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Do Les Pauls Have Improving Tone With Age 2015 Les Paul Classic update

#1 User is offline   Sabredog 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 12:36 AM

I bought my Gibson Les Paul classic a little over 2 years ago 2015 model which I loved the extra fretboard width & nut,
as I have very large hands, and I was very tired of previous Les Pauls where the strings fell off the edge of the fretboard.

So as far as playability it was off to a good start. Within the first 30 days I put a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates and had jumbo stainless steel frets installed and it was run on the PLEK machine.

Eventually I removed the auto tuner replaced with Gibson vintage tuning pegs also installed the graph Tech zero nut. I highly recommend that versus the titanium nut Ever so slightly, ever so subtly warmer smoother vintage tones and pick attack.

The Guitar weighs 11 pounds, So the tone that comes out of that beautiful massive mahogany is amazing, but only occasionally did I feel like it was great sounding. But now after going through 2 summers and 2 winters with the guitar always out in a stand ready to play. in the last 2 or 3 months the guitar is just getting better and better and better So I was just asking myself is it possible the guitar is evolving the woods and the resin are starting to crystallize and the constant playing the guitar's Harmonizing with itself. I know some of it is just finding the sweet spot of the amplifier with the guitar.

But the harmonics and the bloom are starting to impress me like crazy I keep saying wow this thing is sounding fantastically amazing.
The power chords Used to be a little bit loose but now they are tightening up to near perfection,

I have 5 or 6 different guitars this one is separating itself from the pack.

I'm playing moderate gain 60 70s 80s rock through a Marshall JVM, exact same rig for 3 years now. Always use Di adDarío 10's And I'm very convinced the guitar is simply getting better. Especially since I took the GForce tuner off. Also because the tuning stability has slowy become perfect as well I almost never have to tune it. The first year I had to tune it every 20 or 30 minutes.

Anybody else have a similar experience Where their Les Paul gets better with age. I think temperature cycling and humidity cycling while the guitar is being played constantly Could be part of the story.

So I for on am happy with the 2015 models,With a few minor improvements of my own added. The extra wide fretboard fits me perfectly.

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#2 User is offline   LarryUK 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:07 AM

I think they improve with age because the wood mellows and gets more resonant.
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#3 User is offline   Searcy 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:17 AM

No. They don't.
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#4 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:40 AM

Heartwoods don't change noticeably, sapwoods gradually change with obvious sonic alterations during 12 to 15 years, and combinations of either like with Les Paul guitars may undergo quite significant changes, some of them sudden, dramatic, and transient. This is what my experiences of over 36 years with lots of different guitars including different timbers and builds say.

If the changes are perceived as improvements, will strongly depend on taste. When about me, I loved some distinctions between my Les Paul guitars that in most cases gradually, in one case substantially decrease since years. The sonically most untypical Les Paul of mine has become the most typical one between her second and her sixth year. That's not what I bought her for, but besides this fact she probably has become my best one when rated according to expectations commonly associated with Les Paul guitars. However, there can be more changes to come the following years.

Previously I shared some of my more recent experiences here:
http://forum.gibson....tars-resonance/
http://forum.gibson....-solid-timbers/
http://forum.gibson....guitar-timbers/
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#5 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:45 AM

I don't think you can tell from one year to the next that a solid body guitar is getting more resonant. It's more likely that you're getting better at making that particular Les Paul sound good as you discover its capabilities.
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#6 User is offline   SteveFord 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:06 AM

I'm with Steve Howe in you get back what you put into them.
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#7 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 07:11 AM

Acoustic instruments change & improve timbre over decades. The precedent for this is found in traditional string instruments like viola & cello.

Solid electric instruments? and within 2 years? Probably not.

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 29 January 2017 - 05:45 AM, said:

I don't think you can tell from one year to the next that a solid body guitar is getting more resonant. It's more likely that you're getting better at making that particular Les Paul sound good as you discover its capabilities.


This sounds more likely. Also, you can learn to love and appreciate a sound the longer you spend playing that particular guitar.

