How a guitar feels and sounds are two very important considerations when it comes to buying any guitar – Yet a web site is not the best place to actually undertake the ‘hands on test drive’ approach – As such the aesthetic qualities of any guitar tends to be a key criteria that often attracts a potential buyer – On that basis this Gibson Historic Collection 59 Les Paul Reissue has a lot going for it – It is a 2005 model complete with the brown vintage case, as well as the appropriate Historic Collection certificate – I’m sure you have already checked out that exquisite figured maple top, that is loaded with so much individual character, then covered with a ‘faded tobacco burst’ nitro finish – In no particular order let me further enrich you with a host of additional info :-
- Whole guitar weighs 9lbs and 6oz
- Other than a pair of strap locks, the whole guitar is original from tip to toe
- Retainer/spring on the ABR-1 vintage bridge
- Very dark rosewood fingerboard
- Plenty of ‘swirl’ within the fingerboard inlays – note the sharp point to the edges
- Note, no shortage of ‘over bleed’ fade to the cream/dirty yellow binding
- Full ‘n’ chunky neck profile with more of a D feel to it – measures .913″ around the top nut end and fattens out to 1.00″ at the 12th fret
- Medium size ‘vintage’ frets
- Condition wise :- slight buckle wear to the rear of the body, but nothing that shows the wood – Hence more of a graze to the top surface of the nitro finish – Look at the figured maple top and you’ll find minimal signs of any wear ‘n’ tear, with barely a hint of a nick – Hence more of a VOS character, so fade and the odd surface slight graze – Certainly nothing nasty whatsoever – Usual signs of tarnish to the nickel hardware – Any merest hint of fret wear is certainly minimal – On the basis that it has taken 24 years or so, to get to this level of wear, then most players will obtain another 10/15 years of playing before any fret dress work might be required
- Bumble bee tone caps + vintage wiring
- Burstbucker PAF replica pick-ups – #1 in the neck measures 7.76K – #2 in the bridge measures 8.14K – alnico 11 magnets – no wax potting – historic ‘unmatched’ windings
Tonal character :- My first test of any Les Paul is to dial in enough gain on the amp, to allow the guitar to sing, for what many would say is the classic rock/blues voice – I often quote ‘All right now’ as a reference point to illustrate the level of gain I use at this stage – Now play around with the volume pots to find different levels of gain, to the point of finding a cleaner chilled out voice as and when required – As such I’m trying to find if the guitar has the desired level of expression that I require, so I can leave the amp alone – As such I can leave the guitar on/around the 6/7 mark for most of the time, then wind it back towards 10, as and when I need to make more of a ‘full on’ statement – The good news is this LP delivers, so no shortage of soul and expression at your fingertips – Now we’ll move onto see how it works when the amp is set-up to deliver a clean tone – I know most LP’s spend a large part of their time plugged into an overdriven amp setting, yet we actually forget that the LP was designed, back in the 50’s, to be played with a clean amp – Maybe one of the world’s best accidents was when someone, back in the early/mid 60’s, plugged an LP into a valve amp, turned it up and let it sing and since that day classic rock and blues has had a love affair with a flamed top LP – But on a cleaner amp setting the tone is lush and smooth with excellent articulation – Try some clean Pete Green/Albatross style licks, or cool jazz/blues flavoured chords and this LP oozes quality
Now add some overdrive and this takes us into another level as you hear those classic smouldering LP tones that blossom and bloom – The neck pick-up can deliver those luxurious tones that puuuuuurrrrrss – The bridge pick-up delivers a tight and focused voice that can bite and snarl, as required, for power chords ‘n’ riffs, or scorching hot licks – With subtle gain levels on the amp, or hi-gain amp settings, the guitars volume pots always deliver the required expression, as subtle variations on the volume pots deliver effective results, with a nice contrast between the neck and bridge pick-ups – The overall tone is big and punchy, with lows that are tight, yet retain clarity and definition – Mids are fat and clear and never over power – The top end delivers a nice sparkle that can bite as required – I always think a good guitar should be able to deliver the expression of a good singer, from the angelic clean voice of Karen Carpenter, to the more ballsy voice of Beth Hart – Yet to me the heart of a good LP is that it should compliment that velvet smooth rock blues voice of Paul Rodgers
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.