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

SLA

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Ok, derringers "knockoff" is than "special" because it only involved ONE person in the production? What else makes this guitar so different from the original brand les pauls and other "knockoffs"
Taking Slash's Derrig as an example of LP replicas is sorta incorrect, as it is a luthier built guitar. It has little in common with Grecos or Burnys. The most comparable current thing I can think of would be Gil Yaron's LPs. Which are WAY pricier than any MIJ LP knockoff (or than most CS Gibbies, too).
, please elaborate..
 

WellBurnTheSky

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Not Derringer, Kris Derrig is the one who made the Appetite LP (Slash also used a "Max" Baranet replica, these are the ones he toured with also).
These are entirely handmade, with very select woods. Which makes them an entirely different proposition than any production model, with WAY more hours of labor involved. Which incidentally brings the price up to (or even higher) price tag than True Historic or CC Gibbies. We're talking higher end of boutique stuff here, and levels of workmanship that are comparable to what is expected of top-range modern day classical instruments.
Look up Derrig and Max Baranet LPs, they usually fetch 5-digit prices used (collectability and rarity being a factor in here of course).

So you cannot realistically lump them in with MIJ production LP knockoffs, however good these are for the price they're at.
 

SLA

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I know the history of the slashs different les pauls, so you made a case about the price and why thous guitars should and are more expensive, handmade and many hours work (ineffective would some say) something else? one thing about the selected wood is the highly flamed top, is that relevant for tone?

i mainly lumped them in because theire NOT Gibsons (and also great), as many people are so obsessive about the logo..
 
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WellBurnTheSky

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There's MUCH more to selecting woods than just a figured top. Wood density, dryness and age are much more of a factor to how the instrument ends up sounding. And older, not as dense mahogany taken from older wood stocks cut from older trees and kept to dry for extended period of time will cost a lot more than any piece of wood use on production guitars. Which in turn results in a lighter, more resonant guitar. But obviously will drive the price of said guitar up. A LOT. Just because "old-growth" trees (as in, centuries-old) have pretty much all been harvested at this point, plus companies can't afford to have large quantities of lumber sit in warehouses drying for decades. So, the best woods for luthiery are rare and in much demand, which obviously drives the price up.

As for handmade work, different methods of finishing (over bigger periods of time per individual instrument probably) will end up driving the cost up too, but also have an impact in the guitar's resonance. Ineffective ? From a production/engineering/cost-efficiency point of view, yeah probably. But from a pure craftmanship/luthiery point of view, now that's a different story.

People LOVE to rant about the price of Gibson's high end Custom Shop offerings, but that's the reason why their guitars are so expensive. Very select woods , many hours of work from a few select highly-skilled luthiers (which don't get paid minimum hourly rate by any stretch of imagination) starting with carefully selecting timber for a particular build result in a pricy instrument. As should be.
And tbh, compared to the prices world-class classical instruments fetch (or even vintage guitars), CS Gibbies are pretty cheap for what they are. I've seen my share of classical players travelling with 5-digit and up price tag instruments.
Just this Tuesday I ran FoH for a few world-class harp players (as in harp the wooden plucked stringed instrument, not the metal thingy you blow into, mind you), and we had a few hundreds of thousands euros for just the five harps that were sitting on stage. Worked with a few pretty pricey Steinways too. Now THAT is expensive, and doesn't even have "highly figured top" (which to me belong in furniture to begin with, but I'm not a fan of those in a for themselves anyway). Just brilliant instruments that are painstakingly hand-built by artisans (artists, if you ask me) who know what they're doing better than pretty much anybody and strive to build the very best instrument possible, regardless of cost. Which is pretty much the polar opposite of mass-produced instruments, however well-built they are, and how good they are for their price point.

In all honesty, I'd strongly advise you to go visit your nearest luthier (that actually builds instruments from scratch), watch him work and talk to him about this. It's nothing short of fascinating. Hell, there's even several luthier-centric channels on Youtube if you're so inclined.
 
