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edited over 2 years ago
For a while in the late 2000's I had an '89 (or maybe 88, I'm getting old) cherry burst standard. You know how the post-norlin standards were made until the introduction of weight relief so I won't bore you with details.
I wanted to love this guitar, but it had some classic LP flaws. For starters, there was a rise at the heel that made her tough to set up. Next, she would not hold tune when I was doing a lot of bending on the B string. Classic Gibson. Adding to my set-up woes, the bridge was bending in the middle because the previous owner had player her with 11s and 12s ("they call em regular strings for a reason, regular guys use em," you shoulda seen what this guy did to this 61 SG reissue he won in a raffle at GC... took me forever to take the twist out of the neck so he could sell it!). Also, the stock electronics sounded kinda boxy and blah even through an ac30 or a Plexi.
That said, I made everything work and got her playing well without investing more dough into her and took her on the road for a while. Months of chiropractor sessions later I decided she was too heavy and sold her back to my friend (he missed her anyway). This LP clocked in just shy of 10lbs. SO heavy. TOO heavy.
It occurs to me now as I write this review that this guitar was kinda boxy and sterile unplugged and didn't have the vibrancy I now expect from a carve top. Maybe the pickups were okay and the guitar's weight was to blame. I find the LPs under 9lbs without weight relief or chambering truly sound the best. At approximately 10, this LP was at a serious disadvantage. The strings just couldn't drive the body to resonate nicely. What reached the stock pickups just wasn't special. Even a set of real PAFs with magic winding patterns achieved by rube goldburg (read: leesona) machines, alnico cast using forgotten lore and fairy dust judiciously sprinkled in the adamantium covers by the wee folk who inhabited the old kalamazoo MI shop (which vintage enthusiasts imply must look a lot like that tree the Keebler elves inhabit, though now its the Heritage factory and its manned by mortal men) probably couldn't have made this guitar good.
This guitar taught me a lot about weeding through a lot of Gibsons before buying and also not getting too attached to one until you've played a lot of shows with it. Gibson from any affordable era is a crap shoot, even custom shop stuff. I let my ears and hands decide these days because in this instance I was blinded by the looks of this les paul and a little jealousy of the new rhythm guitarist's standard. Not that his paul was really special, it just looked special...
So I chanced my LP Platinum just for the flash looks, but next time out I will weed through a stack of well worn Gibbies or just get a Greco or Tokai with proper 59 specs. Those bad boys are fairly light from old-growth wood and all that. And the craftsmanship is more consistent than anything Gibson has done since '60? Well, anything they've done LP-wise. The irony is that I am not a big LP guy. I like 2 cutaways on an electric. But I always feel obligated to own at least 1 singlecut carve top. Its like a requirement to bring the rock.
From Gear Setup:
Solid, heavy, reliable and beautiful
It is what it is. A heritage burst les paul. I rewired it with vintage cloth wire, custom wound pickups for a more vintage low output, different caps and so on but otherwise is as it left the factory. It's got a big thick neck which is just what I want in this kind of guitar. Also from the time when fret ends sat over the binding which I prefer. Not keen on nibs! I have a lot of guitars and this is one that will stay with me. It doesn't get a whole lot of studio use but always feels like home. Good if I want to sit around pretending I'm gary moore (without the talent).
I love this guitar.
The LP Standard is a very versatile and fun guitar to play. It is a 2018 Mojave Burst, and looks and plays great. It does not suffer form what the internet typically says are modern Gibson QC problems at all. Friends with older LPS have said they'd trade theirs for mine in a second. The LP makes you play it a certain way, maybe a bit more aggressively than some other models. I have a Suhr Classic S Antique as well (it was a gift/can't normally afford that kind of guitar), and it is great too, but it is cleaner and more refined, and makes me play it differently than the Les Paul. Ok, I suppose I can play any way I want on either guitar, but most guitars have a cool way of leaning the player in a certain direction, and I like what the Les Paul does that way. I also love the out-of-phase, splittable pick-ups, and the bypass options. Traded in an ES 335 on this LP. Loved the ES but found it to be less versatile, and uncomfortable (odd strap placement at the neck) to play sitting down. I also tend to play music that does not require or benefit from the semi-hollow, sort of acoustic tones (I just use an acoustic when I play mellower stuff). The LP has taken some time to grow on me, but now I am glad I made the switch. Wish I could have afforded to have both. Selling or trading in guitars can be more painful than we might expect.
Hammer of the Gods
I purchased my LP Standard in 1975 when Gibson was only focusing on the Deluxe. They did fill orders for Standards by modifying Deluxe bodies for the larger Humbucker pickups. As a result the headstock bell on mine says "Standard" but the back of the headstock says Deluxe next to the serial number. It makes her somewhat of a rare gem to me. She's a beautiful iced-tea sunburst and is completely stock. I recently had some body repair done to fuse the pancake pieces back together - a tricky problem caused by a very dry environment in New Mexico. The work was done beautifully by Jay M.Kolanda of NTL Guitars, Nashville.
You already know it rocks
There are so many reasons this guitar has been around so long and still so popular and copied. This classic guitar is just amazing and magic. There isn't anything really that I can add that you probably haven't already read. Just get a nice leather strap to hold up the weight, and you're good to rock forever. Mine is in the natural finish, which is very classy looking.
From Gear Setup:
Replacing the electronic tuners makes this the nicest les paul I've owned
This amazing guitar was the victim of Gibson's exploration of the electronic tuning system. I replaced these tuners with the standard tuners used on all of Gibson's latest creations and it is now the best playing and lightest paul I've ever owned.
Originally considered a mediocre Les Paul, now considered a great player.
The 80's Les Pauls were considered inferior to their vintage elders from the '50s through the '70s. Along with its much-derided Bill Lawrence "circuit board" pickups, my 1989 Standard was always greeted unenthusiastically when I told someone what year it was made, especially right after I bought it. Now both the 80's Les Pauls and the Bill Lawrence pickups are considered solid player quality. Not revered for any historical significance, but just good guitars. Yes, it weighs a ton, but it still looks and sounds great 30 years after I bought it.