mistafeeze Posted March 12, 2012 Report Share Posted March 12, 2012 Been watching eBay and there's this one that never even got a hit. But what intrigued me about this particular 2002 Standard model was a review that was copy/pasted into his ad. I have the same guitar, but in desert burst. Was wondering what you all thought about this review - sorry for another copy/paste, but I figure that was the best way to get you the info. I guess my questions are not really based upon nitro vs poly, short vs long tenon neck, burstbucker vs 490R/498T, swiss cheese vs chambered vs solid, but again if you agree that this era would be the closest sound to a 59 under $2000. Thanks! START OF REVIEW ON EBAY -------------- For more than a year, especially after having heard Steve Ingle's monstrous Les Paul tone at the 2007 Southern Creed Reunion, I've been on the hunt for the perfect Les Paul. Although some might like to argue, I believe that a Les Paul is a necessity for every player's stable, as there are just some tones you can't achieve without one. However, considering the overwhelming lack of Les Pauls in the Memphis area, both used and new, the search hasn't been easy. I decided that I wanted to get as close to the tone of a real 1959 Les Paul (who doesn't?), without paying an arm and a leg. In this case, my budget was restricted to around $2000. Of course, this limit almost certainly eliminated the prospect of buying a Gibson Historic model (except, perhaps, a used R7). This fact didn't really bother me though, since many of the Historics I've played have left me somewhat unmoved, especially considering the price. Granted, the Historics remain more true to actual late 50s Les Pauls (long neck tenon, ABR-1 bridge, etc...), but I believe you can get a great sounding Les Paul for a lot less money if you just search for the right one. I also did not want a Les Paul Standard made after 2006. Preferably, I wanted one made between 2002 and 2006. In 2002, Gibson revamped the Standard with certain, more vintage features compared to Standards of recent years past. These changes included the use of nickle hardware (vs. chrome), push-in bushing Kluson tuners (vs. lock-in bushings), thin binding (vs. thick binding), correct vintage-era gold top hat knobs (vs. speed knobs), and Burstbucker Pro Alnico V pickups (vs. 490R/498T pickups). Additionally, the Standard also received a AA maple top, as opposed to a plain top. In 2006, however, Gibson started fully chambering their Les Pauls (not Historics), unlike the simple "Swiss cheese" weight-relieving method of the past. I've played a few of the chambered Standards, and although some of them didn't sound bad, per se, they certainly didn't sound like a true Les Paul to my ears. A lot of that signature mid-range growl is lost when all that wood is removed. Thus, these are the primary reasons I desired a Les Paul made between 2002 and 2006. After looking far and wide, both here in Memphis and in Nashville, I did happen to stumble across a few prospective Les Pauls. Yet at the time, I didn't have the funds to purchase the guitar. And as expected, by the time I had the funds, they had already been sold. So I looked to eBay. I'm normally against buying a guitar before you play it, but in some cases, it's unavoidable. Plus, you can always resell the guitar later if you don't like it and consider any money lost as "rental" time. I took the risk. But the risk was well worth it. I found a very nice looking 2002 Les Paul Standard '50s Neck model with a Heritage Cherry sunburst finish in very good condition for $1650 on eBay. After checking out the seller's reputation and making sure there were no hidden flaws with the guitar, I sealed the deal with the "Buy It Now" button. The Heritage Cherry sunburst finish was what really caught my eye, and the seller captured the essence of this 'burst with his photos (I usually take my own pictures, but his photos were so good that I decided to use them for this write-up). To me, the perfect 'burst is one that has some amount of visible flame or quilted maple present, yet remains subtle and not too exaggerated. Some of those extremely wavy and/or perfectly matched maple tops (à la Paul Reed Smith) just look too contrived and gaudy to me. This Les Paul's 'burst, however, looked perfect. In fact, the 'burst has a little bit of both quilt and flame present. When you put it to the sunlight at certain angles, different portions of the flame and maple can be see. In fact, a fellow Gear Page member has wittily deemed it a "peekaboo" flame top. The guitar has all the stock hardware, including the Nashville bridge, vintage-style Kluson tuners (with push-in bushings), gold knobs, and cream plastic parts (pickup rings, switch tip, etc.). However, the previous owner replaced the saddles on the bridge with GraphTech ones. These are supposed to enhance harmonic overtones and prevent string-breakage and slippage. As far as electronics go, it has the stock Burstbucker Pro Alnico V humbuckers, as well as stock pots and capacitors. I didn't realize just how beautiful this guitar is until I finally got the guitar and opened the case (the seller shipped it in a nice SKB case). It's simply stunning! There's actually a 'burst going for $350K on Gruhn Guitar's website (see here) that looks extremely similar to mine. I also noticed that the rosewood fretboard is very dark and smooth, almost as if it were Brazilian rosewood and not Indian rosewood. Anyways, I took it upstairs and played it for hours through my Splawn Quick Rod. This guitar really makes the Splawn sound amazing. Not to sound too sensational, but it's as if the amp and guitar were made for each other. I was getting really great, late 60s, Plexi tones out of the amp with this guitar (ZZ Top's First Album comes to mind). Although the guitar sounds great as is, there's always the question of "how much better can it get?" I'd still like to make it a little more like a real '59. Of course, there are some things that just can't be changed (the short neck tenon, for instance), but there are many that can. I'm already planning to replace the zinc tailpiece with an aluminum, as well as upgrade the electronics (possibly with a kit from RS Guitarworks, a company that specializes in Gibson repro parts and vintage electronics upgrades). Until then, though, I'm completely happy with my purchase. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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