Okay, what is it REALLY about the Les Paul?

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by duceditor, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. Mojotone

    Mojotone Squier-Meister

    Jun 5, 2021
    Chateauguay, QC
    love les Paul style Guitars :)
    currently have 2

    Godin Rear .jpg

    Black Betty.jpeg
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
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  2. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-holic

    Mar 11, 2017
    Somewhere east of the rockies
    Les Pauls.
    I have owned a few, played many more,
    and the only one that really speaks to me is the Epiphone Les Paul-1 with p-90's.
    Is this a real Les Paul?
    Cheap, simple, gets the job done for me.
    Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 7.06.14 PM.png
  3. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-holic

    Feb 18, 2021
    I've only ever played a worn Gibson studio. It had MOJO for sure. Every epiphone has been disappointing. I think bolt on neck Epi's actually sound better than set neck lp styles.
    The best lp style guitar and best guitar I've ever owned is My recent deArmond m65c lp style bolt on neck.
    I've never played a better sounding guitar so I do not believe the "set neck" hype.
    Here's 2 good articles. Read, but do your research, let your ears be the truth . Not some company saying it's better , or cost more.
    It's actually cheaper to make a set neck.



  4. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    There's the fun! Define it as you wish!

    I have one of those as well. And yes, I love it.

    Is it "equal" to a "real" 'Paul?

    That's gamesmanship. Each has a true personality. Each speaks, at least to me (and, apparently, you) on its own terms.

    My even "weirder" 'Paul is this one...

    The CM.jpg

    Yes, it is a "real" (love those expressive quote marks!) Les Paul. Why, it even says so on its headstock!

    CM Headstck.jpg .

    And yes, it does have a carved maple top over the mahogany -- and it celebrates that in its name -- the Les Paul CM.

    But is it a "real" 'Paul???

    I'll let you decide.

    But this I'll say: It plays absolutely great.

    And the simple fact is that I play it more often than any other Gibson, or even Gibson styled, guitars.

    It's a 'Paul in shape. Sort of a 'Paul in its construction. It's light -- but with no hollowed out sections.

    Okay... What is it?

    It is what it is.

    And I like that too.

    (Do you think it's a "real" Les Paul?)

  5. corn

    corn Squier-holic

    Feb 27, 2013
    San Diego
    Yes lol’ I almost brought this one up too , I would say it is not the “classic” Les Paul tone, it does have the standard feel from what I remember, beautiful playing guitar, and like you have said before, they are just so fun. Made by Gibson with a Gibson pickup, just not the same pickup they put in a standard years ago, Not better, and Shirley not worse, just different in its own way. I may even like it more than I did the bridge pickup in the old standard, it’s Probably more than just the pick up itself to do with the tone, the bridge, the nut, lighter thinner body style,,etc
  6. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-holic

    Mar 11, 2017
    Somewhere east of the rockies
    I used the term "Is it real" for two reasons:
    First The Special-1 does not say Les Paul anywhere on the guitar (only in the Ad copy) and second, I wanted to attempt to appease any purists that would surely scoff at the idea that this very budget-friendly guitar could be any relation to a real Les Paul. :)

    And of course with many iterations of this model over the years, the idea of "Will the real Les Pauls guitar please stand up"? Becomes endless fodder to be discussed and enjoyed till the end of time.
  7. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Nut

    Aug 17, 2020
    Western NC
    I've always loved the classic rock tones of a Les Paul. They are such beautiful guitars and the curves and chrome have such a great visual appeal too. However, every time I pick one up off the wall at a guitar store I'm immediately turned off by the weight and uncomfortable feel of the guitar while playing seated (bad neck so no strap for me). I have settled for an Alvarez AAT-33 (335 type) that the previous owner installed the electronics from his 2004 Gibson Les Paul Standard with the Burstbucker Pro's. I'm sure it doesn't sound quite like the real thing with the semi-hollow body but the tone is pretty incredible nonetheless. Maybe one day I'll find a real one to add to my collection though.

  8. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-holic

    Feb 18, 2021
    I think the problem with the epiphone guitars are the terrible pickups. They all sound so so. I like a heavy beefy guitar. I'm one that doesn't believe in the tone wood. I believe it's all in the pickups, strings and associated hardware. Could be plywood , press board, mdf, plexiglass, petrified wood, it has little to do with the tone as does the pickups. Good pickups on a cheap guitar always sound good, why is that? Haha
    I like the shorter scale on Gibson. I also like fender. I think every one should play both once. ...but anyway I really think Gibson just has awesome pickups
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  9. stratelespaul

    stratelespaul Squier-Nut

    Apr 25, 2012
    South Central Los Angeles
    I actually had a Les Paul when I joined Squier talk. Had a couple of Strats but no Tele.
    Had the stereotypical accident and broke the headstock then traded the broken LP for a Tele.
    Has anyone noticed my screen name? Strat+Tele+Les Paul.
    This guy dabbled with them too.
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  10. 65refinyellow

    65refinyellow Squier-holic

    Jun 29, 2015
    I have had too many Gibsons, but it never did it for me. I do love their acoustics.

