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  1. #41
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Is the difference worth an extra 150-350k ?
    Can the average person hear the difference listening at home or on their radio cruising down the highway?
    That's up to each individual

    I feel like in most cases it just comes down to bragging rights.
    Last edited by GuitarMikey; 01-23-20 at 10:03 AM.
    GuitarMikey

  2. #42
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Both guitars in the clip sounded great to my ear, and were produced under the same limited fidelity available on YouTube.

    I'm assuming the recordings were done where the only variable was the guitars, given that, if we hear a difference between the two we have a reasonable basis for our opinions.

    What can't be captured (And its all been said before) is the emotion, the way a certain guitar feels and responds to your playing, it can't be captured and reduced to a digitised bit rate.

    No two Les Pauls ever sound the same and that's how I like it

  3. #43
    Les Paul Forum Member jimmi's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarMikey View Post
    Is the difference worth an extra 150-350k ?
    Can the average person hear the difference listening at home or on their radio cruising down the highway?
    That's up to each individual

    I feel like in most cases it just comes down to bragging rights.
    The average person can’t tell the difference between Beck and Jeff Beck. Does that mean there isn’t one?

  4. #44
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmi View Post
    The average person can’t tell the difference between Beck and Jeff Beck. Does that mean there isn’t one?
    ll
    Pauls to the walls!

    Hüter der Flammen!

    PLEASE SUPPORT www.burstserial.com !!
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  5. #45
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    For the record: here are my two favorite Les Pauls acoustic. I've owned many including a 1956 conversion that I sold a couple of years back. These two are right up there with and better than some bursts I've played...


  6. #46

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Last edited by garywright; 01-27-20 at 05:48 PM. Reason: per recent exchanges ..not ricks playing :)

  7. #47

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarMikey View Post

    I feel like in most cases it just comes down to bragging rights.
    that ain’t sayin much for what you feel

  8. #48
    Les Paul Forum Member GuitarMikey's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by garywright View Post
    that ain’t sayin much for what you feel
    GuitarMikey

  9. #49
    Les Paul Forum Member marshall1987's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    For the record: here are my two favorite Les Pauls acoustic. I've owned many including a 1956 conversion that I sold a couple of years back. These two are right up there with and better than some bursts I've played...

    Thanks for the demo....but help me with this....is the audio overdubbed or what? . On my Mac it isn't even close to being in sync with the audio.

    So what's the takeaway?
    "Scan not a friend under a microscopic glass; you know his faults so let his foibles pass".

    Sir Frank Crisp
    Friar Park
    London, England

  10. #50
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    Thanks for the demo....but help me with this....is the audio overdubbed or what? . On my Mac it isn't even close to being in sync with the audio.

    So what's the takeaway?
    Crazy out of sync! damn. THe takewaway for me is that the guitars are close enough in many cases. Very good acoustic tone that is a hallmark of the vintage Les Paul.

  11. #51
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    i love old les pauls. i can pour my soul and creativity into my guitar because it is a treasure to me that i have bonded with. the fact that it is old really makes me feel complete putting all of my music energy into it. it has been around longer than i have (not by much)the old les pauls were great when i was 12 and they havent changed. i will still be bonded with my old les paul when i kick the bucket. its all about how you feel about your guitar. it doesnt have to be old, but i have had all kinds of newer ones i just didnt bond with and wound up keeping the old ones because i was just more inspired when playing them.
    Quote Originally Posted by marshall1987 View Post
    There is much more to the guitar playing experience than simply registering the quality of the sound that you hear. Given enough time, practice, and instruction, an accomplished guitar player may bond with, and "become one with", his/her prized instrument.

    In many instances, prized vintage instruments constructed from high quality tone woods, and built in low quantities by skilled luthiers, are capable of delivering an exquisite and sublime experience for the player, that just isn't possible with newer mass produced instruments.

  12. #52
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by AA00475Bassman View Post
    I have heard JB say 5% & friend I will never get that 5% out of a late 50's Les paul over one of my many fine Historic's . I think a lot of people reach for the stars & and lust for these guitars . Do you really think your sound will change that much ?
    no but my enthusiasm will when playing it.

  13. #53
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarMikey View Post
    Is the difference worth an extra 150-350k ?
    Can the average person hear the difference listening at home or on their radio cruising down the highway?
    That's up to each individual

    I feel like in most cases it just comes down to bragging rights.
    its not bragging rights. its 'the club' and that club gets you in with pro players and investors that all have direct contacts in the music industry that will give you a 45% better chance of getting a song out. your 'buying in' and if you have talent.. you might have a 15 percent chance of going somewhere. do you want to sell your house for that chance? if not.. then your not a go getter. if your wife keeps her job at walmart then you will be ok.

  14. #54
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    ll
    except 'beck' is the most bland boring person you will ever meet and 'beck' is the most talented person you will ever meet.

  15. #55
    Les Paul Forum Member latestarter's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    It's not only about tone, right?

    It's the kick. It's the responsibility of owning a proper rare piece? It's the smell. It's the authenticity (no Gibson employee jokes please). The loose fitting case. The groovy hide n seek top. The fact they got it THIS RIGHT, in 1959.

    Modern versions do not deliver this specific kick...this high. I do think they deliver the tone pretty good. But I get a different buzz every time I am privileged to pick up an old high end quality instrument (regardless of brand to be fair). Don't ask me to intellectualise the experience.

