Okay, what is it REALLY about the Les Paul?

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

  1. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Age:
    51
    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    I guess so, but I had so much problems with the squared headstocks with the pegs in 2 straight lines pulling the strings sideways thru the nut that I've resorted to getting String Butlers to straighten the string runs thru the nut to eliminate the strings from binding in the nut.

    At least with the Jackson, the strings run straight thru the nut that I gavent had any issue with nut binding the strings. For that alone I'm more than willing to ignore headstock shape. Plus I think the triangular Jackson heads to be a rather refreshing and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

    Jackson_JS-22-HF-(2000x3000).jpg

    I'm more a pragmatic guy. If a guitar part looks good AND performs well, it's good with me then. If it doesn't perform well even if its the prettiest thing in the world, it's still a failure to me.

    I've resorted to cutting customized angled slots in the nut to reduce, but not wholely eliminate binding. The only solution was to straighten string runs thru the nut, whether it be via String Butlers or redoing the headstock so string pegs are in line with the nut slots. I've done that once with a 3+3 headstock, but found it to be such a hassle cuz ye gotta plug/refinish the old holes, drill new holes and reshape the headstock as needed to enable access to the tuner's knobs on the new headstock configuration.

    So nowdays, compatibility with String Butler, or having good string runs is now part of my criterions for buying a guitar.
     
  2. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Age:
    51
    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    Oh another trick I've used is to put nails or screws in the headstock so that the strings are straightened thru the nut to the nails/screws then bends around them to their respective pegs.
     
  3. BarnyardShark1979

    BarnyardShark1979 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    42
    577
    Jul 9, 2020
    Baltimore Maryland
    You know, for some reason I find Explorer/hockey-stick headstocks more acceptable than the sorta weird, pointy off-kilter diamond sorta thing that the Jackson has going on.
     
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  4. BarnyardShark1979

    BarnyardShark1979 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    42
    577
    Jul 9, 2020
    Baltimore Maryland
    Right on. I have not had that problem. I just put some Big Bends Nut Sauce in the slots and everything works out pretty well for me.
     
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  5. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    75
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Sounds good. However the earliest versions of the 'Paul didn't have a stop bar at all, but an old-school trapeze tailpiece and bridge combination.

    Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 2.33.54 PM.png

    -don
     
  6. Caddy

    Caddy Dr. Squier

    Age:
    74
    Nov 29, 2010
    Indiana
    @duceditor, from what I have read in a couple of books about the LP guitar is that Les Paul had very little to do with the creation of the guitar. McCarty and his team designed the guitar over a year’s time and he says that Les never even saw one until they took one to him in Pennsylvania in 1952 to entice him to endorse it and lure him away from Epiphone. Les signed a five year deal which gave him 5% of each one sold. They did let Les choose the first two colors which were gold and black. When asked why Les told them that gold looked rich and represents the best, the greatest and the highest. He says he chose black as the other because the audience could see it in your hands.

    The one that Les was seen playing soon after that was called the Les Paul Custom model, black with white binding and with much smaller frets (often referred to as the fret less wonder). It had a carved top but was solid mahogany without the maple cap (something that Les didn’t care for saying it was not warm enough). That remained the guitar Les always preferred. After that all of the guitars they made for him had carved tops without the maple cap at his request. Of course those early Les Pauls had the trapeze tail piece and the ‘lightning bolt’ bridge until Ted McCarthy came up with the Tune-O-Matic bridge which began appearing on the guitars in 1954. These were all made with P-90 pickups until 1957 when replaced by the nearly designed humbuckers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
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  7. DrBeGood

    DrBeGood Dr. Squier

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sutton QC, CANADA
    You're just adding another friction point, just like what the Butler does. When a nut is properly cut, strings never bind in it, thus they stay in tune.
     
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  8. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    75
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Thanks, Caddy, for those insights! :)

    -don
     
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  9. RoyalWe

    RoyalWe Squier-holic

    Sep 5, 2012
    Western Oregon
    They’re cool, no denying that, but they’re not for me. I’ve had two, and neither lasted long. While they’re marvelously solid built guitars, as mentioned, they just never felt right when I played them. The tone, likewise, has never felt or sounded natural or “like home” with my playing.

    They’re one of those guitars that I absolutely love…but only when it’s someone else playing it.

    Rock on with whatever rocks your boat!
     
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  10. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Age:
    51
    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    Yes and no actually, the String Butler has roller bearings at the string contact point, and I specifically used screws that has threadless shaft at the head end (similar to those Fender used in the neck joint) and made of stainless steel that has the neck shaft polished in a wheel buffer.

    I've noticed that the screws often have a raised ridge from the casting process. If this ridge happens to be pointing the right (or more accurately, wrong) direction the string will catch the ridge, that's why I started polishing the ridge off.

    Methinks they've have less friction than strings leaving the nut at an angle. Especially with the D & G-wound strings. The winds will catch the edge of the nut slots if the strings are angled, especially during deep bends as the string slide into the nut from either side.

    Once I've started using String Butler or guide posts I never had tuning issues, even without nut lubes.

    I started using guide posts on inline 6 headstocks that has tuners on the far end thats out of alignment of the nut slots. Then transferred that trick to 3+3 heads.

    BUT I prefer using the String Butler on guitars that has too nice a headstock like the one on my Agile which has real mother-of-pearl inlays. String Butler is non-destructive and reversable.
     
  11. otma

    otma Squier-holic

    Nov 4, 2012
    Owen, Wisconsin
    I don't have a Les Paul, but I have a guitar that has given me a better idea of what players see in them.

