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> Gibson Lpj Review + Holiday Greeting!, Reviewing and playing a Gibson Les Paul Studio LPJ
Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 17 2013, 12:50 PM
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To challenge myself, and to try and break some old habits - I have bought a Gibson guitar. This guitar only has two pickups, no single coils, no whammy bar and poor high fret access. Not only that, but it turned out the guitar seriously hurts by ribs.

Oh no what have you done, I hear you thinking.

I bought it from thomann.de for €649 with these specifications:
QUOTE
Les Paul Studio LPJ DLX WC, electric guitar, Les Paul model, exclusive Thomann model, mahogany body, rosewood
fretboard, maple top, maple neck, 22 frets, scale 628 mm, Burstbucker Pro humbuckers, tune-o-matic bridge, stopbar
tailpiece, chrome hardware , vintage green key tuners, color: cherry, incl. gigbag, made in USA




Sound
This is my first mahogany body + maple top guitar, this in combination with the fixed bridge makes up for a sound I have never experienced before. My strat gives me awesome attack which I love - you can really work on your picking/hybrid attack and develop your own sound. However what happens after the initial attack is not quite as pleasant - the thin note dies!

This guitar gives me amazing sustain and big tone. It does however also offer some ‘snappiness’ for my hybrid picking (see video) - this might be a result of the maple neck (which I think is not really standard for a Les Paul).

Dialing in heavy metal, crunch or big warm clean sounds feels easy with this guitar. It is not capable of delivering twangy strat sounds, and it is not possible to install a coil split with these pickups as they are of vintage two-conductor style. It would be interesting to know how twangy a Les Paul can get with coil splitting, if at all.

Playability
It has a fat neck profile and action was perfect from the factory - low string height and no buzzing whatsoever. Fretwires are not perfectly polished and a slight joint can be seen where the fretboard meets the neck. None of this affects playability - the higher end models probably don’t have these flaws (and possibly not other LPJ's either?!).

The fretwire feels like medium size to me - and this feels very strange as I like my guitars scalloped or with huge fretwire (or why not have both wink.gif )

Other
The volume knob gives a noticeable volume jump happening the first 20% - I got used to it quite easily though.

The guitar did not come properly stringed - this resulted in unstable tuning. My other guitars have locking tuners so I used this video to get it right . Also, I will soon order some graphite nut lubricant - and hopefully after that the guitar will remain 100% in tune even after excessive bending.

Lessons learned
My experience with this guitar is extremely positive - although I had to adapt a little:

* After replacing the factory strings (Gibson brite wires 0.10) - with my costume gauge elixir (0.46-0.09) I realised the factory strings were there for a reason: bigger sound! The video above is recorded with the Elixir set, but I have ordered new 0.10 - and I have already started praying my fingers will soon get strong enough to handle them.

* The 24.75 Gibson scale offers a nice and different feel than 25.5 (typical for strats) . Shorter (and thereby looser) strings are more playable!

* I have replaced (and sold, unfortunately) stock pickups too many times in the past. But I can safely say that these will get to stay for a long time - the burstbucker pros are highly versatile and dynamic enough. I have become allergic against high output pickups - and I am a bit sceptical about the 498T which is a standard Gibson bridge pickup. The are many highly musical stomp boxes that can increase your signal strength, but none that can resuscitate killed dynamics.

* This guitar is “unchambered” which means the body has no internal cavities to provide weight relief. Possibly this is one of the great-sound factors. Downside: it’s 3.9 kg (8,6lbs) heavy. It currently feels like this guitar will become my new recording baby though, and I don’t foresee using it live.

* The back/side of the guitar body is not contoured like a strat - and this initially hurt my ribs quite a bit. I had to learn to sit differently and with better posture, the later is a very positive side effect. Maybe I should try to get a bit fat as well - a worthy challenge for a chocolate lover!

I cannot stop thinking about how the guitar would feel with slight scalloping and a not-so-slight backside/contour cutaway. The later to increase comfort and decrease weight. However I have not researched the cons of doing this… any thoughts about it?

Right now I don’t plan on changing anything though - I let the guitar change me instead. It’s a very interesting experience.

Happy holidays!


