• 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!

US standard vs custom shop\Historic for tone alone

RocknRollShakeUp

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
732
I’ve had both, and I think if one changes the USA Standard electronic harness and pickups to Historic specs, you would be very close, to the point where it would be very difficult to tell them apart tonaly in a blind taste test.
Apart from the different electronics and pickups, traditionally there was also a big difference in feel, made less now by the new Standards, but these are still less refined feeling compared to the Historics in my opinion. So if I had the wherewithal, I’d still try to get a Historic most likely. Especially since weight is a big deal to me (I prefer light ones).
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
191
I’ve had both, and I think if one changes the USA Standard electronic harness and pickups to Historic specs, you would be very close, to the point where it would be very difficult to tell them apart tonaly in a blind taste test.
Apart from the different electronics and pickups, traditionally there was also a big difference in feel, made less now by the new Standards, but these are still less refined feeling compared to the Historics in my opinion. So if I had the wherewithal, I’d still try to get a Historic most likely. Especially since weight is a big deal to me (I prefer light ones).
If you were able to find say an 8 to 8 1/2 pound Standard would you still be inclined to go wit the custom shop?
 

RocknRollShakeUp

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
732
If you were able to find say an 8 to 8 1/2 pound Standard would you still be inclined to go wit the custom shop?
I would be inclined to go with a used Custom Shop personally as I think I'd be more likely to get what I needed from it.

However..if I found a lightweight Standard in that weight range, and it was a great player and sounded great, it would be a very compelling guitar to get.

The dilemma would be if it played great and was very resonant, and it was very well put together quality wise, but it didn't sound quite the way I wanted. Then the time, money and effort to change pickups and the electronic harness needs to seriously be considered as a massive negative. Unless you really like tinkering and modding stuff.
Of course there is also the possibility that you would still not like it.

I would then sell/trade it with its original parts and keep the new pickups/electronics, or sell them too, separately. But again, that is likely losing some money, and a lot of activity and effort I'd personally not really want to get involved in.

The cost of a Standard ~$2700 + Pickups ~$500 + Electronic harness ~$100 ..so around $3300 + tech fees, unless you can do it yourself.
Instead, I just quickly looked and I found this 8.5lb 2014 (good year) R7 for $3900

I'd go for the R7.

Anyway, just some things to consider.

Good luck in your quest!
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
191
I would be inclined to go with a used Custom Shop personally as I think I'd be more likely to get what I needed from it.

However..if I found a lightweight Standard in that weight range, and it was a great player and sounded great, it would be a very compelling guitar to get.

The dilemma would be if it played great and was very resonant, and it was very well put together quality wise, but it didn't sound quite the way I wanted. Then the time, money and effort to change pickups and the electronic harness needs to seriously be considered as a massive negative. Unless you really like tinkering and modding stuff.
Of course there is also the possibility that you would still not like it.

I would then sell/trade it with its original parts and keep the new pickups/electronics, or sell them too, separately. But again, that is likely losing some money, and a lot of activity and effort I'd personally not really want to get involved in.

The cost of a Standard ~$2700 + Pickups ~$500 + Electronic harness ~$100 ..so around $3300 + tech fees, unless you can do it yourself.
Instead, I just quickly looked and I found this 8.5lb 2014 (good year) R7 for $3900

I'd go for the R7.

Anyway, just some things to consider.

Good luck in your quest!
I did have a 2013 R7. Sounded great, was light but as much as I like bigger necks that neck was just a bit too big. Made it a little hard to play. The neck on my standard 50's is perfect. I've played a couple R8's where the neck was perfect. One about the same thickness as my standard the other was a little bigger but still playable for me. I can see my self one day with an R8 but for now the standard 50's is satisfying.
 

Pat Boyack

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 19, 2011
Messages
4,506
Every single vintage Les Paul owner will tell you it comes down to the wood and I believe them. The Custom Shop builders at Gibson get the first shot at the "new wood pile". It is about so much more than just weight.
 

