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True historic vs 2023/4 Custom ‘59 RI

Any Name You Wish

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Apr 15, 2021
Messages
461
Statistically speaking, I’m curious just how consistently this is true.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling anyone a liar, I’m just pointing to the fact that not every tree is gonna sound the same, nor is every cut going to be taken from a sonically flattering angle.

E.g. just look at the grain lines on the backs of some examples for the last few years. Sometimes they’re wild swirly patterns that look like the vector map of winds around a hurricane, other times directionally uniform small flecks like the back of a short-haired dog. Good or bad, they’re clearly not identical.

If you have the time to drive around and listen to every one you can (and assuming said radius is in a market where there are plenty available), it’s just a matter of time before you’ll find one of those lightning-in-a-bottle examples that’d make the broader, “which is generally better, TH vs brand new” question a tad irrelevant.

Looking at a broad comparison like “TH vs recent” just looks like a gambling strategy for buying sight unseen. Which to that I’d say: don’t gamble.

More generally on the topic of shopping for a nice sounding Les Paul, I’d suggest just focusing on wood, b/c you can swap bridges, you can swap pickups, but you can’t make a short neck tenon long, and you can’t make a thumper a singer.
Anecdotally, I've played quite a few recent RI's and I found that the straighter the grain on the back of the guitar the better the sound (I listen for a loud, balanced sound from low to high and "woody" tone both unplugged and plugged in). My theory is that for vibration to travel through wood efficiently a straight grain/path is better than a swirly grain/path. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 

Bulwark

Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2019
Messages
52
I heard a very quilted top can dull resonance too.. as the sound is disrupted by the waviness.
Also a quilted neck is very prone to breakage.

On the topic of maple, I wonder to what extent, if at all, the quilt itself is truly to blame in these cases.

All makers have at some point used western big leaf maple (acer macrophyllum), likely simply b/c it is so much more likely to have wild eye-popping figure (quilt, flame, and anywhere in between) which in turn sells instruments. Incredible looking though it often is, it also typically produces inferior tone compared to the harder and therefore brighter sounding eastern rock maple (acer saccharum).

Once cut, dried, shaped, and painted, one would be hard pressed (pun intended, apologies) to tell the maples apart. Then for varying reasons they all use different materials from year to year, and after a few decades, who used what on which all becomes a blur. Anecdotally, my experiences match what you’ve heard, Marc, and others’ experiences match up as well. But is the correlation we can observe the cause?

Not a quilt I grant you, but my R9 has a flamethrower and it has top end to spare. I also know for a fact mine is eastern rock maple.

...I bet one could find tap test macrophyllum/saccharum comparisons recorded and posted on the internet somewhere, but my code just finished compiling and I have to get back to work now.
 

MarcB

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Joined
Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
one would be hard pressed
I agree as the layman would just hear the tone of the guitar via their amp.. but in a micro technical aspect sound moves in waves.. and much like soundproofing, if the waves are interrupted by an uneven surface, they stop waving 👋..

..in a aesthetic sense, even though I just bought a un-book matched AAA flame top standard.. I’m now looking at flat top ‘58s.. as they just seem more subtle and with the above mentioned.. the guitar would be more stable and direct In tonality..

Here’s an older thread on the matter:
https://www.lespaulforum.com/index.php?threads/tone-of-flame-maple-vs-plain-maple-top.102910/
 

jb_abides

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Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
5,210
Regarding quest for a TH: OK if that matters a lot, but I remain unconvinced that anything post-TH wouldn't be equally as welcomed, especially if you have the opportunity to try them all first, I would never rule out something post-TH just because your have honed in on 'TH'.

And owing Historics from 2003 to current VOS models, really there's no not loving every era, unless you are overly focused on paper specs.

Maybe, just maybe you might get a better guitar sending a 2005 to Historic Makeovers, or doing parts upgrades... but a lot of that is just making refinements for preference sake, not vast improvements.
 

MarcB

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Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
I would never rule out something post-TH
This my friend is the conundrum.. as I know for a fact that all the newer models are the best Gibson has produced in decades. Hence buying the SG and LP Standard this year.. everyone who’s worth their salt are saying the same thing.. to the point where a 22/23 VOS is as good if not better than a TH.. and I’ve been looking at the VOS’s from a few years back too..
my whole fixation on TH simply comes from the marketing of this model at the time of production.. but the cost priced me out of getting one.. and subsequently I forgot all about the TH’s..
.. then about 4/5 years ago I was in GC Boston, at the time when Gibson were going into receivership..
The salesperson was saying the Gibson rep is in and he’s pretty much clearing the Gibson vault they had in the store, and that now is the time to get a Gibson. He showed me a 56 Les Paul gold top historic which was just over $3000 I had a haggle with him to get it just under $3k.. which unfortunately didn’t transpire.
The serial number was R6 0066 Which has to be the most rock ‘n’ roll of serial numbers.. I flew back to the UK and two days later I phoned GC to ask them to reserve the guitar and I would buy it, but unfortunately it had been sold.. and since then I’ve regretted not buying that guitar and thus the list for a true historic was that much greater.. and that is honestly why I’m fixated on getting a TH.
.. but now, after joining this forum, I have come to realise, with the wealth of knowledge, advice and input from members.. Actually, there are other Guitars of lesser value, but at the same if not better construction ..and now with the new ownership and laser scanned models..Even the standard range are some of the best Guitars Gibson have produced in decades.

.. and now I’m doubting buying any guitars whatsoever… (see my post on “why do we chase guitars”)


Bonjour.
 

jb_abides

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Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
5,210
Actually, there are other Guitars of lesser value, but at the same if not better construction ..and now with the new ownership and laser scanned models..

I would state: perhaps, just perhaps, lesser cost (not value).

And, are you seeing TH "markup" over a comparable used 2016-202x VOS model (excluding Murphy)...?

I don't see enough to know it that's a thing; I wouldn't think it should prove out.
 

MarcB

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Sep 1, 2023
Messages
716
I would state: perhaps, just perhaps, lesser cost (not value).

And, are you seeing TH "markup" over a comparable used 2016-202x VOS model (excluding Murphy)...?

I don't see enough to know it that's a thing; I wouldn't think it should prove out.
Yes cost not value… and I’ve witnessed a mark up in the last two weeks in the UK by an average of £1k - £2k from no both stores and sellers..
it’ll be interesting to follow the prices of THs over the next 2/3 years.. with advent of further historical models..
 
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