What do ya know? Absence did make the heart grow fonder...

THAWK819

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Back in 2017 I bought a 2016 Les Paul standard at Guitar Center that was still new, leftover stock. I didn't love the top at the time (I was kind of enamored by a blueberry burst at the time), and it had what they called a "fireburst" top. But it played nicely and they offered a further discount on top of the 10% I was already getting for trading in some gear, and eventually it just became too good to pass up.

The first few days I was clearly in a honeymoon period and played it every chance I got. After a few months I found myself having trouble getting tones I liked out of it. It felt like the low end was too muddy with even a small amount of gain, and found I was often accidentally pulling the high E string beyond the fretboard and it would get hooked on the fret ends. It just felt like I was fighting with the guitar at every turn. Eventually, I just got frustrated enough that I put it back in its case, started thinking about pickup swaps or other modifications I might make to it, and just started playing my other guitars a lot more.

Then, after picking up and loving an Edwards LP, and spending a ton of time playing my McCarty .594 the last few years, I pulled the Gibson LP out again to make a final decision on keeping or selling it. After all, it inspired the design of these other two guitars I've been having a blast with the last few years. To my surprise, it felt like a completely different instrument from how I remembered it. Now it seems like I couldn't get a bad tone out of it if I tried.

I think the biggest difference is improved technique in my playing. I used 2020 lockdown time to get some lessons in playing leads and improvising, and now my favorite pass time is scooping up the Gibson LP, putting on a Youtube backing track, flipping over to the neck pickup with just a bit of dirt and reverb on it, and just noodling around for as long as I can. With a tiny bit of delay added with that reverb, it nails the Slash "Sweet Child" intro tone, which is exactly what I've always wanted from an LP.

Looking at this now, I can't imagine how I didn't instantly love this top. Have you ever found love to be lovelier the second time around... with the same LP?

LP Standard.jpg
 

KS 5150

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I had that with my Explorer. Bought it new in 2009, and foolishly sold it in 2011 to help finance my then-historic. Got to missing it after 6 months, and started to search for a similar one. My brother suggested I email the guy I sold mine to, and he just happened to be getting ready to sell some gear. End result is I got it back in Feb 2012, and it ain't going anywhere :)
 

AJK1

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Back in 2017 I bought a 2016 Les Paul standard at Guitar Center that was still new, leftover stock. I didn't love the top at the time (I was kind of enamored by a blueberry burst at the time), and it had what they called a "fireburst" top. But it played nicely and they offered a further discount on top of the 10% I was already getting for trading in some gear, and eventually it just became too good to pass up.

The first few days I was clearly in a honeymoon period and played it every chance I got. After a few months I found myself having trouble getting tones I liked out of it. It felt like the low end was too muddy with even a small amount of gain, and found I was often accidentally pulling the high E string beyond the fretboard and it would get hooked on the fret ends. It just felt like I was fighting with the guitar at every turn. Eventually, I just got frustrated enough that I put it back in its case, started thinking about pickup swaps or other modifications I might make to it, and just started playing my other guitars a lot more.

Then, after picking up and loving an Edwards LP, and spending a ton of time playing my McCarty .594 the last few years, I pulled the Gibson LP out again to make a final decision on keeping or selling it. After all, it inspired the design of these other two guitars I've been having a blast with the last few years. To my surprise, it felt like a completely different instrument from how I remembered it. Now it seems like I couldn't get a bad tone out of it if I tried.

I think the biggest difference is improved technique in my playing. I used 2020 lockdown time to get some lessons in playing leads and improvising, and now my favorite pass time is scooping up the Gibson LP, putting on a Youtube backing track, flipping over to the neck pickup with just a bit of dirt and reverb on it, and just noodling around for as long as I can. With a tiny bit of delay added with that reverb, it nails the Slash "Sweet Child" intro tone, which is exactly what I've always wanted from an LP.

Looking at this now, I can't imagine how I didn't instantly love this top. Have you ever found love to be lovelier the second time around... with the same LP?

View attachment 537668
Practice cures most tone issues
 

Nintari

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Practice cures most tone issues
The problem I have with the whole "tone is in the hands" deal is this: if a guitar sounds great, it'll make great playing even greater.
 

Shelkonnery

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Practice cures most tone issues
My thoughts exactly.
The guitar stayed the same while asleep in the case throughout the years.
But the player might have changed (in a good way in this case).

Sounds like you practiced quite a bit in the mean time. :cool2:
 

moreles

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Every thing you describe is subjective. I'm glad you like it more now. I suspect that most of what you are experiencing is a product of constructively focused attention -- the same thing that happens when someone buys a new pedal and "discovers" that it is a miracle, exactly what they wanted, a Holy Grail, perfect for their signal chain, everyone should buy one, etc., etc. Totally human psychology at work. I'm not being critical at all; I think most guitars, and certainly yours, are full of potential and part of the experience of owning something is discovering not what we want, but what the thing real;ly is and can do. IMO, those qualities usually exceed our own expectations. However, most people are paying for boutique pickup swaps to "improve" the guitar they've played for maybe 3 hours. Glad you love yours. Totally normal process, IMO.
 

THAWK819

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Every thing you describe is subjective. I'm glad you like it more now. I suspect that most of what you are experiencing is a product of constructively focused attention -- the same thing that happens when someone buys a new pedal and "discovers" that it is a miracle, exactly what they wanted, a Holy Grail, perfect for their signal chain, everyone should buy one, etc., etc. Totally human psychology at work. I'm not being critical at all; I think most guitars, and certainly yours, are full of potential and part of the experience of owning something is discovering not what we want, but what the thing real;ly is and can do. IMO, those qualities usually exceed our own expectations. However, most people are paying for boutique pickup swaps to "improve" the guitar they've played for maybe 3 hours. Glad you love yours. Totally normal process, IMO.
I agree with you, and the other responders who spoke about the subjective nature of this. The moral of the story to me, is that it makes me think twice about parting with gear prematurely. I went probably a decade without doing anything to really improve my playing and finally took some proactive steps last year. At the time I didn't appreciate just how much I was bottle-necking the potential of the guitar with my limited abilities. With some new skills under my belt; I'm seeing it in an entirely new light.
 


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