pitting a chambered LP vs solid had at least equal liking for the tone for the chambering as 'a good iconic Les Paul tone'....not just as something good for something different.

So in essence guitars of any construction can provide the resonance that is pleasing to you. You just have to find them.
 

Michael Matyas

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I recall seeing a Gibson LP that had a body about 1/4 inch thinner than their usual stuff. I never played it and I don't know what the model was called. This guitar hung in my local GC for about a year. I have no idea whether or not it was weight-relieved, but I'm guessing it was not necessary on a thinner guitar. Something like this could be just what you are looking for, dio.
Does anybody out there know what this model was, and is it still available?
 

LocoTex

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I recall seeing a Gibson LP that had a body about 1/4 inch thinner than their usual stuff. I never played it and I don't know what the model was called. This guitar hung in my local GC for about a year. I have no idea whether or not it was weight-relieved, but I'm guessing it was not necessary on a thinner guitar. Something like this could be just what you are looking for, dio.
Does anybody out there know what this model was, and is it still available?
Wasn't that called the Les Paul Lite?
 

diogoguitar

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So do you guys really think the strings are muddying the resonance of the guitar? The guitar was in tune and "a-ok" setup

I might go there, buy the guitar, string up, setup and see what happens...

I think GC has good return policy anyway. Thoughts? Please let me know if it's a waste of my time.
 

ARandall

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Nobody else will know if it is or isn't a waste of time.

Only you will know this once you have done it.
 

afireinside

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I agree i have had x3. Far worse then my x2 soild no weight relief trads.


#1 a 2010 preflood tribute p90 was chambered sounded dead and hollow,

#2 a silverburst studio that Uknowingly was chambered sounded blah dead and hollow.

#3 was a 2018 standard with ultra modern weight weight relief was better then the chambereds but not by much played amazing best top ive seen on any Gibson ever. But just never played it because it sounded dead and thin
 

Lester

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So do you guys really think the strings are muddying the resonance of the guitar? The guitar was in tune and "a-ok" setup

I might go there, buy the guitar, string up, setup and see what happens...

I think GC has good return policy anyway. Thoughts? Please let me know if it's a waste of my time.
Why not find one that already sounds great? I would only do what you suggest if there's something very attractive otherwise with this guitar that merits the extra hassle.
 

ehb

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If it is dead acoustically, it ain’t the chambering. Strings can be it to an extent.

The neck is the same whether chambered or not. <—- read that a couple of times.

Walk away.
 

madhermit

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I recall seeing a Gibson LP that had a body about 1/4 inch thinner than their usual stuff. I never played it and I don't know what the model was called. This guitar hung in my local GC for about a year. I have no idea whether or not it was weight-relieved, but I'm guessing it was not necessary on a thinner guitar. Something like this could be just what you are looking for, dio.
Does anybody out there know what this model was, and is it still available?
Maybe a Studio Lite? It had a core of ‘chromeyte’ or something which was apparently just balsa wood. Interesting concept. Fill in the holes with a super light wood.
 

DBDM

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I have made my own little study of Gibson Weight relief. I own an xray machine and I have xrayed many Gibson Les Pauls (if anyone wants to come to Nashville, Ill xray yours). One thing that I have learned is that vastly most of the online experts are simply wrong about the definitions of the different forms of weight relief and the variations of different forms of chambering and weight relief. Especially "Ultra Modern". Below are 2 Guitars with "Ultra Modern" weight relief. One a 2002 Custom Shop Class 5 Standard and the other a 2006 of the same model. See for yourself and try to find one of the keyboard warriors with the correct photos or schematic. I never have seen an online article that is correct.
2002 Les Paul Custom Class 5 xray.jpg
2006 Class 5 Black.jpg
 

DBDM

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the xrays are the same machine but I was playing with the colors and the densities (to show different features) which is why they are different colors. Interesting to see how the different tailpieces (on other Gibsons--heavy vs light) and the different pickups and windings show up on xray. I have found different materials used, different truss rods, and obviously surprises in the weight reliefs/chamberings. Seymour Duncan pickups (not pictured here) do look different on xray than other brands.
 

DBDM

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The neck is the same whether chambered or not. <—- read that a couple of times.
Yes and no. There are (of course) maple necks. Also the density of the wood (speaking of mahogany) on some LP necks differs DRAMATICALLY. Some of the mahogany is very light (nearly see through) on xray and some are quite dense making it difficult to see the other features of the neck. Also some are quartersawn and others not. I have seen quartersawn, rift sawn, and plain sawn necks on LPs (of different vintages). I would respectfully disagree that with 2 different woods, DRAMATICALLY different densities of mahogany, and 3 (at least) different sawing techniques that they are "all the same". I will say that most recent necks seem quite similar and all mahogany and seemingly all quartersawn.
 


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