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SLA

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I almost thought I lost you.. :) I'm not going to argue with you. I know what your talking about and agree. I was
curious what answers I wold get, would it be the same old "gibsons is the best what so ever" or some serios stuff ;D
I stated that the Gibsons les pauls I played where standards etc, not the CS stuff, so my comparsion to the MIJ was from there.
I still have to try out the customshop les pauls, and would it not been for Burny and grecos I'm suspecting I already would own one..
 

WellBurnTheSky

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Well, I've had the opportunity to play various SG/LPs (the very early ones), a couple '68 GoldTops, some L series Strats, 60s 335s and some other fancy stuff (never had the chance to lay my hands on a real golden era LP though). And I've played a few CS Gibbies, all of which were stellar instruments. Played great too. Especially one R8 that was absolutely amazing, super light, very resonant even unplugged, and sounded absolutely killer plugged in (can't remember the year though). Way above any "production" LP I've played (some of which are great guitars in their own right, including mine...I got lucky I guess), except one '78 LP Std that might be the best guitar I've ever played, period. That thing is unreal.
But I've also played a number of production Gibbies that were kinda meh, nothing to write home about.

All this to say that while I don't think Gibbies in themselves are the best guitars ever (though that is a matter of taste, and I much prefer most real LPs I've played over any derivative I've played so far, they just work for me), their Custom Shop pumps out amazing instruments that to me absolutely are worth the price, especially when you see the amount of work that goes into them. I'd love to play one of the True Historic or CC, though I fear it would leave me desperate to find some way to get one...

And in my experience (I've played a couple of them), most of MIJ LPs are very good instruments, especially at the price point, and the best ones definitely are better than a meh Gibbie...but in turn, none of them sounded "right" compared to a good LP. In the 1k to 1.5k€ range, I'd much rather get a 90s Classic than anything MIJ tbh (Classics happen to be quite consistent too, I've never actually played a bad one).
Between a MIJ and a Studio or similar LP...now that might be a different story, but it would come to the individual guitar, and how they sound and feel. Which is the fun part with wooden instruments IMHO (above a certain quality/price point), hard to paint in broad strokes where each and every instrument has kind of its own personality, no matter how consistent production may be.
 

SLA

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One thing about the MIJ is the plastic laquer on the more affordable ones I think, even as the construction of the MIJ mostly are great,(The cheap ones mostly have the same construction as the more expensive)
the feeling is not as organic when you hold the guitar, but rather that than the standard gibbis for me. Yeah I heard a lot good about the 90's classics, but they are hard to find, people kind of keeping them..seems i have to start looking for an good r8, starting to get the bug now as I write this..
great insightful post, in sure others think the same.
Cheers
 

BftGibson

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Woah guys, this thread has blown up!

I gave in and bought an Orville LPC:

View attachment 65859

Should be here hopefully this week. It certainly delivers the looks and being a Gibson licensed MIJ build I sure hope it won't dissapoint in regards to playability and tone. I'll keep you posted.

I will still save up for a proper Gibson, but for now this will have to do :)
I just scored Japan Burny RLG85 Custom..how ya liking that Orville? My buddy just got 5 from a collection.. 2 lefties & goldtop-burst-tobacco burst all stock..very cool checking those out. led me down the road to the heaviest custom I could fine..psyched for it to get here.
 

Matthews Guitars

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I myself build a very limited number of hand-built guitars. It's a hobby for me, not a business, so mostly I build for my own enjoyment. But since every time I build a guitar to completion it costs me a thousand dollars, since I cheap out on absolutely NOTHING, I can't afford to be building my own guitar collection all the time. And I don't want to really be a slave to the grind, making endless runs of custom made guitars that have to be done by a specific date. So I'm not really working hard to drum up business.

I can tell you that weight alone is no indicator of sustain characteristics. I've played some 10 pound guitars that had all the sustain of a lump of clay, and six pounders that ring out so long it forces you to apply your muting techniques differently.

All my guitars sustain very well, above average to truly exceptional. It's because I pick woods with good strong resonant characteristics and make them with airtight joinery that couples vibration through the joints very well.

