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> Les Paul Vs The Rest, Hard to shred on the LP. . . worth trying other guitars too?
w60i10
post Jun 18 2011, 07:18 PM
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Hi Guitar Mates,

I've been playing a Gibson LP Standard for 10 years now. I use ernie ball 11-48s and an EMG 81 in the bridge. It's a beautiful guitar and recently had a tune up with a pro-tech I trust. It sounds great and very Zakk Wylde-esque.

My first electric was a nice American Strat about 20 years ago. I thought it sounded way too clean for the "shred" guitar I wanted to emulate (forgive me I was a young teenager). I traded it in for an upper end Ibanez S-Series which I liked much better. Learning Eddie, Hammett, and Satriani riffs was a blast and I fell in love with two hand tapping. It was a Floyd Rose so bends were smooth and the whammy bar was always fun to mess with. Although my style was very sloppy, I loved how fast and smooth everything seemed.

Although the Ibanez was perfect for the heavy stuff (I think Kirk Hammett smashes up the exact model in Cunning Stunts), it really left something to desire for everything else. As I diversified more, I realized I couldn't get a great Eagles type sound and open chords really sounded thin. Although a tech did a thorough tune up, I couldn't get a sound I really loved. I figured it was me and I needed to practice more. I played with a band in High School and as bad as it sounds, I played a Creed song for a school concert. On tape it really doesn't sound great although I know the notes were in tune and I was playing them correctly.

One day I picked up an Epiphone LP at Guitar Center and instantly heard something I hadn't ever from the Ibanez. It was beautiful and balanced and strumming chords sounded incredible. I got the Epiphone and later went on to get a new Gibson LP standard.

I've tried other guitars since I bought the Gibson but always go back. I love the sound, the look, and the way it feels. Zakk Wylde and Slash are my two favorite guitarists to play. In my current band we play a mix of covers, including Sweet Child of Mine and Nightrain. Almost every show someone tells me how awesome the Guns and Roses guitar solos sound. This is all phenomenal.

If you're still reading, thank you. This is the point of the whole thing. I play Master of Puppets and Cowboys from Hell perfectly (all lead parts), and through the Dual Rec they sound pretty nasty. It seems though like it takes so much extra time and effort to learn and master these licks. My rhythm guitarist plays a nice schecter and when we switch guitars, it feels like going from a Bentley to a Lotus. Heavy and solid, to light and nimble and easy to move around quickly.

I'm trying to learn some of Muris Varajic (Vai Jem) and Pavel Denisjuk's (Wolfgang,?) lessons and some of the stuff seems nearly impossible to play on a heavily stringed LP. I have an older Ibanez RG with floating trem and play it sometimes for these lessons (The Ibanez pickups sounded terrible to me so I put Seymour Duncan's in place). It is much easier to do some of the fast tapping, string skipping, and sweeps. However, it feels like a totally different instrument. It's like relearning.

Is it worth getting a nice Ibanez, Schecter, ESP, Strat (25.5) with smaller strings to learn and play some of these tracks? I don't know if I want to spend the time getting used to another guitar. Plus I think switching back and forth would be confusing for the hands.

-Should I keep on with Zakk Wylde and Slash riffs and accept I'll never be able to play Malmsteen or Vai on the LP?

-Keep trying on the LP until one day (when I am 80 years old) I can play all these things?

-Get a longer scale, high quality guitar with easy 24 fret access and a FR and simply put in the time to get accustomed to it and play both guitars?


I don't know many shred guitarists playing an LP. Wylde, Skolnick, ? I haven't seen any LP's in 7-10 level lessons.







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Todd Simpson
post Jun 18 2011, 07:39 PM
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This is a GREAT question and I can't wait to see all the replies. It might get violent! Just kidding. Seriously though this is a valid question. Once all the replies come in it will probably boil down to

"It's not the tool it's the carpenter"

But

"Super Strats (Ibanez/Jackson) do feel faster"

Which is to say you can play whatever you like on a decent guitar of nearly any make/model. That being said, as a "Shredder" I'm of course a big fan of Ibanez guitars. I really like Vintage Ibanez guitars like my RG560. I love these for a simple reason. The neck is simply the "fastest" I've ever played. The neck on the RG560 is so thin, that you can actually snap it if you use heavy gauge strings. They started adding a support piece called a "Skunk stripe" to prevent this in later models.

So why does thin neck matter? You may notice a lot of high level / precision / shreddy players using guitars that have really thin necks for a simple reason. They "feel" faster. It's hard to quantify this, but I own a Les Paul style guitar and have played top of the line Gibson models of every stripe and I can tell you they do feel different. Can you shred on them? Sure. That said, certain guitars are "Built for speed" IMHO and this is a subject of HEATED debate.

So what to do? Well, try to play all the guitars you are considering. Try to borrow one from a pal if possible to "date" it before you buy it and "Marry" it. NEVER buy a guitar you haven't played. Even if you can get the same model for a great deal on the internet. Each guitar is slightly different, with it's own individual character. Even guitars of the same make/model can have subtle differences. When considering playing at extreme speeds with precision, the small bits count for quite a bit. So "Play before you Pay".

