The oft maligned Les Paul and Gibson quality

DigTheTele

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Posts
42
Age
44
Location
Greece
It's just like mine. I love Tobacco Burst! How's the nut look?
That’s great! The nut is well cut and there was no reason to make adjustments and cut it more, in any way. At first, when I tried the guitar, I thought it was a bit high but I soon realized that it fits the set up well. How is yours?
 

tomi

Tele-Holic
Joined
May 20, 2003
Posts
565
I bought a dot-neck 335 in the early 2000s, sight unseen from a large online retailer. When I opened the case, the guitar was covered with sawdust and some pink powder, which my guitar guy later told me was polishing compound. Despite the presence of the powder, the frets were very rough. The neck had an excessive amount of bow in it. It took quite a bit of work on the frets and the neck to get it playable.

After about a month, the finish where my right arm rested was dull and couldn't be polished back to shiny. I sold the beast at a loss and didn't look back.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
That’s great! The nut is well cut and there was no reason to make adjustments and cut it more, in any way. At first, when I tried the guitar, I thought it was a bit high but I soon realized that it fits the set up well. How is yours?
Mine is a great guitar now that I've replaced the nut. I posted a picture of it as it came from the factory earlier in this thread. Recently I changed out all the hardware for nickel plated (I like the way it wears) and also did the Peter Green mod. I like the guitar a lot. It's heavy at just over 10 pounds but that gives it some really nice sustain. It's very resonant.

Here's the other post: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/the-o...d-gibson-quality.1101668/page-4#post-11407666
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
I’m starting to think that where one buys a new Gibson might factor. Possible that the B-stock gets sold to the megastores and online giants?
Could be. The manufacturers know those big-box online sellers aren't going to scrutinize every detail even though they say they do. For instance the Sweetwater "checklist" is just a list of things the "specialist" looks to make sure are present. Not how the quality is, but simply that it's there. I may be wrong, usually am. Let the beatings commence.
 

DigTheTele

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2020
Posts
42
Age
44
Location
Greece
Mine is a great guitar now that I've replaced the nut. I posted a picture of it as it came from the factory earlier in this thread. Recently I changed out all the hardware for nickel plated (I like the way it wears) and also did the Peter Green mod. I like the guitar a lot. It's heavy at just over 10 pounds but that gives it some really nice sustain. It's very resonant.

Here's the other post: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/the-o...d-gibson-quality.1101668/page-4#post-11407666
Hey, good ideas. I may try them at some point. Mine is about 9 pounds, more or less and very resonant as well. I dare to say not a dark sounding Les Paul, with mids, treble highlighted and balanced bass. Maybe that’s why I kept it original so far. Can I ask you what nut did you use? Is it bone?
 

surfco

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Posts
1,378
Location
BAJA
Worst guitar designs ever.
Stupid headstock angle.
Stupid quality control issues.
Stupid angle from nut to tuners.
Stupidly sharp saddles to break strings more often.
That idiotic tune o matic bullcrap with that steep angle to the saddles.
That patheticly stupid "play authentic" bullsh*t.
Lawsuits that took 40 years to happen.
Overpriced trash guitars.
Gibson sucks.
 

CCK1

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 23, 2018
Posts
1,331
Location
North Of Atlanta, South of Disorder
This is beautiful! Never seen a Standard with these appointments. Did you spec it out like this?
@Dave Skowron, I did not order it this way. I bought it from Grinning Elk Music Company. They bought it from it's original owner, a collector in Texas that seemingly ordered it this way in 1996. It is a color called "Riverside Red", an automotive paint color, often used by General Motors on 1963-1964 Corvettes. It has an ebony compound radius fretboard, bound headstock, white, (not cream) plastics, clear knobs, and is not weight relieved in any way, it weighs almost 11 pounds! When I bought it in 2012, it had only been out of the case for pictures, never played. It is still in almost new condition, and still has that "new Gibson" smell when the case is opened.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, the following year, 1997, Gibson released the "Les Paul Catalina" in three colors, Canary Yellow, Cascade Green, and Riverside Red. The Catalina's are configured almost exactly the same as mine with the exception of a huge inlay on the headstock.
Gibson has confirmed that this is a one off, they have no record of any other Les Paul made in 1996 that was configured this way.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
Hey, good ideas. I may try them at some point. Mine is about 9 pounds, more or less and very resonant as well. I dare to say not a dark sounding Les Paul, with mids, treble highlighted and balanced bass. Maybe that’s why I kept it original so far. Can I ask you what nut did you use? Is it bone?
Yes, it's an unbleached pre-slotted bone nut from Stewmac.
 

