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Johnyzax

About original 59 les paul

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I would like to ask about your experience in original les pauls of 59 year.

Do all these lps of that era sound great or it a myth and some of them are not so good? Do you think that the main reason of that  great sound was the original PAFs or the good wood era? Which nowadays paf clone you think is very close to the original pafs?Here in Greece its impossible to see or play and of course to buy an original 59 lp...

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9 hours ago, Johnyzax said:

... Here in Greece its impossible to see or play and of course to buy an original 59 lp...

Here in the U.S.A. it's impossible to buy an original '59 LP, unless, of course, you're a multi-millionaire.

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Yes, most of the people here will never play one (I have not, nor expect to).  There are some youtube reviews of these sacred guitars, though.  That is likely the best source of info so you can decide what you think the answer is to your question.

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I've seen three or four over, maybe, ten years going to the Dallas and Arlington guitar shows.  I could've bought a '60 lefty that had once belonged to McCartney, but I didn't have 75 thou on me at the time.  (I think I may have spent a little much at a "gentlemen's club" the night before.  I think there are more gentlemen's clubs in Dallas than there are gentlemen.)

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On 6/8/2019 at 2:09 PM, Johnyzax said:

I would like to ask about your experience in original les pauls of 59 year.

Do all these lps of that era sound great or it a myth and some of them are not so good? Do you think that the main reason of that  great sound was the original PAFs or the good wood era? Which nowadays paf clone you think is very close to the original pafs?Here in Greece its impossible to see or play and of course to buy an original 59 lp...

 

Whilst these might seem pretty straightforward questions to ask they are almost impossible to answer in a meaningful way without writing a very long essay.

First off; although I've played a few P-90 Les Pauls from the '50s and a couple of PAF-equipped Gibsons from the same era I've never played a '59 Les Paul 'Standard' so everything I'm about to type is simply 'to the best of my knowledge and experience'.

"Do all these lps of that era sound great or it a myth and some of them are not so good?"

You might want to start with reading the comments made by the half-dozen Collectors in the 'Interviews' section of Yasuhiko Iwanade's book "The Beauty of the 'Burst" if you can track down a copy of the book. In it you will read that, like any Les Paul from any era, the original '59s varied from one to the next. Whilst it's a fair assumption that they will all sound good - in a general sense - there is considerable written evidence to show that most are very good; some are less so; some are outstanding.  They also vary considerably in the 'playability' stakes. Shall we take just two famous '59s as an example? Peter Green's "Greeny" might sound superb but it has often been described as a right b!tch to play.  I first heard this viewpoint from someone I know who has played it a few times and he said it was a real handful and didn't like it at all. I've since read that both Peter Green and Gary Moore (who subsequently bought it from Green) found it a bit unweildy and Moore stated that he always felt he was having a bit of a fight on his hands when he played it. By way of contrast Peter Green said that by far the best Les Paul he ever played was Eric Clapton's first 'burst - known nowadays as the 'Beano'.

"Do you think that the main reason of that  great sound was the original PAFs or the good wood era?"

The concept of a '59s 'great sound' varies from one individual person to the next and from one individual '59 to the next.

The first thing you have to ask is 'What does a '59 sound like?'  I will copy a few quotes from a review of six original 1959 LPs published in the April 2008 edition of 'The ToneQuest Report';

"...X XXXX revealed itself to be a brute with powerful PAFs that were not subtle..."

"...if we had heard X XXXX on a recording blind we would incorrectly assume that we were listening to a semi-hollow body guitar..."

"...a thin, penetrating and incredibly powerful treble presence far more likely to be associated with a vintage Telecaster..."

Which of these descriptions sounds most like a '59 Les Paul to you? A brute lacking in subtlety? An ES-335 type guitar? A vintage Tele?...

Lastly on this topic; it is essential to remember that when Clapton, Green, Bloomfield etc. first used their '59s to record their seminal albums these guitars were NOT 'vintage' instruments; they were all aged between six and ten years old. Think of it like this; how 'Vintage' is a 2013 Les Paul today? Same story as back then. I don't buy in to the 'vintage' PAF idea nor the 'good wood' myth. Not even remotely.

"Which nowadays paf clone you think is very close to the original pafs?"