    It's so much more than the tone.

    Thank goodness they sound good too.
    Otherwise known as Grant.

  16. #56

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by agogetr View Post
    its not bragging rights. its 'the club' and that club gets you in with pro players and investors that all have direct contacts in the music industry that will give you a 45% better chance of getting a song out. your 'buying in' and if you have talent.. you might have a 15 percent chance of going somewhere. do you want to sell your house for that chance? if not.. then your not a go getter. if your wife keeps her job at walmart then you will be ok.
    Huh ?

  17. #57

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by agogetr View Post
    its not bragging rights. its 'the club' and that club gets you in with pro players and investors that all have direct contacts in the music industry that will give you a 45% better chance of getting a song out. your 'buying in' and if you have talent.. you might have a 15 percent chance of going somewhere. do you want to sell your house for that chance? if not.. then your not a go getter. if your wife keeps her job at walmart then you will be ok.
    No.

  18. #58
    Les Paul Forum Member Black58's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Once you actually set it up "right", acoustically, and get the G to sound good (acoustically and electrically), you'll have no problems with almost any Les Paul. Gibson has never nailed anything, and they never will.

  19. #59
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    I have guitars that sound like the unplugged Burst, so don't tell me it can't be. I have found some that are indistinguishable when directly compared.

    If one spends the time and finds a great guitar, instead of focusing on top figure or cosmetics, you'll have a great guitar.

    Show me where all 57-60 paf Les Pauls sound the same. Hell, show me where all 59s do. I've been lucky through the years to have played many Bursts, side by side, and owned two. They do not sound the same. Many sound quite different, and no two random guitars, of any vintage sound the same.

    Braz boards make no difference. Hardware bullshit claims started from overseas parts pirates haven't proven true. I've collect vintage hardware for 45 years for restorations. There is no magic tone.

    I personally find these claims insulting, especially those hinting that I am unable to hear or descern the finer aspects of vintage tone. What I do know is most hear what they want to hear, or expect to.
    i have a 56 tv model that sounds like a tele.. all treble. thers no rules on fifties pickups. best crankin single coil i ever heard was my brothers 55 junior. when it flew 150 feet in a car wreck and was broken my brother (in the eighties) hotrodded the junior and that pickup wound up on a kent guitar that disapeared with its owner i looked for years for that guy. i still have the wiring harness. best crankin junior you could ever hear. it was loud and pushed an amp into pure glory. i still hope i can find that pickup. my brother always had the best tone when he had that old junior. guys tried to trade him new les pauls for it.

  20. #60
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by CDaughtry View Post
    If you can't hear a difference when you are playing them yourself side by side through the same amp, consider yourself blessed. Life would be a lot easier...and cheaper!
    Wow! Is this ever true.^
    I've played a lot of 50's LP's and I find it impossible to say that playing a RI and playing a 50's burst leaves so much or so little variation. Which 50's burst is someone comparing to which RI? It's only 2 guitars out of how many possible combinations of 50's LP's and RI's?

    I go by the sound of the individual guitar in my hands.
    The very best sounding electric I ever played was in The Guitar Trader back in the 1970's, when I hung out there a lot. It was a '59 plain top which had the red faded out to a pea green perimeter. The guitar had unbroken solder joints and was in otherwise great shape. For me, it had the perfect neck shape and size, the perfect pickups and sounded like no other electric guitar I ever played before or since. Everything about the guitar including the weight for me seemed to be perfection.

    Having played that burst often, I try now and have since playing that guitar, to judge my current guitars or newly acquired guitars after it, as best as one can with only a memory to guide me.

    I know what I prefer and favor, sound-wise from any guitar, but one has to live within the confines of not being able to play every RI out there to find one's perfect guitar. You just do the best you can and live with your choices.
    On s'électrise:
    Tension maximale
    Les corps-circuits...
    De deux amants
    On s'illumine
    Lumière animale
    L'école de l'é...
    ...lectro-aimant.
    La France a les plus belles femmes, le pays et la culture sur la planète. Personne ne peut correspondre à la beauté d'Alizée.

  21. #61
    Les Paul Forum Member AA00475Bassman's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    I hear something when I hear likes of pro playing a burst , don't hear much collectors & non pro's. Would not advance my sound I know this . I don't beleive I can get out all a modern Les Paul has to offer .
    Ive never confused owning a bunch of high end gear with being some kind of a guitar player I'm a hack and I love guitars !

    The myth :The most disturbing thing about buying a fake Les Paul is how my research after the purchase is received by Forum members ??? 2020

    The Myth: Neat wiring layouts always equate to great-sounding amps.

    The Myth: If I would have lived with MOM & mooched till I was 48 I would play like Clapton !
    Think about it
    won't you ...... Please !

  22. #62

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    First of all, I’m not a fan of the original video posted because I don’t feel the playing shows off either guitar particularly well, and there is too much talk and not enough playing.

    That said, here are my thoughts on the validity of the new historic reissues coming out of the custom shop...

    As with all guitars, no matter the brand, model, grade of model (custom shop, standard production, etc) there will always be those individual guitars that stand out (either positively or negatively) due to a combination of factors that all come together to make that guitar what it is. That is true of current production just as it was back in the ‘50s, ‘60s, etc.