    But Gibsons do offer their own sound and the dual humbucker LP is an entity all on its own unlike strat or tele.
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  11. wak atak

    wak atak Squier-Meister

    Jul 8, 2021
    i dnt like lps, they dnt fit me . i like his signature strings tho. its the size i like
  12. wak atak

    wak atak Squier-Meister

    Jul 8, 2021
    i got old japan lp copy from 70s, bonly play it if the strat is dwn. no dissrespected intended,lps are nice,just not me .
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  13. wak atak

    wak atak Squier-Meister

    Jul 8, 2021
    this looks like it, i got same case too

    Attached Files:

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  14. Ladeeh

    Ladeeh Squier-Meister

    Sep 10, 2021
    I've never owned an LP, almost never go crazy when I hear its sound (when I do, it happens to be P90 LP) but man, I really like their aesthetic and design, so one day when I complete my strat collection, I will definitely seek for one LP.
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  15. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Just a few personal follow-up thoughts to the things discussed here.

    The first is to the "real" expression. One I purposefully put in quotes and called attention to.

    The quotes struck and strike me as appropriate fr a few reasons.

    The first is that the Les Paul guitar as we know it today was not the singular work of a singular genius brought into the world at a single moment in time.

    Les Paul himself had input, but, interestingly, as @Caddy brought out, not the sole or even the final word. The instrument that bore Paul's name (and fame) was a slowly developed corporate project. One that was designed not just to be a great player's instrument, but to bring the Gibson company into what was already seen to be a new market. One that quickly became what a bit later came to be called "rock and roll."

    Thus the to us expected to be seen carving of the Les Paul's top. What quickly to our eyes marks the instrument as a "Les Paul" and separates it from many other similarly sized and shaped instruments.

    That Gibson insisted on this against Les Paul's own preference for a slab bodied instrument makes sense if one understands that the "arch top" (or "jazz box") guitar was, commercially at least, the invention the Gibson company. Today it is so "normal" that many do not even know that.

    (Wikipedia has a fine overview article on this found here.)

    Thus the inclusion of that shape -- the carved "arch top" -- was a brand identifier, one that proved the guitar was truly a Gibson and thus an instrument to be taken seriously.

    Almost painful perhaps -- and surprising (at least to some) — the Fender solid body guitar was not taken seriously early on. It was by many early on viewed as nothing but an inexpensive, thrown together, 'thing.'

    Thus the goal -- and the strong efforts -- of Leo Fender and his company to be taken seriously by “real” musicians. Which led to the Jazzmaster model whose very design and purpose (largely unrealized) was to get some use and respect among "serious" players. I.e., "jazz" musicians.

    This was where the Les Paul guitar was supposed to start out. And having Les Paul's name on it was from the start part of that program.

    Do a search for lists of Les Paul recordings and you'll find 14 full albums carrying his name, plus five pages worth of singles and "EPs" (extended play) records.

    Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 8.24.31 AM.png

    Turn on the TV in the 1950s and there he'd be. Playing, singing (with his then wife) or sometimes just talking about music. In the pre-rock days Les Paul was basically "it" when it came to popularizing guitars.

    Thus the "Les Paul" guitar was as much a marketing concept as a specific instrument. One meant to highlight what Gibson was doing at any given time. And as Gibsom fully entered the world of electric guitars that quickly grew and morphed with new ideas -- all of which together became what we today call the "Les Paul" guitar. Humbucking PUPS, the now accepted "tune-a-matic" bridge, the stop bar tailpiece. -Each was developed and brought to the guitar world on what was then known, and is still known, as the "Les Paul" guitar.

    And that's what I mean when I used and use that quotation surrounded word and phrase "real Les Paul."

    That today there are variants is no surprise. No more so than there being variants on the Stratocaster. And the phrase "real Stratocaster" will being as much discussion (an likely even more disagreement) than the phrase "real Les Paul."

    For myself -- yes, my thoughts and feelings -- this is notthng but a fun word game. But also, I think, an informative one.

    To me a "real" Les Paul is what I described in my thread opening comment. But I own, play, and love quite a number of "Les Paul" guitars that are to me less "real." And in sad truth I can no longer play my one version that is in this sense "real." It is just to danged heavy for my aged back.

    But yes, I love it none-the-less. That I cannot play it diminishes it not a whit as one of the world's truely great guitar designs. And my 1988 version is, I think, as "real" as real can be.

    If your preferences to what is the most desirable Les Paul lie elsewhere, then cool! And no, I personally take no umbrage when a Korean made, vaguely "Les Paul" shaped instrument with three ceramic PUPS and a thin veneer of printed maple like "wood grain" is called a favored "Les Paul."

