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Les Paul Traditional Pro


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Sorry to begin by posting this but I am very annoyed at Gibson for supplying this. A warning too to others to be careful when buying unseen online. Even good names can supply rubbish. It occurs to me that the Trad Pro II is out and there's a price drop on the Trad Pro. Maybe I got what's left over - the dregs of the Trad Pro like in an inventory cleaning exercise. Anyone else buy one of these?

 

To Gibson:

 

I bought a new Gibson LP Trad Pro Goldtop from Thomann.de Germany. I live in the UK so bought online - because the price was good and this rosewood fretboard guitar is not readily available in the UK. I have a Gibson LP Studio also gotten from Thomann and it is a fine guitar - no complaints. Setup and build quality were very good. Not quite my Suhr Classic quality but very good. I had reason to believe that I'd get a well made Les Paul from Gibson.

 

Monday 8th Oct 2012 the box arrived. I was nervous opening it. It seemed clean and factory sealed. I got the case out and noted obvious scuff marks. Not an issue for a case. I opened it and was greeted by a lovely Goldtop nestling in the fluffy white cushioning of the case and the heady vanilla smell of nitro. Initially, all looked okay. I took it out the case and like a parent viewing new born baby, I eyed it up and down in the daylight. I noticed a black speck in the gold by the pup selector switch. I tried to push it away but it would not go. I wet my finger and tried again but it was stubborn. Poo! It was part of the finish! I began to look closer and a catalogue of poor workmanship revealed itself...

 

*I noted the neck binding does not meet the nut on the underside.

*The nut has what appear to be cracks in it on both sides.

*There is white glue in the recess between neck and body on the pup selector side.

*The corner binding by the neck pup is smeared.

*The neck bottom binding by the neck pup has three dirty brown smears in it which seem to be under the lacquer.

*The post holes for the tail piece are poorly done with gold paint flaking up.

*The wiring cavity is very dirty with hardened paint and sawdust.

*The wiring is very messy - chaotic.

*The fretboard from the 15th to 22nd frets has obvious impression marks on either side of the frets.

*There are bits of binding left unfinished all over the neck.

 

For an expensive guitar this sucks. I have many guitars and this is by far the worst I have seen. I'm not expecting perfection but not this.

 

How can Gibson claim 'we sweat the details' and claim the highest standards of craftsmanship yet supply something like the above and feel okay about it is beyond me? If you respect for your name and company you'd put this right. Now, these guitars are not made by one person but get passed from department to department. In this case, then the errors are in many departments and clearly inspection means nothing. I will not be buying another Gibson.

 

All that said, I like the sound and I like the way it plays. The pity is that the rest does not match that. I would very much like this guitar but without the catalogue of faults. I have emailed Gibson Europe bit as yet have had not response...

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Thanks for posting this. I am in the market for a Les Paul and I was considering buying one of those. They have them on sale at Musician's Friend. I'm also worried that maybe they're selling off the last of the stock because the model is getting discontinued. I can envision getting some returned and refurbished thing with fret ends poking thru or some marginal reject that they think is fine.

 

I think I'll stay away from these. Maybe I'll get one of the new Trad Pro models, priced at about $2,000. Or maybe I'll have to step up to a Standard.

 

I always wondered if they had the less qualified craftsmen build these "exclusive" models. Who knows?

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Unfortunate, but this is a risk when buying without a hands/eyes/ears on inspection.

 

This isn't the first post about Thommann shipping poor quality guitars. They should be inspecting the guitar before it ships, and if they did, they need a new inspector. A scuffed case would seem to indicate the case was out of the box at some point - at customs or at Thomann.

 

Have you contacted Thomann for an exchange? . Something to think about: When exchanging you could possibly end up with a guitar that looks great but doesn't sound and play as well as the original.

 

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@badbluesplayer

 

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I was wondering whether I got a trainees' piece. I wonder what happens to the rejects... I saw a video from Premier guitars at the Gibson factory: they seemed to say that things were fixed if faulty. I think you're wise to be careful. You have to be brave to buy expensive items online. Trust is at the basis of such buying and if a top guitar company like Gibson sells rubbish like this, then they must be losing lots of business. They seem to be complacent/arrogant because of their history. Here's the link to the video:

 

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@BigKahune

Thanks for the reply. I had some issues with Thomann over a shop-soiled Suhr guitar sold as new. They offered a full refund on that. Prior to that they had been okay. The Trad Pro was brand new direct from Gibson - as I stipulated an unopened box - so this poor build quality is entirely down to Gibson's shipping quality. Ironically, I should have had Thomann inspect it before sending it to me! :(( I have not contacted Thomann because I wanted a reply from Gibson. But given the video above, I see that it was entirely Gibson's fault - was as they supplied. Likely then the best thing would be to get a refund and go in person to buy a different one in the UK.

 

I agree that the playability and sound of this one, which are very good, might not carry through to a replacement. It would, again, be ironic to have a 'perfect' guitar but bad playability and sound. I might decide to imagine it as a twenty year old Trad Pro with great sound etc! I just hate being conned like this.

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Guest Farnsbarns

@BigKahune

Thanks for the reply. I had some issues with Thomann over a shop-soiled Suhr guitar sold as new. They offered a full refund on that. Prior to that they had been okay. The Trad Pro was brand new direct from Gibson - as I stipulated an unopened box - so this poor build quality is entirely down to Gibson's shipping quality. Ironically, I should have had Thomann inspect it before sending it to me! :(( I have not contacted Thomann because I wanted a reply from Gibson. But given the video above, I see that it was entirely Gibson's fault - was as they supplied. Likely then the best thing would be to get a refund and go in person to buy a different one in the UK.

 

I agree that the playability and sound of this one, which are very good, might not carry through to a replacement. It would, again, be ironic to have a 'perfect' guitar but bad playability and sound. I might decide to imagine it as a twenty year old Trad Pro with great sound etc! I just hate being conned like this.

 

You'll find Gibson's customer service is second to none. I'm sure they'll resolve this for you.

 

BTW, try GAK in Brighton, next day delivery, good about returns, no expensive international returns and they'll price match Thomann if asked. They're very good.

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I got mine from thomann as well - all good for me. Guitar looks fine and is properly set. I just had to put it in tune.

 

However, if I may comment on the electronics cavity and wiring "mess", what you see is normal, you will have this wiring madness in any other guitar, brand name or not. Same with the polish dust residuu which will go in the cavities but there is no need to worry, it is normal.

 

As for the quality control issue, I have to say that Gibson guitars are way behind other brands in terms of craftmenship and design. It might be understandable, Gibson manufactures thousand of instruments each day, so QC can fail more often.

 

That being said, the Gibson mojo is there, and we pay for it. It is worth the money, up to a point, where you might spend too much just for a minor iteration.

 

However Thoman has 30 day money back guarantee and 3 years warranty, so you are covered here. Just ask for a proper replacement or a refund.

 

Othernthan that, enjoy it, is a great sounding instrument, you will love it.

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Without pics, it is real hard to tell how "bad" the issues listed are, or if they are bad at all.

 

I will say, that what makes a guitar good to one person might be completely different to another. And, I would have to say that EVERYONE has different views on what the definition of good vs bad craftsmanship is.

 

One thing though: I see a lot of poeple have complaints about this or that, and they often have nothing to do with what makes a guitar a guitar. It is an INSTRUMENT, not a painting. It's reason for being built is to sound good, play good, and look good. To serve the MUSICIAN in making music.

 

Not saying here you are wrong, or that there are or are not significant finish flaws or damage. For all I know they could be horrible. AND, separately, if a man wants a guitar with no single visable appearance flaw, there is nothing wrong with wanting that and getting it.

 

9 times out of 10, when someone complains about poor quality and workmanship on these forums and others, it has noting to do with the guitar as an instrument.

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Okay here's some pics of what I found. Some of them I would have ignored but in their entirety they make a damning picture of what Gibson inspection sees as acceptable on guitars that are NOT cheap. I have a Gibson LP Studio which came out of the box nigh perfect. This LP Trad Pro at more than twice the price is dire. Gibson needs to get its act together else lose custom to compnaies who do a better job and often for less... I might add that Gibson were interested but didn't follow up. They hived it off to Thomann who have now sent a replacement. Fingers crossed that is acceptable. It should NOT be down to pot luck.

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Some, not all, of those pics made me think that the guitar was damaged after the guitar left the Gibson factory. I am no expert though it is just how it seemed to me. The other forum members have loads of experience and I am sure they will provide their opinions. Whatever the case maybe I understand your disapointment and frustration. I would be totally annoyed. I hope the replacement turns out to be everthing you wish for. Good luck

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Most of this from the pics, it seems to center around the neck/body joint.

 

I'm guessing this guitar was repaired. By who, I don't know. But the work around the neck/body doesn't look like typical Gibson factory work from what I have seen.

 

I couldn't say if it was a defective guitar sent back to Gibson and fixed there, or done by an authorized repair shop in Europe somewhere.

 

I wouldn't say the repair is bad, it likely did fix what might have been wrong. But I would say definitely, that it wasn't finished all the way good...as in, not enough care taken or enough work put in to make it go away completely.

 

If you LIKE the guitar and think it is fine with these minor "cosmetic" details being off, I think you are a candidate for a substantial discount if you want this one.

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Why dont you simply return it to Thomann? They have 30 days money back guarantee no questions asked. And they simply dont ask. They deliver. Ask them to replace it with a visual inspected one. Let us know if they dont honor their promise. But i never heard of that. And they have 3 years full warranty for which you qualify more than anything because this is evidently a case of Gibson failure of QC.

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The guitar has some serious structural problems. It's either been hammered on or else the fretboard has some serious expension/contraction issues. I think it also may be developing some cracking along the length of the fretboard binding. Heaven only knows what's up with the neck joint. It might be fine.

 

If I had to guess, I'd say somebody dropped it against the lower end of the fretboard - or hammered against that part of the fretboard. The area that looks smashed next to the pickup. The diagonal cracks in the finish on the nut indicate that the nut was pushed toward the headstock. That would be consistent with it having been smashed and the whole fretboard having been impacted toward the headstock. If the nut itself is actually cracked, then the thing has REALLY been abused.

 

[sneaky]

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What I heard from people working in the musical intsrument business and visited their warehouse once, is that they have huge stocks, too huge to handle. So basically when someone places an order they spend hours searching up the goods and another to "dust them off". That's why I prefer smaller shops. Better customer support, bigger pressure to "act nicely" with customers, and manageable amount of products.

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