NGD: finally! Orville Les Paul Custom

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by GuitarIV, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    939
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    Hey everyone,

    so finally I have the time to write this post, most of you have been following my other thread where I teased this...

    The Orville Les Paul Custom I bought used off the Internet is finally here and now that I gave her some TLC she's in proper playable condition:

    20200120_002159.jpg

    Now I have always loved the looks of the Gibson Les Paul Custom. Black and Gold, Silverburst, Wine Red, it doesn't matter. There's something about the binding, the oversized headstock, the diamond and block inlays that makes this guitar simply look right, no matter if you're blasting some metal on it, you play some CCR tunes or do a wedding gig in a suit, it's one of the most beautiful instruments on the planet imho.

    Given that I can't afford the real deal right now, at least not without selling a substantial amount of gear, I had to have this thing. The itch needed scratching and I'm very happy to report that this will do just fine until I get my hands on a real Black Beauty one day!

    There's a guy from Switzerland on my local auction site that imports and sells these, I have been following him for quite a while and once I got notified of him uploading the ad with the guitar I instantly snagged it. There was some waiting involved with customs but the guitar arrived safe and at this point I have to give great kudos to the seller, he packed her up in a way that she would have survived WW3:

    IMG-20200116-WA0012.jpg IMG-20200116-WA0018.jpg

    Now one of the pickup rings broke during transport but that is easily replaced. The guitar is from 1997 and has clearly been played and loved, there's a lot of wear on it but I don't care because it just adds to the mojo. I'm not picky about condition as long as it's nothing major affecting playability, stability or sound.

    For those unfamiliar with Orville guitars: these are not copies of Gibsons, they were officially licensed MIJ guitars built in the FujiGen and Terada factories, the name "Orville" is the first name of the company founder, Orville Gibson. This was their attempt to get their share of the Japanese market back when people were buying Tokais, Grecos, Burnys etc., the Orvilles were priced in between Korean built Epiphones and USA Gibsons.

    You have 2 different tiers, the ones that simply say "Orville" like mine does and the "Orville by Gibson" ones. The latter are the more desirable ones as they have Nitro finishes, Gibson pickups and are closer to the real deal. For more details you can find a Youtube video by Trogly where he reviews one of these.

    Now mine has a poly finish and a rosewood board, in that regard she's different. However we have some cool specs such as a long tenon neck:

    IMG-20200116-WA0013.jpg


    I scraped some of the finish off in one of the pickup cavities, body is mahogany with quite a thick maple cap:

    20200117_140344.jpg

    And after oiling the fretboard I am happy to say this is one beautiful piece of really dark rosewood:

    20200119_231832.jpg
    20200119_231836.jpg


    Now there are a couple of things that needed some work.

    First of all when she arrived and I plugged her in she wouldn't stay in tune very well. A new set of Elixirs, a little bit of sandpaper under the old strings to file the nut and some graphite fixed that. I used the string locking technique, tightened the tuners (which feel very high quality btw) and stretched the new strings, I have ZERO tuning issues by this point. I'm starting to believe that 9 outta 10 times when a Gibson refuses to stay in tune it's a poorly cut nut.

    I never tried the sandpaper trick before, but on this guitar I wasn't afraid to give it a shot and I'll be damned I should have done the same on my Studio back when I still owned her! :facepalm:

    Anyway, the pickups that came in the guitar are japanese PAF copies and they sounded really good, great old school tones. However once I added a Tubescreamer for some grit I got horrible microphonic squealing and for the band I play in that is not acceptable because we do quite a bit of old school hard rock and for that I need distortion.

    So I took a set of Suhr Doug Aldrich pickups I had lying around, I got them used for a great price and I popped them in. The guitar spits fire now!

    Electronics will be replaced at some point:

    20200117_135420.jpg


    So, I'll try to summarize here:


    I paid 750 Euros including insured shipping for the guitar. Customs came in quite expensive at 200, but that's because the idiots took the price in Swiss Francs (the Franc is weaker than the Euro right now), calculated the tax off of that and charged me in Euros. So I paid about 60€ too much. I will write them a letter of complaint so I get my money back. I dunno if this is a scam on their part or if they are simply stupid, but I'll be cautious in regards to future purchases that have to go through customs.


