Les Paul Experts, Your advice again please. (good years/badyears)

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adamm82adamm82 Frets: 185
edited November 14 in Guitar
I've been looking at probably every single Les Paul available online in the past few weeks.

Ones that have caught my eye are either late 80's early 90s models or 2000, Les Paul Standards.
Or more recent models 2010-12

I think I prefer older than the current models and preferred to by used as I want something with a bit of character rather than a shiny new model though I did like the 2016 range. 

I've read all the threads I can about good years and bad years but I wanted to know if there was a big difference in quality between these periods. I know all years throw up good and bad. 





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  • mortmort Frets: 331
    edited November 14

    You're over-thinking this.

    You need to go and play a few until you find one you like. Even with a single year, like 2016, you'll find variations in how each one feels and plays.

    If your research ends with you deciding the 'holy grail' is a late 80s, there's no guarantee that when you play one you'll like it. You'd never touch a 2015 based on comments on internet forums, but I really like mine, having played one and found it suited me.


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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 2814
    As an overview Gibson can make good and/or bad guitars in almost any era/year - 70's have traditionally had a bad reputation but some are okay - You'll have to play each to decide

    In many ways Gibson have called the LP Standard by that name since mid 70's - but they have fine tuned the spec a number of times, especially hardware - Without getting in to the more expensive 50's replicas be it Custom Shop or Historic Collection, IMO the 2002 to 2008 period are pretty good LP's

    The only big no no models for me are the robot tuners, wide fingerboard models and I'm not crazy about that silly locking jack socket and 'printed circuit board' models for the control/pots - Not crazy about some of the 'modern' neck profiles - but appreciate a matter of taste

    I think sometimes it is easy to get hung up on spec and reading about them and as such having a pre-determined opinion about what you think you might need - Only to play that spec and dislike it and or to dismiss another spec (without trying) only to find out it is the one

    If you like the guitar but only have a negative towards the pick-ups, then easy to change as required - many players change p/ups on an LP be it £1K or £5K

    Bottom line is there is probably not 1 year that is the one to have or indeed the 1 year to ignore - maybe an open ended statement but your hands and ears are the best test 

    Some of the best LP's I've played are used models, from any era, with a good refret, probably change of p/ups and often a vintage wiring loom - such chances can seriously enhance the tonal character and playing performance no end - I've seen plenty of 'mediocre' 70's 80's and 90's models transformed with such tweaks
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 2814
    mort said:

    You're over-thinking this.

    You need to go and play a few until you find one you like. Even with a single year, like 2016, you'll find variations in how each one feels and plays.

    If your research ends with you deciding the 'holy grail' is a late 80s, there's no guarantee that when you play one you'll like it. You'd never touch a 2015 based on comments on internet forums, but I really like mine, having played one and found it suited me.


    agree - you've put it in a more simple statement than my reply above
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  • adamm82adamm82 Frets: 185
    mort said:

    You're over-thinking this.

    You need to go and play a few until you find one you like. Even with a single year, like 2016, you'll find variations in how each one feels and plays.

    If your research ends with you deciding the 'holy grail' is a late 80s, there's no guarantee that when you play one you'll like it. You'd never touch a 2015 based on comments on internet forums, but I really like mine, having played one and found it suited me.


    I will try them,
    I am trying to overthink this time as I want to be happy with what I go with and not something in 6 months I want to sell, 

    I'm streamlining and my lack of thinking in the past ended up to many purchases I really didn't need. I am streamlining my guitars to concentrate playing rather that keep buying new gear.

    though I have gone slightly unhealthily obsessed with this Les Paul stuff in the past 2 weeks.
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  • +1 on the over-thinking. If you buy a guitar (or any other gear for that matter) based on what "the internet" tells you is best, you will likely end up disappointed. Try them with your own hands and ears, and buy the one you like the best. simplez.

    Go into a guitar shop, try out a few guitars (plenty sell used guitars), then you will have a better idea about what you are looking for in terms of feel and sound.

    If buying on ebay look for local ones within driving distance.
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  • adamm82 said:
    I've been looking at probably every single Les Paul available online in the past few weeks.

    Ones that have caught my eye are either late 80's early 90s models or 2000, Les Paul Standards.
    Or more recent models 2010-12

    I think I prefer older than the current models and preferred to by used as I want something with a bit of character rather than a shiny new model though I did like the 2016 range. 

    I've read all the threads I can about good years and bad years but I wanted to know if there was a big difference in quality between these periods. I know all years throw up good and bad. 





    Do not underestimate Gibsons ability to make an arse of building a guitar from any decade !
    I work for http://www.reverb.com/uk Any questions, queries, complaints, Drop me a line.

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 5439
    Make a shortlist of features you definitely do or don't want, balanced against how easy and cheap those features are to change, then go and play all the guitars which fall into that category, from any year. 

    You're talking about streamlining your gear and looking for a keeper instead so you will need to find a guitar which really grabs you, but don't overlook those which are great but have the "wrong" pickups or pots for example. 