    There are individual instruments coming out of current production that stand out above the others, and I am fortunate to have one of them. The mahogany of the body has to be very dry because the whole guitar weighs only 8.2lbs. I also have a 1982 LP Custom silverburst that weighs well over 11lbs (and a 1970 es-335). My 2019 1960 Reissue is one of the most resonant guitars I’ve ever played. I can feel the whole body vibrating/resonating against my body as I play it, very much like my 335 feels, even though the LP is a solid body. It sings acoustically, and that translates directly to how it sounds plugged in as well. More on that to follow.

    While Gibson has done a lot right and has continued to make improvements in the build of the historic reissues, including going to hide glue, using the most select of available mahogany blocks (lighter/drier), etc. there are still things that hold them back. Fortunately some of those things can be changed easily. The most significant (and thankfully easy to change) issue is the bridge, bridge posts, and thumbwheels. The bridge that comes on the current historic reissues produces an overly bright and brittle sounding tone that is also thin and lacking in balance across the frequency range. Interestingly, while it produces a very bright, thin sound when played acoustically, when amplified the highs die out almost immediately in the sustain leaving only lows and low-mids to continue through the sustain (especially noticeable when a chord is held and allowed to ring out). Based on the recommendation of Ed (EdA1 on YouTube), I got a Faber bridge (ABRH model, ordered from Corsa). I also ordered nickel plated brass abr1 bridge posts and the vintage thin version of nickel plated brass thumbwheels from Philadelphia Luthiers Supply. The change from the bridge alone was dramatic, both acoustically and amplified. The Faber bridge produces a much more full and balanced tone with smoother highs that balance nicely with the rest of the frequencies. When amplified the effect can be heard not only in the overall sound of the initial attack but also in the sustain. The high frequencies continue to ring out and persist as part of the sustained sound coming out of the guitar providing a far richer and more pleasant tone. I believe the persistence of the highs in the sustain also contribute to enhancing the richness and prominence of the overtones produced, especially when the pickups are capable of doing that. Adding the correct posts and thumbwheels added further to the overall resonance and also the balance and fullness of the tones produced by the guitar.

    As for pickups, I believe the current production of Custombuckers that come in the historic reissues are very good. Being unpotted makes a big difference in them, and for many (most?) folks those pickups will serve them well and produce great tones and a wide range of them. That said, I put in a set of Amber Spirit of 59 pickups and gained additional overtones and clarity allowing me to bridge some of that remaining gap to the tones I want out of my LP. Last week I got a patent number pickup that I put in the neck position. Some of the differences compared to the Amber are more subtle and admittedly incremental as opposed to being apples to oranges. However the patent number has more clarity still and also richer and more complex overtones that sound more “organic” compared to the Ambers and Custombuckers.

    Back to the importance of the guitar itself, what I find very interesting and revealing is that no matter what pickups I have in that guitar it still sounds like that guitar. Do I believe the pickups are an important part of the equation in achieving vintage sunburst like tones? Of course. However the pickups are completely irrelevant if the guitar isn’t right first. The guitar itself is largely responsible for the hollow, woody tones we associate with sunburst and PAF tones. Yet it’s not the PAFs that create that sound on their own - its the guitar and its resonance that are the foundation of that sound and allow the pickups to express their sound to the fullest of their potential. The best genuine PAFs in a crappy guitar won’t sound great, while a good set of pickups in a great guitar (with proper hardware) will sound far better. Put in a great set of pickups in a particularly outstanding guitar with correct hardware and those last few % that Mr. Bonamassa mentioned start to shrink even further.

    In summary, based on my personal experience and after speaking with many others who have experience with genuine, vintage sunbursts, 1950s guitars converted to sunburst specs, earlier production as well as current production Gibson custom shop reissues, and high end third party sunburst replicas as well as experience with both genuine PAF and/or patent number pickups and current PAF replica/clone pickups tried in various guitars, my thoughts are...

    1) There are a few sunbursts that stand out such as Bernie Marsden’s “the Beast”, Pat’s (of Doug and Pat) 1958 gold top “Oscar”, etc that are the ultimate pinnacle of tone most of us seek to achieve. But the average sunburst doesn’t sound like those best of the best. They may still sound fantastic, but we all need to keep in perspective the difficulty of trying to not only achieve true sunburst like tone in our guitars but the increased difficulty when our target/vision/goal is set based on the few standouts among a field of already outstanding guitars.

    2) As stated above there are ok, good, great, and outstanding among current production guitars as well. The first step in trying to achieve sunburst like tones out of a current production guitar starts with the guitar itself. Hunt for and get the best one you can find. That will determine the success of the rest of your project/quest.

    3) Put either genuine vintage hardware or the best available current production hardware made of accurate materials on your guitar. As mentioned the Faber bridge is a major game changer, and the posts and thumbwheels are an additional and important change (cost a set of posts and thumbwheels is less than $6). Without these changes there will be a limit to what can be achieved even with the best guitar.

    4) Genuine PAFs or patent numbers are ideal of course, but there are some great pickups available from the better PAF replica/clone makers. I only have experience with Amber Spirit of 59, but I’ve heard directly from others that Rewind and Jim Rolph produce excellent pickups, and there is lots of support in general for Wizz, Throbak, etc. Get what you think is the best available and that you can afford, but only after the hardware has been swapped out on a very good guitar. Pickups are only a part of the equation and get too much attention when they are limited by the other factors.