Dave Skowron

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 20, 2015
Posts
154
Location
UT
@Dave Skowron, I did not order it this way. I bought it from Grinning Elk Music Company. They bought it from it's original owner, a collector in Texas that seemingly ordered it this way in 1996. It is a color called "Riverside Red", an automotive paint color, often used by General Motors on 1963-1964 Corvettes. It has an ebony compound radius fretboard, bound headstock, white, (not cream) plastics, clear knobs, and is not weight relieved in any way, it weighs almost 11 pounds! When I bought it in 2012, it had only been out of the case for pictures, never played. It is still in almost new condition, and still has that "new Gibson" smell when the case is opened.
Coincidentally, or maybe not, the following year, 1997, Gibson released the "Les Paul Catalina" in three colors, Canary Yellow, Cascade Green, and Riverside Red. The Catalina's are configured almost exactly the same as mine with the exception of a huge inlay on the headstock.
Gibson has confirmed that this is a one off, they have no record of any other Les Paul made in 1996 that was configured this way.
It's very cool indeed!
 

Swirling Snow

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 4, 2021
Posts
305
Location
No Dakota
I’m starting to think that where one buys a new Gibson might factor. Possible that the B-stock gets sold to the megastores and online giants?
Yes, I think where you buy one matters a lot. Since I used to work for one, I know for a fact that the 'good guitars' are steered towards preferred stores as a reward. If the companies themselves don't do it, the reps will see to it.

If you're going to buy a Gibson (or PRS, Fender CS, etc) for heaven's sake buy it from a shop with a luthier in house. Not because you don't know how to do a set-up, but because they need to know when to send a guitar back! ;)
 

dreamingtele

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Posts
5,151
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I mean, for me, its just hit or miss with Gibsons. But I can also say the same with Fender.

However. i think im a bit more critical with Gibsons given the price of entry is very steep, especially on ES models which I’m actually interested on.

Take my ES-330. I bought it new, VOS Finish. There’s quite a few finish issues I wish was rectified before shipping out - like tooling marks on fretboard edges, orange peel on the neck heel, black paint bleed on the f-holes (photo below - bigger hole)

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

And then quality issues like nut being cut too low on D and G strings making buzz sounds at open string pluck, string low E and high E not centered on the fretboard end (photo below) (im very critical of this because id like to see perfect alignment - but it works in a way because its leaning towards the bass side and gives me room for the high e string and not falling off of the board)

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

Ive learned to accept these quirks but I wish it didnt have it. A lot of people say this is just the nature of a “handmade” guitar. Maybe the guy setting my 330’s neck leaned it to the left so the strings arent centered nicely, or the one cutting the nut just made 2-3 passes too much thats why it will only work with 10’s and anything heavier than that, id have the nut replaced, etc etc.

But to me, thats like, i dont want to accept that because heck, the MIK Peerless made Epiphone ES-295 is perfect in every way, for a fraction of the price of a 330.

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

Then again.. the 330’s playability is amazing. At least the worker who set the neck, got the neck angle so right, i have great action and with a big range of adjustments. Despite the issues I posted, the guitar feels premium and very solid. It has a stable neck that doesnt require truss rod adjustments during winter or summer, and the P90’s are great and no guitar has ever touched it for what I use it for.

However, for the price I paid for it, bnew, I’m not impressed and I know I couldve gotten a lot more if Gibson only made it right the first time. Lol.

Id probably just go to Ken McKay and get a fully custom ES-330 to my specs and get a better (and probably cheaper) guitar than if I go to Gibson for Made-2-Measure.

But then again, I do have a beautiful sounding and playing guitar anyway. And i love the Gibson cherry red.

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr
 

wildschwein

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Posts
1,959
Location
Perth, Western Australia
I had a '94 Honeyburst for a while and it was impeccable in every way. I paid a small fortune for it new. I don't know what they are putting out today but for the prices it's acceptable to expect a lot in terms of quality. Low and middle tier guitars today are usually pretty good now too so Gibson do have to get that extra few % right if they want to make the sales and keep a good reputation for quality.
 
Last edited:

mike stanger

TDPRI Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2020
Posts
98
Age
78
Location
Idaho
Gibson, like almost all companies could care less about your desire to purchase a used guitar. Only interested in selling new ones to shore up the bottom line & increase the dividends.

