Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2021 11:23 pm Post subject: Les Paul Advice
I know you’ve used Gbsons, in particular Les Pauls on a few tunes. As someone who has played Strats all my life, I wanted some advice in getting into the 24.75” scale guitar game.
Do you have any advice in terms of what to look for as far as good Les Pauls go? Also, there are a few makers apart from Gibson who make Les Paul-is guitars - PRS, Heritage, Knaggs, etc. Have you tried any of these?
The most important advice is to avoid buying a Les Paul with big holes drilled into the body under the maple top. It's the poor man's way of making a lighter guitar, but they sound like shit - just tap around the top with your fingernail and if you hear a drastic change, don't buy it! It's very easy to hear.
Try to find a light one - without the holes. If you have a big selection, like at a big music store, your chances are better. Bring a scale and buy the lightest one they have - again, watch out for the holes!
Next, get rid of those shit pickups - Gibson hasn't made decent pickups since the early 70's. They're so bad that they changed from using 500k pots to 300k, to mask the harsh treble their pickups make. Seymour Duncan makes great pickups for Gibsons - I'd suggest a '59 in the bridge and a Jazz in the neck - great combination. Then you need to change the 4 pots to 500k and you'll have a good sounding guitar.
I don't know anything about the other guitars you mentioned, except for PRS, which I consider "coffee table guitars" made for doctors and lawyers. They look pretty but they're heavy as hell and aren't great sounding guitars.
Thanks Scott. I actually went out to a store (for the first time in almost two years) and tried out Les Pauls. Man, the body shape and the overall ergonomics feel really weird from that of a Strat. Any advice on adapting to the shape and overall ergonomics?
Also, I saw some photos on your website of you playing an SG. Do you still Play an SG?
That's a tough question - by now there might be Les Pauls with improvements - I'm not really an expert. Suhr necks have that nice "pool que" feel - when I play a Gibson with clear gloss on the back of the neck, it really bothers me. Also the body shape of a Les Paul is pretty uncomfortable when sitting - standing doesn't make as much difference.
The best thing about Gibsons is the jumbo frets, but I put those on my Suhr guitars, and now there are strat models with them. I guess none of this is very helpful... I used to play Les Pauls and SGs when I was a kid, but when I switched to strats I never looked back. I only use Gibsons in the studio for layering and auxiliary parts.
Thanks Scott. Yep, I'm on the same page as you in that I don't think anything us going to replace the Strat as my #1. I'm just so used to it and I do think that it's a very versatile instrument. However, I'm looking at the Les Paul as a different instrument that can offer a different tone. I'll try out more guitars and see if I like something.
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