Also, if you are near any Pawn Shops (Your in the states so your in luck) check them routinely for great deals on old Ibanez/Jackson/Charvel/ESP guitars. Sometimes, a pawn shop will get a guitar that the person meant to get back but couldn't and gave up for a song (no pun intended). With older shred guitars, most pawn brokers have no idea that they are worth quite a bit.

Best of luck!

P.S. We work on "Shredding" quite a bit in my SATURDAY VIDEO CHAT lesson series so do join us! Every Sat @ 5PM EST.

Todd


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jstcrsn
post Jun 18 2011, 07:55 PM
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first off , hello fello guitarist
your story is oh so common,because it is mine as well
I don't think you will ever be able to shed with those size of strings,I have found that I play well with 9's ,but cannot alternate pick except with 10's,so I am using ten's to master my weak points and hopefully when I get comfortable ,then it will not mater
as far as your guitar and shreding , I don't think it maters what guitar you have as long as that guitar is comfortable in your hands
I will liken it to rifle -it is only as accurate as the shooter ,same as guitar
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MickeM
post Jun 18 2011, 08:05 PM
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Hi and welcome! smile.gif

It's difficult to rule on what someone else should play but one thing spring to mind.
If shredding is your thing, I'm far from an expert since I suck but .11 strings must be hard on your fingers. Billy Gibbons play .08 on his Les Pauls so it's doable with a fat enough sound biggrin.gif So short from the scale length maybe that'd give you what you're looking for in a shredding machine.


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dark dude
post Jun 18 2011, 09:24 PM
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Richie Kotzen used 11s back in his shred days, and he was pretty beastly:

I've seen loads of people shred LPs, it can definately be done.

You can try out some 'classically shreddy' guitars, but if you like the LP neck, you like the LP neck, heh.


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SpaseMoonkey
post Jun 18 2011, 09:55 PM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Jun 18 2011, 03:05 PM) *
Hi and welcome! smile.gif

It's difficult to rule on what someone else should play but one thing spring to mind.
If shredding is your thing, I'm far from an expert since I suck but .11 strings must be hard on your fingers. Billy Gibbons play .08 on his Les Pauls so it's doable with a fat enough sound biggrin.gif So short from the scale length maybe that'd give you what you're looking for in a shredding machine.



Actually you'd be quite surprised at the 11s on it, I don't feel it being any harder to play than my 9s on a floyd/trem setup at all.

My personal opinion on the neck and playing LPs fast is really how it feels to you. My friend has an Ibanez S 570, I can span more notes thanks to the thin neck, but as a daily driver I'm not sure I'd enjoy it. I really love my Gibsons.

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Mudbone
post Jun 18 2011, 11:25 PM
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I'm heavily biased towards Strat shaped guitars, simply because the ergonomics are much better. With that being said, you can get a Strat shaped Les Paul, which would be a guitar with dual humbuckers, mahogany body and neck, and an actual maple top (not a laminate). Its up to you to decide how necessary it is to have that last component.

Go to a guitar shop and just see what guitar you like and are comfortable with, you may surprise yourself with what you actually like. Keep in mind the fretboard radius and fret size also effects the perception of how fast you can play.

You might want to check out the ESP/LTD Eclipse series. Its a modern LP. its got 24 XJ frets and body contours. Here one that I've had my eyes on before. Its still got a 24.75 inch scale length and the cutaway isn't as deep as a Super Strat, but its an improvement over a regular LP.



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dark dude
post Jun 19 2011, 12:02 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jun 18 2011, 11:25 PM) *
You might want to check out the ESP/LTD Eclipse series. Its a modern LP. its got 24 XJ frets and body contours. Here one that I've had my eyes on before. Its still got a 24.75 inch scale length and the cutaway isn't as deep as a Super Strat, but its an improvement over a regular LP.

I have that guitar, it's awesome. The neck isn't as fat as most Gibson LP necks, but it sounds awesome and the cut-away gives enough room to play up to that 24th.


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Mudbone
post Jun 19 2011, 12:10 AM
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QUOTE (dark dude @ Jun 18 2011, 07:02 PM) *
I have that guitar, it's awesome. The neck isn't as fat as most Gibson LP necks, but it sounds awesome and the cut-away gives enough room to play up to that 24th.


Indeed. I love the look and finish in that guitar. Do you think the neck is similar to the other Super Strats in ESP's line up?


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lcsdds
post Jun 19 2011, 01:41 AM
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Check out Andy James.......hes TEARS IT UP on an ESP EC-1000!!! Shredding can definitely be done on a les paul. Although Andy has said that it is more difficult in the upper fret region for sure........ biggrin.gif
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dark dude
post Jun 19 2011, 02:26 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jun 19 2011, 12:10 AM) *
Indeed. I love the look and finish in that guitar. Do you think the neck is similar to the other Super Strats in ESP's line up?

