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George H.

Epi Les Paul Standard Plus HHH

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Hey guys,

I am looking at getting a used Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus. I found one online but I have some reservations about it. I have been doing a bit of research and I found only two Epiphone models that come with 3 humbuckers, and none of those were natural finish. The bridge and neck hum's are white and the center one is black. He states that there are four controls, 1 tone and 3 volume. I asked him for the serial number, so that I could research it more, and he told me that it was removed when the guitar was refinished..... but it still has the branding on the front side of the head stock!

 

He's asking what would seem to be a fair price, $250, but I am a bit apprehensive with a missing serial and unusual pickup styling.

 

Please help me in deciding if I should get this one. I have a week before I fly home for a month and the return back to Saudi Arabia for another year. I want to get it as soon as I get home to maximize my learning curve.

 

Thanks,

George

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Few players like HHH guitars, which is why almost no manufacturer has copied it for over 50 years (they went in droves for HSS and HSH instead). Gibson and Epiphone only do it for 'historical' reasons. It's nice on paper, in reality the tones froma middle PU (no matter which one you use) are weak and thin, and you have little room to pick. As with varitone switches, it's one of the duds from the 1950's that still linger on. It's just an idea that flopped.

 

You're much better off with an Epi Les Paul Standard Plus (flame top) that hasn't been refinished. You can get them for around $250 used in nice condition.

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Thanks Blue,

That is the reply I expected. But it looks really cool with the three hum's in it. I didn't even think of the picking side of it.

 

I am new to playing, midlife crisis and all, so I was looking to get something I would 'grow' into. LP's have held my eye... now to find another one.

 

Thanks.

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Hi George, I'm like you... a 40-something newbie to guitar. Blue's right. The Triple humbucker LOOKS cool, but most people complain about it in relation to picking.

 

Epi Les Pauls are all over craigslist, and Flea-Bay, so you should have no problem scoring a nice one.

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That is the reply I expected. But it looks really cool with the three hum's in it. I didn't even think of the picking side of it.

 

Oh yeah, they look great. But it's hard get used to holding your hand in just the right place to pick in the small spaces between PU's, and the tones of a middle HB leave a lot to be desired. Whatever a PU sounds like in the bridge or neck slot, it will sound nothing like that in the middle position; the string nodes and vibrations are different, and HB's don't sit under them right. There may be magnetic fields overlapping too and messing up tones, as you have 6 coils packed like sardines. Great idea on paper, not in practice.

 

I have one of the limited edition Epi SG Customs from several years ago: arctic white with a maestro vibrola, gorgeous guitar, but I like playing my SG Std's much more.

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I'm getting itchy fingers, I get home in a week and I can't wait to get my own Epi LP. I may have some issues with it in Saudi though. The weather in the summer is pretty constant, HOT and dry. But between October and June the humidity goes pretty crazy.

 

I'm not too crazy about the sunburst patterns, I like the solid white ones. But I will take whatever comes along in my price range.

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I've had a few HHH Les Pauls and the picking issue didn't bother me at all. Even when playing a HH layout, I'll often pick/strum directly over a pickup to get the tone I want for a particular part, so having HHH doesn't mean you can only pick inbetween pickups.

 

I think HHH looks brilliant, but the middle pickup doesn't give any significant extra tonal options UNLESS you disable one coil so you are in effect using HSH. That gets you into Quadrophenia-era Pete Townshend territory...

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I've had a few HHH Les Pauls and the picking issue didn't bother me at all. Even when playing a HH layout, I'll often pick/strum directly over a pickup to get the tone I want for a particular part, so having HHH doesn't mean you can only pick inbetween pickups.

 

I think HHH looks brilliant, but the middle pickup doesn't give any significant extra tonal options UNLESS you disable one coil so you are in effect using HSH. That gets you into Quadrophenia-era Pete Townshend territory...

 

For most players, it takes some getting used to to pick with an HHH, one of the reasons so few manufacturers make them. If you think about it, if HHH offered any tangible benefits, everybody would have copied it decades ago (like they did with HSH and HSS). In the copy-cat world of guitars, there's a reason why some things are neglected.

