Most guitarists stick to one brand,
or even or particular instrument for most of their careers,
hence the associations tied between certain guitars and their
players. Then again as variety is the spice of life, something
a little different can be at times welcome.
With this in said I approached
the purchase of my latest guitar with an open mind. During
a recent vacation in Los Angeles I had the chance to test
several instruments in stores located within their famous
“Guitar Row” from Custom Shop Fenders, to Gibson’s both Les
Pauls and SGs.
As now seems usual it was the
first guitar I tried that I liked best. A Gibson Les Paul
Studio Plus, which I eyed as soon as I walked into the store.
Finished in Desertburst, which
is inspired by the colours of Baja from 30,000 feet, the guitar
features a carved and figured AA grade maple top whilst the
rest of the instrument is made of mahogany.
The body and neck are finished
in black and contrast the superb top, with gold plated hardware
featuring throughout the instrument to give it that touch
The neck is a '59 Rounded Les
Paul, with a rosewood fingerboard; classic pearloid trapezoid
inlays adorn this.
After been used to playing Fender
style instruments, a Les Paul is definitely a different animal.
The first thing you notice are the lack of the body contours
and the instrument is heavier that you are accustomed to.
After a warm up though the guitar
feels comfortable and has a nice balance when played in a
standing position (unlike an SG I tested later that was neck
heavy). The neck although meatier than a Tele’s or Strat’s
is very playable and also string bending is easier with heavy
gauge strings thanks to the guitars short scale neck.
The sound coming out of the Marshall
tube stack used I used to test all the instruments is warm
and creamy and has a slight treble edge when I use the bridge
pickup. The neck pickup is warm and mellow, sort of jazzy
when clean and dark when overdriven.
The playing position itself for
the right hand is very comfortable and the stop piece is smooth
On arriving home I was please
to find out that the Les Paul also sounds great through my
solid state Marshall with a thick creamy overdriven tone full
of bottom end. Also a few weeks later after playing several
functions with the instrument it is quite comfortable to play
standing and in my opinion dismisses the myth that all Les
Paul’s are very heavy.
Modifications? None needed apart
new strings and the installation (I do this to all my guitars)
of Dunlop Straplocks to ensure the guitar doesn’t fall off!
A great guitar indeed.
By Ernest H Slade