    5) When it all comes together and you find that magical combination of guitar, hardware, pickups, amp, etc. will it be “as good as” or sound like a real sunburst? Yes and no. Will it sound as good as the average sunburst? Maybe. Maybe even better than some sunbursts, if you are fortunate to have dialed in a particularly good combo/setup. Will it sound as good as the very best of the best sunbursts? Maybe, but unlikely. Anything is possible, but those guitars are the exceptional small % of all sunbursts as already stated. But one thing is for certain, the current production custom shop reissues as they come stock, even those that have the best wood and are great guitars don’t sound like genuine sunbursts. The average reissue definitely doesn’t.

    All this is a pursuit that has captivated many of us and one that is fun to pursue, talk about, compare notes, and share with others. But it is a pursuit. Each of us has in our mind what the ideal LP sound is. There are varying degrees of “sickness” (aka the desire to achieve the “ultimate tone”) ha ha and also varying degrees of ability or willingness to commit the resources necessary to seeking out and acquiring the pieces to the puzzle. In the end what is most important is that we get something we like that plays and sounds how we like, and enjoy playing it - a lot.

    Just my $0.02 of course. Others may have differing opinions and experiences.

  23. #63
    Les Paul Forum Member SeanT's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    I have guitars that sound like the unplugged Burst, so don't tell me it can't be. I have found some that are indistinguishable when directly compared.

    If one spends the time and finds a great guitar, instead of focusing on top figure or cosmetics, you'll have a great guitar.

    Show me where all 57-60 paf Les Pauls sound the same. Hell, show me where all 59s do. I've been lucky through the years to have played many Bursts, side by side, and owned two. They do not sound the same. Many sound quite different, and no two random guitars, of any vintage sound the same.

    Braz boards make no difference. Hardware bullshit claims started from overseas parts pirates haven't proven true. I've collect vintage hardware for 45 years for restorations. There is no magic tone.

    I personally find these claims insulting, especially those hinting that I am unable to hear or descern the finer aspects of vintage tone. What I do know is most hear what they want to hear, or expect to.
    Exactly.
    LP Forum member since 1999 but was lost for a long time.

  24. #64

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bross63 View Post
    First of all, I’m not a fan of the original video posted because I don’t feel the playing shows off either guitar particularly well, and there is too much talk and not enough playing.

    That said, here are my thoughts on the validity of the new historic reissues coming out of the custom shop...

    As with all guitars, no matter the brand, model, grade of model (custom shop, standard production, etc) there will always be those individual guitars that stand out (either positively or negatively) due to a combination of factors that all come together to make that guitar what it is. That is true of current production just as it was back in the ‘50s, ‘60s, etc.

    There are individual instruments coming out of current production that stand out above the others, and I am fortunate to have one of them. The mahogany of the body has to be very dry because the whole guitar weighs only 8.2lbs. I also have a 1982 LP Custom silverburst that weighs well over 11lbs (and a 1970 es-335). My 2019 1960 Reissue is one of the most resonant guitars I’ve ever played. I can feel the whole body vibrating/resonating against my body as I play it, very much like my 335 feels, even though the LP is a solid body. It sings acoustically, and that translates directly to how it sounds plugged in as well. More on that to follow.

    While Gibson has done a lot right and has continued to make improvements in the build of the historic reissues, including going to hide glue, using the most select of available mahogany blocks (lighter/drier), etc. there are still things that hold them back. Fortunately some of those things can be changed easily. The most significant (and thankfully easy to change) issue is the bridge, bridge posts, and thumbwheels. The bridge that comes on the current historic reissues produces an overly bright and brittle sounding tone that is also thin and lacking in balance across the frequency range. Interestingly, while it produces a very bright, thin sound when played acoustically, when amplified the highs die out almost immediately in the sustain leaving only lows and low-mids to continue through the sustain (especially noticeable when a chord is held and allowed to ring out). Based on the recommendation of Ed (EdA1 on YouTube), I got a Faber bridge (ABRH model, ordered from Corsa). I also ordered nickel plated brass abr1 bridge posts and the vintage thin version of nickel plated brass thumbwheels from Philadelphia Luthiers Supply. The change from the bridge alone was dramatic, both acoustically and amplified. The Faber bridge produces a much more full and balanced tone with smoother highs that balance nicely with the rest of the frequencies. When amplified the effect can be heard not only in the overall sound of the initial attack but also in the sustain. The high frequencies continue to ring out and persist as part of the sustained sound coming out of the guitar providing a far richer and more pleasant tone. I believe the persistence of the highs in the sustain also contribute to enhancing the richness and prominence of the overtones produced, especially when the pickups are capable of doing that. Adding the correct posts and thumbwheels added further to the overall resonance and also the balance and fullness of the tones produced by the guitar.

    As for pickups, I believe the current production of Custombuckers that come in the historic reissues are very good. Being unpotted makes a big difference in them, and for many (most?) folks those pickups will serve them well and produce great tones and a wide range of them. That said, I put in a set of Amber Spirit of 59 pickups and gained additional overtones and clarity allowing me to bridge some of that remaining gap to the tones I want out of my LP. Last week I got a patent number pickup that I put in the neck position. Some of the differences compared to the Amber are more subtle and admittedly incremental as opposed to being apples to oranges. However the patent number has more clarity still and also richer and more complex overtones that sound more “organic” compared to the Ambers and Custombuckers.

