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lets identify exactly how a good vintage burst sounds different than a Historic .....

stumphead

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Dec 12, 2018
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let me preface this by saying that I have not played a vintage burst myself but I have heard them being played and talked to Billy Gibbons in person about them.

(he told me that a vintage burst was hands down what he would want to play when recording in the studio )

so with that and different videos and recordings what I myself have noticed the most is in the treble region which seems to be more sizzling without sounding brittle or strident in comparison to a historic which can be somewhat boring unless you get a good one

for you guys who have played both what is your take on this subject ?
 

corpse

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There are a few guitar players that can capture it in their tone- Jeff Beck (on his early records), Joe Bonamassa, Peter Green- but it has to be a fairly clean, dirty tone- unsmothered- its easy to smother the difference- are the big players where you can catch it.
 

MikeSlub

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You know, it is hard to capture the nuances in a recording or in a live setting. I find that the biggest differences can be heard playing through a clean amp, Fender or Marshall, at various volume levels. It's not good to generalize, but there is just a clarity in tone with both pickups that is remarkable, and no muddiness at all with the neck pickup. It's really exciting to have friends who have the opportunity to A/B my Bursts against other Les Pauls, particularly Historics. That said, there are many reissue LPs that sound awesome. And of course, the player makes a big difference, of which I fit into the "hack" category. :ROFLMAO:
 

ourmaninthenorth

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It's a well framed question stumphead.

Here's my ramblings on the subject -

In a blindfold test, with me having to sign the cheque when the lid goes down, I'd give you good odds on not getting it right. I'd need help. I am both comfortable and confident enough to know that I don't have enough referenced knowledge to consider myself informed enough. A lot of the dealers and long time owners simply have more evidence based playing time to call upon. I tend to listen to them ( well, some of them...) as much as the actual guitars.

I've been extraordinarily lucky to have done the test with my eyes and ears open, a few times, and still I can't tell you why I favour the vintage guitar over a great historic in a meaningful sense, but will all cards on the table, I'd want to take the vintage home every single time, even though I've been lucky enough to own a couple of historics that I still consider world class guitars.

I have zero empirical rationale behind the statement, other than the overwhelming joy I personally get by having these iconic guitars ( moreso than a historic) in my hands...I really think they are more than the sum of their measurable parts.

I think it's also worth pointing out that I sound exactly the same on both, so my honest incompetence has saved me a potential bloody fortune.
 

goldtop0

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I played a good number(15 or so) vintage bursts and GTs 10 years ago at the Arlington show and there was one guitar that stood out above the rest.
With this sort of thing beauty is in the eyes and the hands of the beholder and to make a truly informed statement would come down to years and years of experience playing them.
I've got some great Historics that I've been fortunate enough to acquire over the years, the ones that are keepers that is, and would dearly love to play more '50s guitars but that's just not possible currently so bow to the opinion of the pundits who have lived through the years with these now high dollar pieces.
Everyday listening is early Clapton, Green, Taylor, Allman for that wondrous vintage tone.
Reading what Mike Slubowski has written above 'and no muddiness at all with the neck pickup' is literally music to my ears.
 
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brandtkronholm

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The age-old question of how we might "identify exactly how a good vintage 'Burst sounds different than a Historic" is nearly the focal point of this entire forum - it is also a deep pit fall of meaningless anecdotes, expensive boutique wizardry, and bro-science. We are all happy to stumble into this great unending chasm!

My experience having owned several P90 gold tops, specials, etc., and a few PAF SGs, 335s etc, has told me that it is not possible to separate the historics from the originals sonically. I own two Gibsons as of 2021. One is a 1995 R9 with 60 year old PAFs, 50s wiring, and wax & paper caps. The other is a 1959 ES345 that is stock with the exception of the Schaller tuners. Of all the Gibsons I've had, these two are the keepers.

