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Les Paul Studio realities


hi13ts

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I understand the topic title is rather poorly-worded. What I'm asking is to know the actual "corner-cuts" that Gibson makes for the Studios, besides the apparent lack of binding and chambering (and now, depending on what your opinion is, the baked maple fretboard). For example, is the neck tenon much shorter than a Standard or Traditional? Is the maple cap actually a few centimeters thinner? More pieces of wood? Inferior wiring? I figured that forum members may have more inside knowledge than what can be found on generic descriptions on retail websites (and on Gibson's website). The tremendous price discrepancy between the Studio and the Standard (and other higher ups for that matter) is probably due to the lack of binding, but I can't help but think that there maybe more. I don't mean to rail on Studios, I have one and it's a fabulous guitar for the price, but I just want to know exactly what I'm playing with.

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I own a studio, and a LP STD Traditional Plus. From what I have noticed, the body is slightly thinner on the studio. But then, my studio has a much thicker neck than the Std. Both are supposed to be the '50's profile. As long as you buy a studio with the glossy finish, you are still getting one heck of a guitar, and it really isn't so much that they "cut corners" as it is they leave off the extra visual flair ( the binding and the Gibson inlaid logo ). Personally, I don't care for baked maple or obeche fretboards. But both of mine are pre-raid guitars.

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Generally speaking Studios use a lesser grade of wood. The Studios also have the same weight relief as the Standard. Cheaper tuners, and bridge tailpiece. Granadillo fretboard instead of Rosewood, Logo on headstock is a decal while it's Mother of Pearl on Standard. Asymetrical compund radius neck on Standard.

 

The biggest difference is the grade of wood used. I have no idea how many pieces each one uses.

 

All in all the Studios are great instruments if your budget can't cover a Standard.

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Some of the "corner cuts" can be objectively proven such as the inlays, binding, logo, thinner maple cap but I've never seen any proof that cheaper cuts or more pieces are deliberately and/or exclusively used for Studios compared to any other USA production Gibson.

 

Here's my Tribute Studio which has a two piece back. The woods are absolutely beautiful to me:

 

DSC02547.jpg

 

DSC02549.jpg

 

DSC02554.jpg

 

DSC02551.jpg

 

DSC02555.jpg

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Even from just the pictures you posted I can see the grain on the back of the guitar is nowhere near that of a Standard. I am not putting your instrument down but srraight grain is more desired thn those with diagonal grain. certainly the top is of a lesser than AAA maple grade as well. If you look on Gibsons website you can clearly see at least thee pieces on the back with grain that does not match at all.

 

There are obvious differences in the quailty of the wood used as well as the hardware.

 

Do you also notice how the binding widend in the midle of the cutaway. This is not true on a standard.

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Even from just the pictures you posted I can see the grain on the back of the guitar is nowhere near that of a Standard. I am not putting your instrument down but srraight grain is more desired thn those with diagonal grain. certainly the top is of a lesser than AAA maple grade as well. If you look on Gibsons website you can clearly see at least thee pieces on the back with grain that does not match at all.

 

There are obvious differences in the quailty of the wood used as well as the hardware.

 

Do you also notice how the binding widend in the midle of the cutaway. This is not true on a standard.

Dude there is no binding on that tribute, that's the edge of the maple cap and that does happen on a Standard.

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Dude there is no binding on that tribute, that's the edge of the maple cap and that does happen on a Standard.

Sorry about calling it binding. I guess I will have to take some pics of the cutaway on my Standard.

I am not trying to put the Studio down it is a great instument. I am just attempting to explain why there is such a difference in price. It's not just the bling it's the wood and hardware.

 

I assumed, correct me if I am wrong, but that the width of the maple top on a Standard is the same as the width of the binding. It looks thicker than the width of the maple top on a Studio. Surely I wish I had all the real specs but I am just going by observation of pictures. I do not own a Studio.

 

Still I will stand firm on the quality of the wood used as a major factor in the price difference not to mention the finish and hardware and pickups.

 

No disrespect here at all. It's all good.

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Sorry about calling it binding. I guess I will have to take some pics of the cutaway on my Standard.

I am not trying to put the Studio down it is a great instument. I am just attempting to explain why there is such a difference in price. It's not just the bling it's the wood and hardware.