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Ben Higgins
post Dec 17 2013, 02:24 PM
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That was a really interesting review, Kris. I saw the video already on Youtube and of course, your phrasing ideas are as unique and astounding as ever !

I totally agree with you on the subject of medium (or small) frets ! I cannot stand them. I have to have the biggest frets going or I don't get no...... satisfaction wink.gif

Interesting observation on the string gauge. I still hold to the belief that bigger gauge strings don't make tone better, they just make it darker and (potentially) duller. It's only a better tone if that's what somebody wants. If somebody wants brighter and juicier tone, more suited to slippery legato then I still believe lighter gauge is the way to go. That is a slight deviation from what you said though.. you did say the 10's made it sound bigger, not better smile.gif

From your performance, this guitar has definitely not held your playing back !

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Dec 17 2013, 02:24 PM


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jstcrsn
post Dec 17 2013, 02:36 PM
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and one overlooked aspect of your improve, is that c-clamp holding your light,nice touch of authenticity
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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 17 2013, 02:45 PM
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thanks Ben!

QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Dec 17 2013, 02:24 PM) *
Interesting observation on the string gauge. I still hold to the belief that bigger gauge strings don't make tone better, they just make it darker and (potentially) duller. It's only a better tone if that's what somebody wants. If somebody wants brighter and juicier tone, more suited to slippery legato then I still believe lighter gauge is the way to go. That is a slight deviation from what you said though.. you did say the 10's made it sound bigger, not better smile.gif


At the time of testing the factory strings - I was mostly experimenting with bending and phrasing. The guitar felt so weird to me attempting legato was not a priority. The 0.10 brite wires definitely gave my a bigger sound in a positive sense - but I need to test again before I can say how it affected legato and the ability to dial in brighter sounds. Also it's too early to say if I will end up sacrificing playing comfort (light strings) for a possible sound improvement - it all depends on if I can get my bending muscles strong enough for the task!

QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Dec 17 2013, 02:36 PM) *
and one overlooked aspect of your improve, is that c-clamp holding your light,nice touch of authenticity


Yes, I got it just for you wink.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Dec 17 2013, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Dec 17 2013, 01:45 PM) *
Also it's too early to say if I will end up sacrificing playing comfort (light strings) for a possible sound improvement - it all depends on if I can get my bending muscles strong enough for the task!


It won't take long ! I remember when I went up to 10's before recording the 2nd Reckoning album. I thought 'How the hell am I going to be able to play these solos ?' After a while, I was so used to it that 9's would feel weird.


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Darius Wave
post Dec 17 2013, 02:52 PM
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What a great tune Kris! Damn tight and inspiring smile.gif Seems like the guitar loves You from the first sight biggrin.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 19 2013, 10:35 AM
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As Ben says - the fact that it's a non friendly guitar sure hasn't affected your playing man! Great review and phrases there biggrin.gif It's actually the first time I've seen someone play on a Gibson like that smile.gif


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Bogdan Radovic
post Dec 19 2013, 12:18 PM
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Cool walking bass backing - it instantly sounds so classy and Christmasy smile.gif

Those opening slippery phrases sound really cool in combination with the warm tone.
The playing in the video and approach to melodies sounds so unique to my ears.

It is a really cool idea to try out and get a guitar which is out of your comfort zone and favorite specs.
I guess we all tend to form some "favorites" even though some instruments do deserve a second chance or we disregarded them without even trying - due to cosmetics, configuration, what our favorite guitar players use or anything...


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Fran
post Dec 19 2013, 01:00 PM
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Really cool, congrats on the new axe!
And glad to have a new review by our rocker & founder too! This is going straight into our wiki cool.gif

Merry Christmas!

Edit: and here it is smile.gif
https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/wiki/inde...udio_LPJ_Review

This post has been edited by Fran: Dec 19 2013, 01:20 PM


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Headbanger
post Dec 19 2013, 04:15 PM
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Good choice of Guitar IMO..I always played strats until I added a Les Paul to my fleet...It felt weird at first but I soon got used to it...Now I enjoy the huge difference in sound and feel between them..I enjoyed your cool Christmas music...Its hard for me to look at you now without thinking about Ali G or Borat (You stinky Youtubers).. laugh.gif


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 19 2013, 07:54 PM
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Thanks for the awesome comments Darius, Cosmin, Bogdan, Fran and Headbanger!

QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Dec 19 2013, 12:18 PM) *
It is a really cool idea to try out and get a guitar which is out of your comfort zone and favorite specs.
I guess we all tend to form some "favorites" even though some instruments do deserve a second chance or we disregarded them without even trying - due to cosmetics, configuration, what our favorite guitar players use or anything...

Yes - and this is a benefit from ordering online. You just have to decide and then go for it. Had I tested this guitar in a guitar store (or any other Les Paul for that matter) I would probably never have bought it. (Of course I had the option to return it within 30 days.)

QUOTE (Headbanger @ Dec 19 2013, 04:15 PM) *
Its hard for me to look at you now without thinking about Ali G or Borat (You stinky Youtubers).. laugh.gif


Haha Mr Guitartube might even come haunt you in your dreams (it's happened to others) ph34r.gif


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Hajduk
post Dec 19 2013, 08:07 PM
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Nice review Kris smile.gif They were selling those here in Vancouver on sale for $600.00 ( 439 Euros). I do have a question, does a scalloped neck really make a difference?? Ive heard yes and no, that its more of a gimmick?


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Kristofer Dahl
post Dec 20 2013, 09:40 AM
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QUOTE (Hajduk @ Dec 19 2013, 08:07 PM) *
They were selling those here in Vancouver on sale for $600.00 ( 439 Euros).

$600 is a good deal - you [north] americans are blessed with fantastic prices.

QUOTE (Hajduk @ Dec 19 2013, 08:07 PM) *
I do have a question, does a scalloped neck really make a difference?? Ive heard yes and no, that its more of a gimmick?

In some situations scalloping is not motivated. Since it means possibly devaluating your guitar there are some hot discussions about it. However I can assure you that for me it is not a gimmick - but a highly useful feature.

Scalloping gives the same effect as having high frets (it's the height of the frets that matters for this discussion - not the width): It makes hammering-on, and to a certain extent also pulling-off, easier. The same goes for bending and vibrato.

The explanation is simple - there is not fretboard wood in the way of your fingertip.

I think very few would disagree on what I have said so far - in fact most technical oriented players cannot imagine playing an instrument that doesn't have big fretwire.

So why scallop a guitar when big frets do the same thing?

1 - If you are a fan of vintage-style instruments (dynamic pickups and round profiled necks etc), which almost never come with jumbo frets - scalloping is an affordable way to make them playable. You can do it yourself with a cheap dremel style tool. Warning - do it on a cheap guitar/neck the first time. And beware that scalloping might make the guitar hard to sell. Refretting the guitar is expensive/difficult (but retains the guitar's value better). With scalloping, you can buy a cheap Squier or fender mexico guitar and turn into a fantastic instrument.

2 - I have owned two Ibanez guitars with jumbo frets. Although the effect is very close to scalloping - scalloping gives an even nicer feel. Steve Vai for example uses his scalloped Jem quite often. Also, I find jumbo fretwire too wide on the higher frets - making it hard two squeeze in a finger tip between frets.

When not to scallop a guitar:

1 - You have played a scalloped guitar and found that it doesn't help you

2 - You intend to sell your instrument

3 - You don't use legato or bending (you're then probably a rhythm guitarist)

Btw - the first time I tried a scalloped guitar I was blown away be the feel and playability!


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Hajduk
post Dec 20 2013, 10:00 AM
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Thank you for the awesome explanation Kris, now I want to get a scalloped neck on one of my guitars smile.gif Apparently Yngwie Malmsteem does it as well.


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Todd Simpson
post Dec 20 2013, 10:07 AM
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Some truly excellent advise here and great info as well!! It's great to see you posting again and posting such killer content!!!

Also, amazing lead work on the recording. That guitar has not impaired you one bit and it's an entirely different animal than what your used to so it's impressive that you are that agile on it.

Happy Holidays!!
Todd


QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Dec 20 2013, 03:40 AM) *
$600 is a good deal - you [north] americans are blessed with fantastic prices.


In some situations scalloping is not motivated. Since it means possibly devaluating your guitar there are some hot discussions about it. However I can assure you that for me it is not a gimmick - but a highly useful feature.