In the late 1990s, it might have been possible to separate the historics from the originals in that 1) Some of the historics had overly large/fat necks - much larger than the originals; and 2) the historics at that time all sounded pretty much the same. The originals are quirky and have more personality. This is no longer true with historics from the turn of the century (2003+) and after. They can be quirky and odd like the originals.

It cannot be done. The historics are outstanding instruments that compare extremely well to their classic counterparts.
 

corpse

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You know, it is hard to capture the nuances in a recording or in a live setting. I find that the biggest differences can be heard playing through a clean amp, Fender or Marshall, at various volume levels. It's not good to generalize, but there is just a clarity in tone with both pickups that is remarkable, and no muddiness at all with the neck pickup. It's really exciting to have friends who have the opportunity to A/B my Bursts against other Les Pauls, particularly Historics. That said, there are many reissue LPs that sound awesome. And of course, the player makes a big difference, of which I fit into the "hack" category. :ROFLMAO:
Sign me up Mike- I will bring lobsta rolls!
OK- and i am contradicting myself- that said- there is a clip of JD Simo playing a Nicky CC into a vintage/vintage mish-mash combo Marshall on the Cartervintage something or other page- and it is dead nuts- literally indistinguishable- to me from a Burst. Dig it up and see- even he was (using JD speak) stoked.
Randall playing Smokestack lightening live (opening for ZZ Top IIRC) here on LPF- very close- 99.5%
There's one more that is definitive of a reissue nailing it-I can't remember it- but I believe it has much to do with the hands of the operator.
 
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corpse

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Reply
That is my early ‘60 with all ‘59 features. Greg visited my home in Colorado when I lived there. So glad that moment was recorded!
"I'll take 3"- man- Greg dwarfs the guitar.
BUT- he uses so many wrong chords- unauthorized mixes of good notes- perverted into things not readily copied by me- the president of the UMHHGPG- "Unwashed Masses Ham-Handed Guitar Players Guild".
LOL
 

corpse

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Three more things-
1) What's funny is it seems much easier to duplicate a vintage strat- odd.
2) AND there are vintage bursts that just don't sound like textbook vintage bursts- it is not automatic.
3) Just because it does not sound vintage does not mean its not an insanely cool guitar. This is Big Al's Bad Betty- insanely cool sounding (and looking) Reissue. I have never played it, but it doesn't sound like a vintage burst- but the recorded tracks are just killah.
Don't ever feel down about your guitar because it doesn't capture Beano.
Bad Betty.jpg
 

El Gringo

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Three more things-
1) What's funny is it seems much easier to duplicate a vintage strat- odd.
2) AND there are vintage bursts that just don't sound like textbook vintage bursts- it is not automatic.
3) Just because it does not sound vintage does not mean its not an insanely cool guitar. This is Big Al's Bad Betty- insanely cool sounding (and looking) Reissue. I have never played it, but it doesn't sound like a vintage burst- but the recorded tracks are just killah.
Don't ever feel down about your guitar because it doesn't capture Beano.
View attachment 15147
That's right 100% because there is more to the menu than just the Beano tone . Variety is one of the nice things about Les Paul's and the variety of tones from the 2 humbuckers and so much more than just meets the ears . Big Al's Bad Betty is smoking hot WOW !
 

MikeSlub

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Here's another "clean Burst" tone demo with Joe Bonamassa and Greg Koch several years ago at my Colorado home. Joe was playing my '58 Burst through a 1961 blonde Fender Tremolux and Greg was playing one of my '59 Bursts through a blonde 1962 Fender Bassman.

 

zoommutt

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Mike, I remember seeing your Fender amps, but have you ever shown your Gibson amps all together?
 

ourmaninthenorth

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Here's another "clean Burst" tone demo with Joe Bonamassa and Greg Koch several years ago at my Colorado home. Joe was playing my '58 Burst through a 1961 blonde Fender Tremolux and Greg was playing one of my '59 Bursts through a blonde 1962 Fender Bassman.

Utterly fantastic, what a joy to hear.

Thanks for posting Mike.
 
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