 

I assumed, correct me if I am wrong, but that the width of the maple top on a Standard is the same as the width of the binding. It looks thicker than the width of the maple top on a Studio. Surely I wish I had all the real specs but I am just going by observation of pictures. I do not own a Studio.

 

Still I will stand firm on the quality of the wood used as a major factor in the price difference not to mention the finish and hardware and pickups.

 

No disrespect here at all. It's all good.

 

 

The top, being carved, isn't uniform thickness and is actually slightly thicker farther in, like where the treble cutaway goes to, and thinner towards the edges. Some years they did binding that was the same height all the way around and on transparent finishes you can see a little bit of the maple under it in the cutaway, some years the binding was slightly taller in the cutaway and completely hid it. On guitars with an opaque finish, they scrape the paint off the binding to a uniform height and the little sliver of exposed maple gets hidden under the finish. It's just purely aesthetic. SOme people notice, some don't. Some people get bothered by one or the other, some don't.

 

I have an 08 robot, which I consider a studio, but in terms of ornamentation, it doesn't fit the profile of a studio. Ebony board, mop headstock inlay, neck and headstock binding, among other things. I had heard of more pieces of wood being used for the back as well as the obvious typical lack of binding. No idea what my robot is as it's a solid metallic finish. The grain shows through that in some areas, so i imagine in a few years, as the nitro continues to outgas, I'll start to see seam lines and be able to tell a little better.

 

My 05 Deluxe which was built much like a standard from the time, fits the typical specs of that time. Quite heavy, and toneful. One piece back (can't see any seams from multi piece construction anywhere along the perimeter). I like both. The robot's kinder to my aging back, but it has noticeable neck dive and some feedback issues at high gain.

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Even from just the pictures you posted I can see the grain on the back of the guitar is nowhere near that of a Standard. I am not putting your instrument down but srraight grain is more desired thn those with diagonal grain. certainly the top is of a lesser than AAA maple grade as well. If you look on Gibsons website you can clearly see at least thee pieces on the back with grain that does not match at all.

 

There are obvious differences in the quailty of the wood used as well as the hardware.

 

Do you also notice how the binding widend in the midle of the cutaway. This is not true on a standard.

 

I have to say that the back of my 68 Standard has grain that is about as straight as the pictured studio in places. Also the binding widens and follows the maple cap which depending on color can change the quality of the maple used. I have a hunch if I stripped the Gold Top off (yeah, not gonna happen) that I'd find a less than AAA top on it. Can't really comment on the OP's questions, but just thought I'd give my own experience on this.

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The term "Studio" refers to the lack of binding, just as the "Standard" and "Custom" have different binding and inlays. "Studio" means nothing more than that.

 

There are MANY models of Studio, so what differences there are between them will be determined by what model it is. And specs change depending on WHEN it was made. Baked maple boards for example, are used on some models that had rosewood boards a year ago. But that isn't a "Studio" spec, it is a spec for a particular model, and is also spec'd for other models besides Studios.

 

So, when determining specs or which guitar model is better than another, you have to research the specs for particular models.

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Even from just the pictures you posted I can see the grain on the back of the guitar is nowhere near that of a Standard. I am not putting your instrument down but srraight grain is more desired thn those with diagonal grain. certainly the top is of a lesser than AAA maple grade as well. If you look on Gibsons website you can clearly see at least thee pieces on the back with grain that does not match at all.

 

There are obvious differences in the quailty of the wood used as well as the hardware.

 

Do you also notice how the binding widend in the midle of the cutaway. This is not true on a standard.

I don't know about that...the quality I see of the wood on this one and the grain looks top notch to me.

 

And if you look at the grain of actual vintage LP's, you see more random grain patterns that resemble this one as opposed to "straight grain".

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I don't know about that...the quality I see of the wood on this one and the grain looks top notch to me.

 

And if you look at the grain of actual vintage LP's, you see more random grain patterns that resemble this one as opposed to "straight grain".

Don't mean to be rude but you are so way wrong.

Grain is very important to the quality of a piece of wood.

 

Check out the Martin Guitar forum and see what wood and grain have to do with the value of an instrument.

What was valid 40years ago is not the same as today. Many guitars were made with Brazillian Rosewood while today that would cost you well over $50k.

