So 2010 arrived and with it the time for Gibson to remind us that it was now 50 years ago since they released the 1960 LP – Yet ironically sales at the time were so poor that the LP we now know and love was discontinued – In many ways the vintage replica market is popularised by the 57 Gold Top model, as it was the first such LP with humbuckers – Then the 58 model, which saw the introduction of the burst finish – Followed by the best selling 59 model with a figured maple top and of course the classic burst finish – The 60 variation is effectively the same as a 59 model, other than a slightly slimmer neck profile – Today I offer for sale a used Gibson Custom Shop 1960 Les Paul, from 2010, with a VOS washed cherry burst finish – Complete with the Custom Shop black case, certificate/wallet and a host of tags including the Gold Warranty leaflet – Very close scrutiny may just about reveal the tiniest hint of a blemish, to the ‘lightly aged VOS’ nitro finish – But I’ve known the previous + original owner for many years now and know it has barely been played – He is a very discerning buyer/player/collector, who may well have too many guitars – But equally I know he takes care in handling and looking after all of his guitars – Yet with any VOS lightly aged finish, then any hint of a graze surely only enriches the played in character – For weight watchers, it sits on my scales at a very respectable 8lbs and 10oz – The neck has the slimmer 60’s neck profile, very much akin to the Clapton ‘Beano’ based LP – So if the those big bulky 50’s necks are to much to handle, then check out this model – Note double ring tuners on the 1960 replica, along with bonnet control knobs with reflector caps, plus the ABR bridge with no wire retainer
I don’t want this to turn out to be one of Mark’s long rants or raves, but in some guise or another, Gibson have been making replicas, of LP’s from their golden era, for around 25 years now, or so – During that time, the phrase ‘best ever’ or ‘most accurate historic replica’ has been used on more than one occasion by Gibson – But as each year goes by and we hear about the release of another ‘best ever replica’ my question is do they actually feel, play, sound or perform any better than any of the previous replicas, that came before them – If and in my opinion a massive IF, the answer is yes, then won’t that annoy all those customers with ‘earlier’ replicas, who now own and play a ‘sub-standard’ version ? – Remember that at the time, these ‘earlier replica’s were also purchased on the basis of ‘our most accurate replica ever ‘ – So who knows what the future will bring, as maybe the 2024 or 2025 version will be even better, if you buy into this logic !!!!!! – If the answer to the early question is no, then what is all the fuss about – To me the quick answer is that you pick it up and play it, then judge it by how it feels, plays, sounds and performs and on that basis a good Les Paul is a good one and a bad one is a bad one, regardless of the year of manufacture and all the hype that goes with it – Hence a 2005,2009, 2010 or 2013 version should all be judge on an equal one v one basis – Remember all original 58, 59 and 60’s LP’s were judged by the players on tone and playability, hence Joe Walsh sold one he did not get on with to Jimmy Page and Gary Moore purchased one for the Still got the blues tour and felt it did not deliver the goods (I actually played it and would support his thoughts) – I don’t want to get into the merits about when did they produce the best tops, or best looking models etc, as each year Gibson have produced many mighty fine looking LP’s – However one important area to consider for Gibson producing the ‘best most detailed replica ever’ is sales/marketing – Gibson make a profit when they sell you a new guitar and they only make that profit once – Over the next 5,10,15,20 or 25 years a used guitar may well be sold, re-sold and sold again and each time it is sold, a dealer may well make an additional profit on its resale value – But on the sale of any second hand guitar, then Gibson make diddly squat – In short they would probably rather you do not buy used, as they wish to sell you the new ‘improved’ guitar – Hence another sale and more much needed profit, to keep the Gibson business ticking over – So now we get down to the nitty gritty, as the most important job at Gibson for the sales and marketing team is to create the next ‘best ever’ hype – In what is no longer an expanding market place, the world is not short of highly desirable used electric guitars – As such I have an opinion that if for example, Gibson Fender and PRS never made another new electric guitar for 5 or 10 years, that this would not lead to a shortage of desirable guitars on the used market place – Yes it would be a big problem for the manufactures, as well as the appropriate dealers who sell new guitars, but for the used market I don’t see any issues – In fact I already believe the big guitar companies are aware of this potential problem, yet as there is no obsolesce in classic guitars, I believe that over the next few years they have some big issues to attend to – Hence the need for you to buy the ‘next best ever’ – Rant and Rave now over
Earlier I passed comment that each guitar should be judged on how it feels, plays, performs and sounds and with all of that in mind, the good news is that this 1960 Les Paul can sit amongst the big guns of the class, with a bag full of ticks and positive comments on its year end report – The 60’s slimmer neck will always please those who struggle to handle the fatter necks of a 57, 58 or 59 replica – Granted how it feels is a matter of taste and preference – It measures .820″ around the top nut end, then gently fattens out to .942″ around the 12th fret – It is not a slim neck, but it is less chunky than the 59 models – I have re-strung the guitar with a new set of 10-46 gauge strings, plus checked the set-up, so it is now ready to go with a sensible fluid action, that responds to a light touch
Give or take a few ounces I don’t see the weight as an issue as it neither adds or takes away from the tone – The quality of the wood itself produces the tone and when you play a good LP you look for each note to blossom and bloom and those moody blues licks to sing and whail – On that basis this LP has a lot going for it – Spec’d with an original pair of Burstbucker pick-ups, with a BB1 in the enck position and a BB2 in the bridge position – On clean(er) amp settings, Pete Green style licks shimmer and glisten with a clear, rich, warm, rounded and smooth character that possesses both depth, body and clarity – Maybe LP’s spend only a small part of their life hooked up to the clean channel of an amp, but nevertheless it is nice to know that the clean tonal character is all present and correct for when it is required – Now switch over to the overdrive channel on your amp or pedal and you’ll find the throaty mids add the right amount of character and body, but do not over power the highs or lows – They add the growl and snarl as required, but at the same time they sound so musical – Lows are rounded, full, tight and clear – Top end possesses just enough bite and sizzle, without ever sounding thin or harsh and helps to deliver a piano like chime to single notes – This LP has so much soul, emotion, and character wrapped up in it and this is further enhanced when you play around with the volume and/or tone pots
I always think a good guitar should possess the expression of a good singer and the ability to go from the angelic clean voice of Karen Carpenter, to the more ballsy soulful voice of Beth Hart, then on to the rock blues voice of Paul Rodgers, or even the power and attack of Bon Scott, as required – Hence the guitar talks back to you, responds to your needs and delivers the appropriate emotion as and when required – To achieve this expression, then set up your base tone, with some overdrive on the amp and the guitar volume pots around 6 or 7 – This approach now delivers more of a chilled out voice, yet stills preserves all the LP’s qualities and character – Now wind the volume pot back towards 10 as you require more gain, which in turn will allow this LP to sing and whaillllll – Even with the amp on hi-gain overdriven amp settings, the guitars volume pots will still control the overdrive level, again ensuring you are in total control of the expression and character of this LP – Hence all the soul and passion in this LP is controlled by you – This is a pure vintage tone machine that smoulders and delivers all the qualities that are essential in a good LP
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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.