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Standard vs. Classic vs. Traditional vs. Custom VOS?


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As some of you know, I just bought my first Les Paul, 2017 Bourbon Burst Standard T. I never knew all the differences before recently. I was pretty much only familiar with the Standard, Custom, Studio and Epiphones.

 

From what I understand, the Standard (at least the newest ones) have the weight relief, new electronics and all that.

 

The Classic has the 9 drilled holes for a little weight relief but what kind of neck, electronics and pickups?

 

The Traditional has no weight relief, right? What kind of electronics and pickups, neck, etc?

 

The Custom VOS (R8, R9, R0, etc) are recreations of the original 50's and 60's guitars and I got a chance recently to play one of each of those but not through my personal amps.

 

I really love the feel and sound of the 2017 Standard. What are the differences between it and another. The reason I'm asking is that I can afford at least one more, depending on the price. Probably $3000.00 wouldn't be out of the question but I could go as high as $5000.00. The pickups on mine sound like they're fairly hot and I'm debating taking them down a little bit but it has great playability, sustain and that awesome sound and playability.

 

So, given a budget of $3-5000, which one(s) should I be looking at. I'm not too concerned about weight relief and none. Does it really make a tonal difference? I'm going to be playing mostly blues and classic rock these days, perhaps some metal like Iron Maiden, Ozzy or Judas Priest thrown in there just because that's what I used to play back in "the day."

 

I can easily look up each of these online but I'd rather get real life experience and opinions.

 

And, if there's one I should definitely check out that I didn't list, I'd love to hear about it.

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...I'm not too concerned about weight relief and none. Does it really make a tonal difference?...

'Good' and 'No'.

'Good' because if you don't give a rat's fart about Spoke, Cheese or Solid it means All Your Options are Open.

'No' because it doesn't. Chambering possibly; but W-R? Nope.

 

As far as what you should buy?

The advice is ALWAYS the same; go out and play every LP which takes your fancy...and also those which don't(*)

 

Specs of each model change pretty much every single year so giving a blow-by-blow of each is a bit pointless but essentially you already know the important stuff which is that Standards have fancier electronic stuff; Trads are more, erm, Traditional; Historics are as close as you can get to the originals whilst retaining your vital organs in situ.

The main differences between any of the LPs you mention and, say, a Studio, is in the amount of 'Bling'. Fancy tops are more expensive. Hide glue construction is more expensive. Blah...Blah...

 

Try to think a bit more about what precisely it is you want from your LP.

If you envisage much in the way of coil-tapping / coil-splitting type thing then a Standard is your best option.

If you want a Simpler-Than-a-Standard-but-Prettier-Than-a-Studio then a Trad would be a good choice (unless, that is, you could stretch to getting a Re-Issue). If you want O-O-P then the Peter Green magnet flip is a fairly straightforward modification for anyone with common sense.

The Re-Issues do seem to have a bit better build quality and it's a fact that I've played a lot more great R-I's than I've played great USA-line. The Devil really IS in the detail and the detailing of the R-I's is in a different league from the USA-line instruments.

 

Go out and have fun.

 

Pip.

 

(*) The reason I say this is that my #1 stayed on the wall of the dealership the first two (or three?) times I went in whilst I was on my 'hunt' because it didn't look like what I thought I wanted. It was only after I played it on the third (or fourth?) visit that I realised it was so very obviously the one for me.

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Yes to everything Pippy said (as usual :))

 

But for me the main differences are..

 

Standard: As you say.. This is Gibsons flagship model, they change the specs all the time.. Its the guitar they use to keep up with the market as such.

 

Traditional: Much like a standard but more based towards the 50s models with fat chunky necks... Yes these days they have no weight relief but some years they did.. The main thing from a players point of view I the neck though.

 

Classic: Again much like a standard.. The specs like all LPs has changed from year to year.. But again the big thing (and why I love mine) is the slim 60s neck. They are guitars that are kind of a mix between the 60s models and the 80s ones cos they have the hot ceramic pickups in them.

 

Then you have the customs and true historics... These guitars are built in a very traditional way, long neck tenons, hide glue and hand selected woods etc... Those are for the people who can afford it and the people for whom those details makes a difference.. VOS is vintage original spec.. They sometimes do different versions of the same model.. So you have an aged version which has all of the dings and cracking lacquer etc and the VOS version of the same guitar but you get it all new and shiny with no aging done.

