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  1. #1
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Hi Guys,

    I’m new to the site. I have read some of the post and happy to be on here. There’s a wealth of experience and knowledge around.

    I’m not a specific type of guitar guy, just one that likes guitars a lot!
    I have never owned a LP before, ALWAYS wanted one and planning to buy my first one very soon. Very excited!!!

    I’m looking at the 3 models: 2004, 2008 and 2012 series Gibson LP Standards.

    I know the real answer lies in which one feels the best and go for that!!!

    Put that aside I have a few questions though…
    I would also like to direct the question to those who have owned at least two different ones of the above-mentioned series. I think playing at the back of the shop for a short while is difficult to get an accurate feel… I believe any instrument needs time.

    I have read the reviews on the web and watched the YouTube videos. I have also read the threads on the forum regarding these models. Most articles are pretty “old” and the reviews are in the light to sell... Since these 3 models have been around for a while now, got used to, and put through their paces - I guess I might find the answers here.


    1. As an investment perspective - Will all 3 models hold their ground, will one stand out?
    2. Now that the newer ones are a lighter design with its differences, does that bother the purest as initially thought.
    3. Asymmetric neck (2008), will it be the first and last time we’ll see that on a LP (Did you like the feel of it, If not, why?). Seems the verdict is not out yet, mixed reviews.
    4. The compound neck (2012)– what’s your take on it, is it easier and more forgiving.
    5. The upgraded electronics on 2008 & 2012, does it bother the way they initially thought it would?
    6. Quality on the 3 models. (Binding cracks, body assembly, pick-ups and so on).
    7. Do the 3 models sound & play different?
    8. Does the fret height differ, I like a high frets.


    The 2004 models around have some “wear”, which is not bad. Some are already modified (that I mind). I’ve found a 2008 in MINT condition. 2012 seems cool, slightly higher 2nd hand price.

    I’m the type of guy that’s reluctant to sell something once I have bought it. I also do not like to modify anything – take care and keep it original. End of the day, I want a great quality instrument with the distinctive LP sound. I know these questions are not straight forward and difficult to describe, but I enjoy reading people’s personal take on it.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by LeanJvR; 04-07-19 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    My response will only muddy the waters further, but here goes!

    Get yourself one of the following Gibson Les Pauls: R7, R8, R9, R0 - used/second hand. These models have hum-buckers. Year of manufacture doesn't matter.

    These are simply the both the best bargains (but not especially cheap) and best Gibson Les Pauls available.

    Quick list:
    1. $3000+/- USD
    2. R7 - Gold Top, possibly big neck
    3. R8 - Sunburst, possibly big neck
    4. R9 - Sunburst, possibly fancier maple, smaller (but still big) neck
    5. R0 - Sunburst, slim neck
    6. Each will keep it's value very nicely, especially if you buy used


    Visit the Gibson Custom/Historic District on this Forum for more info and loads of pictures!

  3. #3
    Les Paul Forum Member shred's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    I honestly think the best value in Reissue LP’s is 09-11 Historics... Basically the best build at the cheapest used price point. 12 had the 2 piece fingerboard issue and ‘13s are amazing but you’ll probably pay more for little gain (no truss rod condom, hide glue, traditional pore filler) imo

    Get a 09-11 figured R8 or R9

    If you’re going gold top or plain top I’d go Norlin 70-74


    "I'm Yngwie J. Malmsteen... And I approve this message"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZxdjBXGHl8

    https://youtu.be/9az1INihI2Y

  4. #4
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Thanks for the advice guys.
    I have a few other guitars and thought I wanted to get another Strat with the compound neck.
    While shopping around I noticed for a bit extra I can add a LP to the collection...
    The only problem I have is that the R-models are double the price.
    To buy a R-model now will mean that I have to part with some of the others which I am not ready to do.
    So my first LP will need to be a normal Standard 04, 08 or 12.
    Cheers

  5. #5

    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanJvR View Post
    ...the R-models are double the price...

    So my first LP will need to be a normal Standard 04, 08 or 12.
    Cheers
    Then my advice is to toss the "investment" ideas into the bin and buy the one that sounds great!

    This is really the only way to buy a guitar that you will want to play frequently and want to keep.

  6. #6

    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    ...one more thing...

    Have you tried out a R-reissue model? If so, what did you think?

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    He dosen't want a R Series Reissue. I didn't see anything about wanting a 50's Reissue, but rather 3 specific year model Standards. So let's respect that and not evangelise for our choice and help out.

    Here is my take.

