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I think my Les Paul is a dud

Bman

Power User
It’s a beautiful guitar. It sounds good amplified but when I play it I get a feeling that there is a dead spot on the neck or the neck is constantly warping, leaving me with a perception they it needs an adjustment. I just took it in and the guy measured and said it was fine.

It’s a Custom Classic Silberburst with the Classic 57plus/Classic 57 pickup combo. The charts on these pickup don’t look like they are that hot but these seem to be. They come close to using a drive boost compared to my other two hot pickups, the Dimarzio Super Distortion and the Duncan Distortion. Both feel like they have less gain.

I’m debating on selling it. I’ve had the vol and tone lots replaced 3 times and recently added a treble bleed trying to get it to clean up using the volume. And nothing has worked. And so I rarely play it. But I’m torn because it may be valuable someday. I saw the same model and same Guitar if the Week issue priced at $2,900 on Reverb in ‘good’ condition. Mine is in excellent cosmetic condition.

maybe it’s time to look ata PRS. But I like the strat feel, so the Suhr Thorn model looks fun. But then I don’t have my Gibson on the wall. Also, it takes a few minutes getting used to the small scale. Not a big deal, but definitely feels different...less good.

Should I look at like a girlfriend? I’ve given her plenty of time to change her skanky ways...time to split? Or give her another chance with some lower, vintage pickups? There’s still the dead neck feeling (jacked up tooth but a hot body). The girl down the street looks enticing. I need relationship advice
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deakle

Experienced
I had a Hamer in the 80's with the same neck issue. Sent it back to Hamer and found that the neck had a gradual twist around the truss rod. Hamer sent me a brand new one! However, I agree that if it just doesn't feel right to you, it is time to move on. I have both Les Pauls and PRS Singlecuts (Tremonti, SC250, SC245 and SC594). I highly recommend them! I really do not notice any difference between the Les Pauls or the PRS's.
 

spagthorpe

Experienced
I had a LP I just couldn't come to terms with either. I'm not really a Les Paul guy, but I just really didn't enjoy playing it; same thing, never felt right. I let a friend borrow it, and he fell in love with it. It's now with him.

So yeah, kind of like girlfriends.
 

lauke-lux

Fractal Fanatic
I've had a few guitars that just never felt right. I got rid of them. If im not inspired or a guitar doesn't scratch that itch, than whats the use. Just collects dust.
This. Any axe must feel and look right to your taste, fron the very first day. If it doesn't just kick it out and find another instead of losing your time. Nothing to do with girlfriends, it's a common problem with any instrument.
 

xarkon

Inspired
Lots of Les Pauls are.

Agreed. Sell it. Consistency is not a thing with Gibson. Unfortunately, some stuff comes out of Gibson USA that should never even make it to the wall at the local guitar emporium.

That said, my luck has been much better with the Custom Shop (Historic LPs). Granted, you're paying quite a bit more. They're way overpriced new - so look for a great used one.

And if it doesn't have to be an LP, but close, get a PRS McCarty 594.
 

Severed

Fractal Fanatic
I had a nice 2002 LP, got 2nd hand for $800. When I did the trade, sounded great, played great, and no issues in that 5 min tryout..... later after setting it up and getting rdy for a session, found out it suffered from "sticky neck." This is where the finish never cured properly so once you play for about 15 min and it warms up, the back of the neck gets tacky, and totally ruins the playability.

Dam thing.... I used it for a few Eb songs in a cover band for a couple years, did a couple solo work sessions and then sold it on marketplace for $1600 lol.

Anyways, it turns out there's A LOT of really shitty Les Pauls out there, so if you ain't digging it, trade or sell!
 

randyvanmartini

Power User
Yep, nothing out of the ordinary........sounds like you didn’t find “the one” that speaks to you. Luckily, I’ve found two of em! :)
 

MikeyB59

Power User
Totally agree about Gibson inconsistency. My first good guitar was an ES335 which I pawned and lost years ago. For a long time after that I would periodically try 335s and never have anything like an aha moment for anything like a reasonable price (except for one 68 ES345 beat to hell that I should have bought). Then maybe 18 months ago I walked into used music store, saw a 335 and tried it. Bam. Done. Mine. It is great. It is just one more 2000s Gibson, but it is great. I have been taking some lessons from a serious badass who did the Nashville thing for about 10 years and consequently has played a gazillion great guitars. He totally agrees that it is a great guitar to the point that he wants one like it.

Another friend wanted an SG a few years ago, so I went SG shopping with him. We tried everything we could find in town new, then he found a 74 SG with Bigsby that we both loved (I know, supposedly not great era). It was more than he wanted to pay. We then found on Ebay the same era/color guitar with broken headstock and he bought it. Great guitar. Way better than the fanciest modern SG for less than .5 the price.

When you get a good one, it is a beautiful thing, but in my experience there are way more crappy Gibsons that good ones.
 
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Morphine

Inspired
Agree with the sentiment that if you're not bonding with it for whatever reason (and your tech says nothing is wrong with it) then I doubt new pickups will really change anything.

My experience with Les Pauls has been very in line with what you see on quite a few guitar related forums and that is you have to play quite a few of them and find the one that speaks to you as the consistency from one to another varies quite drastically. It's not like a PRS where you can order one from Sweetwater and be reasonably confident it'll be like other PRS guitars you've owned/played.
 

xarkon

Inspired
I wonder if any of the old 59 bursts that are a million dollars are duds? no i'm sure all of those are awesome ;)

They're always awesome in the sales description. ;-)

Seriously, most bursts (58-60 LP standards) aren't a million dollars. Page's would be, as would a few others.

