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First Gibson Purchase (2017 Les Paul Tribute Limited Edition Ice Teaburst)


Habanero

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After many years of playing guitar, I finally acquired a Gibson guitar last week. I purchased a 2017 Les Paul Tribute Limited Edition in the Ice Teaburst flavor.

 

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When the guitar arrived (it shipped from Nevada to my home in Utah) I was pleasantly surprised that it was in a hard case, as the item description indicated that it would have a padded gig bag.

 

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The wood on the body looked amazing, although quite different from the image that is found on websites which are selling the guitar. It is advertised as a AA Maple Top. It looks "Bookmatched" without the "matching" part, lol. Mine does have a lot of texture in the wood grain, which I actually prefer (see image below).

 

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When I pulled the guitar from the case, the first thing I noticed was how poorly the fret dressing was. Although I understand that climate can have an impact on the wood, the fret ends were extremely sharp, and pretty much unplayable. I have seen $200 Fender Squires with better fret end polishing than this guitar. I wasn't expecting to experience that on a $899 Gibson made in the USA product.

 

Once I plugged in the guitar, I immediately realized that the action was set super high. Not sure if that's typical for Gibsons, but it was nowhere near playable. The bridge seemed to be adjusted way out, and actually the bridge pickup was wiggling, and so high it was almost touching the strings. Was it really setup that way at the factory? I attempted to lower the bridge by 1/4 turn of the bridge adjustment on the low E string side, which immediately resulted in fret buzz above the 12th fret.

 

I called Gibson customer support to ask about the factory setup on my new guitar. The rep seemed bothered by my inquiry, however, he did say I could take it to an authorized service tech, and that the fret ends "might" be covered under warranty, and gave me the name of two locations in my area. I decided to avoid the GC referral, and went with a guy who has been working on guitars since the 1980's. When I arrived, he took a look at it, and said the fret ends are usually rough from the factory. He then did some initial measurements of the fret heights, and said that the neck needed significant adjustments, and that he hasn't seen one that bad from the factory for some time. He reassured me that he would get it to play really nice when he was done with it.

 

I understand that new guitars often need a setup, however, this isn't what I was expecting on my first Gibson purchase. I think if this is typical for what Gibson produces at this price point, it should come with a certificate in the paperwork for a "Free Setup" from an authorized tech if they don't want to do it properly at the factory. Oh, all of my volume / tone knobs were not seated properly, as they all were touching the body at one point, and at least 1/8 of an inch gap at the other side. The fretboard was really dry, as though it wasn't oiled at all from the factory, and the strings turned my fingers black within the first five minutes of playing.

 

Looking forward to pick up my guitar from the shop tomorrow, and hopefully the tech does a great job with it, and gets it to play nice and smooth. I think the fret ends issue will be covered under warranty, but I will be paying $45 for the setup (plus I included a $11 pack of D'Addario NYXL's to replace the crap strings that Gibson used).

 

I will post the results of its playability once I get my guitar home and try it out.

 

Oh, not sure how to embed images, so just including links for now.

 

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If this shipped out of Nevada, I assume it is either AMS or Zzounds, correct? I am surprised that it came in a case. The case you have is for a 2015 Les Paul, the only year Gibson used those cases. Did you talk to the seller about the guitar? I have one of these in the gold top finish and had no issues at all.

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If this shipped out of Nevada, I assume it is either AMS or Zzounds, correct? I am surprised that it came in a case. The case you have is for a 2015 Les Paul, the only year Gibson used those cases. Did you talk to the seller about the guitar? I have one of these in the gold top finish and had no issues at all.