    Yes, Gibson might. But they can fight their own battles. :D


    Korean les paul.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
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  16. Ahnlaashock

    Ahnlaashock Squier-holic

    Sep 21, 2014
    St. Louis Area
    The original carved top was done to get the stop block below the level of the bridge, just like the headstock incline does. To put the pickups and the bridge above the stop block. Now, the sculpting does not have same shape at all.
    My Studio Pro has a mahogany body and top. No maple.
    For those that do not like the Les Paul, find a Bennet Fastback, and play it for a few minutes. The neck is wedge shaped and has a tail that goes back under the pickups. You have to tap it down and lift it straight out, since the wedge just gets tighter if you try to pull it straight out the top.
    They play like a telecaster, only short scale.
  17. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree, I like Squier-Talk for it's more open members. I tried Strat-Talk, but found a higher proportion of members there to have attitude issues. So nowdays I'm here more often than not. I think another keyword that describes the folks here is: humble. The peeps here are more humble and open minded and more apt to help than most other brand centric forums I've sampled.

    In general I agree, I have 6 "Les Paul" styled guitars and only 1 came close to the real deal for me. My 2012 Agile AL-3010SE.


    It's a heavy beast at 9 lbs 5.2 oz. with a solid mahogany body with a thick maple cap, ebony fretboard on a set mahogany neck inlaid with real blue/green abalone and the color matched mahogany head has real mother-of-pearl inlays. The chrome pups sounds identical to a set of Pearly Gates, so much so that I ended up putting my real Pearly Gates into another guitar! With flatwound 10s it's my hands down favorite LP type guitar.

    The other five don't quite measure up to the Agile.

    Left to right:
    c.1995-2005 Austin AU-766 SC
    c.1980s Memphis SC
    2005 Epiphone Les Paul Pee Wee

    2015 Jackson JS-22 Monarkh SC

    The Austin AU-766 is significantly thinner than the Agile and has THIN maple cap. The neck is a mahogany/rosewood bolt on. It is VERY noticably warmer and perhaps a bit muddy guitar. I had to compensate by installing Alternative 8/59 which are a set of very bright humbuckers. But this set is perhaps a bit TOO bright now.

    The Memphis is a middle thickness mahogany body, I'm not sure if it has a maple cap, with a rosewood/mahogany bolt on neck. This one currently has neck alignment issues so I haven't had a chance to hear how it sounds yet. But I have no idea how this MIJ SC will sound, but I'll report later when I do get around to working on this one. I'm thinking of a set of Whole Lotta Humbuckers but that may change depending on how this one sounds.

    The Pee Wee, despite the all mahogany body and bolt-on rosewood/mahogany neck. As expected of its significantly shorter scale length its tone is higher. I've compensated by using heavier strings and managed to get it tuned to E Standard. This guitar serves as my main practice and travel guitar. For the laughs and giggles, I've installed the one DiMarzio pup in my herd: a Crunch Lab that is installed upside down so the bar coil is neck side. This way when it's split to this coil, it's physically located halfway between the bridge and the neck.

    Finally the Jackson is the LEAST Les Paul of the quintet. It has a basswood body with Strat-styled comfort cuts (forearm contours, tummy cut and a generous neck access relief cut). The neck is a maple/rosewood bolt-on. Despite the maple neck, it's a VERY dark guitar, darker than even the Austin. And the highs are fizzy and shrill. I dunno what Jackson was thinking of when they chose these pups, but I'm gonna have my work cut out to balance this one's output. The only saving grace this one has is the near perfect string geometry at the headstock.

    No arguments there, Don. Some calls them the Guitar Trinity.

    I only recently completed my trio with the addition of 3 Telecasters, and I THINK I lucked out in finding my perfect Teles with the first two, a pair of Squier Contemporary Telecaster HH in black (2017) and red (2020) metallics.

    OTOH, my Strats are a bit harder to reduce to just 3 favorites, but in excluding the SuperStrats, my favorite 3 traditional Strats are these...
    Left to right:
    c.1995-2005 Austin AU-731 (3-Tone Burst)
    c.1980s Stage CS-327 (Aged Cream)
    1992 Fender Mexican Standard (CRM)
  18. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    Btw, I know I said 6 Les Pauls and showed only 5. The sixth was bought not for my playing pleasure, it's for my guests who are leftys. I've left it completely stock (for now).

    It's a 2009 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Lefty.
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  19. BarnyardShark1979

    BarnyardShark1979 Squier-Nut

    Jul 9, 2020
    Baltimore Maryland
    I remember the first time I saw a pic of a Jackson Monarkh the headstock was out of frame. I think it might have been in one of MusiciansFriend's SDOTD emails. Thought it was cool, clicked the link, saw the headstock and thought "WHY ON EARTH WOULD THEY DO THAT?!?" lol. Any time an LP-style guitar doesn't have have a symmetrical, vaguely rectangle-shaped headstock I get, like, I dunno, cognitive dissonance or something.
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  20. grizzlewulf

    grizzlewulf Squier-holic

    Dec 11, 2020
    Lucerne, California
    So you're not a fan of the Aldo Nova custom model?