    Back to the importance of the guitar itself, what I find very interesting and revealing is that no matter what pickups I have in that guitar it still sounds like that guitar. Do I believe the pickups are an important part of the equation in achieving vintage sunburst like tones? Of course. However the pickups are completely irrelevant if the guitar isn’t right first. The guitar itself is largely responsible for the hollow, woody tones we associate with sunburst and PAF tones. Yet it’s not the PAFs that create that sound on their own - its the guitar and its resonance that are the foundation of that sound and allow the pickups to express their sound to the fullest of their potential. The best genuine PAFs in a crappy guitar won’t sound great, while a good set of pickups in a great guitar (with proper hardware) will sound far better. Put in a great set of pickups in a particularly outstanding guitar with correct hardware and those last few % that Mr. Bonamassa mentioned start to shrink even further.

    In summary, based on my personal experience and after speaking with many others who have experience with genuine, vintage sunbursts, 1950s guitars converted to sunburst specs, earlier production as well as current production Gibson custom shop reissues, and high end third party sunburst replicas as well as experience with both genuine PAF and/or patent number pickups and current PAF replica/clone pickups tried in various guitars, my thoughts are...

    1) There are a few sunbursts that stand out such as Bernie Marsden’s “the Beast”, Pat’s (of Doug and Pat) 1958 gold top “Oscar”, etc that are the ultimate pinnacle of tone most of us seek to achieve. But the average sunburst doesn’t sound like those best of the best. They may still sound fantastic, but we all need to keep in perspective the difficulty of trying to not only achieve true sunburst like tone in our guitars but the increased difficulty when our target/vision/goal is set based on the few standouts among a field of already outstanding guitars.

    2) As stated above there are ok, good, great, and outstanding among current production guitars as well. The first step in trying to achieve sunburst like tones out of a current production guitar starts with the guitar itself. Hunt for and get the best one you can find. That will determine the success of the rest of your project/quest.

    3) Put either genuine vintage hardware or the best available current production hardware made of accurate materials on your guitar. As mentioned the Faber bridge is a major game changer, and the posts and thumbwheels are an additional and important change (cost a set of posts and thumbwheels is less than $6). Without these changes there will be a limit to what can be achieved even with the best guitar.

    4) Genuine PAFs or patent numbers are ideal of course, but there are some great pickups available from the better PAF replica/clone makers. I only have experience with Amber Spirit of 59, but I’ve heard directly from others that Rewind and Jim Rolph produce excellent pickups, and there is lots of support in general for Wizz, Throbak, etc. Get what you think is the best available and that you can afford, but only after the hardware has been swapped out on a very good guitar. Pickups are only a part of the equation and get too much attention when they are limited by the other factors.

    5) When it all comes together and you find that magical combination of guitar, hardware, pickups, amp, etc. will it be “as good as” or sound like a real sunburst? Yes and no. Will it sound as good as the average sunburst? Maybe. Maybe even better than some sunbursts, if you are fortunate to have dialed in a particularly good combo/setup. Will it sound as good as the very best of the best sunbursts? Maybe, but unlikely. Anything is possible, but those guitars are the exceptional small % of all sunbursts as already stated. But one thing is for certain, the current production custom shop reissues as they come stock, even those that have the best wood and are great guitars don’t sound like genuine sunbursts. The average reissue definitely doesn’t.

    All this is a pursuit that has captivated many of us and one that is fun to pursue, talk about, compare notes, and share with others. But it is a pursuit. Each of us has in our mind what the ideal LP sound is. There are varying degrees of “sickness” (aka the desire to achieve the “ultimate tone”) ha ha and also varying degrees of ability or willingness to commit the resources necessary to seeking out and acquiring the pieces to the puzzle. In the end what is most important is that we get something we like that plays and sounds how we like, and enjoy playing it - a lot.

    Just my $0.02 of course. Others may have differing opinions and experiences.
    Do you have any recordings of your guitar which reflect it's tonal qualities ?

  25. #65
    Les Paul Forum Member MapleFlame's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    I think saying that different parts won't make a difference on a guitar is very ignorant and arrogant. All guitars are sum of their parts. Of course there are good, great, mediocre and not so good. Take for instance, my "Mapleflame Mod." How bout type that into Google and see what that provides. When Rick Doc Vintage used to clean pots and harnesses for us, that alone made a very dull sounding guitar come alive. The type of materials in ABR-1, Studs, Tailpieces etc all matter. You think every batch they made had the exact make up of metal, hell no. How many of you put Grovers on a Les Paul and it sounds wayyy better. I've taken the worst basket case guitars and made them sound really good. How many guys have changed out pickups a gazillion times and finally found ones that sounded great. Didn't Duane Allman take his Goldtop pickups and put them into his Burst, ahhh yeah.
    Top carves are sexy

  26. #66

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    This actually the thread that inspired me to register, so, here goes...

