If you are in the market for a mighty fine vintage replica, then check out this Gibson True Historic 57 Gold Top Les Paul – It is a used example from 2016 but in this instance I’m not sure that used is the right word – Used naturally implies some level of wear and tear – Yet this LP has spent over 2 years sat in its case, in the previous owners home – It is effectively still in as new condition – Complete with the brown vintage style case, along with the appropriate True Historic wallet/certificate of authenticity, along with all the appropriate paperwork, tags and the 2016 True Historic badge – I have let it visit my bench for a new set of 10-46 gauge strings, a touch of lemon oil on the fingerboard, the frets polished and to check the action is all in good order
The True Historic program came along sometime during 2015 and within a 12 month period, or so, it was withdrawn – Allegedly, despite the showroom price tickets, Gibson never made a profit on the guitars they sold – As such only a limited run of each model ever came to the market – The True Historic models have certainly created a buzz amongst players, collectors and forums, for many reasons and I’m sure a tour of Google and you’ll find no shortage of material to read – The best article I recall was courtesy of The Guitar Magazine and Chris Vinnicombe, with an interview with Edwin Wilson, who at the time was head of the whole Gibson Custom Shop division – Click here for full details – I have to admit at this stage that me and LP’s just don’t really get on – I just prefer playing other guitars – Yet for around 15 years now I’ve owned a very nice Tom Murphy 57 Gold Top – Maybe in many ways this LP has become the bench mark I judge other LP’s by – With this in mind, after a test drive through my shop amp, I can report this 57 Gold Top has a lot going for it, regarding how it feels, plays and sounds – There is no single LP that is the be all and end, all as often two, or more players, will not pick the same guitar, but I have no problem recommending this LP to any potential buyer
I’m not going to list all the ultimate ‘train spotting’ details that Gibson supplied for the True Historic program, as there is no shortage of info via a Google search – However I have listed additional info below, that is unique to this 57 Gold Top :-
- The whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 13oz
- Chunky 57 neck profile – Tad larger than many 59 models – Neck measures .936″ around the top nut end, then fattens out to 1.1012″ around the 12th fret
- Vintage PAF replicas measure 7.8K neck and 7.86K bridge
Playing performance + tonal character :- It has always been a case that some guitar players like a big neck and can handle them, whilst others will struggle to cope – I’ve sold and played 1000’s of guitars and find it more a case of treat it for what it is and what you can get out of it, so if you want a speed machine with a slick neck then maybe look elsewhere, but if you want that soul and emotion, then maybe play less notes and savour each one – That is the way BB King and Paul Kossoff treated it – Re-strung, checked and set-up with a new set of 10’s and a sensible action that responds to a light touch -So is this a bloomin good LP with shed loads of tone and emotion ? – That test drive is the ultimate test, but playing around with it for a while, through different amp settings, it is easy to conclude that it has many great attributes going for it – No shortage of sustain so notes blossom, bloom and purrrr as you caress each string – With a good LP it is not one specific feature, ingredient or component that makes the guitar feel, play and sound right, but the whole overall package – There is not much wrong with this LP – It captures all the classic vintage flavoured mojo very very well, so whilst that big fat neck can be a challenge for some to play, when you learn to conquer it, you’ll hear a tone to die for – Thin neck, thin tone – Fat neck, fat tone
The overall tonal character is big, fat, open, warm and clear – The neck pick-up delivers those luxurious smooth warm tones with excellent articulation – The bridge pick-up is tight and focussed, with plenty of depth and almost an early 50’s, black guard Tele-esq bite to it, especially with the volume pot on 10 – There is always enough mid range to fatten up the overall tone, whilst adding some of that growl and bark, but never over powering or going muddy on you- On hi-gain amp settings it sings and sings with smouldering tones from the neck pick up and clear musical bite from the bridge pick -up – With classic blues/rock over driven amp settings this is maybe were the LP performs at its best, as it allows you to fully hear all the guitars expressive goodness – On different overdriven amp settings make sure you play around with the guitars volume pot, as along with your own touch, this is were all the emotion comes from – On more subtle overdriven amp settings roll off the volume pot for more of a clean chilled out voice, whilst on a hi-gain amp setting the volume pot will shave off some of the gain, so maybe settings around 6 or 7 can be your base tone, then take it back towards 10 as and when you require that additional boost – With the volume pot rolled of a touch, this is were you’ll find those more angelic vocal like tones – With the volume pots on 10, this is were you can stay when you have more of a full on statement to make – This approach will deliver all the soul, emotion and expressive qualities that can only inspire you – As I said earlier this R7 has a lot going for it – Good contrast between the lush neck pick-up and the bridge pick-up that can growl and bite – This is nice to explore if you leave the selector switch in the middle position, then play around with the two volume pots to find the appropriate sweet spot
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