Text Box:  For years the Gibson Les Paul has represented the holy grail of guitar greatness. Manufacturers have attempted to imitate the smooth round curves and unique single cutaway but have never really quite ‘got it right’. The sweet sound coming from those patented humbuckers is the equivalent of the full-range singer who can hit the high and bass notes equally well.

But, in my opinion, the only issue was the finish. The classic sunburst or gloss finishes have never really done it for me and I’ve always been on the look out for something different. In 1998 Gibson designed a ‘platinum’ LP. It was certainly different, but to be honest it was a bit naff. Then there was the Zakk Wylde signature model with its ‘circle zebra’ finish, but that was a little too different, and well out of the average price range.

Then came the Voodoo range. Gibson hit the nail on the head- what a finish! Swamp ash wood smoothed over with matt black lacquer and a red wax to pick out the natural ridges, a red pearl skull in the middle of the fretboard and those special black magic pick-ups.

The sound is slight little rawer than the average LP, and that is the intention. The absence of chrome plates protecting the pickups from the strings mean a rougher edge to the high gain end, a pumping bass note and an ear-splitting treble: this guitar is meant to be heard, at last a LP designed for the heavier sound! Nonetheless with a little bit of knobbing around you can also get those velvety clean sounds the LP is famous for. And just you hear it with a Hendrix Wah!

The real bugger with this guitar, as with any other Gibson, is that it’s needs to be played. You’ll have to wrestle with the neck for a while to get your fingers round it, not ideal for lightning-fast solos. Furthermore, it weighs a tonne, even though it’s allegedly 10% lighter than other LPs. Halfway through your gig you’ll be crying out for a chiropractor to sort out your spine. The only consolation is that I suppose once you’ve got used to this guitar, any other guitar will be a doodle to play.

The drawbacks are a small price to pay for the ‘feel good’ factor this guitar gives you. It’s got a great look and, for a Gibson, its excellent value for money.

By Jonathan Sacramento