    So, how does it compare to the other 1700ish 'bursts? Few months back, I fitted a set of Amber Spirit Of 59 PAF repros to my Tokai. When I was researching PAFs the thing that you read a lot is' no two PAFs sound identical'.
    I'm currently looking for an R9. The one I end up with might sound exactly like one specific 'burst. My Tokai might sound like one specific' burst. Neither sounds like ALL 'bursts, nor do the two in the video. THAT I know for certain. I didn't watch the video. I don't need to. I know that in the right hands they will both sound great, as does my Tokai and my future R9. In the wrong hands, they'll all sound like the product of the digestive process.
    No reissue ever will sound exactly like the real thing, simply because no two examples of the real thing sound exactly the same.

  27. #67

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    I have never played a real vintage 'Burst, but I have played a '64, a '61 and a Hardtail '54 Strat. And I can say unequivocally (albeit subjectively) that any new US Vintage Reissue Strats that I've owned didn't even come close to how nicely the real vintage ones played and sounded. Maybe one of the reasons I don't really play Strats any more.

    But it wasn't so much a 'tone' thing, it was more like the older instruments just felt more settled and together as a system....like everything was really on the same page and in tune in how the guitar felt and more importantly responded when playing. You felt like you didn't have to try as hared to play them and like what you were hearing, which just frees you up more. Warmer, richer, woodier...and you didn't have to guard against the high end, you had that snap at the ready when you wanted it....again with very little effort required. Pots, caps, even pickups or knobs, etc....whatever....as a whole/platform, just better instruments. And the reissues weren't what I would call pigs, either. If I switched the entire pick guard/wiring assembles between, say, the real '61 and my '63 Reissue...would my reissue sound as good as the real '63? I dunno, because it would probably still play like it did before the swap.

    So maybe another 40-50 years of aging and playing will bring the reissues to the same place, but as many have pointed out in the past...much of the best music we associate with some of these original classic guitars were made when they were newer than many of the reissues we own today. Anyway, best way can describe what the vintage ones felt like...which were all owned and played regularly, so set up great....was that they felt more organically connected to me while I was playing them, so as a result they sounded better. And admittedly, a better player will probably get the reissue to sound better than me on my best day on a vintage guitar.
    Last edited by Minibucker; 06-10-20 at 08:26 PM.
    "There's only two things wrong with you, and that's your face." - Greg Koch

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  28. #68

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Minibucker View Post
    I have never played a real vintage 'Burst, but I have played a '64, a '61 and a Hardtail '54 Strat. And I can say unequivocally (albeit subjectively) that any new US Vintage Reissue Strats that I've owned didn't even come close to how nicely the real vintage ones played and sounded. Maybe one of the reasons I don't really play Strats any more.

    But it wasn't so much a 'tone' thing, it was more like the older instruments just felt more settled and together as a system....like everything was really on sth same page and in tune in how the guitar felt and more importantly responded when playing. You felt like you didn't have to try as hared to play them and like what you were hearing, which just frees you up more. Warmer, richer, woodier...and you didn't have to guard against the high end, you had that snap at the ready when you wanted it....again with very little effort required. Pots, caps, even pickups or knobs, etc....whatever....as a whole/platform, just better instruments. And the reissues weren't what I would call pigs, either. If I switched the entire pick guard/wiring assembles between, say, the real '61 and my '63 Reissue...would my reissue sound as good as the real '63? I dunno, because it would probably still play like it did before the swap.

    So maybe another 40-50 years of aging and playing will bring the reissues to the same place, but as many have pointed out in the past...much of the best music we associate with some of these original classic guitars were made when they were newer than many of the reissues we own today. Anyway, best way can describe what the vintage ones felt like...which were all owned and played regularly, so set up great....was that they felt more organically connected to me while I was playing them, so as a result they sounded better. And admittedly, a better player will probably get the reissue to sound better than me on my best day on a vintage guitar.
    Believe it or not, I had that with a Levinson Blade R4, i bought in the early 90s. I've played plenty of old Fenders over years, none of which did it, but that Blade was so well... I dunno, engineered/executed?... it feels like it's part of you.

  29. #69

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by somebodyelseuk View Post
    Believe it or not, I had that with a Levinson Blade R4, i bought in the early 90s. I've played plenty of old Fenders over years, none of which did it, but that Blade was so well... I dunno, engineered/executed?... it feels like it's part of you.
    Yeah I think it's just more the overall connection. I have played a few early-60's ES-335's too, and they were, like the Strats I mentioned, head and shoulders over recent Historic and USA/Memphis 335's I've played and owned. Maybe I was a bit star-struck by them, I dunno.
    "There's only two things wrong with you, and that's your face." - Greg Koch

    PETER GREEN 1946 - 2020

  30. #70

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarMikey View Post
    Is the difference worth an extra 150-350k ?
    Can the average person hear the difference listening at home or on their radio cruising down the highway?
    That's up to each individual

    I feel like in most cases it just comes down to bragging rights.
    Really, you hit the nail on the head, there.
    I read a thread yesterday where people werre discussing whether Jimmy Page used a Tele or a Les Paul on Whole Lotta Love... If "trained ears" can't hear the difference between a Tele and LP then Average Joe aint gonna hear a difference between a 59 a 79 or any R9.

  31. #71
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by bross63 View Post
    First of all, I’m not a fan of the original video posted because I don’t feel the playing shows off either guitar particularly well, and there is too much talk and not enough playing.

    That said, here are my thoughts on the validity of the new historic reissues coming out of the custom shop...