    I've bought and played Standards for over 40 yrs. The things that matter are the specs. They only matter to you, the individual considering the purchase. My experience has been that though others oinions of various spec changes may offer insight, often they are only some others preference that might not be mine. No one shares my ears and hands.

    The single biggest spec for me is neck shape. ALL Les Pauls play the same and share a commonality. Standards are Standards. They are something we are familiar with and even with the various spec changes a 1975 Standard and a 2019 Standard can be played without worry of readjustment.

    Yes, lots of spec changes, which is my point. You decide. The stuff you aren't definate on might not be deal breakers. If it's hardware or electronics, it is remarkably easy to swap them out, remember a Standard is a Standard.

    It is the things not swappable that concern me, and chiefly it's the neck. Thickness, shape and material matter most to me and seem to be the most variable over the years. Unfortunately, in my case, it takes hands on experience to know. Others impressions often don't match mine. Try and find a nearby dealer with some and try 'em out. If you like a certain shape pursue that first. I didn't find a big difference with the asymetric or compound necks. They feel like normal necks with a subtle uh huh to them. Honestly if I hadn't been informed I'm not sure I'd notice. It is back shape and thickness, how it fits in my hand that makes or breaks the choice for me. YMMV

    All I can say about investment is this. You're investing in a classic USA made professional grade guitar. I've never lost a cent on a used Les Paul of any year. What more do you want?
    The older I get, the better I was.

  8. #8
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    He dosen't want a R Series Reissue. I didn't see anything about wanting a 50's Reissue, but rather 3 specific year model Standards. So let's respect that and not evangelise for our choice and help out.
    Thank you Al.

  9. #9
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    I'm a big fan of the 2004 era ('02-'08) LP Standard and see they can be an exceptional value on the used market.

    The era had options called 50's and 60's neck profiles, which are kind of confusing and quite different than the Custom Shop profiles or the very thin profile of the Classic series. A broad generality, but the 50's and 60's necks are somewhat similar until you went farther up the neck, with the 60's flattening out a little more than the 50's.

    Stock pickups were Burstbucker Pro's, which some hate and a few less like. Personally, I liked the Pro's when I bought my LP as my ears were more in tune with 80's rock, didn't have a guitar (at the time) that could give me that type of cut and liked a bright humbucker. Tastes can change, and so can pickups.

    I like the narrow headstock, 'cause it looks cool. Nickel hardware and top hat knobs, which are also cool. The aged cream plastic and binding has a pink hue, which isn't my favorite, but the binding isn't aesthetically intrusive and plastic (like pickups) can also be changed. The Standard went chambered in '06, a controversial move to say the least, and like the BB Pro's some hate while a few less like. Again, going against the grain I'm a fan of chambered LP's. If you're not into the chambered LP's, pre '06 are weight relief.


    The "2008" model Standard is actually a cool guitar in its own way and I really liked how they played (including the asymmetrical neck) when I sampled a couple back in the day. I found access to the upper strings to be quite comfortable. Same BB Pro's as the previous era and the tone was comparable to the '06-'08 chambered Standards.

    A significant price bump along with some other updated features like the circuit board electronics, continuation of chambered bodies, chrome hardware and along with the neck profile turned many people off to the model. LP players tend to be a conservative bunch, and the '08 was probably a little too far out there compared to other LP models that were also available.

    Sorry, no experience with the 2012's.

    Hope it helps.
    Last edited by sonar; 04-10-19 at 04:18 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    He dosen't want a R Series Reissue. I didn't see anything about wanting a 50's Reissue, but rather 3 specific year model Standards. So let's respect that and not evangelise for our choice and help out.
    Indeed, I agree. See my previous post:

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    Then my advice is to toss the "investment" ideas into the bin and buy the one that sounds great!

    This is really the only way to buy a guitar that you will want to play frequently and want to keep.
    I was just wondering if the OP had tried any reissues and decided to harmlessly ask (without trying to proselytize any further).

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    ...All I can say about investment is this. You're investing in a classic USA made professional grade guitar. I've never lost a cent on a used Les Paul of any year.
    I agree! Especially as the OP like to hold on to guitars.

  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Thanks for the feedback guys!
    I really appreciate and value your replies.
    I have found a lot of answers in this.

    I have never really been exposed to the LP market before. Must say, interesting guitar!
    Learning a lot about it and starting to appreciate the character of it.

    The ones I have managed to looked at have all weird stuff on them that I later read was normal for a LP. Stuff like, hairline cracks on tone & volume knobs, lacquer cracks, binding cracks...

    I am in Ireland, and there is only 1 R8 on the market. The rest in the UK on eBay. I have never played on 1 before...

