• Guys, we've spent considerable money converting the Les Paul Forum to this new XenForo platform, and we have ongoing monthly operating expenses. THE "DONATIONS" TAB IS NOW WORKING, AND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY DONATIONS YOU CAN MAKE TO KEEP THE LES PAUL FORUM GOING! Thank you!

How do you pick a great Les Paul historic ?

stumphead

Active member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
382
the most basic of all questions :
" how to pick a great Historic "

most are sold based on how the tops look... for example a killer Bengal Tiger top is a an easy sell for a dealer

but if you are buying based on tone - not looks - where do you start .... what do you base a purchase on ???

do you listen for mid range "honk" ?
do you listen for a snappy response ?
do you listen for a sizzly top end ?

do you listen for clarity to be sure its not veiled, farty , overly dark or constipated ?

bascally in a nutshell what are you listening for when you pick a Historic ?
 

goldtop0

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
8,219
If you have the luxury of trying before buying it comes down to the acoustic tone and then afterwards plugged in.
I feel its weight, how fat the neck is and its appearance.
Basically if it sounds closed up acoustically with no resonance I don't go any further.
 
Last edited:

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,093
What works for me:

Pick it up, does it speak to YOU?

Does the action tickle YOU?


Do the vibes interest YOU?

Plug it into something close to what you have amplifier wise and play with the tone and volume knobs.

Definitely check the neck, frets and action then push it into the edge of overdrive then up the volume knobs and see if you like it.

Clean it up and see if you like it.

Many are different in each zone, some are drive monsters and some are great clean.

A few are great in both areas.

If you only want to buy one shoot for both areas.

If you are buying more than one you have the luxury of just finding something different that tickles you.

If you are buying for the top you can usually alter it with more money by changing the pots, caps, and pickups to get more of the tone you like if the action and the rest of it is great.

There are tone turds out there though.

At times it also helps to put it in someone else's hands and stand back and see if you are drawn to it.

If you are new to playing (or self-conscious about playing with others present) this helps, but you might also like to do it because then you don't have to concentrate on your playing and can listen better. (I have a tendency to get nervous when I am going to drop the wad of cash that these things cost and find this helps after I have decided it is worth pursuing.)
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,482
is it safe to say you pick them more with your eyes than your ears ???
Of course , as I can't play them from where I am and where the shops are located . So in my neck of the woods there are a few mom and pop shops that have nothing I would want and good ole Guitar Center which I will grab and go with strings or a pedal from time to time or a part I might need here and there . I have had 3 M2M R9's built which are awesome . I have shops that I do business with and have been treated very well and there is a built in factor of trust which you have to have and that has served me very well because reputable shops will do right by you and not give you the bums rush as they want you to return and frequent there business . So that is a 2 way street and it is a great working relationship to have established with shops and there owners . Pretty simple and basic . Treat people right and you build trust and that equals out to a great working relationship both ways . The closest shop that I do business with is 150 miles from me , so it's not an option of jumping in the car and taking a ride to go window shopping on a leisure day . This practice has worked very well for me !
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,482
What works for me:

Pick it up, does it speak to YOU?

Does the action tickle YOU?


Do the vibes interest YOU?

Plug it into something close to what you have amplifier wise and play with the tone and volume knobs.

Definitely check the neck, frets and action then push it into the edge of overdrive then up the volume knobs and see if you like it.

Clean it up and see if you like it.

Many are different in each zone, some are drive monsters and some are great clean.

A few are great in both areas.

If you only want to buy one shoot for both areas.

If you are buying more than one you have the luxury of just finding something different that tickles you.

If you are buying for the top you can usually alter it with more money by changing the pots, caps, and pickups to get more of the tone you like if the action and the rest of it is great.

There are tone turds out there though.

At times it also helps to put it in someone else's hands and stand back and see if you are drawn to it.

If you are new to playing (or self-conscious about playing with others present) this helps, but you might also like to do it because then you don't have to concentrate on your playing and can listen better. (I have a tendency to get nervous when I am going to drop the wad of cash that these things cost and find this helps after I have decided it is worth pursuing.)
Great awesome advice and very sage . I really like how you wrote that "many are different in each zone , some are drive monsters and some are great clean " "A few are great in both areas " This is so true ! There are some that I don't know if I would qualify them as tone turds or not that after changing pickups for example it is still the same deal with a twist or variation , and maybe in time more of there voice will shine thru with age (wishful thinking right ? but you never know )
 

axeman565758

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
1,057
Top is last on my list.....
1a - neck size
1b - weight
2 - tone
3 - color Ive always said the color makes the top. A great color always makes any top look fantastic.
4 - top
 
  • Like
Reactions: ADP

el84ster

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
1,383
Here’s what’s worked for me:
1) Advice from Carl Verheyen- pluck the b string open, if you feel vibration with your hand cupping the input jack area, chances are it’ll be a good one.