 

Custom Shop LP's are about the wood.

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.

The grade nomenclature is being used here incorrectly on plain tops. The "A" letter grading is for amount and quality of figuring (flame/curly, quilt, birdseye, etc), not the quality of the wood. The amount of figuring in the top is sometimes a crap shoot. First, there can be a lot of variance in each grade - A, AA, AAA, AAAA, AAAAA. Second, if Gibson doesn't specify the grade and just uses the term "figured", there can be a much wider variance in the figuring between guitar tops. If you order a figured top sight unseen, you could end up with a top you're not satified with, so it's best to buy in person; good pictures can work too.

 

A - has a little figuring,

 

AA (aka 'Plus' top) - has pronounced figuring but with some spottiness from figuring run outs in the center and the edges.

 

 

AAA (aka 'Premium Plus' top) - nicely figured with a few run outs. This is a top of an LP I have that was graded by Gibson as AAA -

LPflametopsm.jpg

 

 

AAAA - figuring goes out to the edges with good constrast between the light and dark bands.

ec09.jpg

 

 

AAAAA - is reserved for pieces with the most beautiful and highest amount of figuring.

 

 

 

This is known as a plain top - no figuring and no figuring grade. Excepting the neck where straight grain is prefered, the graining on electrics has little to do with the value of the guitar. As for the guitar below, I think it has very nice looking graining to go with a beautifully subtle burst - it's a gorgeous plain top.

DSC02549.jpg

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The amount and quality of the figuring has everything to do with the quality of the wood. My point is you pay premium for that ...

 

If you are buying an instrument made from figured wood. There are countless examples of expensive wooden instruments made from unfigured wood. But yes, figured wood is more expensive . . . however it's because the more figuring it has, the rarer it is.

 

 

.... tight grain sounds better than willy nilly BS.

 

That can be true with acoustic instruments. However, it's subjective and a matter of personal taste. For example: the current popularity and cost of medium grained Adirondack spruce tops over tight grained Sitka spruce tops in Gibson acoustics. But was commenting on your comment about straight grains - with electric "solid" body guitars, straight grain is important for the strength and stability of the neck and headstock. Strength and stability is also why some necks are 3 piece.

 

I don't mean to be rude, but when more than a couple people disagree with you, you're most likely wrong. As has already been pointed out, you seem to be confused about more than a couple things (below) - Standards, Studios, graining, figuring grades, and binding.

 

 

.... srraight grain is more desired thn those with diagonal grain. certainly the top is of a lesser than AAA maple grade as well. If you look on Gibsons website you can clearly see at least thee pieces on the back with grain that does not match at all.

 

Do you also notice how the binding widend in the midle of the cutaway. This is not true on a standard.

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If you are buying an instrument made from figured wood. There are countless examples of expensive wooden instruments made from unfigured wood. But yes, figured wood is more expensive . . . however it's because the more figuring it has, the rarer it is.

 

 

 

 

That can be true with acoustic instruments. However, it's subjective and a matter of personal taste. For example: the current popularity and cost of medium grained Adirondack spruce tops over tight grained Sitka spruce tops in Gibson acoustics. But was commenting on your comment about straight grains - with electric "solid" body guitars, straight grain is important for the strength and stability of the neck and headstock. Strength and stability is also why some necks are 3 piece.

 

I don't mean to be rude, but when more than a couple people disagree with you, you're most likely wrong. As has already been pointed out, you seem to be confused about more than a couple things (below) - Standards, Studios, gaining, figuring grades, and binding.

I hear you and you are not rude in any way.

I do not agree with you but that's ok too. As far as people disagreeing with me I respectfully submitt that there are a lot of uninformed members here. If they disagree that does not make them right no matter how many of them there are.

 

Subjectivity has some limits I think. Say you love the sound of a buzzy cheap piece of crap. That's cool but don't say it is in the same league as a quality instrument.

 

Custom Shop prices are 80% about the wood. If you are not aware of this than your opinion is useless.

Sorry not rude just my honest opinion.

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.........but this thread is about Studio vs Standard and Traditional. We are talking production Gibsons, not Custom shop.

 

Stein has it when he talks about the "WHEN" factor. The differences between production models are really ones of aesthetics and features. If there were consistent and conscious choice selections made in the case of woods Gibson would advertise it in the spec.

