Other Guitars

NGD - Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute P90

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Arrived this morning - Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute P90 in a Natural Walnut finish. The body is mahogany with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. Other finishes include Vintage Cherry Satin, Worn White, and Ebony Vintage Gloss. I was initially tempted by the Worn White to offset my black ES-135, but the Natural Walnut with maple neck stole my heart. The necks on the other models match their body finishes.

I was very tempted to get the less expensive Epiphone Les Paul Special in TV Yellow for it's thicker neck and, like the Tribute, it has a compensated wraparound bridge. The Epiphone's TV Yellow finish is fairly opaque from what I've seen on Reverb and YouTube demos. The Epi has an Indian Laurel fretboard. However, I preferred the Tribute with the maple neck and rosewood fretboard.

Interestingly, the stock wraparound bridge on the pricier Gibson Les Paul Special is not compensated. Clearly, that's an easy fix but I'm currently not into the TV Yellow wash finish or Vintage Cherry finish...or the higher price tag.

The Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute is super lightweight. I debated over the mahogany neck vs. the maple neck. I decided on the maple for the aesthetics and how it factors in to the overall lighter weight of the guitar. My guitar weighs in at about 6 lbs.

The P90s sound magnificent - both clear and lush as needed. I must have a fairly quiet electrical household, as I could barely hear the 60 cycle hum while in the neck or bridge position.

I was a little worried how I'd get on with the rounded, slim taper neck. It's comfortable at the first few frets at it's thinnest and gradually thickens up down the neck and is actually quite beefy. Speaking as someone with big hands, don't fear the slim taper neck - I'm loving it!

You know how with some guitars you instantly bond with? I instantly bonded with this guitar. A few years back, I dipped my toe in the Les Paul waters with a Gibson Les Paul '50s Tribute with P90s. It was a very nice guitar but it did weigh a bit more (9 lbs) and I guess I just didn't bond with it. Eventually, I sold it off.

The Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute is clearly a stripped down model compared to the pricier Gibson Les Paul Special and the less expensive Epiphone Les Paul Special. Both of those models are all mahogany (body & neck), have neck binding, and the control switch "poker chip" washer. I never needed a control switch poker chip on my Gretsch and Fender guitars, so it's all good.

Anyhoo, on to the photos!

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Nice one, Steve! Congrats! Now go get something nice for Shannon!

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Surfy, if you're into blinging up your Les Paul with some real MOP or Abalone, a company called "Thalia" is making real shell (and exotic woods) truss rod covers, poker chips, rear access panels, and pickguards. I started with the TRC on my 2019 Cherry Burst Les Paul Classic (9lbs), to see how much I'd like it. I absolutely Love it! And I will be getting the poker chip and pickguard very soon. Yours might look cool with some exotic wood accessories! Congratulations on the new guitar!

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Congratulations! Well done! I bet this is fun to play and great to listen to for sure.

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That is mighty handsome. I always think of classic red, aged white, or TV yaller for P90 Gibslabs, but every time I see the walnut I realize what a classic look that is too.

I also didn't bond with the P90 50s tribute - though I buffed the matte honeyburst finish to a gorgeous lustre that made me keep the guitar longer than I should have. And I have a faded red doublecut LP with P90s.

So why do I keep looking at mahogany Gibson slabs? Or, in other terms: can you really have too many mahogany slabs? I don't have one in singlecut form - I'm such a sucker for the doublecut - but this one and the TV yaller do keep calling me back (along with an Epi SG). Once I get over never wanting another guitar, I may yet fall. This NGD tempts me.

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Thanks, Wade, I'll be sure to check out Thalia!

Thanks, Buddy!

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That is mighty handsome. I always think of classic red, aged white, or TV yaller for P90 Gibslabs, but every time I see the walnut I realize what a classic look that is too.

I also didn't bond with the P90 50s tribute - though I buffed the matte honeyburst finish to a gorgeous lustre that made me keep the guitar longer than I should have. And I have a faded red doublecut LP with P90s.

