Hard for any dealer, guitar player, or collector not to be smitten by Gibson Custom Shop vintage replicas – As such, used models are very much a welcome addition to my stock profile, especially when they feel right, play right and sound right – So on that basis can I present to you a used Gibson Custom Shop R8 1958 Les Paul Reissue, from 2017, with a faded ‘dirty lemon’ VOS finish – Look inside the original brown factory case and you’ll see that it includes various tags, paperwork, certificate/wallet, as well as a spare blank switch plate cover – Taking into account this is a VOS model, then it can be hard to establish if it has acquired any additional wear and tear over the first few years of its life – After close examination I was barely any the wiser regarding any additional superficial grazes and maybe the inevitable oxidization of the nickel hardware was the only sign of previous use – Yet due to the lightly aged nature and faded character of the VOS finish, then any additional slight blemish can only enrich that ‘light aged mojo’ – Therefore as the years go by it will only add to the vintage patina of such a guitar
58/59 LP Variations :- Maybe I’m being a touch cynical, but in many ways Gibson can be a touch frustrating when it comes to the R8 and R9 replica models – It is almost as though every year they make a slight tweak, along with some marketing tag, that indicates that this is the finest, most detailed and authentically correct 58 or 59 yet – So whilst I fully applaud the R8 and R9 reissues, I don’t buy into this 2007 is better than 2006 or 2019 is better than 2014 etc etc – When you plug it in and play it, you’ll soon know if it is a good example that captures all the magical mojo, that suits you – So on that basis the 2019 or 2007 tag can go for a very long walk down the Yellow Brick Road, as far as I’m concerned – Recently the latest tag was the ‘True Historic’ R8 replica but this raises two key points A) yes they are a very nice guitar, yet they are not ‘TRUE’ as they are not spec’d and fitted with a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, but maybe they are keeping this version back for the ‘VERY TRUE HISTORIC’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!! and B) I feel it is a bit of an insult to Gibson customers, who previously purchased a new R8 some while back, as it effectively states that ‘thank you for buying a new R8 – Gibson would indeed like to thank you for your custom and helping to keep our business a float over the last few years, but what you have purchased is not and has never been a ‘TRUE’ R8 replica – So what you previously purchased was some form of inferior replica’ – The latest iPhone or iPad might have improvements and upgraded gadgets, but an R8 LP from 2009 or 2019 still effectively does the same job – Add to that, is the issue that two, three or four original 58’s were not exactly the same, due to the hand built nature of vintage guitars, so as I mentioned before, a good ‘un is a good ‘un and a bad one is exactly that – Furthermore, I still preach that if a number of guitar players compared two, three or four R8 models along side each other, in a blind fold shoot out challenge, then chances are that we would not pick the same guitar, yet as an overview the R8 replica models have a certain mojo that ensures they are more desirable than a regular production models
Additional info :-
- As a 2017 model it is spec’d with many period correct features that includes :- Long tenon body/neck join – Historic truss rod with no tubing – Nylon top nut – Aluminium strap buttons – 1/4 sawn mahogany neck – Aniline dye and hot-hide glue – ABR bridge with no wire retainer + light weight aluminium tail piece
- Equipped with a pair of custom wound vintage paf pick-ups – Both the neck and bridge pick up measure 7.8K
- Bumble bee pots, along with vintage wiring complete the electrical side of the package
- Weight wise then very credible at 9lbs and 1oz
- A rosewood fingerboard with a smooth, dark + even grained character
- Finish ‘bleed’ along the fingerboard binding
- Chunky mahogany neck – Not as fat as some that I have played and maybe it hints more towards a large C profile as against that clubby D profile, thanks to marginal slimmer shoulders – It measures .908″ at the top nut end and fattens out to 1.025″ at the 12th fret
- The package is complete with the brown Lifton style case – with modern style catches
- Also includes the certificate wallet and a host of paper work, all of which are in good condition
- Re-strung, checked and set-up with a new set of 10’s and a sensible action that responds to a light touch
- Final note :- The 8 7*** inked serial number clearly indicates a 2017 date of birth
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 an almost Tele-esq bite to it, that is still warm and not harsh or shrill like- 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 warm 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 R8 has a lot going for it – Take out of the equation any aesthetic qualities that you favour and essentially a 57, 58 and 59 replica will do the same job –
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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.