 

Also for the last two years we now have the HP and Traditional range (just to confuse things more).. So theres a Standard HP and a Standard Traditional [rolleyes] .. The HP range all have zero fret nuts, auto tuners, all access neck heals and toggle switches to change pickup functions. So this now is the modern Gibson. Where as the Traditional (T range) all have what we consider to be traditional specd Gibsons with normal nuts and tuners etc...

 

But as said... The thing about guitars is that they are all kind of unique in their setup and final neck specs cos that's still done by hand... So really you need to play and hear it to know if its for you or not.. You could take 10 Les Pauls all the same model and year and each one will feel and sound slightly different..

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I think more of what I'm looking for are other opinions and experiences of people who have the various models and who've played them all. I fully intend to play quite a few before my next choice, new or used. I definitely have to have a guitar in my hands and play it for a while. I played a R0 the other day and it was nice but I didn't like it as much as what I have. It seemed to have an even thicker neck than my 2017 Standard. It wasn't bad but wasn't the neck that I'm used to. My Flying V's and Les Paul have similar neck feel and circumference, it seems. I was just looking to understand the differences and get other opinions and experiences.

 

Thanks for all the input. I guess it's time to go play them all. Thankfully, I have my wife's full support.

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I think more of what I'm looking for are other opinions and experiences of people who have the various models and who've played them all...

With all due respect, Michael, I don't think listening to the experiences / likes / dislikes of others will be of a great deal of help to you other than a very broad description of what the various guitars should be like - and you already know that.

 

Over the last 10 years or so I've played Customs; Standards; Trads; Specials; Juniors; Studios; Classics; Classic Customs; Custom Classics; Classic Antiques; Collectors' Series; Artists' Sigs; Re-issues of all descriptions and goodness knows what else (but, out of the hundreds of LPs only one Goddess). They have ranged in age from 1955 to the current day. But what meaningful information could I give you about any of them? Absolutely None. I could describe how they felt to me and what I did or didn't like about them but what would be the point? As Rabs mentioned earlier even within the same model range from the same year and with the same specs each guitar can vary enormously from one instrument to the next. Unless you tried out the exact same guitar as I played my comments would be completely meaningless. Your own observation regarding the neck of the R0 you played is the perfect illustration of this statement.

 

I have bought the four LPs which were the best playing and sounding LPs I've ever played; but I played literally dozens of 'identical' instruments that I didn't buy because, for me, they weren't 'right'.

 

I know this spiel is no help to you whatsoever and I'm sorry I can't simply tell you to "Go out and buy a 2016 VWXYZ; it will be the PERFECT guitar for You!" but that's just how it is.

 

Pip.

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With all due respect, Michael, I don't think listening to the experiences / likes / dislikes of others will be of a great deal of help to you other than a very broad description of what the various guitars should be like - and you already know that.

 

Over the last 10 years or so I've played Customs; Standards; Trads; Specials; Juniors; Studios; Classics; Classic Customs; Custom Classics; Classic Antiques; Collectors' Series; Artists' Sigs; Re-issues of all descriptions and goodness knows what else (but only one Goddess). They have ranged in age from 1955 to the current day. But what meaningful information could I give you about any of them? Absolutely None. I could describe how they felt to me and what I did or didn't like about them but what would be the point? As Rabs mentioned earlier even within the same model range from the same year and with the same specs each guitar can vary enormously from one instrument to the next. Unless you tried out the exact same guitar as I played my comments would be completely meaningless. Your own observation regarding the neck of the R0 you played is the perfect illustration of this statement.

 

I have bought the four LPs which were the best playing and sounding LPs I've ever played; but I played literally dozens of similar instruments that I didn't buy because, for me, they weren't 'right'.

 

I know this spiel is no help to you whatsoever and I'm sorry I can't simply tell you to "Go out and buy a 2016 VWXYZ; it will be the PERFECT guitar for You!" but that's just how it is.

 

Pip.

 

Yeah, I see where you're going with this. I had a recent experience with one of my kids along similar lines. I was asked about purchasing some shares and sure, I could provide some pointers such as management, balance sheets and the like but qualifying it in saying their money, their choice and they have to own the decision as no one will bail them out if they act on somebody's advice and it all goes pear shaped. The pointers I gave were objective in a way as it was published data and can be measured against another similar company.