So why do I keep looking at mahogany Gibson slabs? Or, in other terms: can you really have too many mahogany slabs? I don't have one in singlecut form - I'm such a sucker for the doublecut - but this one and the TV yaller do keep calling me back (along with an Epi SG). Once I get over never wanting another guitar, I may yet fall. This NGD tempts me.

– Proteus

Thanks, Tim! Say, if you get one, you can start a "I Blame Surfy" thread!

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Nice! I bet that rips! I need to get a solid body with P90s one of these days.

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Thanks, Jim!

Another thing I noticed that helped with my decision between the 3 different models (Gibson LP Special, this Tribute, and the Epi LP Special) is that the neck and body appears more aligned at the heel than the Gibson Les Paul Special and the Epiphone Les Paul Special. Huzzah!

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That's a lean mean rocking machine, congrats!

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Hey Surfy it's a small world. I see that you live in Walkersville MD. I graduated from Thomas Johnson high school and joined the Army in Frederick MD. My dad was stationed at Ft Detrick. I love the area. I married a farmers daughter who is from Liberty Town. Her father ran a mid size dairy farm in Liberty. I also lived in Rockville MD for a few years before we moved out to Ft Detrick.

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New amp and new guitar. Cool! Congrats, Steve!

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I smell GAS!

Good for you.

I gave up my 20th Annie Cream White LP Custom and '74 PR 30 years ago. That was a good combo.

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Hey Surfy it's a small world. I see that you live in Walkersville MD. I graduated from Thomas Johnson high school and joined the Army in Frederick MD. My dad was stationed at Ft Detrick. I love the area. I married a farmers daughter who is from Liberty Town. Her father ran a mid size dairy farm in Liberty. I also lived in Rockville MD for a few years before we moved out to Ft Detrick.

– Wade H

Very cool! I grew up in Montgomery County, mostly in Montgomery VIllage. After working in northern California for about 8 years, I moved back to Maryland in 2007 and settled here in Frederick. Met my wife back in 2015 and we married in 2016. We moved to Walkersville a couple of months before we married. We've got a huge farm behind our 1 acre property. We can see a bit of the Catoctin Mountains on clear days (and if the crops aren't yet full grown on the farm behind us). Super pleasant neighborhood and neighbors.

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Nice one, between this and your new Princeton it looks like you had a pretty good day!

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Nice guitar Steve! I got the Jr Tribute model in walnut as well. I already have a special and originally got the jr as a back up thinking I was going to be having some punk gigs coming up in 2020. I was wrong about the gigs but I've been loving the jr at practices. Its a real fine guitar, nice and light, great neck and a resonant rocking machine. Kind of nice to change up from the surf gear and play some Gibby power, eh?

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Thanks, Dave! Very cool on the Jr Tribute, too. Yeah, I've been delving back to my punk, new wave, and alternative roots but I'm still very much into surf, too.

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Right on! I was tempted for a bit to do the Bigsby thing on my Special for some warbles but I kind of like being limited to shaking and bending the body for dramatic effect, ha. Anyways, enjoy the guitar!

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HNGD! I have a soft spot for Les Paul Specials - all of the Les Pauls I've owned over the years with the exception of 1 (an early 90s Reissue DC Junior) have been Specials.

I'm intrerested in the Les Paul Special Tribute P90, but it's been hard for me to find decent neck dimension info about them, and I wouldn't want to end up with the same issue I had with my last Les Paul Special (a 2010 model, with a Slim Taper neck profile that was too thin for my preference). How thick is the neck on your Les Paul Special Tribute P90?

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Thanks, Ellen! I was initially concerned that the slim-tapered, rounded neck would be an issue as I prefer chunkier necks. I know both the Gibson Les Paul Special and the Epiphone Les Paul Special both have thicker necks. However, the Tribute version won me over per the reasons I mentioned in my first post.

While it's a comfortably slimmer in the first few frets, it gradually fills out to a more fatter/beefy (sounds like I'm talkin' about burgers!) feel.

As I mentioned in my first post and as a guy with big hands, don't fear the slim-tapered, rounded neck - I love it. I can play this guitar comfortably for hours. A definite keeper for me.


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