My own personal theory is that guitars that have more symmetrical body shapes will generally have more even string to string and note to note response than guitars that have very asymmetrical body shapes. It relates to the location of vibrational nodes and nulls that appear on the body at different frequencies of vibration. If the instrument is symmetrical, then the nulls and nodes will mostly stay confined to the guitar's center line. The more asymmetrical the body shape, the more those nodes and nulls are likely to end up scattered all over the body. For this reason, the Flying V design is possibly the best guitar of all time, in my opinion.
 

SLA

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Or an Gibson j-45, very symmetrical. Also an Gibson sg or les Paul if you forgett about the cutaway.
Most acoustic instruments tend to be symmetrical..so its seems a valid theory..
 

Matthews Guitars

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The theory is more applicable to long-sustaining solidbodies than to acoustics, but I'm sure it has some relevance to any kind of guitar.
What I really look out for is guitars where certain notes on the fretboard are dead and others ring out and sustain a long time. I have figured out how to make a guitar that has more even and consistent response from note to note. Body shape seems to play a role in this, but the resonances of the various woods used in its construction are definitely a big part of it. I favor pieces that have clear, full, ringing tap tones and the higher the tap tone, the better.
 

MickeyJ

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The guitar that recorded Appetite was a replica, whether built by a luthier or not.
Don't get too hung up on labels, You wanna killer Paul?, you've got more chance of getting one by finding antique furniture made of Cuban Mahogany, and taking that wood to a luthier, than by purchasing a gibson today, either used or new.
Cuban mahogany is the stuff Gibson used before 1960, I believe.
 

Matthews Guitars

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If you use the same woods with similar characteristics and build the guitar in the same manner as the one you're copying, the fact that it's a copy or replica won't keep it from being a Les Paul (assuming that's what you're making) just because it didn't come from the Gibson factory. Slash' Derrig LP copy was actually used as the basis, BY GIBSON, for making the Slash model LPs.

If it was good enough for Gibson to copy a copy of a Gibson, then it must have been close enough to say it's a Les Paul.

I actually think that's funny. "Only a Gibson is good enough." "This Gibson Les Paul model is a copy of a Derrig copy of a Gibson Les Paul. It's one of our most popular models." :rofl:
 

WellBurnTheSky

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Kris Derrig's replicas are said to be amongst the closest you can find (and in particular could find back then) to a real 50s Les Paul, because of the woods used and building construction. And a particularly good one, at that. Slash definitely seems to think so.
So it kinda comes full circle.
Plus no one can deny Slash was very instrumental in Gibson's return to favor in the late 80s (and at one point started using actual Gibsons on tour, once he got the pain top amber Standard), so it only made sense that they built him replicas of the guitar that started it all. Kinda funny yes, but also the most obvious choice for both of them.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Let's not forget that their current slogan is "Play Authentic" which, given the origin of the Slash model, is STILL very funny.

At the luthier's forum, there are several luthiers who are fully capable of making dead nuts clones of original Standards that would be very, very difficult to identify as not being the real deal. They've got the nuances of the design down to a fine art and science, right down to specifically how many router passes are made to cut out the various body cavities, and what is most correct for filler, stain, and finish materials. The only thing that keeps them from being "authentic" is simply that they didn't come out of the Gibson factory.

If a luthier working at Gibson were to make a perfect rendition of a specific model of Fender Strat, at the Gibson factory, in his spare time, would it be a Strat? Yes. Would it be a Fender product? No. Thus, by my way of thinking, a Les Paul can be made outside the Gibson factory, it just won't be a Gibson product and it won't be an authorized reproduction, but it's still a Les Paul in every way that matters to a player if if follows the design exactly.
 

slide222

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are high end gibsons and high end fenders really really worth all that money -what are we talking £3000, £4000 or is it more than that, now that's a great poll right there , I think no would win
 

Matthews Guitars

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I know how much goes into one of my own guitars. My most basic guitars, that are roughly equivalent to a flat top LP double cutaway, begin at a price of 1750 dollars. One like the one in my avatar is 3500 or so.

Let me put it this way: I can tell when I'm playing a more expensive instrument. I can also tell when I'm playing one built to a lower price point. The difference can be subtle but it's there.

That being said, I think that any guitar featuring a bolt-on neck and selling for over 1500 dollars is probably priced well above its value.
 

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