Other Guitars

Played a new 5o’s gold top with p90s today…

1

Wow! UNREAL sound...

But...

It weighed about 2000 lbs. Maybe 3000.

Crazy heavy, and I dig a m75t.

Ugh.

K

2

late 90's Tokai Goldtop to maybe even early 2003. Leaves a gibson in the dust at less than half the price if youre a good shopper. I got mine for $900, added a bigs w tru-arc serpentune stainless bridge. The only downside on this instrument is the bridge pickup, just isnt a good as the neck pickup or rather it doesnt seem to be wound for the position the best is could. It literally is the only downside and if you only ever play clean then you probably wouldnt care but I make overdrive and fuzz pedals and I want a galldang P90 to gimme grease n twang n snarl all at once based on my vol and tone control positions. ...so I put in a Tvjones T90. mmhh mmhh, Tommy Jones makes a good'n.

3

Does look awesome--cool bigs too!

But can it hold a candle to the Nocturne Rooster?

K

4

Look for a used Historic, they tend to be a little lighter. A Les Paul is never really light though, nature of the beast.

Tokai still makes guitars in Japan btw, and they're still great - if a little hard to get.

5

late 90's Tokai Goldtop to maybe even early 2003. Leaves a gibson in the dust at less than half the price if youre a good shopper. I got mine for $900, added a bigs w tru-arc serpentune stainless bridge. The only downside on this instrument is the bridge pickup, just isnt a good as the neck pickup or rather it doesnt seem to be wound for the position the best is could. It literally is the only downside and if you only ever play clean then you probably wouldnt care but I make overdrive and fuzz pedals and I want a galldang P90 to gimme grease n twang n snarl all at once based on my vol and tone control positions. ...so I put in a Tvjones T90. mmhh mmhh, Tommy Jones makes a good'n.

– TheNocturneBrain

What string gauge you running with on that.... they look really light?!!!

6

Hipbone, very funny. .0000 gauge aren't they?

7

I had a '54 Historic Les Paul which weighed just over 8lbs. And it had great pickups! One day I really would like a Les Paul just like it but with a Bigsby. But in the meantime I have the wonderful 225 to make me happy for P90 goodness.

As Walter says, the Historic series are generally lighter, but heavier pricewise unfortunately. I would love it if Gibson made a P90 Les Paul with a chambered body. That would be heard to resist! They do make one with an F-hole but a regular looking Goldtop with P90s and a chambered body would be wonderful.

8

Agree with Tavo on this one.....if you are looking for a great LP at a much more reasonable price, mid level or higher MIJ is the way to go. Better yet, with the CITES rosewood ban no longer applicable to guitars, ordering from Japan is now a viable option once again. Tokai, Bacchus, Edwards, Greco, and FGN (Fujigen) are all great options. If you want light weight, Edwards LP clone tend to be on the lighter side (my Edwards ELP 130 ALS is 7.8 lbs and not even chambered). Also, I love some P-90's in an LP and went so far as to pull the stock pair of Duncan Seth Lovers out of my Edwards for some 'bucker sized P-90's and couldn't be happier.

9

Agree with Tavo on this one.....if you are looking for a great LP at a much more reasonable price, mid level or higher MIJ is the way to go. Better yet, with the CITES rosewood ban no longer applicable to guitars, ordering from Japan is now a viable option once again. Tokai, Bacchus, Edwards, Greco, and FGN (Fujigen) are all great options. If you want light weight, Edwards LP clones tend to be on the lighter side (my Edwards ELP 130 ALS is 7.8 lbs and not even chambered). Also, I love some P-90's in an LP and went so far as to pull the stock pair of Duncan Seth Lovers out of my Edwards for some 'bucker sized P-90's and couldn't be happier.

10

I have had a few Japanese Les Pauls - Epiphones (bought from Japan), Edwards. Great guitars - but not really in the same league as a GOOD Gibson. Possibly better than some not-so-good-Gibsons, but not anywhere near as good as any of the Historic series I have had, or even some regular USA Les Pauls. And that's perfectly ok because they're usually so much less expensive. Really well built but unless you get the top-of-the-range Tokais or Navigators then you're not really comparing oranges to oranges. They use different species of mahogany and rosewood for a start, hence the weight difference.

The Japanese guitars are often better finished than a typical Gibson, but a guitar is more than just finish. And when you get into the really good Japanese copies you may as well buy a Gibson because some of them are not cheap!