    The big reason for me to start the thread was that I couldnÂ’t really find an updated post where these 3 models were stacked up against each other.

    What I meant by investment; one can understand the quality of a product in the way it holds onto itÂ’s financial value. If I look at the current 2nd hand value 2004 and 2008, it remains pretty much the same. Am I right?

    Another thing thatÂ’s still very difficult to find is the frets used on these guitars?
    My favorite is tall and thin frets. It feels like each LP year is different.

    Cheers!

  12. #12
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Hi Guys,

    Just an update.
    I managed to find and buy a very nice 2008 (2009) model Standard. Absolute beaut!
    I've had it for a couple of months now.

    I really like it. I think it's a great guitar. Sounds good, weight relieved makes it a comfortable playing while standing guitar.
    They say there's feedback issues with Chambered bodies, I must say, I haven't had any issues, even on high gain.
    The chambered body does give it a slightly acoustic tone, I find this very nice in slower tempo blues and rock.
    It sustains pretty well, I find that I have to mute notes more often than I would on my single coil guitars.

    Asymmetric neck is pretty comfortable, this is in fact my most comfortable neck profile out of all of my guitars.

    I had only one small issue and that was a 60 cycle hum. At first it didn't bother me, but as I kept on playing it really started to bug me. It was much noisier that any of my single coil pick-up guitars. Went to the local guitar shop, they said all LP's have it in a way, some more than others.
    I read up on the internet and discovered the "Faraday-cage". I built one out of copper tape as show on YouTube, it's fantastic! I Highly recommend. I can have all sorts of electronic appliances close to the pickups and it's as quite as a mouse. I can even turn the amp all the way up, if I don't touch the guitar I wouldn't even know it it's on or not - Super happy.

    The Neck pick-up is a feast, bridge not as much. I've played around with pickup height. Might want to change it to something my ear prefers.

    The PCB electrics - I was planning on changing it, but it really hasn't bother me yet. I'll maybe change it, quick and easy, but the verdict it not out yet. I still have to be convinced that it will make a change in tone.

    One thing is for sure, I'm going to get a non-weight relieved model to compare. I'm planning to keep this model. Keep you posted.

  13. #13
    Les Paul Forum Member sonar's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Glad you found a Les Paul!

    I've never had problems with feedback on my chambered LP, but I'm not a high gain type player. I've been playing hollowbody guitars more than solid for the past few years, so that might show where I'm coming from.

    The noise issue is not usual for a humbucker. The pickup was invented to prevent 60 cycle hum. I'm wondering if somebody mucked around with the wiring or the PCB?

    Your observations on the BB Pro's are interesting? Most complaints are that the bridge is too bright and strident, while the neck can sound muddy.

    Swapping pickups on LP's happen all the time, maybe more than any other guitar model. There are so many options that I won't even begin to give you any opinion on pickups other than do your research. Two things to note if you're thinking of swapping pu's - one is choice of pots. Many traditional PAF style pu's like to see 500K, while some other humbuckers, like Duncan JB's and BB Pro's, are probably better off with 250/300K volume pots. There's also personal preference between modern or vintage wiring, which preference can even vary from guitar to guitar. I mention all of this because the PCB doesn't make any of this easy. If you go down this road I'd consider pulling the PCB out of the guitar.

    The chambered vs. weight relief vs. solid conversation is long and detailed. General conclusions are there's a difference in tone, most notably between the chambered and solid, with the majority identifying the solidbody as more akin to the classic LP tone. The advantage of chambered, and to a lesser extent weight relief, is a lighter guitar. I assume most would prefer an 8lb solid Les Paul... and then there's reality. Gibson's reality is that they can't offer a production level Les Paul that weighs 8lb's with any consistency. Even the Custom Shop LP's vary in weight by as much as a couple pounds. My reality is a degenerative disk and long story short, I can't do heavy guitars anymore. For me the chambered LP's were a gift. And a chambered LP can sound really cool, is very much part of the Les Paul family with the difference in tone not being as dramatic as some might lead you to believe (imo).

    Best bet is to hit the LPF search and have fun. When in doubt or just curious start a thread. This is where the LPF shines. The level of knowledge on this forum is a level or two higher than almost any other internet site dedicated to guitars that I've experienced, and that's not just for Les Paul/Gibson knowledge.

    Congrats on the LP!

  14. #14
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Thanks for the reply!

