A Real Les Paul: What Am I Missing Out On?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by GuitarIV, Dec 11, 2019.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    1,756
    So I am quite happy with the guitars I have. But I have an itch, and unfortunately I think it's mainly cosmetic in nature.

    This is my current LP style guitar:

    20190124_151535.jpg

    I'm a big ESP fan, this Eclipse has made me very happy ever since I got her. Love the XJumbo frets, the neck profile, the playability, the sound and at 3,5 kilos (7,7 pounds) she's lightweight and doesn't kill my shoulder and back. I also enjoy the thinner body because upper fret access is easier than on a full thickness model.


    Now here's the thing: I am perfectly fine playing all kinds of music on this axe, from blues to metal (Duncan SH-5 in the bridge and SH-2 in the neck), but when you think of all the blues guys, they play Gibsons. It's an iconic image that's engraved into ones brain.

    It's really stupid and as said purely cosmetic, but I feel like I wanna have a real LP. I had a Studio that was okay but didn't blow me away and the Eclipse is just on a completely different level in regards to craftmanship and sound. Also as said, very different, modern specs.


    So to all you guys who own the real deal, what am I missing out on? Apart from the look and most likely the sound (Eclipses are said to sound brighter and more like a SG due to the thinner body) what can I expect?


    I played a few real LPs and I wasn't really blown away. Small frets, heavy, a very rough unfinished feel to the fretboard and frets, the huge block getting in the way when soloing up high, tuning stability was a nightmare on some, and I tried a boatneck one which felt like I was grabbing someone by the throat.

    I also tried a real old Goldtop at my luthiers a customer had in for servicing (late 50s or early 60s I don't remember but it was from the golden era of Gibson, forgot what he told me) and holy mother of Jesus that thing had the longest sustain ever and wasn't even plugged in. But I'm not rich so I certainly can't afford a true old one.

    I know the whole deal about "you gotta go out and play a lot of them till you find the right one", but I am aware that at this point I am just GASing for the real deal because of the look. And I certainly don't have the dough at the moment either.


    There's a guy on my local auction site that sells japanese Epiphones and Orvilles (they all have the open book headstock) and they deliver the look. At 800 Euros they are very affordable too. Should I grab one of them? Or will I just be dissapointed?


    Insights and opinions are very welcome.

    Keep rocking, cheers!
     
  2. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,602
    Likes Received:
    1,713
    Location:
    West Oz
    I can't speak for Orvilles and MIJ Epis, but I have put my '81 Greco Super Real EGF850 up against an '83 LP Standard with Shaw pups, + a '17 LP Standard, an '18 Heritage H150, and an '18 Les Paul Traditional. The Trad matched it for tone and playability (at 10x the cost), the Greco outgunned all the others. Guitar upgrade mission was over, I spent my windfall money on a Carr Mercury V amp instead :yesway:
     
    jchrisf likes this.
  3. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    12,527
    Likes Received:
    12,163
    Location:
    Taintville
    I own several and it comes down to what you want and like! Mine range from a 2000 to 2016 models. They all have the thinner 60s neck and they all have excellent build quality and fret boards...no issues at all. Some of the 07 models are a bit lighter if thats what you want. I once had an 07 model that weighed in at 7.2 lbs. It had a 50s neck so I eventually sold it. Thats about all I can say...its all about what you want, like, enjoy and can afford!
     
  4. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    1,602
    Likes Received:
    1,713
    Location:
    West Oz
    :agreed: You can read up on 'em, but you gotta play 'em before you buy, to really know.
     