The thing that a lot of Japanese Les Pauls have going for them is value for money. If you can get a good deal on a Tokai or whatever it will be a good guitar for you. But it won't sound like a great Les Paul. It could sound really really good but it won't sound the same. How important that is depends entirely on the player. They can be fantastic guitars but not necessarily great Les Pauls. A good Tokai is possibly better than a cheap Gibson. But Tokai is one brand which I have never been particularly impressed with - not when I have got my hands on one and played it. Some of the Edwards guitars I have played have felt great - but they never have quite the depth and complex tones of a great Les Paul.

In general you do get what you pay for, and Japanese guitars often offer great value.

11

The Edwards Navigator Series are hand built custom shop guitars using the finest woods, meticulously built and generally sound as good as the best LP but are hard to find, and don't come cheap; for that kind of money it might make some sense to find a clean used Gibson Custom Shop LP...but try before you buy or at least buy from a shop or individual who has a liberal return policy because I have read of Gibson CS guitars that had issues that should never be found in a guitar even remotely in that price range. My Edwards ELP130ALS is the top of the regular line of Edwards LP's, the next step up being a Navigator. The 130ALS has a real Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish (not just a top coat) that sinks into the wood, top notch electronics, pickups and a killer flame top. Of course the difference is in the wood, mainly in whatever species of mahogany Edwards uses. Not that the Asian species of 'hog Edwards uses is inferior (it's solid, not a veneer and looks great) it's just not nearly as dense as the 'hog in a real Gibson therefore resulting in a guitar that is lighter in weight but generally yields an "airier" tone with less girth than a "good" Gibson LP Standard. Of course there are those who argue that these lighter, "airier" sounding Edwards LP's sound more like real vintage 50's LP's which tended to be lighter and "airier" sounding...but I could not attest to this having never played a real vintage 50's LP (which were probably all over the place when it came to weight, pu windings, etc anyway). Anywho....before I just keep rambling on, JimmyR's points are well taken. My Edwards is probably a better "guitar" than most Gibby LP's.....but subjectively, maybe not necessarily a better Les Paul depending what your expectation or preference of true LP "tone" is. Couldn't resist throwing another picture in detailing the Armstrong 'bucker sized P-90's.

12

From all I've seen the Navigators are fine guitars. It wouldn't surprise me if some did sound as good as a real Les Paul. But they sure aren't cheap! I would definitely look at buying one used if that was what you wanted!

There is a lot of stuff on the net about how terrible Gibsons can be, and I have seen a few less than stellar examples over the years. I have two theories about this - one is that Gibson finishing puts some folks off. Gibson have never been as meticulous about scraping binding or removing "orange peel" from the sides of headstocks as a lot of other manufacturers. Yes maybe they should pay more attention but as far as I have experienced that's how they always have been. I think some of the fussier players amongst us take that as a sign that Gibsons aren't well built. Maybe I'm lucky but all the Gibsons I have owned have been incredibly well-built and a lot of them have been some of the best playing guitars I've tried. And definitely some of the best sounding - My 225 and Les Paul are as good as it gets.

But because they're not "perfect" as far as finish then some players might think they're not well built. Well, you don't play the finish! For better or for worse, that's how Gibson is.

My other theory is that like Fender Gibson are a benchmark - one of the big two names in guitars. Like Fender they are copied extensively. It seems to be human nature to find a fault with another guy's hero! And with the internet a lot of "faults" get blown out of all proportion, just as some very ordinary things suddenly get held up as the best thing ever. Things like the Klon and the Tubescreamer achieve mythical status and fetch crazy prices. They're just mild ODs with a mid-hump. Internet hype has created a monster! And maybe a few guys who bought a Gibson found that it didn't make them sound like Jimmy Page/Eric Clapton/whoever and blamed the guitar.

Anyway - Gretschadelphia your guitar looks amazing!

13

I've played some really good Gibsons including a J-29 acoustic that I recently acquired that is one of the best playing and sounding acoustic guitars I have ever put my hands on (and yes it has some minuscule minor finish flaws that I honestly don't really consider remotely to be issues....but the binding is perfect lol) but I have also owned a LP Special that had a neck twist, an SG that the lacquer on the neck had not been allowed to cure properly and was so soft you could sink your thumbnail into it and had loose bridge posts. I recently played a 2018 SG that had too shallow a neck angle and needed the bridge decked to get anything close to good playability. However I will say that what is coming out of Gibson since new management has taken over appears to be of more consistent and higher overall quality....at least what I've gotten my hands on and what I have heard from an independent shop owner who is a full line Gibson dealer and very honest. The other thing is, while still up there $$$$$, Gibson appears to be trying to not let prices get further out of hand on standard models and continues to put out some very nice more budget friendly guitars. So credit where credit is do. That being said, my Edwards ELP130ALS is not going anywhere (especially since they have discontinued that model).