Glad you are enjoying it. Thats the main thing.
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#8 User is offline   daveinspain 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 09:27 AM

No, all Les Pauls sound about the same whether they are old or new. It's the guys who sound great when they play them are older now…
1960-ish Guillermo Lluquet arch top vintage burst 2 Voss single coil pups
1971 SG Standard Lyre Maestro tremolo, Cherry, original patent number sticker humbuckers
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#9 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 12:29 PM

View PostSabredog, on 29 January 2017 - 12:36 AM, said:

... in the last 2 or 3 months the guitar is just getting better and better and better So I was just asking myself is it possible the guitar is evolving the woods and the resin are starting to crystallize and the constant playing the guitar's Harmonizing with itself. I know some of it is just finding the sweet spot of the amplifier with the guitar.

But the harmonics and the bloom are starting to impress me like crazy I keep saying wow this thing is sounding fantastically amazing.
The power chords Used to be a little bit loose but now they are tightening up to near perfection,

I have 5 or 6 different guitars this one is separating itself from the pack.

...

My experiences say it is possible. However, changes and periods of time they happen are hard to predict.

Maple contains lots of sugar. Different sugars, monosaccharides and disaccharides, the hydrolysis of the latter, the glucose transition from chain structure to the cyclic hemiacetal molecule, and the resins' equilibria with fatty acids and fatty alcohols happen quite slowly after the sapwood's death. The subsequent crystallizations change the cellulose and hemicellulose structures, and these changes affect the sonic properties.


View PostLarryUK, on 29 January 2017 - 05:07 AM, said:

I think they improve with age because the wood mellows and gets more resonant.

This is the most likely result.


View PostSteveFord, on 29 January 2017 - 07:06 AM, said:

I'm with Steve Howe in you get back what you put into them.

Definitely true, but applicable to every guitar of any woods and build, enhanced or limited by their specific behaviour.


View Postmerciful-evans, on 29 January 2017 - 07:11 AM, said:

...
Glad you are enjoying it. Thats the main thing.

Yep! [biggrin] [thumbup]


View Postdaveinspain, on 29 January 2017 - 09:27 AM, said:

No, all Les Pauls sound about the same whether they are old or new. It's the guys who sound great when they play them are older now…

May apply within certain limits to Customs with all-mahogany bodies. Those with maple tops develop more or less over the years.
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#10 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 12:30 PM

I'm another in the 'No' camp.

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 29 January 2017 - 05:45 AM, said:

...It's more likely that you're getting better at making that particular Les Paul sound good as you discover its capabilities.

Posted Image

This.
I sound better now on my LPs than I did when I bought the first of them for the reason stated above.

Folks rave about the 'vintage' tone produced by the original '58 - '60 Les Paul Standards but as has been pointed out ad nauseam when those seminal albums were recorded the age of the 'bursts varied between 5 and 10 years old. Hardly 'Vintage' in my book.

IMX? I had a '64 Strat which I owned for 24 years. Sounded sublime on day 1 and sounded sublime on day.....erm....well, I ran out of fingers which equates to 'Lots'. It didn't sound different, though.
My own quartet of LPs are now all between 22 and 26 years old. They still sound just as good as they did back when I bought them. One DID improve, however, when I swapped the caps...

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#11 User is offline   rct 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 12:59 PM

My current Les Paul is 17, has the 57 Classics, Grovers, and straplocks I put in it the day I took it home. Still sounds like me playing a decent Les Paul.

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#12 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 01:02 PM

View Postpippy, on 29 January 2017 - 12:30 PM, said:

...
Folks rave about the 'vintage' tone produced by the original '58 - '60 Les Paul Standards but as has been pointed out ad nauseam when those seminal albums were recorded the age of the 'bursts varied between 5 and 10 years old. Hardly 'Vintage' in my book.

IMX? I had a '64 Strat which I owned for 24 years. Sounded sublime on day 1 and sounded sublime on day.....erm....well, I ran out of fingers which equates to 'Lots'. It didn't sound different, though.
...
Pip.

Wood treatment before processing may have been quite different then. Wood drying methods can have a significant impact on sonic qualities of timbers, in particular sapwoods. The woods used then may have been much more naturally aged.

Another point is the glue. The hide glue used for '58 - '60 Les Paul guitars is way more brittle than polyvinylacetate glue like Titebond 50 as used by Gibson nowadays. Different glues may affect the wood resonance differently.
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#13 User is offline   Karloff 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 01:24 PM

If you keep practicing
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#14 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 01:56 PM

View Postcapmaster, on 29 January 2017 - 01:02 PM, said:

Wood treatment before processing may have been quite different then...
The woods used then may have been much more naturally aged...
Another point is the glue...Different glues may affect the wood resonance differently...

