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2014 Gibson ES Les Paul

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Hello all,

 

I recently bought a 2014 ES-Les Paul.

I had been wanting to try one ever since I saw the videos of the NAMM show launch of this incredible beauty.

Living in Montreal, Canada you don't quite have as much access to new models as you do in the US, so I patently waited and checked the inventory of the big guitar dealers in the city. When I saw that my local Long and McQuade dealer had one, I rushed over to see it.

 

It felt great and sounded great so I bought it on the spot. I think it was the first one in the city. I was really excited about it. The engineering (design and construction) of this model is what made me buy it. It is different than any other Les Paul but it is also different than the ES models. It isn't as though the designers borrowed from the ES models and made a Les Paul, they had to design this from scratch and they made it work. I gotta give respect to the designers. They did a wonderful job.

 

When I took it home and looked at it much more closely I saw that the action was really high, so I lowered it and had to lower the pickup height too.

It was really way off! Once I had the action to a reasonable height I noticed that the neck was bowed. I lowered the string tension immediately, tuning all the strings down a 1/2 step. After a few days it acclimated to the new environment and the new string tension and the neck pulled back. It is still bowed but nothing that a good neck adjustment can't fix. I felt better about it, because I really liked this guitar. The reason I mention it is this, I had bought a few new Gibson models over the last few years and I never had one as badly setup as this. It really concerns me because I know that Gibson prides itself on it's setup and testing. Usually, you get the tag with the inspectors checks and initials with the guitar. I didn't get that. I am wondering, is this because this model was highly in demand and the batch was rushed through setup and QA to get it to the dealers? Any Gibson people out there please comment....

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Every neck adjustment will lag to a certain extent. Degree and period of delay vary depending on neck and fretboard materials, neck shape, and string tension.

 

The necks of brand-new guitars are too unpredictable for achieving a perfect factory setup of all items. Adjusting a virgin guitar is always just a guess. It will take some time until a steady state results.

 

Most of my new guitars needed tightening of the truss rod, very few called for loosening. Since I switched to heavier string gauges in next to all cases, I also had to readjust the necks once or twice within several weeks. Sometimes I had to do some subtle rework after a few months, but thereafter it was done. In case of changing string gauges, one will be back to the game again.

 

Hope this helps.

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Hello all,

It really concerns me because I know that Gibson prides itself on it's setup and testing. Usually, you get the tag with the inspectors checks and initials with the guitar. I didn't get that. I am wondering, is this because this model was highly in demand and the batch was rushed through setup and QA to get it to the dealers? Any Gibson people out there please comment....

 

I've never witnessed "pride" coming from Gibson in setup or care in general when packing them.

 

I received an ES330 CS in abysmal condition that could NOT be played as it was ( story in other threads here) and my LP "supreme" not only needed a setup badly the case had a LONG wood splinter / chip in the corner of the case with plenty of sawdust to boot!. I love both of the the guitars but JEEZ! C'Mon !!

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I've never witnessed "pride" coming from Gibson in setup or care in general when packing them.

 

I received an ES330 CS in abysmal condition that could NOT be played as it was ( story in other threads here) and my LP "supreme" not only needed a setup badly the case had a LONG wood splinter / chip in the corner of the case with plenty of sawdust to boot!. I love both of the the guitars but JEEZ! C'Mon !!

 

I will 2nd and 3rd that statement.

From my experience with Les Pauls I see a SERIOUS lack of pride from Gibson luthiers.

I shopped for an bought my first LP standard last year at Sweetwater and was appalled at how many LPs lack pride of construction. I looked at like 10-12 of them and played about 7-8. Of all of those LP's only about 4 were what one would call "perfect".

 

It's amazing that a company that charges such a premium price for their products gets away with what they pass off as first quality that should be B-stock.

The one aspect of LP's that drives me NUTS is where the neck meets the body and the resulting pathetic looking finish. On both sides of where the neck is set, on the body surface, Gibson can't seem to get the finish smooth and flawless.

75-80% of LP's have a sandy ripply looking finish at that spot. It looks very ugly and it's way way too common. How Gibson can't get this right, when a $500 Epiphone does, is astounding.

I have NEVER seen this ugly finish on any lower priced LP type guitar be it Epiphone, ESP, LTD, Ibanez, etc...

 

The other areas are the lack of ability to install tuning pegs in a straight line. On some Gibson guitars the tuning pegs look like they were installed by a drunk monkey, and that may be insulting monkeys wrongfully. :)

Way too often the nuts have rough unsmoothed edges and gaps where they sit in their slot.

If you get a new Les Paul run, don't walk, to the best neighborhood luthier and have the nut properly cut and smoothed or suffer tuning instability with the B and G string going "ting" as you try to tune it and the string is catching in it's poorly cut slot.

I see for 2015 Gibson is using a completely different nut to try and eliminate a problem that has existed for decades.

 

All that said, I am very impressed with the quality of ES335's in comparison. Now they are not without their faults either. I saw a number of ES's where the strings don't like up evenly across the neck, where either the low E is way too close or too far from the fret board edge or the same issue with the high E, and then the strings don't line up with the pups pole pieces as they should. One way too many the strings coming out of the tail piece have a noticeable angle as they route to their saddles clearly showing either the tail piece of the bridge was not set properly, yet there they are for sale as first quality not B stock. I passed on a number of ES's because of that because on those guitars the string spacing in relation to the fret board edge is way off.

This is really inexcusable. There are plenty that have perfectly set string spacing so why not everyone of them? My ES335 satin is as close to perfect as can be, it was made properly.

Some excuse these flaws as some acceptable condition of Gibson's being "hand made".

I don't buy that for a minute. Gibson uses plenty of machines. The problem is that their luthiers are too lax about detail.

Seem they know the guitars will sell so it seems Gibson doesn't care about releasing products like that.

How freaking difficult is it to set the tuners properly and straight? It's not if you take care and pride in what you're doing knowing how much someone will pay for one.

 

Yeah, I know I sound picky, but damn, consider how much we pay for these guitars compared others. I expect perfection when paying a premium price. It should be exceptional quality and construction, not just acceptable.

 

I am VERY impressed, again, with most of the ES335 line especially the satin ones. That's a major reason why I purchased my satin cherry.

Everyone I tried, about 4-5, looked great, played great, and sounded great. The construction of these is exceptional. I applaud the people working on assembling those guitars, they do a great job and earned my business.

Gibson, put those luthiers in charge of training and supervising the rest of your construction line!

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