    As with all guitars, no matter the brand, model, grade of model (custom shop, standard production, etc) there will always be those individual guitars that stand out (either positively or negatively) due to a combination of factors that all come together to make that guitar what it is. That is true of current production just as it was back in the ‘50s, ‘60s, etc.

    There are individual instruments coming out of current production that stand out above the others, and I am fortunate to have one of them. The mahogany of the body has to be very dry because the whole guitar weighs only 8.2lbs. I also have a 1982 LP Custom silverburst that weighs well over 11lbs (and a 1970 es-335). My 2019 1960 Reissue is one of the most resonant guitars I’ve ever played. I can feel the whole body vibrating/resonating against my body as I play it, very much like my 335 feels, even though the LP is a solid body. It sings acoustically, and that translates directly to how it sounds plugged in as well. More on that to follow.

    While Gibson has done a lot right and has continued to make improvements in the build of the historic reissues, including going to hide glue, using the most select of available mahogany blocks (lighter/drier), etc. there are still things that hold them back. Fortunately some of those things can be changed easily. The most significant (and thankfully easy to change) issue is the bridge, bridge posts, and thumbwheels. The bridge that comes on the current historic reissues produces an overly bright and brittle sounding tone that is also thin and lacking in balance across the frequency range. Interestingly, while it produces a very bright, thin sound when played acoustically, when amplified the highs die out almost immediately in the sustain leaving only lows and low-mids to continue through the sustain (especially noticeable when a chord is held and allowed to ring out). Based on the recommendation of Ed (EdA1 on YouTube), I got a Faber bridge (ABRH model, ordered from Corsa). I also ordered nickel plated brass abr1 bridge posts and the vintage thin version of nickel plated brass thumbwheels from Philadelphia Luthiers Supply. The change from the bridge alone was dramatic, both acoustically and amplified. The Faber bridge produces a much more full and balanced tone with smoother highs that balance nicely with the rest of the frequencies. When amplified the effect can be heard not only in the overall sound of the initial attack but also in the sustain. The high frequencies continue to ring out and persist as part of the sustained sound coming out of the guitar providing a far richer and more pleasant tone. I believe the persistence of the highs in the sustain also contribute to enhancing the richness and prominence of the overtones produced, especially when the pickups are capable of doing that. Adding the correct posts and thumbwheels added further to the overall resonance and also the balance and fullness of the tones produced by the guitar.

    As for pickups, I believe the current production of Custombuckers that come in the historic reissues are very good. Being unpotted makes a big difference in them, and for many (most?) folks those pickups will serve them well and produce great tones and a wide range of them. That said, I put in a set of Amber Spirit of 59 pickups and gained additional overtones and clarity allowing me to bridge some of that remaining gap to the tones I want out of my LP. Last week I got a patent number pickup that I put in the neck position. Some of the differences compared to the Amber are more subtle and admittedly incremental as opposed to being apples to oranges. However the patent number has more clarity still and also richer and more complex overtones that sound more “organic” compared to the Ambers and Custombuckers.

    Back to the importance of the guitar itself, what I find very interesting and revealing is that no matter what pickups I have in that guitar it still sounds like that guitar. Do I believe the pickups are an important part of the equation in achieving vintage sunburst like tones? Of course. However the pickups are completely irrelevant if the guitar isn’t right first. The guitar itself is largely responsible for the hollow, woody tones we associate with sunburst and PAF tones. Yet it’s not the PAFs that create that sound on their own - its the guitar and its resonance that are the foundation of that sound and allow the pickups to express their sound to the fullest of their potential. The best genuine PAFs in a crappy guitar won’t sound great, while a good set of pickups in a great guitar (with proper hardware) will sound far better. Put in a great set of pickups in a particularly outstanding guitar with correct hardware and those last few % that Mr. Bonamassa mentioned start to shrink even further.

    In summary, based on my personal experience and after speaking with many others who have experience with genuine, vintage sunbursts, 1950s guitars converted to sunburst specs, earlier production as well as current production Gibson custom shop reissues, and high end third party sunburst replicas as well as experience with both genuine PAF and/or patent number pickups and current PAF replica/clone pickups tried in various guitars, my thoughts are...

    1) There are a few sunbursts that stand out such as Bernie Marsden’s “the Beast”, Pat’s (of Doug and Pat) 1958 gold top “Oscar”, etc that are the ultimate pinnacle of tone most of us seek to achieve. But the average sunburst doesn’t sound like those best of the best. They may still sound fantastic, but we all need to keep in perspective the difficulty of trying to not only achieve true sunburst like tone in our guitars but the increased difficulty when our target/vision/goal is set based on the few standouts among a field of already outstanding guitars.

    2) As stated above there are ok, good, great, and outstanding among current production guitars as well. The first step in trying to achieve sunburst like tones out of a current production guitar starts with the guitar itself. Hunt for and get the best one you can find. That will determine the success of the rest of your project/quest.

    3) Put either genuine vintage hardware or the best available current production hardware made of accurate materials on your guitar. As mentioned the Faber bridge is a major game changer, and the posts and thumbwheels are an additional and important change (cost a set of posts and thumbwheels is less than $6). Without these changes there will be a limit to what can be achieved even with the best guitar.