I agree with all the above, cap, but the moot point in each of these three sentences is the word 'may'.

There has never been a single case where someone has been able to illustrate with absolute, scientific, accurate and incontrovertible proof that electric guitars improve as they age. If there WERE such proof in existence then it would be brought up every time this debate rears it's hoary old head.

Furthermore why do people who rave about 'vintage' electric guitars always say they get better with age? Why don't some instruments get worse? Is there some fundamental Law of Nature which states that such instruments as we are discussing will always improve and never worsen over the passage of time? If so I'd be delighted to read it.

I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I have no proof to show that electric guitars DON'T improve with age; but until it is proven to me that such an effect occurs then I have to accept that such evidence as has been accrued by me over the last 41 years of owning and playing such instruments is wholly relevant.

That's a lot of 'suches'. Sorry 'bout that.

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#15 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 02:32 PM

View Postpippy, on 29 January 2017 - 01:56 PM, said:

I agree with all the above, cap. But the moot point in each of these three sentences is the word 'may'. ...

Furthermore why do people who rave about 'vintage' electric guitars always say they get better with age? Why don't some instruments get worse? Is there some fundamental Law of Nature which states that such instruments as we are discussing will always improve and never worsen over the passage of time? If so I'd be delighted to read it.
...
Pip.

Of course I have to say "may" because I don't have any proof how these '58 - '60 Les Paul guitars developed over time, and there are no accessible documentations about treatments of the timbers used. It is very likely though that drying was changed over the years, with technical progress as well as with growing lots of timbers per year.

When about better or worse, I quote myself from a previous post here:

View Postcapmaster, on 29 January 2017 - 05:40 AM, said:

...
If the changes are perceived as improvements, will strongly depend on taste. When about me, I loved some distinctions between my Les Paul guitars that in most cases gradually, in one case substantially decrease since years. ...


Two of my Gibson LPs and my Epiphone LP changed very little, and the other three of my Gibson LPs underwent quite significant changes, even when the most dramatic appeared to be only transient in the end. The latter is also valid for a MIM Fender Stratocaster of mine.

Chances are that some Les Paul owners will experience no obvious changes with the age of their guitars, others subtle ones, and some striking ones. In case one may compare several of one's own Les Paul guitars, minor changes will be more obvious. Moreover, this will make it easier to rule out other causes.

Be sure I know what I'm talking about, even if I don't have proofs for identical strings, setups, components et cetera, and no recordings done straight under same conditions. If I had known some years ago how my guitars will develop, I perhaps would have done that.

But whatever, I go through these experiences as they come, and I think they are among the better things in my life. If you asked me, I'd say this is what counts. :)
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#16 User is offline   charlie brown 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 03:22 PM

I would have to say, that I have NO idea! There are those that claim wood "drying out," over time (acoustic or solid body electric's)
do tend to take on a different tonality. And, as the pickups age, they too change a bit. But, I think IF that happens, it's over
a much longer period of time. In the old days, when pickups were wound by hand, and to different tolerances (intentional or otherwise)
they tended to sound a bit different, guitar to guitar, even within the same model(s).

So, I wouldn't count on any of that, but if it does "seem" to happen, and you're pleased with the result, that's all that counts! [biggrin]


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#17 User is offline   Dennis G 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 04:34 PM

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 29 January 2017 - 05:45 AM, said:

It's more likely that you're getting better at making that particular Les Paul sound good as you discover its capabilities.

Kind of like this?


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#18 User is offline   badbluesplayer 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:09 PM

View PostDennis G, on 29 January 2017 - 04:34 PM, said:

Kind of like this?




No, like this -


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#19 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:12 PM

View Postcapmaster, on 29 January 2017 - 02:32 PM, said:

Be sure I know what I'm talking about.

Absolutely.
I do.
Very much.

I ask only that you offer me the same courtesy. Thank you.

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#20 User is offline   pippy 

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Posted 29 January 2017 - 05:22 PM

View Postbadbluesplayer, on 29 January 2017 - 05:09 PM, said:

No, like this...

Thank you for posting that clip, bbp. That really was wonderful.
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'nuff said.

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