14

Don't get me wrong--the guitar sounded fantastic, and it was otherwise immaculate. It's just that it was mega heavy.

K

15

What string gauge you running with on that.... they look really light?!!!

– Hipbone

oops!11g Daddario coated

16

Link Wray played one on Rumble. Allegedly. Little guy with one lung so he hung it up for a Danelectro.

17

A Gold Top with P-90's is always high on my list of guitars I lust for. I would say say that a Les Paul with P-90s (and a Bigsby) is about as versatile guitar you could have. Rock, Rockabilly, Country, Blues, Hard Rock, and even Metal are all there awaiting your fingers.

18

A Les Paul w/ P-90s has always been something on my collective horizon.Got the 6120,have the 52'Telecaster,have the 330/6,330-12. Actually,come to think of it,a DuoJet w/Dynas would be a must have before the Les Paul--but man! that GoldTop is cool. I have to say though,the thing that really made me excited in this thread,was the news that CITES is now exempting guitars from their restrictions .I checked it out a bit and found that the exemption for musical instruments will take effect in late November 2019. Great news-especially for us north of the 49th.parallel.

19

I completely concur with Jimmy's observations about Gibson builds - cosmetically, Gibsons have always been more about sound workmanlike craftsmanship than PRS beauty pageant flash. From my 1918 tenor banjo to 60s Melody Maker to my 70s LP and 335 to the most recent Gibsons which have passed through my hands - and most I've ever laid hands on - they look great, albeit with detail finish and even appointments that fall short of presentation-at-court standards.

And so what? Regardless Gibson slacking in the 70s (much overstated, in my experience) and their more frequent sloppy builds of the late Henry era, the brand remains a standard - if not THE standard - of what a guitar even IS. The instruments have consistently been made to sound great, function perfectly for decades, play beautifully, and look every bit as good as an instrument needs to look. Brands whose cosmetic refinements and fussy obsession with top-level flash and detail - flamier woods with more vivid colors and glass-level finish, jewel-like fret appearance, more binding of more edges - don't sound or play a bit better for it, and often worse. Gibson virtues go deep inside, from the bones outward, where it counts.

I've always felt that, by comparison, Gibson quality and craft are built in, baked into the design, material spec, build methods, and workmanlike execution. At the brand's usual best, they're guitars of quiet integrity and understated elegance both in function and appearance - not flashy dancers whose charm fails when you get to know them. You have satisfying and ever-deepening long-term relationships with a good Gibson.

My (70s!) 335 still has finish "deficiencies" like thin dull paint on the headstock and rough unfinished edges inside the f-holes. Its action has also stayed supernatural without touching the truss rod in decades (no matter changing string gauges), no component has ever even suggested it might falter, it sounds clean, transparent, woody, juicy, fat, and buttery every time I plug it in, and it always comes out of the case as in-tune as when I put it there months (even years) previous. (When I think about it, all that applies to the hundred-year-old banjo too.)

Any new Epiphone puts my 335 to shame visually - but I'll keep the Gibby, thanks.

So yeah, who with a soul wouldn't respond to a good Gibby P90 goldtop?

That said, I didn't bond with the 50s Tribute honey burst I had for several years. It was nice, but I preferred my Hamer USA Artist Korinna, and a snarling twangy faded LP doublecut in classic red-stain all-mahogany. And in the category of Les (or less) Paul-P90-rocker, no contender has yet knocked off a 200.00 Dean Evo 60 goldtop for snarl, growl, bite, rudeness, authority, and attitude.

I've probably been through half a dozen or more challengers. The build is indifferent and it has fret issues just above the 12th - and there's nothing subtle or very versatile about it - but for that one rock & roll thing, it's a beast.

20

Also Burny.. .80's models are great.

21

And getting back to the OP - yes unfortunately Les Pauls can get really heavy sometimes! But a good P90 Les Paul is a great guitar. Probably more versatile than a HB Les Paul but I'm never getting rid of my '59 RI Les Paul.

And to briefly follow on with what Proteus said - Gibson, possibly by being one of the first, seem to have created some of the most perfectly proportioned guitars of all time.

22

No question about it.....LP's are very well balanced and very comfy, sitting or standing.

23

Despite the weight, you guys are making me reconsider.

K


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