    My B.C. Rich Eagle 680 JE has a 24 fret maple neck, 25" scale, with a plateless contoured bolt-on connection, but it also has a maple capped mahogany body, H-H pickups, tunamatic and stop bar, and simple electronics. It's heavy, but I've had other heavy guitars that didn't have the same feel of strength and solidity that this one does. The headstock tilts back like a Les Paul, and whatever kind of maple they used for the neck has a much heavier and more solid feel than most modern maple necks I've played. The fretboard is bound, and the neck profile is substantial without being too thick. It also has about the best full size H-H pickup set I've ever played. It really makes a lot of other guitars I've played feel toy-like in comparison.

    IMG_20210515_181504576_MP.jpg IMG_20211026_201001186_MP.jpg
     
  12. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Age:
    51
    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    Oh my goodness, nice BCR! The non-LP I have that gives the closest LP experience is my Ibanez Halberd. Tis a monster...in more ways than one.

    It's easily the heaviest non-LP I have, the only guitars that I have that are heavier is my 2012 Agile AL-3010SE (a LP) and my 6-string Bass, the 1998 Ibanez SR406-NT.

    IMG_20211010_002941_HDR.jpg
    2012 Agile AL-3010SE (Blue-Green Burst)

    IMG_20180508_161939.jpg
    2011 Ibanez XH300-BKF (Black Flat)

    Ibanez_SR406NT-FF-ZC-(1000x2000).jpg
    1998 Ibanez SR406-NT (Natural)

    The XH300 is a solid mahogany bodied flat top guitar, very similar to what Les preferred in his guitars. The main differences is the scale length (25.5" vs 24.75"), neck design (bolt-on rosewood/maple vs set-on rosewood/mahogany), headstock design (triangular 3+3 vs squared 3+3) and electronics (active HH+master volume+3-way toggle vs passive HH+2x volumes+2x tones+3-way toggle).

    While the XH300 was angled for the budget metallist, it surprisingly does well in the clean. It still has an aggressive sound in the clean that lends itself to a nice throaty growl. No need crank the amp to the edge of breakup for this bad boy, it's already close to there, LOL. Dialing back the volume however does clean a lot of the bark out and has a mellow warm tone that still can still hit the high notes cleanly.

    TBH, if it wasnt so danged HUGE & HEAVY, I'd use it more often, LOL! :D
     
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  13. Powerstroke

    Powerstroke Squier-holic

    Age:
    45
    Feb 18, 2021
    Usa
    I dont like the cap idea either. Solid slab please.
     
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  14. duceditor

    duceditor Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    75
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Because of its looks? Weight? Or the added brightness (lack of “warmth”) Caddy quotes Les Paul himself disliking?

    I think it is worth remembering that Paul’s opinion re lack of warmth originally was based on the guitar with P90 PUPs. And Juniors were slabs which sound fantastic with a P90. But ‘buckets? Lacking “warmth”?

    Then, of course, there is Les Paul’s jazzy pop, pre-rock, sound. Warm indeed!

    We like what we like, and I am a P90 guy. But a ‘bucker loaded ‘Paul with that two-wood body is perfection. As mentioned in mt initial post I have one of the relatively rare SGs with Classic voiced ‘buckers and a mahogany/maple body, and while not as ‘solid’ sounding as a much heavier/thicker ‘Paul, it, too, sounds great.

    But… (there always us one! ;) I put a P90 voiced (P94 clone) PUP on my Les Paul CM - with its carved (thinner) cap AND glued in maple neck and it has become my most played Gibson.YUP! Variety and personal taste - plus learning to work with each guitar’s own voice. Yes to all that! :)

    -don
     
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  15. Lanaka

    Lanaka Squier-holic

    Age:
    51
    Feb 11, 2020
    Honolulu, HI
    Yup I have 6 LPs, and they're all different in some way, all sounds ok (except for my Memphis, I gotta fix the neck alignment issue first, b4 I know how IT sounds), but the closest one to what I consider is "the Les Paul sound" is my 2012 Agile. The others are either bolt-ons, non standard woods, or nonstandard size.
     
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  16. Benlostforyears

    Benlostforyears Squier-Nut

    Age:
    36
    642
    Aug 17, 2020
    Western NC
    Ok, so I just have to say it. Rock and Roll started long before Elvis in the 50's. That's just when white people started playing it. See Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the woman who many believe to have originated the genre. Even Chuck Berry said his entire career was a Sister Rosetta impression.
     
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  17. TheVoid

    TheVoid Squier-Meister

    Age:
    38
    188
    Jul 25, 2020
    Nebraska
    I've been a Fender/ Squier player for much longer but I do love my Les Paul guitars, too. 20210930_195657.jpg 20210403_195614.jpg
     
  18. dbrian66

    dbrian66 Dr. Squier

    Age:
    51
    Jul 14, 2017
    Maryland, USA
    I absolutely love the white Les Pauls. Someday I hope to have a white Custom.
     
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  19. TheVoid

    TheVoid Squier-Meister

    Age:
    38
    188
    Jul 25, 2020
    Nebraska
    Both mine are Epiphone not Gibson. The white Custom is a really great guitar. Mine is pretty heavy at close to 10 lbs. Been considering picking up the ebony Les Paul Custom to match my SG Custom. 20210430_213033.jpg
     
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  20. miket1117

    miket1117 Squier-holic Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Kansas City
    love that! beautiful guitar! i think i might want one :)!
     
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