 

However, when I was asked by the same child about a guitar purchase, no way could I say which guitar to buy. I may know generally what their financial circumstances may be but what's the right guitar for them as opposed to me? Not in a fit. I honestly don't think it's possible to be objective about something which, by its very nature, is so subjective.

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Yeah.. If only it were as easy as, buy this one for rock, this one for country music etc...

 

Doesn't work like that.

 

There are both good and bad examples of Les Pauls in every category, you can get great Studios and Customs that feel awful (it happens).. Even though as said, that's a personal thing.. Whats good for one is not necessarily good for another. We all hear and want different things, different neck shapes and sizes...

 

There are no real rules. Which is why, really unless you have no choice but to buy online, you MUST just go and play as many as you can, its the only real way to find your "One" :)

 

Also two other things.. When testing guitars, play through an amp that's the same or similar to what you have at home or it could be the amp you are testing that you like the sound of rather than the guitar.. Secondly, if you find one that you like the look of but don't like the way it sounds or plays, ask if they have another of the same model in the back.. You will be shocked at how different they can be.

 

Well good luck on the hunt.. Some say that's half of the fun right there ;) (and putting the effort in is well worth it I assure you).

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...When testing guitars, play through an amp that's the same or similar to what you have at home or it could be the amp you are testing that you like the sound of rather than the guitar...

msp_thumbup.gif

 

Well remembered, Rabs.

Don't play your prospective LP purchase through a DumbleBoogieDualRectifierBlackface4x12Slope4x12FlatFull-Stack if at home you have a Fender Mustang III; play it through a Fender Mustang III. AND DON'T PLAY THROUGH ANY PEDALS!!!!!!!

 

Pip.

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Thanks everyone. I'm in no rush so getting around and playing them sounds like a fun adventure. We're within an hour or three from Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Lexington and Frankfort. Thankfully, my wife enjoys going with me. What I'm hearing is that other than a few features, they're fairly similar in the way they play, feel and sound with the typical differences and to play them all. Sounds fun.

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msp_thumbup.gif

 

Well remembered, Rabs.

Don't play your prospective LP purchase through a DumbleBoogieDualRectifierBlackface4x12Slope4x12FlatFull-Stack if at home you have a Fender Mustang III; play it through a Fender Mustang III. AND DON'T PLAY THROUGH ANY PEDALS!!!!!!!

 

Pip.

 

Funny! I have a little Mustang amp at home, an old Crate combo amp, a Marshall combo amp and Randall half stack. I rarely use pedals anyway, other than a Crybaby occasionally and sometimes an old DOD Chorus, sometimes a little reverb. I love the Fender Mustang with all its sounds and combinations and editing possibilities for recording through my computer via USB cable. It's a nice little amp for the money.

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Picked up a 2017 Standard T at GC, loved the sound and feel of it. Compared it with a Tradional T and more expensive models. The Standard hit the sweet spot for me in every respect. I saw no need to go more expensive. After the Standard, I think the 'exclusive' additions after that level are mostly for cosmetic or 'signature' reasons. I preferred the weight relief. It still feels like a Paul, and I've owned a few over the years. As far as what else to get? What about a 335 or SG?

Btw, it was interesting that the color (vintage burst) wasn't one of the four offered this year on the Standard. Asked Gibson about it they said different dealers (GC, Amazon etc) can order their own custom colors.

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Picked up a 2017 Standard T at GC, loved the sound and feel of it. Compared it with a Tradional T and more expensive models. The Standard hit the sweet spot for me in every respect. I saw no need to go more expensive. After the Standard, I think the 'exclusive' additions after that level are mostly for cosmetic or 'signature' reasons. I preferred the weight relief. It still feels like a Paul, and I've owned a few over the years. As far as what else to get? What about a 335 or SG?

Btw, it was interesting that the color (vintage burst) wasn't one of the four offered this year on the Standard. Asked Gibson about it they said different dealers (GC, Amazon etc) can order their own custom colors.

 

Thank you for your comment as well. I have a couple Flying V's. I used to have an SG and didn't like it that much. I don't think I want a 335. It'll probably be another Les Paul if and when I find the "right one." I did play an R0 a week and a half ago and I didn't like that particular one as much as the Standard T. I really like the guitar. It's amazing.

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