60thR0

New member
Joined
Nov 1, 2021
Messages
17
Hmmm, actually, too much weight is placed on pickups. The reality is pretty much the opposite.
I respectfully disagree for these reasons. It is well known how much pickups can change the sound of a guitar, but how many ever change them? I suggest the minority of players and even smaller proportion of reissue owners. That doesn’t sound to me to be too much weight placed on pickups. Secondly if we are talking about Gibson, there is very little emphasis on pickups- there are very few changes over the years, so presumably that means they are satisfied that reissue pickups are now accurate PAFs? Who would agree with that? Again I suggest there is not enough emphasis, not too much, on pickups.
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,411
I respectfully disagree for these reasons. It is well known how much pickups can change the sound of a guitar, but how many ever change them? I suggest the minority of players and even smaller proportion of reissue owners. That doesn’t sound to me to be too much weight placed on pickups. Secondly if we are talking about Gibson, there is very little emphasis on pickups- there are very few changes over the years, so presumably that means they are satisfied that reissue pickups are now accurate PAFs? Who would agree with that? Again I suggest there is not enough emphasis, not too much, on pickups.
What forum are you on? Nobody changes pickups???? There are a gazillion threads about which pickup is right, which one is super duper, oh so magical and magnets or out of phase or most vintagey and built by elves in secret labs delivered by unicorns riding rainbows. Good lord, how many dumbass threads from new owners who haven't even received their new guitar yet, or played it, asking which pup they should get to upgrade to, are there?

Most can't identify a pup from listening and I know they can't, in person, with guitar in hand. Pups are not the magic tone Rx. If you are searching for a big tone shift, from a related group, say paf 42awg pe wire, AlNiCo mag humbuckers, for example, they will be more similar than not. There will be differences, but they are dependant upon the guitar and setup, not to mention the pups adjustment and interaction in the signal chain. Loading and proper amplifier settings.

I can get more tone shift with string choice, pick choice and heaven forbid, intelligent knob twisting.
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
191
I went through a phase 20 years ago where I changed out to after market pickups in just about every guitar I owned. I was always expecting a dramatic improvement. Sometimes there was a dramatic difference but never seemed to be the improvement I was expecting. I got to wondering why I bought the guitar in the first place if I was unhappy with the sound. Nowadays out of 6 guitars that I own the only mods are a set of rutters on my custom shop tele, and a set of antique pins on both my Martin Authentics. All pickups are stock and sound fantastic to me. Including the standard 50's LP that I have that I have no plans of ever changing the pickups.
 

Wilko

All Access/Backstage Pass
Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,377
What forum are you on? Nobody changes pickups???? There are a gazillion threads about which pickup is right, which one is super duper, oh so magical and magnets or out of phase or most vintagey and built by elves in secret labs delivered by unicorns riding rainbows. Good lord, how many dumbass threads from new owners who haven't even received their new guitar yet, or played it, asking which pup they should get to upgrade to, are there?

Most can't identify a pup from listening and I know they can't, in person, with guitar in hand. Pups are not the magic tone Rx. If you are searching for a big tone shift, from a related group, say paf 42awg pe wire, AlNiCo mag humbuckers, for example, they will be more similar than not. There will be differences, but they are dependant upon the guitar and setup, not to mention the pups adjustment and interaction in the signal chain. Loading and proper amplifier settings.

I can get more tone shift with string choice, pick choice and heaven forbid, intelligent knob twisting.
Fuckin' a! This some classic Big Al! love it. (y)
 

Big Al

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,411
Yup. Pickups can modify your tone, to a degree and a well chosen one, used thoughtfully, can help dial in YOUR desired sound and feel. Most seem to look for output as the important effect and rely on meaningless resistance specs as if some magic number of ohms can tell you all you need to know. Or others expound the virtues of magnets, wire and covers. Hey, we are gear nerds and I get it, but few seem interested in understanding how the entire pup, all of the components and construction come together to make the sound and feel of the total effect it will have, in the guitar itself, or the entire signal chain.
" Oooo, it PUTS OUT 8.4 ohms. Oh joy, it will sound perfect!!"

Each component is a sum of all its pats and construction. All have an effect and are interactive. Working with or against each other as a system to augment and interact with the parts, materials and crafting of the guitars build. And so on thru the entire sound chain. It is a system. A chain. Well integrated systems dialed in for a particular individual or application allow a person to meld with the guitar and amp in profound ways. It becomes an extension of you, allowing a better expression of musical expression that should be the aim of any musician.

A bit off topic, sorry. On topic, No changing pups will not make a Standard a R9. Just like real 50's pafs won't make a R9 a 1959. It just don't. These new Standards are nice. High quality professional grade guitars. They are not equal to a Custom shop, in sound or build, in general. There are always freaky good ones, and they are excellent as is.
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
I can get more tone shift with string choice, pick choice and heaven forbid, intelligent knob twisting.