    I got a guitar that feels like quality. You know when you pick up an instrument and you can tell by the feel in your hands it's not built cheap and half assed? This one is a great example. I have become a huge fan of MIJ guitars at this point. My ESPs only confirm that.

    For a 23 year old guitar she has some wear which is to be expected, the frets still have life left in them but I will have to either have her refretted or at least dressed at some point. That's an investment I am willing to make.

    Neck is straight, we have Custom Shop specs such as a long tenon neck, thin binding in the cutaway, bridge posts drilled straight into the body. Guitar resonates unplugged, comes in at 4 kilos (around 9 pounds), is well balanced and feels solid like a tank. The neck profile is the thickest one out of all my guitars, my LP Studio had the 60ies slim taper, this one is thicker. It's not a baseball neck (I played one of those a few months ago) but if you get an Orville be ready to have a huge ass chunk of wood in your hand (pun not intended) :naughty:


    The hardware is solid and I am confident that I don't need to replace anything. I will however most likely get locking tuners at some point simply because they make string changes soo much faster and easier. The stock tuners are totally fine though, they feel as solid as anything Schaller, Grover or Gotoh would make.

    I might pot the original pickups (I've done it before) cause they sound great. For now I have the Doug Aldrich set in there, which is a bit too compressed for my taste. Maybe I finally try some DiMarzio 36th Anniversaries. Whatever I end up doing, the electronics will be replaced.


    So my final thoughts: if you find one of these for a good price, snag it! They are a great modding platform, even though stock they are already good enough, they deliver the look, the sound and the feel of a proper LP, because... this is a proper LP. If you're not a brand whore, you'll be very happy.

    Can't wait to take her to rehearsal this week. She's a keeper. Video is being uploaded to Youtube this very moment so stay tuned.

    20200120_123215.jpg


    Cheers! I'm gonna go blast some tunes on this baby now :jam:


    Edit: Video is online:




    Excuse my playing and the sound quality, this was just a first impression video
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  2. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    1,345
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    ....you actually got customs dutied???

    What country?
     
  3. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    939
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    I'm in Austria and the guitar came from Switzerland. The Swiss are not part of the EU. I never paid any customs when I bought from Germany.

    The Austrian government loves to tax the hell out of regular folks. I'm not gonna get into a political rant as much as I feel like doing it, but as said they overcharged me and I have a suspicion it's on purpose. If they have 5 out of 10 people where they charge 60 Euros more like they did with me that's a nice little sum to put into your pocket. But as said, I'll write a complaint letter. I knew what was coming as soon as the package status said "customs".

    Still don't regret the purchase.
     
  4. axe4me

    axe4me Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2013
    Messages:
    5,565
    Likes Received:
    5,719
    Congrats.

    A beauty.
     
    Mitchell Pearrow and GuitarIV like this.
  5. BanditPanda

    BanditPanda Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2015
    Messages:
    5,247
    Likes Received:
    5,488
    Location:
    Montreal
    Very very nice Ivy.! I also love that model of LP.
    Just curious if you ever looked at the Epiphone version and if so how you felt it matched up?
    BP
     
    GuitarIV likes this.
  6. ampeq

    ampeq Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    800
    HNGD! How come Gibson isn't bitch'n about the head stock, or for the matter the name. You would think that guy in the leather jacket would be all over that thing.
    BTW, now THAT is a Marshall amp.
     
    Mitchell Pearrow and GuitarIV like this.
  7. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2019
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    92
    Grats man. Nice that its long tenon. It may be psychological on my part but i think the long tenon and beefy necks are why historic type guitars sound/feel better. Thats pretty light weight for a custom too so thats good.
     
    Mitchell Pearrow and GuitarIV like this.
  8. Gunner64

    Gunner64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Because It is a Gibson that was produced by them in Japan after they shipped Japanese epi production to Korea. they can't sue themselves. It isn't a knockoff or clone. Read the thread or better yet google the Orville Guitars.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  9. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    698
    My No 1 is an Orville by Gibson sunburst. I will never sell this guitar as long as I can play. It is as good a Les Paul as I heve ever played and has put a few high end US Gibson owners' noses out of joint when they played it.
    These guitars are top end quality. Well made long tenon LP for this money? No brainer.
     