 

Thanks for the identification of the year on my case. Yeah, I bought it from Zzounds. I usually do a pricematch from my MusiciansFriend / GC 20% off coupons, but since this model was a Limited Edition, they were the only retailers who actually had them in stock. I worked with them for over a month, trying to get a good deal. Finally settled on 8% off, 12 months 0% financing (I will have it paid off in a few months anyway like I usually do), free 2 day Fedex Shipping, no sales tax, waived processing fee. Never discussed the case, as I was just expecting a soft padded bag. The security tape from Gibson on the internal box was still sealed, so I am assuming it came from the factory like that. Havent contacted Zzounds, just waiting to hear back from my guitar tech to see if he can set everything up proper for me, especially since I like the hard case, and I love the maple top on the body (yeah, it looks totally sick).

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Ok, I got my guitar back after having it worked on for the fret ends, neck adjustment, and overall setup. Here are some pics:

 

I had D'Addario NYXL strings put on, the bridge adjusted, and intonation set correctly.

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The fret ends were cleaned up and polished, and they feel terrific now. Fretboard was really dry, and he oiled it up. Its looking nice.

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The tech said that the truss rod had no tension on it at all, so he had to adjust it a lot to take out the slack, then bring it to the proper tension. Also, he did some work on the nut. He said the G string in particular was very shallow, but now it actually sits in the groove instead of on top of the nut.

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Pickup heights were adjusted to proper specs. Might bring the bridge one down a touch.

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Something I asked about was the pickup mounting ring. The tech said that the ring is flat on the bottom, but the top of the guitar is arched, which causes the gap I am seeing, especially with the neck pickup adjusted low like it is. He said that they sell aftermarket ones which are curved for like $8 if I wanted to swap it out. I don't really like this look, so I will either try to contour it myself, or just go for the replacement. Any suggestions here would be welcomed.

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Anyway, this Les Paul is just about ready to go. Now I am waiting on the cream / gold switch poker chip to ship, and this axe should be really sweet!

 

 

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Very nice fret end dressing. Although, I prefer a more rounded fret end. Glad you were able to get it fixed up and set up.

 

Yeah, I hear you about the pickup ring. If you're ambitious, take the pickup out of the ring and mod the plastic ring. Masking tape a piece of 600 grit sandpaper on the pickup cavity. And just sand the bottom of the ring on sanding it back/forth in direction of the strings until you get the right curvature. It also helps if you use a flat piece of wood on top of the ring to keep it level.

 

...or just buy a curved pickup ring...easier.

 

I like that gold 2015 case... been looking for one on CL.

 

You're probably going to be busy playing the heck out of it so ...enjoy it!

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It plays awesome, and sounds great. Got home late last night, but had to plug it in for about 30 minutes, ya know. I am going to do a little recording this weekend just with different licks and effect pedals, then make a YouTube video with pictures of the guitar and some of my gear. Should be a fun little project this weekend to show off the new addition to my music room. I have sent pics of the Les Paul to friends and family, but they gotta hear how it sounds in action.

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It plays awesome, and sounds great. Got home late last night, but had to plug it in for about 30 minutes, ya know. I am going to do a little recording this weekend just with different licks and effect pedals, then make a YouTube video with pictures of the guitar and some of my gear. Should be a fun little project this weekend to show off the new addition to my music room. I have sent pics of the Les Paul to friends and family, but they gotta hear how it sounds in action.

 

That is a beautiful guitar and congratulations on the bonus case. Glad to hear it sounds and plays as good as it looks now. Be sure to share a link to the video when you post it.

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That is a beautiful guitar and congratulations on the bonus case. Glad to hear it sounds and plays as good as it looks now. Be sure to share a link to the video when you post it.

I spent the morning doing the video and recording audio clips to 5 different songs. Just compiling everything in Sony Vegas Pro. Gotta go to work, but I should be able to have it posted and viewable tomorrow morning. The guitar sounds awesome so far.

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Mine did come with a pickguard, however, it is sitting in the storage compartment if the case and was never installed. Also looks like you have the vintage tuners, where mine has the locking Grover kidney beans. What pickups do you have?

 

Good question, supposed to be 490r and 490t, I'll have to do some research!

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