No one expects... intelligent knob twisting!

R.192e188281cacb8f69ac9665bafcbcfb
 

rockabilly69

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 29, 2001
Messages
2,746
I pick up and play almost every USA Les Paul that I walk by in the stores that I frequent, and I've never played one that I like as much as my historic LPs. I've played some that I've liked, but just not as much as the historic models. And it's not like I cherry picked my R0, R4, and R7. I bought them used from some guys on the gear page. They weren't worth keeping to the guys that sold them, so they must not be total tonal unicorns, but I knew they were right for me soon as I set them up. My best friend has a non weight-relieved USA traditional from a few years back that hangs, although I did gut it electronically for him. and installed a vintage PAF style set of pickups, and a CTS 500K vintage 50's style harness.
 

MadMiller

New member
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
9
*Warning; long waffle ahead*
I had a chance to get a VOS R8 for a ripper price but I just could not get on with the neck, so I went back to hunting for a 60’s standard. In total I played nearly 20 guitars over 8 months to find the right one for me (super OCD so feel matters a lot, for better or worse that’s just me).
I wish the standard had the same hard nitro used on the historic as the slippery feel is so much nicer. I assume Gibson hold back on this so there is a point of difference to the historic line, there would be no or little difference in cost to do this. On buying the standard I knew I just needed the right wood, weight & feel. I didn’t care for the pickups at all & it was bright acoustically but dark plugged in, sure enough the pots measured between 453k & 470k.
now it has Wizz PAF clone pickups, a harness I made wired “50’s style” with CTS audio taper pots all slightly over 500k, Faber USA hardware kit, and rolled the fretboard edge (big improvement & I do this to every guitar I own). BOOM! The amazing guitar underneath was unlocked!
These mods transformed the guitar in acoustic resonance thanks to Faber, and plugged in the unpotted Wizz pickups just sound so sweet with a huge dynamic range, I can get so many sounds through my plexi & tweed its always inspiring, no pedals just turning the knobs.
The only thing is I wish it had that harder nitro with less plasticiser, but is it worth double the price? Maybe, but for now this works for me.

I completely understand people being perfectly happy with a stock standard or a stock historic. For me I will fiddle with all of them as that’s just me, I want it to be a certain way and that’s just as fine as the person who’s happy with the 61r & 61t in the 60’s standard.

*TLDR?*
On just tone & ignoring feel for blues/blues rock my modded 2021 standard sounds better through a JTM45 than the one 2020 R8 I’ve played.

Rock on friends 😎🤘
 

golfnut

Active member
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
191
The more I think about it the more I might look in to an R8. I'd have to give up on the True Vintage Hummingbird that I plan on buying off a friend though. Not sure if I want to do that.
I'm definitely loving the standard 50's. Think I'll be spending some Saturdays at the music store comparing mine to as many R8's and R9's as I can find. Although R9's are out of reach on price. They're about $2,000 Canadian more than an R8. The R8's are already double the price of a standard.
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
The more I think about it the more I might look in to an R8. I'd have to give up on the True Vintage Hummingbird that I plan on buying off a friend though. Not sure if I want to do that.
I'm definitely loving the standard 50's. Think I'll be spending some Saturdays at the music store comparing mine to as many R8's and R9's as I can find. Although R9's are out of reach on price. They're about $2,000 Canadian more than an R8. The R8's are already double the price of a standard.
One cannot have enough, if one can swing the dosh...
 

jb_abides

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
4,196
The pickups were bright acoustically?

You may know... and were just teasing on the grammar, but if not:

- Refers to the strings and the guitar wood resonance, played unplugged with no pickups.

- Plugging with pickups later overrode that observation, i.e were darker than the tone unplugged.

Just trying to be helpful with elucidation.
 

MadMiller

New member
Joined
Mar 26, 2022
Messages
9
You may know... and were just teasing on the grammar, but if not:

- Refers to the strings and the guitar wood resonance, played unplugged with no pickups.

- Plugging with pickups later overrode that observation, i.e were darker than the tone unplugged.

Just trying to be helpful with elucidation.
I got it, and fair play to golfnut 🙂.
I’m laying at home after a spinal fusion and can’t even play guitar, it’s making me stir crazy! I went on a (legal) opiate fueled dribible and it likely won’t be the last, I even omitted a good old whinge about the top carve.
I will endeavour to improve my poor grammatical ability whilst having a sook 🙇‍♂️ 🤪
 
Top