  10. Gunner64

    Gunner64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    I hear you. Guitar iv said he'll keep this until he gets a real Les Paul. This is a real Les Paul. If he gets a chance, he should go out to a music store and play some Gibson USA Les Pauls. I bet he'll be suprised by the quality of the Orville in comparison to many USA Gibsons.
     
  11. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    939
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    Haven't really tried the Epi Version. I know there are Fujigen made Epiphones with the Gibson headstock, they were introduced after the Orvilles were discontinued, so they should be similar in quality :)

    A friend of mine recently bought a new Epiphone 1984 Explorer and I must say I was highly impressed with that guitar. Even though they are China made, they have decent quality instruments. New NAMM guitars also look great especially with the new headstocks!

    As Gunner pointed out, these guitars were commissioned by Gibson, so they can't sue themselves haha :D

    And thanks! Love my 2203. Sound of rock n roll hehe

    Man, whatever it is, I'm falling more and more in love with this thing. With some serious distortion going on I have fat and rich harmonic goodness on the bridge and thick and syrupy lead sounds with the neck pickup engaged, the guitar sounds great! I'm sure the Aldrich set helps but it feels alive, even unplugged.

    I hear ya. If I find another one for a reasonable price, I might snag it. Very impressed so far.

    I might have to try just that! :D


    As said guys, video is up. Hear for yourselves. Cheers!
     
  12. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    373
    Cool guitar! How does the laney hang with the marshall?
     
    GuitarIV and Mitchell Pearrow like this.
  13. ampmadscientist

    ampmadscientist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Messages:
    15,444
    Likes Received:
    9,322
    Location:
    Start the reactor... Free Mars!
    Does your Orville have binding over the ends of the frets? (like a real LP)
    Or does your Orville have frets ends on top of the binding? (like in the picture)
    [​IMG]

    The second difference I noticed is that there is no shielding for the control cavity (a real LP is shielded).
     
    Mitchell Pearrow likes this.
  14. Mitchell Pearrow

    Mitchell Pearrow Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2018
    Messages:
    9,042
    Likes Received:
    13,907
    Location:
    Moreno Valley CA
    Congratulations on your new axe brother , I do believe you will cherish this instrument for all of time !!
    Cheers
    Mitch
     
    GuitarIV likes this.
  15. GuitarIV

    GuitarIV Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2017
    Messages:
    939
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    The Laney is a biest. One of the best purchases I made, I used it for rehearsals, live gigs and I record and practice with it at home all the time. It's 15 watts, so it sounds whimpy compared to the 2203 (most amps do) but it can hang with a drummer if you have the right cab with the right speakers and it's plenty loud for medium gigs.

    Actually thinking about picking up the bigger 120 Watt brother. The tone is great, very hotrod Marshall like with its own flavour going on :)

    Only a few special run Orvilles had the fret nibs as far as I'm aware of. And shielding on a Gibson? I haven't seen it before. I have seen my luthier build his LPs with control cavity shielding, but his guitars cost as much as a Custom Shop LP will set you back
     
    jchrisf likes this.
  16. mickeydg5

    mickeydg5 Well-Known Member VIP Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Messages:
    23,565
    Likes Received:
    10,627
    Location:
    US of A
    No one ever talks or has interest in the Wilburs.
     
    Geeze, Gunner64 and GuitarIV like this.
  17. jchrisf

    jchrisf Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
    Messages:
    459
    Likes Received:
    373
    Yeah, I have one too and wish I would have gotten the 60 watter. I love mine but find there is no thump at all so I added a EQ pedal in the loop to boost the low end. Is yours the same? I'd love to find a mod to do this.. then it would be a perfect amp. I love the foot pedal and boost and cleans on this amp along with the two gain channels.
     
    GuitarIV likes this.
  18. Gunner64

    Gunner64 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    6,596
    Location:
    Midwest, USA
    Idk..I hear they Fly off the shelfs..:fever:
     
    GuitarIV and mickeydg5 like this.
  19. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    698
    No nibs on mine. Don't want them either..... So long as the caps are all earthed (grounded....) properly you don't need shielding.
     
    GuitarIV likes this.
  20. purpleplexi

    purpleplexi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    698
    I think that was the Wright thing to say.
     
    GuitarIV, mickeydg5 and Gunner64 like this.

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