    I don't think there was anything wrong with the PCB board. It seems like the back side have never been opened before. I checked the wiring with a multi-meter and everything was working as it should. I couldn't find any Earth/grounding issues. What I did was following this guy's method (see link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iiv57Uov-mc
    By doing this, I'm so impressed with this ABSOLUTE "noiseless pup" that slow blues is a pleasure. Sounds so clear between notes on the clean channel at high volume.

    The neck pickup does sound muddy, but not too much, a warm type of muddy I like. The neck position tone knob does have enough juice to give me the brightness I need in some cases. The bridge is too bright (twangy) and due to this the two pups don't compliment each other imo. If I can just get the bridge a little warmer sound then I won't change a thing. I have an HSS Start with an Atomic Humbucker and wonder how such a type of pup will sound inside this body.

    Your comments on the 300/500k pots is very interesting, never knew it and I'll make a note.
    Do you think if i change the wiring (including pots) there'll be a difference in the tone of the pups?

    The advice on this forum is gold!

  15. #15
    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by LeanJvR View Post
    Thanks for the reply!

    I don't think there was anything wrong with the PCB board. It seems like the back side have never been opened before. I checked the wiring with a multi-meter and everything was working as it should. I couldn't find any Earth/grounding issues. What I did was following this guy's method (see link) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iiv57Uov-mc
    By doing this, I'm so impressed with this ABSOLUTE "noiseless pup" that slow blues is a pleasure. Sounds so clear between notes on the clean channel at high volume.

    The neck pickup does sound muddy, but not too much, a warm type of muddy I like. The neck position tone knob does have enough juice to give me the brightness I need in some cases. The bridge is too bright (twangy) and due to this the two pups don't compliment each other imo. If I can just get the bridge a little warmer sound then I won't change a thing. I have an HSS Start with an Atomic Humbucker and wonder how such a type of pup will sound inside this body.

    Your comments on the 300/500k pots is very interesting, never knew it and I'll make a note.
    Do you think if i change the wiring (including pots) there'll be a difference in the tone of the pups?

    The advice on this forum is gold!
    You warm up the pup by rolling down the pup tone knob a wee bit to shave some brightness off.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  16. #16
    Les Paul Forum Member Trans-Am's Avatar
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    Re: 2004 & 2008 & 2012 Les Paul Standard - First time LP buyer

    Quote Originally Posted by sonar View Post
    Glad you found a Les Paul!

    I've never had problems with feedback on my chambered LP, but I'm not a high gain type player. I've been playing hollowbody guitars more than solid for the past few years, so that might show where I'm coming from.

    The noise issue is not usual for a humbucker. The pickup was invented to prevent 60 cycle hum. I'm wondering if somebody mucked around with the wiring or the PCB?

    Your observations on the BB Pro's are interesting? Most complaints are that the bridge is too bright and strident, while the neck can sound muddy.

    Swapping pickups on LP's happen all the time, maybe more than any other guitar model. There are so many options that I won't even begin to give you any opinion on pickups other than do your research. Two things to note if you're thinking of swapping pu's - one is choice of pots. Many traditional PAF style pu's like to see 500K, while some other humbuckers, like Duncan JB's and BB Pro's, are probably better off with 250/300K volume pots. There's also personal preference between modern or vintage wiring, which preference can even vary from guitar to guitar. I mention all of this because the PCB doesn't make any of this easy. If you go down this road I'd consider pulling the PCB out of the guitar.

    The chambered vs. weight relief vs. solid conversation is long and detailed. General conclusions are there's a difference in tone, most notably between the chambered and solid, with the majority identifying the solidbody as more akin to the classic LP tone. The advantage of chambered, and to a lesser extent weight relief, is a lighter guitar. I assume most would prefer an 8lb solid Les Paul... and then there's reality. Gibson's reality is that they can't offer a production level Les Paul that weighs 8lb's with any consistency. Even the Custom Shop LP's vary in weight by as much as a couple pounds. My reality is a degenerative disk and long story short, I can't do heavy guitars anymore. For me the chambered LP's were a gift. And a chambered LP can sound really cool, is very much part of the Les Paul family with the difference in tone not being as dramatic as some might lead you to believe (imo).

    Best bet is to hit the LPF search and have fun. When in doubt or just curious start a thread. This is where the LPF shines. The level of knowledge on this forum is a level or two higher than almost any other internet site dedicated to guitars that I've experienced, and that's not just for Les Paul/Gibson knowledge.

    Congrats on the LP!

    Yes Congrats on the Gibby.

    Just came across this thread and yes maybe unknowingly noticed that my last purchased was from 2007 and haven't since.
    Knock on wood here!
    Old WOOD Is Good WOOD !!!

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