2) on a great guitar, the notes will reinforce themselves as they vibrate. So instead of dying out quick they actually seems to get stronger for a while, all over the fretboard.

these are my 2 main criteria and obviously feel, vibe, playability etc need to be there too.
 

Sol

Active member
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
724
Gibson can count on the weight, colouring and flame, to distract you from the tone which is the only thing that keeps a Les Paul with its owner for 30 yrs. Do we think that any guitar company wants you to find the one guitar that means you can keep your wallet in your pocket.?
 

kats

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
273
The "look" has to speak to me and it HAS to feel amazing in my hands. By then I'm hooked. Barring anything seriously amiss tone-wise, I find I can dial them in in that department, no problem.
 

JPP-1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 11, 2006
Messages
1,308
I actually enjoying playing my Les Pauls acoustically from time to time, but I will say the best sounding one acoustically is not my favorite plugged in.
Bottom line, there is no hard and fast rule except one: plug it into the type of amp you use and play it. Play it amongst several Les Pauls, then you’ll know
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,482
Here’s what’s worked for me:
1) Advice from Carl Verheyen- pluck the b string open, if you feel vibration with your hand cupping the input jack area, chances are it’ll be a good one.

2) on a great guitar, the notes will reinforce themselves as they vibrate. So instead of dying out quick they actually seems to get stronger for a while, all over the fretboard.

these are my 2 main criteria and obviously feel, vibe, playability etc need to be there too.
This to me is very logical and I will put this theory to the test on one of my stubborn Les Paul's . This Les Paul likes to play hide and seek with me as far as her tone goes . Some days she sparkles and other days she is dim .
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,482
Gibson can count on the weight, colouring and flame, to distract you from the tone which is the only thing that keeps a Les Paul with its owner for 30 yrs. Do we think that any guitar company wants you to find the one guitar that means you can keep your wallet in your pocket.?
At different times I have thought along the same lines myself I tell You . It's like we ( me ) are always chasing it , some days we get close other days not so close .
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Sol

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
4,482
I actually enjoying playing my Les Pauls acoustically from time to time, but I will say the best sounding one acoustically is not my favorite plugged in.
Bottom line, there is no hard and fast rule except one: plug it into the type of amp you use and play it. Play it amongst several Les Pauls, then you’ll know
Exactly my own findings on the unplugged versus plugged . I never bought into the acoustic tone of the Les Paul being the most accurate barometer , as I play them plugged in and that is the true test for myself . Out of my 10 Les Paul's including my childhood Les Paul Custom and a Gibson 1994 Les Paul Premium Plus the rest are Custom Shop R series guitars ( 6 R9's and 2 R8's ) 2 of them have been stubborn -the Premium Plus which is now good ( several wiring harness changes along with pickups ) and One R9 that plays hide and seek with her tone . I will say I notice a difference in tone with the lighter ones which are in the low 8 lbs range where they are more treble or nasal or the tele on steroids ,versus the ones that are closer to 9 lbs which have a heavier tone which I prefer .
 

John550

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2012
Messages
123
I don't think you will find a bad re issue ,as there's a lot of great guitars out there . Shop the sponsors .

If you really like it , you will keep , which will and save money . Trust / listen to your gut when shopping , don't settle . If there is something about it you don't like , you will send it down the road .

Thats been my experience .
 
Last edited:

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
2,490
Gibson tells ya'... ;)
- Tone (acoustically!)
- Feel
- Appearance

c6e2591f6c14dba92abeeb6cf6aed62a.jpg



Serious... good advice on this thread!

My mantra is: if it plays well acoustically, and you get on with the neck, everything else can be dealt with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sol

Cranknfrank

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
53
There's a lot of good advice on here. But, what makes a great guitar is so subjective to each player. I worked in music retail for nearly 25 years and I was always amazed at how many people bought expensive guitars yet played through cheap amps and/or used lousy pedals. To me, if it's an electric guitar, the amp makes a TON of difference in what you're going to get out of the guitar. A lot of cats spend a ton of money on guitar upgrades that could've easily been solved by purchasing a top-quality, responsive amp.
 
Top