Scalloping gives the same effect as having high frets (it's the height of the frets that matters for this discussion - not the width): It makes hammering-on, and to a certain extent also pulling-off, easier. The same goes for bending and vibrato.

The explanation is simple - there is not fretboard wood in the way of your fingertip.

I think very few would disagree on what I have said so far - in fact most technical oriented players cannot imagine playing an instrument that doesn't have big fretwire.

So why scallop a guitar when big frets do the same thing?

1 - If you are a fan of vintage-style instruments (dynamic pickups and round profiled necks etc), which almost never come with jumbo frets - scalloping is an affordable way to make them playable. You can do it yourself with a cheap dremel style tool. Warning - do it on a cheap guitar/neck the first time. And beware that scalloping might make the guitar hard to sell. Refretting the guitar is expensive/difficult (but retains the guitar's value better). With scalloping, you can buy a cheap Squier or fender mexico guitar and turn into a fantastic instrument.

2 - I have owned two Ibanez guitars with jumbo frets. Although the effect is very close to scalloping - scalloping gives an even nicer feel. Steve Vai for example uses his scalloped Jem quite often. Also, I find jumbo fretwire too wide on the higher frets - making it hard two squeeze in a finger tip between frets.

When not to scallop a guitar:

1 - You have played a scalloped guitar and found that it doesn't help you

2 - You intend to sell your instrument

3 - You don't use legato or bending (you're then probably a rhythm guitarist)

Btw - the first time I tried a scalloped guitar I was blown away be the feel and playability!



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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 20 2013, 05:00 PM
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I have to confess something smile.gif

Due to your video, yesterday night at the rehearsals for the Pantera tribute tomorrow evening, I tried to play 'Mouth for War' and 'This love' on a Gibson Les Paul Standard, 50s Neck, tuned to Eb standard, having 09-46 Ernie Ball strings (it belongs to one of my band mates)... bummer!! It wasn't really nasty, but not comfy either. Guess it's just not my piece of wood biggrin.gif


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PosterBoy
post Dec 21 2013, 06:31 AM
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The more I play my Les Paul, the more I'm aware I don't like 24.75 scale, I didn't get on with my Gretsch for a similar reason and thought it might be because of humbuckers (it had powertrons) when I got my LP I changed the humbuckers for BK Emeralds which helped a little, but I still much prefer my HSS super strat and my Tele.

The thing is how can you not have an LP in your arsenal, it's just wrong not to, so it stays

and as for strings, I play 25.5 scale with 10's so 10's on a LP feels really loose and I have to alter my playing and my heavy right hand.


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pdf64
post Dec 26 2013, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Dec 20 2013, 05:00 PM) *
I tried to play 'Mouth for War' and 'This love' on a Gibson Les Paul Standard, 50s Neck, tuned to Eb standard, having 09-46 Ernie Ball strings

Yes, well done for giving it a go but I can envisage that the strings would be rather slack - ok if use with a gentle touch but not for heavy pick attack and palm muting.

Even with 11-50 at Eb, my LP R8 would need the action raising a little for that type of use.
I guess all guitar designs have got their strengths and weaknesses but the classics have got such an established character that it's often beneficial to have them available for those occasions when they are the right tool for the job.

For me, the 'problem' classic is the Telecaster - I've never found one that I got along with but following Kristopher's example I may get around to forcing myself by buying one sometime smile.gif
Pete

This post has been edited by pdf64: Dec 26 2013, 05:47 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Dec 26 2013, 11:29 PM
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Well, for me, the issue is coming from the neck and the distance between my right hand and the body of the guitar when having it placed on the tune o matic bridge... That's where it all crumbles smile.gif


QUOTE (pdf64 @ Dec 26 2013, 04:46 PM) *
Yes, well done for giving it a go but I can envisage that the strings would be rather slack - ok if use with a gentle touch but not for heavy pick attack and palm muting.

Even with 11-50 at Eb, my LP R8 would need the action raising a little for that type of use.
I guess all guitar designs have got their strengths and weaknesses but the classics have got such an established character that it's often beneficial to have them available for those occasions when they are the right tool for the job.

For me, the 'problem' classic is the Telecaster - I've never found one that I got along with but following Kristopher's example I may get around to forcing myself by buying one sometime smile.gif
Pete



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