Having played a few back in the day (when they were under $5,000, and still ten times the price of a used LP standard from Norlin), the answer is that yes, some were duds - though not anything as bad as some of the stuff from the Norlin era. Others (e.g. Lukather's, the "Rosanna Burst"), are phenomenal.
 

Robboman

Fractal Fanatic
I have a Classic (Premium Plus) that I thought was a dud for a long time tonewise, but I think I finally solved the real issue!

I'm not a die hard a Les Paul guy, my only one is this one. Was struggling to like it after multiple pickup and pot swaps. I finally got looking into the bridge, based on reading about upgrades like Faber.

The Classic has a vintage type ABR-1 bridge, not the typical Nashville modern Gibson bridge with metal body inserts.

This is what the ABR-1 looks like out of the guitar:

7516923_800.jpg


If you take the strings, bridge and thumbwheels off, you are left with those two skinny little threaded rods sticking up out of your guitar top. They thread directly into the wood. On my Paul they were loose and wiggly, you could easily wiggle them side to side in the hole with your fingers. So I removed them and used a toothpick to roughly measure the hole depth. My holes went down almost 1/2" deeper into the guitar than these were set to. Just didn't seem right, how could the guitar resonate with loose posts?

Shouldn't those posts bottom out tightly right into the wood?

Of course they should! But Gibson drills the holes too deep on purpose to make assembly fast and easy, that way they can quickly thread the posts only as deep as they need to go so that when the thumbwheel and bridge go on top the post height lines up nicely with the top of the bridge.

The fix was easy.

1. Bought some long stainless steel bolts with the same size threads, but twice as long, with Philips heads.
2. Used a Philips screwdriver to drive them into the guitar down tight. Not so tight that the threads strip, but tight enough that they sink a bit right into the bottom of the post hole and the post ends up solid with no wiggle.
3. Used a Dremel to cut the Philips heads right off at the top.
4. Put the thumbwheels and the bridge on at the correct height so you can see where to mark a spot to cut the posts down again to line up with the top of the bridge nicely.
5. Remove the bridge, Dremel the posts off again, at their ideal final height.
6. Use a different Dremel bit (or files or sandpaper) to polish the top of each post so the top is rounded and smooth.
7. Put the bridge back on. Done.

(edit - before step 3, cover your guitar top and wear safety goggles. Don't risk damage to guitar or eyeballs)

Took me about 40 min including re-stringing. Made a difference!

You could then go further with something like a Faber bridge that locks onto the bridge posts, so the bridge itself can't move around on top of the thumbwheels. Honestly, I think the original design is pretty shitty by comparison.
 
Last edited:

xarkon

Inspired
I have a Classic (Premium Plus) that I thought was a dud for a long time tonewise, but I think I finally solved the real issue!

I'm not a die hard a Les Paul guy, my only one is this one. Was struggling to like it after multiple pickup and pot swaps. I finally got looking into the bridge, based on reading about upgrades like Faber.

The Classic has a vintage type ABR-1 bridge, not the typical Nashville modern Gibson bridge with metal body inserts.

This is what the ABR-1 looks like out of the guitar:

7516923_800.jpg


If you take the strings, bridge and thumbwheels off, you are left with those two skinny little threaded rods sticking up out of your guitar top. They thread directly into the wood. On my Paul they were loose and wiggly, you could easily wiggle them side to side in the hole with your fingers. So I removed them and used a toothpick to roughly measure the hole depth. My holes went down almost 1/2" deeper into the guitar than these were set to. Just didn't seem right, how could the guitar resonate with loose posts?

Shouldn't those posts bottom out tightly right into the wood?

Of course they should! But Gibson drills the holes too deep on purpose to make assembly fast and easy, that way they can quickly thread the posts only as deep as they need to go so that when the thumbwheel and bridge go on top the post height lines up nicely with the top of the bridge.

The fix was easy.

1. Bought some long stainless steel bolts with the same size threads, but twice as long, with Philips heads.
2. Used a Philips screwdriver to drive them into the guitar down tight. Not so tight that the threads strip, but tight enough that they sink a bit right into the bottom of the post hole and the post ends up solid with no wiggle.
3. Used a Dremel to cut the Philips heads right off at the top.
4. Put the thumbwheels and the bridge on at the correct height so you can see where to mark a spot to cut the posts down again to line up with the top of the bridge nicely.
5. Remove the bridge, Dremel the posts off again, at their ideal final height.
6. Use a different Dremel bit (or files or sandpaper) to polish the top of each post so the top is rounded and smooth.
7. Put the bridge back on. Done.

(edit - before step 3, cover your guitar top and wear safety goggles. Don't risk damage to guitar or eyeballs)

Took me about 40 min including re-stringing. Made a difference!

You could then go further with something like a Faber bridge that locks onto the bridge posts, so the bridge itself can't move around on top of the thumbwheels. Honestly, I think the original design is pretty shitty by comparison.

Yes. Faber also sells the longer threaded rod directly, avoiding the Dremel steps if you're not so inclined. Note the disclaimer about some recent LPs not having the deeper holes.

Faber Extra Long ABR-1 Bridge Posts
 
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