  5. tallcoolone

    tallcoolone Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    720
    Likes Received:
    1,162
    Absolute truth. One man’s perfect is another’s pos
     
  6. tce63

    tce63 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2018
    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    2,714
    Location:
    Sweden
    So true :applause:
     
  7. ricksdisconnected

    ricksdisconnected Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2019
    Messages:
    975
    Likes Received:
    1,516
  8. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Messages:
    4,959
    Likes Received:
    4,923
    Location:
    Montreal
    Find one that feels right in your hands and on your shoulder and sounds real good to your ears.
    Get it.
    If in the end it just doesn't do it for you sell it .
    BP
     
  9. El Gringo

    El Gringo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,494
    Likes Received:
    1,343
    Location:
    Shakedown Street
    Gibson Les Paul's are the best , the tone is to die for and once that gets imbedded in your skull and ears it's not leaving or getting any better ( of course it goes hand in hand perfectly thru a Marshall amp , cranked preferably of course )
     
  10. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Messages:
    13,597
    Likes Received:
    9,872
    I've had plenty of knock off guitars through the years and still do (your ESP is a pseudo LP knock off) and they always left me yearning for the real thing as you are experiencing. Save up your money, sell off gear you don't use (and anything else in the house you don't need) and in no time you will have the cash for a real LP. Take your time choosing one, you will save a bunch of money if you buy used, find the one that makes you smile. :yesway:
     
  11. Kutt

    Kutt Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2010
    Messages:
    980
    Likes Received:
    1,228
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have an Eclipse II. I also have two LP Traditionals and LP Studio. They all hang similarly on your shoulder and have a similar feel but the tone is what separates an Eclipse from a Les Paul.

    You gotta play as many LPs as you can to find the one that's right for you. I think when Gibson started Pleking around 2008 it helped a lot. However, back then they didn't Plek every instrument. I think they claim to do so now but I don't know how true it is.

    There is something about the combination of the wood, approach to construction, and Gibson pickups that make them sound like nothing else. There are a lot of dogs and shoddy ones out there which is why you need to play as many of them as you can.
     
  12. Derek S

    Derek S Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    2,653
    Location:
    Rock Ridge
    The distinct tone. That's what the fuss is about really. Everything else is a matter of personal pref. I grew up a super strat player, never got comfy with Les Paul's, just never loved the neck, the looks, the vol/tone knob or pickup selector positioning, etc, bleh...yet when it comes to tone, even I have one nice LP in my stable to have that killer, unique quality tone readily avail.
     
  13. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    1,367
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs - USA
    I would not get the Epi or Orville. Not that there's anything wrong with those, but I would think they'll leave you in the same position you're in now with the ESP - it's close but not all the way there.

    I was like you and for years always wanted a real Les Paul. Then when I finally had the money to spend on one and went guitar shopping, I ended up with a PRS Custom 22 - which was about $1,000 more than the LP. This was after several trips to the local stores so it wasn't a rash decision - and it took some honest decision making on my part because I so badly wanted a LP, but the reality was I kept gravitating to the PRS. And yes, I know a PRS and LP are two different animals. But when it came down to it I realized I wanted a Les Paul probably for the same reason you do - more cosmetic/I really want to own one vs. what speaks to me. Very happy with my decision and haven't looked back.

    A few years ago I had a bad case of GAS for a P90 guitar. Started looking at LP's just because I thought that's what I should get. Ended up with an SG this time lol. I guess it's not in the cards for me to own a LP and frankly my desire to own one has pretty much vanished. They're great guitars, sound awesome and are simply iconic - they're just not for me.

    The funny thing is that for someone growing up always wanting a Les Paul, I look at the guitars hanging on my wall and I have my Harmony Les Paul, PRS, Strat, SG, Ibanez RG and Ibanez AX - all double cut guitars except for the Harmony. I guess I'm not the single cut guy I thought I was :)

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
     
  14. anitoli

    anitoli Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    7,003
    Likes Received:
    8,009
    Location:
    Lewiston, Maine U.S.A.
    What are you missing out on?
    Not much. Really if you have to try 26.5 LP's to find a good one i would be looking at a different manufacturer.
     