Everyone here will have their own personal favourite. In my experience the p'ups which most closely sound like the PAFs I've played are Gibson's own '57 Classics. I played a '58 Gibson and my own 1960 Reissue (with '57 Classics) back to back and, although the guitars sounded different when unplugged, the character of the pickups sounded - to my ears - pretty much identical.

FWIW in the same issue of ToneQuest Report as mentioned earlier the reviewers compared seven original PAFs (in addition to the dozen already fitted to the 6 guitars) and also a trio of Pat No. p'ups for good measure. These ten pickups were installed - one by one - in both the neck- and the bridge-positions of a '59 reissue for evaluation.  Bottom line was that they all sounded different. The 'favourites' turned out to be a couple of the PAFs and two of the Pat No. pickups.

To finish on the subject of "Which PAF Clone?" I will type this final - and extremely important - extract;

"We are reminded of a humbucker 'shootout'...where a set of real PAFs were included in a group to be evaluated in blind tests and none of the 'shooters' cared for the PAFs much at all.........How many players today...have ever truly experienced the sound of PAFs not on vinyl or a CD but in a guitar?.........we suspect that 'PAF' is often referenced for and by people whose actual familiarity of a pickup that ceased to exist over 40 years ago is virtually nil."

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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56 minutes ago, FZ Fan said:

...All the times Jimmy Page has used his on Zep albums they sound good to me...

...especially the solo from "Stairway..."...

It is with fondness that I recall the post (on a different forum) where members were nominating their favourite Gibson Les Paul tone and one poor sod said that, in his opinion, Gibbons' tone on 'La Grange' was, hands down, the greatest Les Paul sound ever recorded.

[laugh]

Pip.

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The closest I've played is a 1961 Les Paul, which was the SG shape. The lead guitarist's dad in my first band had it and let his son (my bandmate) play it. It played and sounded very good but I'm not sure it was any better nor worse than the ones I own now. The sideways tremolo was certain to take it out of tune really bad though!

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I had to google and listen to Stairway for the solo. I couldn't remember it at all (I don't like the song BTW) .

Having listened, I don't recall any of that rocked up ending at all. It's possible that I never had the patience to listen to the track all the way through before. 

And the solo. Yes, its ok. Though it could be any guitar SFAIAC. 

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2 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

I had to google and listen to Stairway for the solo. I couldn't remember it at all (I don't like the song BTW) .

Having listened, I don't recall any of that rocked up ending at all. It's possible that I never had the patience to listen to the track all the way through before. 

And the solo. Yes, its ok. Though it could be any guitar SFAIAC. 

 

Ah, well; Sorry if I was a bit obtuse. The humour (what little there was of it) got a bit lost I see.

The "Stairway..." comment was intended as a throwaway remark and, more pointedly, as a carry-over from the ToneQuestReport quotes as regarding LP tone. In actual fact Page used a Telecaster for the solo - hence rct's oft-quipped "Page sold a lot of Les Pauls by playing a Telecaster..." ...and Gibbons played an old Strat on 'La Grange'  but that didn't stop loads of folks agreeing with the chap who named it as the 'best Les Paul tone ever' - the point being that who amongst us can always tell with 100% certainty which guitar is being played purely from listening to a recording?

I know I can't.

Pip.

Edited by pippy

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27 minutes ago, pippy said:

 

Ah, well; Sorry if I was a bit obtuse. The humour (what little there was of it) got a bit lost I see.

The "Stairway..." comment was intended as a throwaway remark and, more pointedly, as a carry-over from the ToneQuestReport quotes as regarding LP tone. In actual fact Page used a Telecaster for the solo - hence rct's oft-quipped "Page sold a lot of Les Pauls by playing a Telecaster..." ...and Gibbons played an old Strat on 'La Grange'  but that didn't stop loads of folks agreeing with the chap who named it as the 'best Les Paul tone ever' - the point being that who amongst us can always tell with 100% certainty which guitar is being played purely from listening to a recording?

I know I can't.

Pip.

 

ah! Another chasm in my knowledge exposed.

This helps explain my friend Mike's frustration with Page. He's been chasing his tone for years.

Thank you for your patience Pip. 🙂

 

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