Yup. That's exactly the truth of it.
Customer relations are all about selling new guitars, and Gibson has never been able to keep its old records very well. The factory folks in the office most often know very little about any used Gibson, and most of them aren't guitar enthusiasts.

Gibson made some serious personnel mistakes when Henry decided to limit his dealerships; the sales force who lost their jobs from that move had a lot of vintage knowledge, and his best sales people were his best public relations people too.

Henry was his own worst enemy after his early success went to his head. He did some pretty stupid things, and did them over and over. One of them was he never hired a Division manager who knew a thing about making guitars except for one, and that guy was promoted in Nashville so he could take over the Montana factory where he was needed.
But once he had settled in there, Henry sent him off to China within a year, and he never returned to Montana. That division had no full-time top manager for a full 2 years.
That was really, really stupid. It became worse when he finally hired a new guy; he came from the retail grocery industry, and was so afraid of making a mistake he never spent any time on the factory floor.
regards,
stanger
 

NWinther

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 16, 2007
Posts
2,698
Age
54
Location
Denmark Solbjerg.
Not to be a sour cranky Scandinavian...but in my many years as a guitar/bass tech....Made in US often means trouble quality wise, there is always something..... not that most did not sound great and what not...but the work quality done is often dodgy at best.
 

MickM

Poster Extraordinaire
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Posts
6,504
Age
65
Location
A steel guitar engagment.
I mean, for me, its just hit or miss with Gibsons. But I can also say the same with Fender.

However. i think im a bit more critical with Gibsons given the price of entry is very steep, especially on ES models which I’m actually interested on.

Take my ES-330. I bought it new, VOS Finish. There’s quite a few finish issues I wish was rectified before shipping out - like tooling marks on fretboard edges, orange peel on the neck heel, black paint bleed on the f-holes (photo below - bigger hole)

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

And then quality issues like nut being cut too low on D and G strings making buzz sounds at open string pluck, string low E and high E not centered on the fretboard end (photo below) (im very critical of this because id like to see perfect alignment - but it works in a way because its leaning towards the bass side and gives me room for the high e string and not falling off of the board)

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

Ive learned to accept these quirks but I wish it didnt have it. A lot of people say this is just the nature of a “handmade” guitar. Maybe the guy setting my 330’s neck leaned it to the left so the strings arent centered nicely, or the one cutting the nut just made 2-3 passes too much thats why it will only work with 10’s and anything heavier than that, id have the nut replaced, etc etc.

But to me, thats like, i dont want to accept that because heck, the MIK Peerless made Epiphone ES-295 is perfect in every way, for a fraction of the price of a 330.

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr

Then again.. the 330’s playability is amazing. At least the worker who set the neck, got the neck angle so right, i have great action and with a big range of adjustments. Despite the issues I posted, the guitar feels premium and very solid. It has a stable neck that doesnt require truss rod adjustments during winter or summer, and the P90’s are great and no guitar has ever touched it for what I use it for.

However, for the price I paid for it, bnew, I’m not impressed and I know I couldve gotten a lot more if Gibson only made it right the first time. Lol.

Id probably just go to Ken McKay and get a fully custom ES-330 to my specs and get a better (and probably cheaper) guitar than if I go to Gibson for Made-2-Measure.

But then again, I do have a beautiful sounding and playing guitar anyway. And i love the Gibson cherry red.

Untitled by D Y, on Flickr
If you buy another 330 style guitar take a hard look at the Collings I-30LC. Just slightly smaller body but every bit the sound/tone of the Gibson. Not cheap but QC is hardcore.https://www.collingsguitars.com/electric-guitars/i30-lc/
 

dreamingtele

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jun 16, 2010
Posts
5,151
Location
Melbourne, Australia
If you buy another 330 style guitar take a hard look at the Collings I-30LC. Just slightly smaller body but every bit the sound/tone of the Gibson. Not cheap but QC is hardcore.https://www.collingsguitars.com/electric-guitars/i30-lc/

I did look at them. Even tried them.

The collings sound is very consistent. I talked to their representative why it was smaller and it was confirmed that they want their guitars to have focus, clarity and projection. The slightly smaller body gives it that and I agree.

The i-30, i-35 are all better than the Gibson - quality-wise. I was really looking to buy it, but I wanted a traditional sound. Original specs in body and size. So i went with Gibson.

If I’m going to sell this and get another, id go and have a custom one built by Ken Mckay instead.
 




Top