    4) Genuine PAFs or patent numbers are ideal of course, but there are some great pickups available from the better PAF replica/clone makers. I only have experience with Amber Spirit of 59, but I’ve heard directly from others that Rewind and Jim Rolph produce excellent pickups, and there is lots of support in general for Wizz, Throbak, etc. Get what you think is the best available and that you can afford, but only after the hardware has been swapped out on a very good guitar. Pickups are only a part of the equation and get too much attention when they are limited by the other factors.

    5) When it all comes together and you find that magical combination of guitar, hardware, pickups, amp, etc. will it be “as good as” or sound like a real sunburst? Yes and no. Will it sound as good as the average sunburst? Maybe. Maybe even better than some sunbursts, if you are fortunate to have dialed in a particularly good combo/setup. Will it sound as good as the very best of the best sunbursts? Maybe, but unlikely. Anything is possible, but those guitars are the exceptional small % of all sunbursts as already stated. But one thing is for certain, the current production custom shop reissues as they come stock, even those that have the best wood and are great guitars don’t sound like genuine sunbursts. The average reissue definitely doesn’t.

    All this is a pursuit that has captivated many of us and one that is fun to pursue, talk about, compare notes, and share with others. But it is a pursuit. Each of us has in our mind what the ideal LP sound is. There are varying degrees of “sickness” (aka the desire to achieve the “ultimate tone”) ha ha and also varying degrees of ability or willingness to commit the resources necessary to seeking out and acquiring the pieces to the puzzle. In the end what is most important is that we get something we like that plays and sounds how we like, and enjoy playing it - a lot.

    Just my $0.02 of course. Others may have differing opinions and experiences.
    Based on your recommendation and that of Ed, I ordered the Faber ABRH bridge, brass threads and thin bridge wheels for my 60th Anny R9. I am looking forward to hearing some of what you described about the change in tone.
    Thank you.
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  32. #72
    Les Paul Forum Member Stow's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by agogetr View Post
    its 'the club' and that club gets you in with pro players and investors that all have direct contacts i
    I can understand what you are saying

    When I sold my 56 and brought a GT3, I started meeting up with some of the Porsche guys and I find it to be same kind of thing as the vintage guitar guys I know but with cars not guitars..

    I made friendships with people I would never expect to be friends with and contacts that have been amazing.. What I love about it all is the genuine enthusiasm, same with the guitars.

  33. #73

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Minibucker nails it, until you have the real deal no RI comes close.
    Period

    Often imitated, never duplicated

  34. #74

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unbound Dot Neck View Post
    Minibucker nails it, until you have the real deal no RI comes close.
    Period

    Often imitated, never duplicated
    Quote Originally Posted by Minibucker View Post
    I have never played a real vintage 'Burst, ... And admittedly, a better player will probably get the reissue to sound better than me on my best day on a vintage guitar.
    Nailed what?

  35. #75

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    Nailed what?
    I was just speculating that the differences would be along the same lines as what I have experienced with vintage Strats and ES's....just in how they felt, played and responded. And again, I can't say whether it's because the vintage ones were just made better or because there was so much age and 'settling' since they were instruments that were constantly played. I wonder what it would be like if we could go back in time with a Historic and compare it to a brand new 1959 Standard.

    I'll say that the old Strats sounded REALLY different than new reissues...almost like different guitar models in some ways. You didn't have that hard-edged, almost grating quality that new Strats can have that are all attack. They were warmer, almost P90-ish with bloom and compression, especially the hardtail '54. It was like you automatically played more melodic lines just to enjoy the notes, instead of going right to the more percussive SRV-like ka-chunk. It was really kind of disappointing going back to my newer reissue Strats, and I think that's when I started gravitating more towards Teles and Gibsons.
    Last edited by Minibucker; 06-11-20 at 01:45 AM.
    "There's only two things wrong with you, and that's your face." - Greg Koch

    PETER GREEN 1946 - 2020

  36. #76

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Vintage vs. RI

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    Nailed what?

  37. #77
    Les Paul Forum Member goldtop0's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by brandtkronholm View Post
    Nailed what?

    The difference I think
    Everybody's got an opinion, subjective, and given to change at any 'guitar in hand' moment............it's a sometimes fickle but satisfying fascination hopefully

    I chimed in earlier at the start of this thread saying that the particular ri in the vid did sound very much like the vintage GT (in that very good A/B).
    And I'll re-state that opinion........ because....beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.....and it will always be that way.....plus the renaissance of these guitars leaves me without question in awe of the company that makes them and I'm so thankful for that........... the life long journey continues!!
    Last edited by goldtop0; 06-11-20 at 04:58 PM.

  38. #78
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    To me there is something to be desired about vintage old growth wood and original PAF pickups . To me that is the ocean of difference that is impossibile to be duplicated in the modern era we live in .
    .

  39. #79

    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Quote Originally Posted by rockabilly69 View Post
    Do you have any recordings of your guitar which reflect it's tonal qualities ?
    I don’t currently have a good setup (or the right gear such as mics, interface, DAW, etc) to be able to make high quality recordings. All I have currently is my iPhone ha ha. I don’t know how well it would reveal the sound of the guitar. I’m hoping to get the above mentioned gear sometime soon, and if/when I do I’ll certainly record some clips and post them.

  40. #80
    Les Paul Forum Member tooold's Avatar
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    Re: I can't hear a difference. Have Gibson nailed it?

    Old guitars just smell better.

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