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...If there were consistent and conscious choice selections made in the case of woods Gibson would advertise it in the spec.

 

Right before they went broke. It's like saying Chevy gets out the better crappy metal for the Cadillacs. It's a production line, the guy takes the next blank and makes the next guitar, that's how it works. Nobody strokes their mustache and decides what to make out of this blank or that top, they just put the thing together, whatever we are making today. They, not we you and me, the imperial we.

 

Before you even say it, this is not about the Custom stuff. Not you in particular, the imperial you.

 

rct

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Right before they went broke. It's like saying Chevy gets out the better crappy metal for the Cadillacs. It's a production line, the guy takes the next blank and makes the next guitar, that's how it works. Nobody strokes their mustache and decides what to make out of this blank or that top, they just put the thing together, whatever we are making today. They, not we you and me, the imperial we.

 

Before you even say it, this is not about the Custom stuff. Not you in particular, the imperial you.

 

rct

So you think there is no grading of the wood bodies used at Gibson?

An LP Standard can be as many pieces as a Studio?

You are so off base. One other thing it's the royal we not imperial. Just something else you are wrong about.

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So you think there is no grading of the wood bodies used at Gibson?

An LP Standard can be as many pieces as a Studio?

 

 

Outside of the custom shop I think that's pretty much what people on the thread are saying.

 

There appears to be no guarantees, nor conclusive proof that this practice occurs and the examples (exceptions) that you find out there seem to back this up.

 

I have heard arguments that cheaper production Gibsons are "loss leaders" which draw customers in to the brand and I think this a more likely explanation for the significant price hike as you move towards the Standard. I look at it like this...

 

.....If you're lucky enough to own a LP Standard then be very pleased that you have the classic Les Paul body style and appointments but acknowledge that there's a price you have to pay to get it which may not represent as good a value as a that of Studio when it comes down to what really matters.

 

The following may help. As you go down I've simply added in the features additional to the model in the line above (using just those features that are typically there year on year):

 

Faded Studio/Tribute £500-£550- minimal nitro coated LP with Gig bag; flatter top; plain top; 490R & 498T (or P90s); painted headstock logo

Glossy Studio £800-£900- labour/time intensive nitro coats adds quite a bit; case (worth maybe £100 as an included extra;)

Traditional- £1200 - binding to neck and body; thicker, fully curved top; '57 Classics (not much extra cost over 490R/498T on paper.)

Traditional Plus £1400 - plus top AA grade; inset headstock logo

Standard £1600 - AAA top; Burstbuckers (again, BBs not a great price hike over '57s on paper)

 

Sorry if there are any slight mistakes with my generalizations across years.

 

Prices based on www.Thomann.de

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Even the studio faded's come with BBpros though. If you ask me that one has to be the best bang for you buck out there. Is it as pretty as a standard, or even a studio with a nicer finish? Heck no, but is it still gonna sound great coming out of your amp, or on a recording where people can't even see the paint job, bindings, or extra fancy inlays your guitar? Hell yeah it is! regardless of the woods selected or how many pieces, or whatever, If a $600 studio faded still sounds great, then ratio of "$ spent" to "increase in sound quality" doesn't seem to be quite right IMO. Which says to me that most of what your paying for is the prettiness of the figuring and the bindings and inlays.

 

However the ratio of "$ spent" to "build time spent on visual aesthetics" does. It takes much more work to put the extra binding, the inlays, etc. and when you add that to a nice figured top that's where the extra money comes in. It's a question really of whats more important, If sound is the only thing you care about, then there are plenty of studio models that can do the job and then some.

 

I'm still not buying that a AAA figuring is gonna make your guitar SOUND better though. Look cool, yeah sure - sound better...I don't think so.

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The wood used on a Standard is higher quality than a Studio. Plain and simple. If I bought a Standard and the back looked anything like any of the Studio pics I would return it in a New York Minute.

 

I am sorry to say that if you are not aware of this you just do not know guitars. The backs of those Studios are fugly. Just my opinion but a generally accepted one by people in the know.

 

Sorry if I am being rude. Enjoy whater guitar you own no matter how crappy it may be.

 

I am done here.. sorry for the blunt opinion.

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