    All I would add is that once you start trying out dozens of Gibsons the quality is actually way more consistent than the internet would have you believe. 
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  • ellwoodellwood Frets: 302
    p90fool said:

    All I would add is that once you start trying out dozens of Gibsons the quality is actually way more consistent than the internet would have you believe. 
    +1 to this. I have read so much about how terrible Gibson's are, but every one I have owned has been fantastic. And depending on budget, a 90s studio with a pickup swap can be an absolutel bargain...
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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 2689
    ellwood said:
    p90fool said:

    All I would add is that once you start trying out dozens of Gibsons the quality is actually way more consistent than the internet would have you believe. 
    +1 to this. I have read so much about how terrible Gibson's are, but every one I have owned has been fantastic. And depending on budget, a 90s studio with a pickup swap can be an absolutel bargain...
    I've had 5 Gibsons, and two of them have had issues of some kind.  Not insurmountable issues, but they had issues.  If you are fussy about cosmetics it was 3 out of 5.  There was a third one that had cherry stain bleeding over the binding.
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  • sawyersawyer Frets: 94
    edited November 14
    Don' worry about the year. Just keep looking to you find "the one" l looked at loads and loads before getting a 2002 honey burst Standard. Timber and Gibson QC vary immensely.  View each guitar you find on its own merits regardless of year. Obviously nothing from 2015 if you looking for traditional vintage type spec.
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 2814
    ellwood said:
    p90fool said:

    All I would add is that once you start trying out dozens of Gibsons the quality is actually way more consistent than the internet would have you believe. 
    +1 to this. I have read so much about how terrible Gibson's are, but every one I have owned has been fantastic. And depending on budget, a 90s studio with a pickup swap can be an absolutel bargain...
    Gibson do make plenty of good guitars - no two ways about it - but they have made many bad examples - Despite negative vibes and press I would say that the overall playing performance and build quality has been superior over the last 10/20 years - But as mentioned before just ply a few and see what floats your boat - hands and ears (not spec sheets) are the best barometer to test a guitar
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  • adamm82adamm82 Frets: 185
    Perhaps it's all in my mind. I just sold my 2016 Les Paul studio which I really liked. I am also trying to off my SG special and 60s Gold top tribute. 

    Perhaps the Les Paul I am looking for doesn't exist :) 

    But I am keeping my 2016 limited run les paul junior, that's not going to be sold.

    After all of this I'll probably do something odd and buy a strat. 


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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 1954
    The essential thread ended with @mort unless you decide you want x colour with y pickups and z tuners. Play them all until one speaks to you, then buy that very example and take it home.


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  • adamm82adamm82 Frets: 185
    ESBlonde said:
    The essential thread ended with @mort unless you decide you want x colour with y pickups and z tuners. Play them all until one speaks to you, then buy that very example and take it home.


    This may sound odd but sometimes I don't know what suits me or not. I just adapt to what I am playing. Not many guitars have I picked up and ever said oh that's junk. All my guitars I have all have very different necks and I quite like them all. 

    I also suffer from another problem that whatever guitar I pick up i tend to think it's nice. when I was on holiday recently I played everything from cheap danelectro to vintage to a 59 Les paul junior. 
    Though saying that the 59 Junior was perhaps the nicest guitar I had ever played. 
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  • I'd suggest trying out a 2015 model and keep an open mind, and ears! I've got a 2015 Traditional and whilst I wouldn't have opted for the automatic tuning system, it works. More importantly, I like the sound of the guitar.
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  • adamm82adamm82 Frets: 185
    CarpeDiem said:
    I'd suggest trying out a 2015 model and keep an open mind, and ears! I've got a 2015 Traditional and whilst I wouldn't have opted for the automatic tuning system, it works. More importantly, I like the sound of the guitar.
    I've seen a lot of 2015 models and they look stunning. it's just the headstock really puts me off. It put me off buying a junior that year and I wanted a yellow one so badly.
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  • guitars4youguitars4you Frets: 2814
    @adamm82 - what is the best guitar or indeed is the best LP ? - I've sold, played, owned, touched and handled 1000's - no make that tens of thousands and I could not tell you what the best LP is - I recall some great examples and some bad ones and can only reiterate what has been said - play a few and see what floats your boat and no need to rush into it as plenty available - I've played some good of the shelf LP's but I've played a few good ones that have spent a while on a good work bench - Not to long ago I played a white LP Custom that had been to Charlie Chandlers for a re-fret - new wiring loom - new pick-ups (sorry can't recall which but boutique based) but the bottom line was that it was awesome - Pick up all the faults you can and through them back at Gibson, but when they get it right they are special guitars - Sometimes they just need to have such work shop mods to move them up a level - I'm sure that such  guys like @SteveRobinson , Jon at @FelineGuitars and @wezV amongst others can tell you how much better they can be once you have carried out such work

    So consider such work - but the best LP doesn't exist as a definitive answer - but there are many great LP's to consider so enjoy the search
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  • ricorico Frets: 473
    I can’t speak for all of them but my 2000 Standard is perfect. Ebony, grovers and a big neck. It came to me with a refret with big frets. It then went to Feline for an Earvana nut, aluminium tailpiece and general set up. It’s since had some Bare Knuckle Mules and I absolutely love it. 
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  • mortmort Frets: 331
    rico said:
    I can’t speak for all of them but my 2000 Standard is perfect. Ebony, grovers and a big neck. It came to me with a refret with big frets. It then went to Feline for an Earvana nut, aluminium tailpiece and general set up. It’s since had some Bare Knuckle Mules and I absolutely love it. '
    Are you sure they're Mules............?


    I'll get my coat.
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