 

For the middle PU, you can add a push-pull for coil cut; actually you can do that for all 3 PU's (if they have 4-lead wires) and mix different coils. What I did with my SG Custom was put a gold-covered HB-size P-90 in the middle slot, along with push-pulls for coil cut for the bridge and neck HB's. There are ways to make HHH's more useful. I've owned six of them over the years (because they look so good), but have sold four, as regular HH's are just as versatile and easier to play. LP's are usually heavy to begin with, and a third HB adds more weight than many players want. I'm a big guy so the weight isn't an issue with me, but where I normally hold my hand to pick, I'm constantly hitting the pole pieces and PU covers on a HHH.

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It sounds like the middle pickup is not original to the guitar, since it doesn't match the other two. The only "non-Custom" Epi Les Paul with three pickups that I'm aware of was the Ace Frehley model, and that had three cream pickups and a cherry sunburst finish. Whoever did the mod wired it up right--three volumes and one tone works great on 3-pickup Gibson-type guitars, and Epiphone actually wired their Les Paul Custom reissue that way--SG Customs too. On the original Gibsons from the '50's and '60's, the middle pickup was actually out of phase with the others, hence the thin sound. On Epis, the middle pickup is in phase, allowing it to be used with the others without getting all that phase cancellation.

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http:// ksu .craigs list. org/ msg/ 3774605207.html

 

Ok, here is the one I am looking at. (remove the spaces from the link) Like I said, it's a little un-nerving that he had it refinished and the serial is removed, thus keeping me from making a positive ID.

 

Again, Let me know what you think.

 

George

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I also have never had an issue with playing an HHH guitar (just how deep to you guys dig in, anyway?) ... and I think it's a spectacular look on a Les Paul or SG model.

 

Oh, and Bluesman ... I disagree with you intensely on your Varitone statement ... just saying! [biggrin]

 

Jim

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Oh, and Bluesman ... I disagree with you intensely on your Varitone statement ... just saying!

 

True, a few guys like varitones, I've had one myself in a Lucille and thought it was useless; Weak, puny tones. The guys I know that have guitars with varitones never use them. But the big picture tells the story: good ideas are copied, and outside of Gibson and Epi (who do it for 'historical' reasons), just about no manufacturer seems to put a varitone or anything like one in their guitars. Players don't want them, there's no demand. It was a great idea on paper though. Flopped in the real world. Gibson and Epi are now using coil cut push-pulls in many models, but not adding varitones.

 

Maybe there's a way to get better tones with them, possibly wiring it differently or using different capacitor values. Anything to improve those neutered-sounding tones.

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Oh, and Bluesman ... I disagree with you intensely on your Varitone statement ... just saying! [biggrin]

Jim

 

As do I!

 

I've had a Gibbo ES345 and currently have an Epi ES345 and I love the varitone - the whole point of me buying that model guitar. And I make extensive use of it too - through positions 1 to 6. If anything, I have to say the Epi varitone works better than the Gibbo one did.

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As do I!

 

I've had a Gibbo ES345 and currently have an Epi ES345 and I love the varitone - the whole point of me buying that model guitar. And I make extensive use of it too - through positions 1 to 6. If anything, I have to say the Epi varitone works better than the Gibbo one did.

 

You need to get together with Midiman56, as the two of you make up half of the varitone-lovers in the country. You could have a 'Varitone Convention' in the back bedroom of one of someone's home and set up a card table with a display ;)

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You need to get together with Midiman56, as the two of you make up half of the varitone-lovers in the country. You could have a 'Varitone Convention' in the back bedroom of one of someone's home and set up a card table with a display ;)

 

Hmmmmph! [biggrin]

 

Nah, there's too many for a back bedroom and that is just on this site:

 

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/58368-es-345/page__st__20

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I guess Bluesman just feels the need to be "RIGHT" on this one, Pin ... no worries. If your guitar buying decisions are based on what's "popular" and "most copied", then I guess you must change gear pretty often anyway ...

 

To me, my Gibby ES-345 with either the neck or both pickups on and the Varitone in position 3 is pretty much sonic perfection!

 

Jim

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I guess Bluesman just feels the need to be "RIGHT" on this one, Pin ... no worries. If your guitar buying decisions are based on what's "popular" and "most copied", then I guess you must change gear pretty often anyway ...

 

 

 

Blueman is right on this one ;)

 

If you're only into what's popular, everybody would have Fenders. But as it is, most guys with Fenders can't EQ them so they don't make dogs howl...

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