When I acquire any used guitar, I like to check it over, re-string it, play around with the set up, then plug it in and play it – In doing so, I gather all the appropriate info I require, in order to evaluate it (as per below) for my web site – It is always a case of do I commence such evaluations with the age, condition, tonal character, playing performance, product history, or even a rant or rave – Then with a such a guitar as this R9, I also have to consider that Gibson have made so many variations of the 59 Reissue, over the last 25 years or so, each with a claim to be the best and most accurate replica ever !! – So on the basis, that Gibson claim each year is an improvement on the last, does that mean we should all wait another 5 or 10 years, to buy the next ‘even better’ variation, or do we play and evaluate each model for what it is, regardless of its age ? – Hence pick it up, play it and accept a good one is a good ‘un and a bad one is a bad ‘un, regardless of the year, then buy accordingly – I dare say that both the colour and the character of the figured maple top will instantly tempt or deter many potential buyers, as will the condition – So for now I’m going to run with a number of bullet points and attributes in no particular order regarding this Gibson Custom R9 59 Les Paul Reissue from 2010 with a traditional cherry burst VOS gloss finish
Gibson Custom Shop 1959 Les Paul Historic reissue from 2010 :-
- Condition wise and with any lightly aged VOS finish it is often hard to decipher if any slight graze is part and parcel of the factory VOS finish, or acquired via use over the last 12 years or so – In this case it is evident that it has hardly been played and/or well cared for, as the merest hint of any blemish, graze or scuff mark, to the top surface of the nitro finish, is subtle – Indeed if you happen to find any such minor blemish, then surely it just adds to the lightly aged VOS character – The VOS character is more about ‘less buff’ to the finish, as such it is a step away from that pristine ‘virgin’ hi-gloss finish – The nickel vintage hardware has naturally oxidised and tarnished a touch, which again just adds to the very lightly aged VOS character
- See one of the pics and you’ll see it is offered for sale complete with a black Custom Shop case, a host of tags and paperwork, including the gold warranty flyer, plus the wallet style certificate
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 9oz – with a big vibrant acoustic voice when played unplugged
- Solid select mahogany body
- Mahogany neck with plenty of depth to the big C neck profile – Measures .928″ around the top nut end and fills out at 1.006″ around the 12th fret
- Jescar FW45100 medium jumbo frets
- Dark, smooth, plus even grained rosewood fingerboard
- Nickel vintage hardware including ABR-1 bridge with no wire retainer
- CTS audio pots -500K + vintage wiring
- Burstbucker #1 neck pick-up + #2 bridge pick-up – utilise unpolished alnico 11 magnets, the coils are wound to slightly different amounts for an authentic ‘mismatch’ vintage flavour – #1 neck pick up is slightly underwound at 7.6K for warmth, whilst the #2 bridge is slightly overwound for that additional throaty bark and bite at 8.05K
So how do all the above details and features equate in to the all important playing performance :- The one piece mahogany neck has that unmistakable full flavour to it, but with the shoulders slimmed down a touch, so it feels comfortable and somewhat easy to handle – To me it is not just a case of how big or slim the neck is, it is the balance and set-up of the playing action and it is this factor that will help to determine if it is more comfortable and easy to handle, or unforgiving and somewhat of a handful – Thanks to 22 medium jumbo frets and a well adjusted set-up, along with a new set of 10’s, then there are no problems to be encountered when playing this LP – Dig in for slow moody blues licks, or rip into a few Moore/Bonamassa speed licks and this LP is user friendly – Undoubtedly the chunky necks aids the tone and sustain, so when you get those grains of mahogany in the neck vibrating, it will transform in to a tone and sustain monster – It only takes a few minutes of playing this LP to realise what the great attributes of ’59’ are all about – They don’t suit everyone, but if you can handle them the rewards are there for you to exploit
Tonal character :- Do you start of with a cleaner amp setting, that is on the edge of overdrive, for that Pete Green character, or add more overdrive for that sultry Kossoff character, or add even more gain to take you in the direction of the Moore/Bonamassa house hold ? – These tend to be reference points that many of us judge LP’s by, or certainly the tonal characteristics that many strive for when playing a ’59’ LP – The pots are fully interactive, so leaving them on 10 will seriously limit the guitars flexibility, as well as limiting all the emotion that it is capable of delivering – Subtle, yet effective, variations can be obtained by rolling down and tweaking the volume pots as required – Utilise the pots correctly and you can almost leave the amp alone, allowing you to control the emotion, soul and gain levels from the guitar itself – Therefore just utilise an additional gain switch or pedal when you require that ‘turbo’ boost – On hi gain amp settings, pinched harmonics are easy to find, whilst scorching lead licks possess bite and edge yet retain a musical vintage character, whilst a softer voice can be found just by rolling off the volume pot a touch – From succulent warmth with soul, to a throaty musical bite, from smooth soft jazz, to a Tele-esq clean bite, this LP is packed with expression – The neck pick-up is lush, but not mushy, whilst the bridge pick up has that throaty bite and bark, with focussed lows and smooth highs that sizzle, whilst possessing just enough mids to thicken up the overall voice – At all times you’ll find and LP with a big open voice, mids that do not overpower, yet still thicken up the overall character, excellent articulation and above all, warmth and soul – Further more it blossom and blooms when you play those moody blues licks – It is hard not to judge a 59 LP by playing a few Kossoff, Green or Moore style licks and when you do, you instantly know you are somewhat in the right direction – Yet try a few Robben Ford style licks and chords and it is equally jazz/blues flavoured with clarity, warmth and excellent note separation – It certainly captures all the key attributes that 59 LP fans desire and should offer years of satisfaction to any potential buyer
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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.