• 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 ?

RocknRollShakeUp

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
655
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.
Absolutely.

The other Elephant in the room is that it is pretty common for people to be obsessed with the tone of a guitar or amp but hardly be able to play even one tone-full note, before moving to the next poorly fretted and picked sour note. But instead of fixing their playing, they start chasing different pickups, caps, old wood, and all sorts of other things to get that magical tone recipe just right... when they can’t produce good tone with their fingers in the first place.
 

corpse

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
4,223
I think most retailers strive for problem avoidance- they fix little- and I have never heard of a dealer sending a guitar back because it was a plain dud. If someone can contradict me I would love to hear about it. That said I have handled CS LP's at a major retailer that the neck had no resemblance to a LP neck of any era- more like a National- a board with the edges milled off.
I have had good help from the advertisers here however. They are pretty serious about their reputations- and some of the long-timers here have long-standing relationships with them.
 

Cranknfrank

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2011
Messages
57
Absolutely.

The other Elephant in the room is that it is pretty common for people to be obsessed with the tone of a guitar or amp but hardly be able to play even one tone-full note, before moving to the next poorly fretted and picked sour note. But instead of fixing their playing, they start chasing different pickups, caps, old wood, and all sorts of other things to get that magical tone recipe just right... when they can’t produce good tone with their fingers in the first place.
Good tone definitely starts with the hands for sure. The set up of the guitar is crucial as well. I worked in music retail for many years and set up so many guitars that were so far out of whack you just wouldn't believe. Bad intonation, high action, pickup height too low or too high, wrong string gauges.....the list goes on. Some of these guitars were very high-end instruments. You would think in this day and age that more players would be hip to having their guitars set up properly but it's just not the case. A lot of players just miss this important fact entirely.
 
Last edited:

jrgtr42

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 24, 2005
Messages
2,144
To me it's by playing as many examples as you can - eventually one will speak to you. It may not be the same one that speaks to me, or Joe over there, or that girl in the corner, but it will speak to you. It may not have the flashiest top, or even hide glue, long tenon etc, but there you go.
There are bad ones out there, by most opinions - when |I was selling guitars we had a few late 90s historics in. Now these may not have been as original spec as the ones now, but they were CS historics. a 58 and 2 59s. I liked the neck shape of the 58, and it had a great top, but it was the deadest sounding guitar I'd ever played. |Fresh strings, setups, didn't make a difference - couldn't beat a note out of it with a stick. One of the 59s was no better, but the last was a good sounding guitar, though it had the plainest top to it. My point is, it's not only the looks that matter - it's the whole thing.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
37
When I went shopping for one I was looking for a darker burst, not cherry or tangerine or lemon. What did I end up with? Vintage Cherry burst. It is an absolute tone monster. Knowing what I know now, I would put color/aesthetics at the bottom of the list, or not on the list at all. Everyone that has heard it and played it agrees it is just incredible tone-wise through a number of different amps. As I get older it seems the neck size/shape is becoming a more important factor as well. I would even take a road trip to a dealer that had a few to play. Play as many as you can. It is a lot of money, and therefore a lot of time to invest in buying. Spend lots of money and lots of time:)
 
Top