Tale of Two Les Pauls.– Les Paul
Studio 2013 Review. 5-1-2015
isn’t the first (or the last) article on this site to feature
a Gibson Les Paul, in fact we have reviewed several models
in the past such as the Classic, Studio+ or Double Cut. Things
however change with time and we thought we would check out
these two 2013 model Les Paul Studios.
models we are looking at are a Les Paul Studio in Alpine
White (Gold Edition) and a Goldtop
finished version with a Dark Back.
those not initiated on the Gibson line-up, the “Studio” model
was initially created for those players looking for the sound
and playability of the Les Pauls but with fewer adornments
such as fancy tops or binding which add to the overall cost.
you will notice these two guitars are 2013 editions. They
have been purchased at great prices as Gibson was blowing
them out in favour of the 2014/15 models. Unfortunately the
newer 2014/15 models have suffered a 30% mark-up in price
and now include features such as the dreaded automatic tuning
system as standard, something which one can see on many online
discussions does not work that well.
On paper these two single cut guitars have the practically
the same specs, such as the classic pairing of a mahogany
body with carved maple top, or the 60s-slim taper neck profile.
In the electronics department they sport 490R (Neck) and 498T
(Bridge) humbucker pickups which can be coil-tapped.
Hardware follows with a Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece,
and TonePros vintage style tuners
with a 14:1 tuning ratio for quick string changes.
finish however is where the two guitars differ; the first
guitar we look at is the Goldtop.
This, as its name gives away, has the traditional gold nitrocellulose
finish on the carved top of the guitar with a dark back done
in black nitrocellulose. All hardware is chromed.
rare beast however is the Alpine White Gold Series version.
Only when reading the small print would you realise that the
top is gloss nitrocellulose and the sides and back are satin.
In fact we didn’t realise this until the guitar arrived. It
makes for a very fast playing neck however,which many players
prefer, even to the point of sanding away any gloss finish
themselves. The hardware on this model is all gold plated.
A Gibson hardcase is supplied with
both guitars, which is welcome, as the 2014 mode studios carry
gigbags for some reason.
As with most high end guitars in recent years, one cannot
really fault most instruments unless the rare case comes along
with a fault or two. To be honest we cannot find anything
that stands out on these two guitars. Well built, no finish
flaws, good fret work and well setup to play right out of
Both guitars sound well acoustically when unplugged, the
Alpine White probably rings out a bit more due to the lack
of finish, the Gold Top slightly more compressed. The bridge
pickup gives a great bite and sounds mighty fine with a valve
amplifier and some overdrive, while the neck has jazzy overtones
in clean and can sound creamy when on overdrive with the right
amplifier or pedal.
Two excellent guitars at a great price, we will need to see
how Gibson’s 2014 and 2015 progress moving forward.
By Ernest H Slade
Goldtop Photos By Keeran M.Slade