No idea, haven't tried the others.


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zen
post Jun 19 2011, 02:43 AM
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QUOTE (Mudbone @ Jun 19 2011, 09:10 AM) *
Indeed. I love the look and finish in that guitar. Do you think the neck is similar to the other Super Strats in ESP's line up?


I got that one too.
Different necks, atleast in the ones I have (ESP Eclipse and ESP Horizon II FR). Eclipse is flatter and wider. Horizon's a bit of a round neck.

IMO, the thin neck obsession is really overrated. I used to suffer from it too and eventually realized that I find round necks equally comfortable.


To the OP: you should definitely consider getting a super strat to compliment your LP.


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w60i10
post Jun 19 2011, 07:10 AM
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QUOTE (dark dude @ Jun 18 2011, 08:24 PM) *
Richie Kotzen used 11s back in his shred days, and he was pretty beastly:

I've seen loads of people shred LPs, it can definately be done.

You can try out some 'classically shreddy' guitars, but if you like the LP neck, you like the LP neck, heh.



I'd bet a million dollars no one could play that on a real Les Paul. Can't say i actually like what he's playing anyway. The hot pink Dimarzio pickups make it all worth while though.

QUOTE (dark dude @ Jun 18 2011, 11:02 PM) *
I have that guitar, it's awesome. The neck isn't as fat as most Gibson LP necks, but it sounds awesome and the cut-away gives enough room to play up to that 24th.



It's definitely a cool looking guitar. I played one at the store and it sounded really thin. The slimmer neck and smaller cutaway definitely make for easier noodling though. I've never played an LTD that I really loved the sound.
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sted
post Jun 19 2011, 08:07 AM
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Its all in the player my friend, some people are just far more comfortable with shorter scale lengths and fat necks, theres plenty of players who have lightning licks on a les paul, Gary Moore, Zakk Wylde, Bonamassa, Randy Rhoads etc all seemed to manage in squeezing out some pretty fiery solos on these rock monsters.
I have a 58 VOS les paul as well as strats and a couple of custom made Jaden Rose guitars which are loosely based on an Ibanez kind of thing but with top quality materials and luthiery. For me I have to say that even though my Jadens play effortlessly sometimes only a Les Paul will do!
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Ben Higgins
post Jun 19 2011, 09:10 AM
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I think with LP's the main thing is they feel heavier and chunkier.. so there's already a psychological barrier with us guitarists thinknig they're harder to play. Everytime I've picked up a LP I've been blown away by how nice they are to play.. I used to use an Explorer copy that my Dad built as my main guitar. The real Explorers are heavy anyway and with a big neck.. bit my one is even slightly bigger and heavier than a real Gibson !! So the main downside for me was my shoulders aching.. but I could play everything I wanted on there. It really does come down to making it work on the instrument of your choice.

If that's your guitar, then you'll make it work on it.. stick with it, don't lose faith.. Zakk can play as fast as Yngwie if he wants but that's not his style wink.gif


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dark dude
post Jun 19 2011, 12:14 PM
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QUOTE (w60i10 @ Jun 19 2011, 07:10 AM) *
I'd bet a million dollars no one could play that on a real Les Paul. Can't say i actually like what he's playing anyway. The hot pink Dimarzio pickups make it all worth while though.

Sure, it's the ending video to a guitar techniques vid, what do you expect? The point is that string gauge shouldn't make a difference in the long run.
QUOTE (w60i10 @ Jun 19 2011, 07:10 AM) *
It's definitely a cool looking guitar. I played one at the store and it sounded really thin. The slimmer neck and smaller cutaway definitely make for easier noodling though. I've never played an LTD that I really loved the sound.

When you compare a heavy, thick lump of wood of a guitar, to that thinner, lighter guitar, you can't not expect this outcome. If you want to look for a shreddier guitar, you're going to have to make some sacrifices. However, it sounds like you love the sound of your LP, and I assume the neck's comfortable, too? Just stick to that and work the technique, man.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jun 19 2011, 08:57 PM
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Well mate, it's definitely important to feel comfortable that your primary instrument can enable you to play everything you would like to. You mentioned Slash and Wylde, both guitar players play lead a lot, and both use LPs. Slash has awesome bends and melodies, while Zakk has killer pentatonic shredding skills. It's important that you find your own style. This is easy - just play what you like the most, and don't worry about it - in time it will be OK! If you need thinner strings just put thinner strings. It's important to save hands as well wink.gif smile.gif


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Fran
post Jun 20 2011, 09:38 AM
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You can shred with any guitar, but you will feel more comfortable with some models over others. I feel most comfortable with thin necks, but other people prefer thick ones, so it's all a matter of finding the right axe for you smile.gif

There are more options than gibson, ibanez or fender, try as many guitars as you can, some might have that perfect combination of tone/playability you seek, but only you can tell smile.gif


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MonkeyDAthos
post Jun 20 2011, 11:40 PM
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if i remember well buckethead use a les paul and he shred the out of her


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