  15. Michael Roe

    Michael Roe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2017
    Messages:
    1,437
    Likes Received:
    3,464
    Location:
    Springfield, Ohio
    Yeah, there is nothing like the real deal. It is true you have to play a bunch and find that "one".
    Another thing to keep in mind when comparing the real deal to other single cuts and even Studios, look very closely at where the bridge pup is located. On a real LP the bridge pup is very close to the bridge unlike your ESP, a Studio or an Epiphone. Your ESP pup looks like it is in the same location as an Epiphone (more space between bridge and pup). The Studio is about half way between a real deal and an Epiphone. In other words, the cheaper the guitar, the further away from bridge. I am quite sure this does something to the tone. Also, the body is a bit thicker on the real deal compared to a studio.
    Yes, a real LP is going to probably be heavy and maybe not as fast playing as other guitars but the tone, the tone, the tone!
     
  16. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    897
    Likes Received:
    1,756
    Well guys, I went to my local music store today to get strings and some CTS pots. I also decided to window shop around a bit.

    I tried a Japanese made Tokai Les paul and although it sounded good I didn't like the neck. Frets were also super tiny. Something completely different to my Eclipse.

    Then I tried a Maybach Albatroz (SG copy) and it left me very unimpressed. Excibited the same tuning problems with the G string Gibsons are famous for.

    Last but not least I tried this thing:

    IMG-20191211-WA0011.jpg IMG-20191211-WA0012.jpg

    Holy mother of Jesus. Wow.

    Rocksolid and in tune, mean raw sound, great playability on the higher registers, awesome tone and resonance unplugged. Light as a feather.

    I guess I won't find a proper LP that soon when apparently lots of other guitars speak to me. I mean I asked my music store if they offer payments in rates. But that was just a dumb thought of mine, can't afford that right now. I have a feeling I will start looking for used double cut jrs. :rofl:


    Thanks for your opinions everyone, I won't buy the Epi or the Orville. I have a feeling with something like this (unlike with ESP, I own 3 and every single one of them has been consistent even though bought sight unseen) I wanna be able to test the guitar out in person and see if it speaks to me.

    I mean I just tried out 3 different guitars of which 2 left me unimpressed and the third one blew me away...

    Anyway i'll keep playing my Eclipse. I love that thing. I have my Strat as well. One day I hope to find a proper LP. Or maybe a DC Jr. :D

    Cheers!
     
    ssolo8, SkyMonkey, jmp45 and 4 others like this.
  17. El Gringo

    El Gringo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Messages:
    1,494
    Likes Received:
    1,343
    Location:
    Shakedown Street
    ricksdisconnected likes this.
  18. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2019
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    1,122
    Location:
    South of France, Europe, Earth
    Totally agreed on all points. There's something very unique to real Gibsons that no knockoff completely captures. Also, to me it's the quirks of a Gibbie that make it what it is, in the same way that no other brand completely captures the essence of a good Marshall (or a Strat, or a Tele, you get the idea). Anything that tries to "improve" it makes it more "different" than "better", to me at least.

    I also agree to keep an open mind when trying out LPs, and not focus too much on years/model (unless you're looking for a particular set of features). The best guitar I ever played, and that I A/Bed directly with Andersons, 80s US Schecters and a '68 Gold Top, was...a wine red 78 LP Std. Man, did it sing and play great. Straight from what's supposed to be Gibson's worst era (the Norlin years), and it was an amazing instrument ! Killer feel, super alive, just perfect. The guy who owns it won't part with it unfortunately...
    Another friend of mine also has a KILLER '80 Custom (the one with a maple neck) that sounds great and plays incredibly. Just a perfect rock n' roll machine. It has 11s on it (tuned in Eb) that feel like 9s, it's effortless to play.

    So yeah, try as many as you can, some of them are not so good (even though newer ones seem to be more consistent), but the good ones are something special. And the best ones are just stellar(especially the older ones, even more if they've been well played), in a way even "boutique" stuff I've played can't emulate.
     
    GuitarIV, MarshallDog and tce63 like this.
  19. KraftyBob

    KraftyBob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    1,367
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs - USA
    Yep - my SG has it too. I just tune the guitar with my tuner and then fine tune the G string with B. Works like a charm. Kind of quirky but certainly not a show-stopper.
     
  20. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    12,527
    Likes Received:
    12,163
    Location:
    Taintville
    And hes talking about geetars just to be clear :lol::lol:
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice