Other Guitars

I bought a Historic Les Paul

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I recently bought a Les Paul which just arrived today. Without being too maudlin, I bought it to remember my dear old dad by. Dad passed away on New Year's eve 2018 after suffering a pretty nasty stroke on Boxing Day. Watching people die is hideous, but I had something to look forward to afterwards in a way - Dad and I had discussed a few times and he very much liked the idea that after he passed I would buy a "once in a lifetime" guitar with some of my small inheritance. Every time I play this guitar I will think of my wonderful Dad who was such a huge fan of music. My childhood was filled with Dad's jazz. He didn't play an instrument but ALWAYS had jazz playing around the house. In the past couple of years dementia robbed him of the ability to even use his CD player, but I made sure that Louis Armstrong was blasting away in Dad's last hours. Dad was a massive Louis fan. I like to think he could hear it as he went.

So I bought a used (but basically brand new) 2018 1959 Les Paul. Not a cheap guitar but oh it could have been a lot worse! Not something I would have bought under any other circumstances but I have always liked them - especially in the VOS finish. It's strange getting used to playing Gibson PAFs again - my only other guitars for ages have been a Strat, a 6120 SSLVO and a P90 ES-225. They all twang like crazy. A Les Paul with PAFs kinda doesn't.

The only guitar i have which is remotely similar is the first guitar I have bought in years, the Players' edition Jet. So interesting because on paper they are very similar - both have rosewood boards, mahogany bodies and necks with maple tops. Obviously the Jet is significantly chambered and the Les Paul is not but the weights aren't so different. The Les Paul is probably a pound heavier - light for a Les Paul at around 8 1/2.

The necks are similar with the Jet's being slimmer. Both have ridiculously good actions and for me are quite low. The Jet may be slightly better. The Jet has an incredible "chunk" to it when played acoustically and this comes across when plugged in - while not as deep a sound as the LP it has more liveliness and twang. The treble strings are slightly thicker sounding on the Jet when plugged in too, so it's a pretty playable guitar. The Les Paul sounds as you would expect - sustain for days, a healthy cluck on the bridge pickup with gain and a slightly boomy but gorgeous neck pick up tone. I think the Jet has more detail and complexity to the sound where the LP is more brutal and wants to scream. Both guitars are outstanding.

Is the Les Paul worth the more than double I paid for it (used)? Of course not. I got the Jet for under US$1800 brand new which is an absolute steal. For that kind of money it is outstanding. Better workmanship (but not by much), greater usability (for me) and simply beautiful tones. If I played what a lot of folks call "classic rock" then I would easily lean towards the Les Paul - it does "classic Rock" for breakfast. But the Gretsch has more personality and more scope for crafting glorious, shimmery, twangy yet still rock 'n' roll sounds and that is what I like to hear.

Do I regret buying the Les Paul? Not for a second. It is so much fun to play and look at. And it is only here because of my Dad, and i will think of him every time I play it.

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This is the Jet. I know you want pictures.

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"Broad'tron" pickups. Outstanding. A real surprise.

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That's a beautiful guitar Jimmy and 8.5 pounds is perfect for a Les Paul IMHO.

What a lovely way to remember your Dad and thanks for sharing

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That's a lovely way to remember your Dad and I hope it makes his passing somewhat easier to bear.

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Condolences on your loss, and congratulations on your new acquisition. Not only are our names similar, I'd say our tastes are similar. I think your Jet is very close to what I would want if I were to get another Gretsch; I've been dreaming about getting an R9 Les Paul for years; and I even like your furniture, your cabinetry, and your hardwood floors! Ha ha... I notice things like that.

You know, I very rarely play any classic rock, but that would never make me hesitate to try a Les Paul. It's kind of a myth that they're only good for rock. There have been jazz players (and I'm talking about mainstream jazz) that have used them, and of course a lot of blues players too, and no doubt all kinds of music. Anyway, your Les Paul is truly gorgeous. Great finish, and great maple top! I'm sure you will be glad you bought it, will help you to remember your Dad fondly, and that thing will hold its value pretty well too, I'll bet. Now I want one even more. Darn it, now look what you've done.

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Thanks guys and Jim - I notice things like that too! I can't watch movies without spotting the boom mic or the camera in a reflection...

And you are right. The Les Paul was in fact invented for jazz, not rock. The neck pickup is beautiful. Gibson neck pickups often have that something which Gretsches don't have - a smoky rich voice which is so good for jazz and blues. I love my Gretsches but Gibsons have THAT sound on the neck pickup. You should hear my 225.

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The flame is remarkable!

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I’m sorry for your loss.

I can’t understand the negativity some Duo Jet players cast on a Les Paul, they are basically the same guitar kinda like a Camero and a Firebird. Yes they have different scale lengths but I think we all adjust to that easily. Not long ago I handed my Les Paul to a Duo Jet player, you’d think I was handing him a liverwurst sandwich.

Great looking guitar, I was playing my CR8 yesterday after not opening the case for a couple months and I had forgotten how easy it is to play.

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Great looking Les Paul ! Congratulations, she's a beaut! Great finish.

Very sorry for your loss. I think it's awesome that acquiring a "once in a lifetime guitar" is something you had discussed with him. Good for you to carry through on that. It's a wonderful way to remember your Dad.

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I’m sorry for your loss.

I can’t understand the negativity some Duo Jet players cast on a Les Paul, they are basically the same guitar kinda like a Camero and a Firebird. Yes they have different scale lengths but I think we all adjust to that easily. Not long ago I handed my Les Paul to a Duo Jet player, you’d think I was handing him a liverwurst sandwich.

Great looking guitar, I was playing my CR8 yesterday after not opening the case for a couple months and I had forgotten how easy it is to play.

– Curt Wilson

I'm sorry for your loss.

What a touching thing to do, to have that reminder of your father every time you look at or pick up and play that guitar.

I love liverwurst sandwiches, Curt...with wholegrain mustard!

Just because they look similar, though, doesn't mean they are anything like each other, Quite the different animal. Different zoo. Different planet. So I get why some finicky players can only play what they are used to. That happens on both sides of the fence. And, it's why they make chocolate and vanilla.

Congrats on the guitars, both look great and I'm glad they deliver for you.

My only complaint regarding Les Pauls has been, and will always be, the weight of them. SG's and Firebirds were my thing. That being said, I've played some really great LPs that have not broken my neck, Curt's CR8 included. Not cheap, but a wonderful guitar.

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Boy, it's a beaut of guitar. Sorry for your loss. My dad just had a stroke on the 9th of this month so I have some relation to what you're going thru. Nothing like the solace of music to give you peace, joy, and reflection. You'll always have this physical piece to remind you of you of your dad and it will supplement greatly your memories. Thanks for the post and good luck in your journey of healing.

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Sorry for your loss JimmyR, those are two great gutiars. I've been gigging recently with my Duo Jet and my Les Paul. I think its a great pairing, I do switch up during my sets. Its a colour pallet for me, some songs call for a LP or a Jet guitar.
The neck profile on each is similar, my LP's is an early 90's, I believe, and it seems to have a thinner neck. The Jet seems to have more of a V feel, if that makes sense. I've been itching to try one of those new jets out but the local music stores don't stock them, I'll have to head out of town to try one out. I like your review on the sound of the Broad'tron pickups, they could be a winner for me.

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Jimmy, so sorry to hear about your dad. Went through this in 2010, and a day doesn't go by without thinking about him in some way.

Beautiful instrument on its' own, but it will be special every time you look at it, and when you play it.

You done right, and best to you.

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Sorry for your loss. I think your Dad honored you and you honored him with this idea and purchase. It should always hold a special place.

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My condolences. I lost a parent last year, too. It's very cool that you'll have something like this to remember him by.

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Great story. What a way to remember your Dad and how sweet was that for him to request that wish. Beautiful guitar! I'm a product of the 70's rock era so that LP really speaks to me.

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Condolences for your loss, and thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Wishing you many years of enjoyment with your gorgeous Les Paul..... I'm sure it will help you find comfort as you work through the grief of losing a loved one.

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I’m sorry for your loss.

I can’t understand the negativity some Duo Jet players cast on a Les Paul, they are basically the same guitar kinda like a Camero and a Firebird. Yes they have different scale lengths but I think we all adjust to that easily. Not long ago I handed my Les Paul to a Duo Jet player, you’d think I was handing him a liverwurst sandwich.

Great looking guitar, I was playing my CR8 yesterday after not opening the case for a couple months and I had forgotten how easy it is to play.

– Curt Wilson

Yes I agree! I wanted a Les Paul before I ever knew what a Duo Jet was. It turns out the Duo Jet is the Les Paul style guitar for me.

Sorry for your loss but also congratulations on figuring out how to make lemonade from lemons.

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I,m always amazed when people play ,em clean and clear,you get the big thick sound used so much. Would love a Goldtop Lefty r6 or ,57.

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So sorry to hear of your loss, I'm glad to hear you have honored dad's wish. I'm sure he would like your choice.

If you are interested in exploring some tonal possibilities, check out Seymour Duncan's website. Pull up the menu, go to custom shop, go to the bottom of this page and tap humbuckers. There is a wide range of humbuckers, some of which have video demos. My favorite is the Greenies (for now, anyway.)

May your mourning be as gentle as possible.

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Very nice guitar Jimmy! Flame is not over the top, and a gorgeous finish. Were I buying a LP I can't say I'd do much different.

What was the first song you played on it?

Good to see you around too. Sorry for your loss, but may your father be remembered everytime you play that guitar.

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Sorry for your loss, but the story touched me. Probably because i can relate a little to your story.

When my father passed away, he left us (three kids) his house. From this inheritance i was fortunate enough to buy my (then) dream-guitar, a National Style-O. It was in '97 and you couldn't find one in the Netherlands, so i took a plane to London. Buy or order a new one, since they were making them again at the time.

What i didn't expect was a greasy, dirty old one, standing second row in this huge 'acoustic centre'-store near the docks. Bought it anyway (after some serious doubts!), took it home, polished it and it turned out to be a lovely instrument from the '30's. It's the only guitar (among 20+) that i gave a name. It keeps the memory of my father alive.

Thank you for posting the story. Here's a snippet of Paul Pigat playing it:

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Sorry to hear about your loss. The figure/flame on the top is nice. Kind of has that gull-wing flame like Duane Allman's. So it's cool that you have a unique Les Paul to match the unique memories and stories.

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Beautiful guitar and a beautiful way to remember your dad. Sorry for your loss. About 6 years ago I lost my mom in a similar way: she took a stroke on Boxing Day and passed away just before New Year's.

With part of my small inheritance, I bought a great Limited Edition John Lennon 1965 Casino, which unfortunately I've since had to part with. Would love to get that back.

Enjoy that LP and play 'er with love!


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