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Old 06-03-2013, 03:57 AM   #1
Volcz
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New Epi Les Paul's

Hey there,

So I'm probably going to invest in an Epiphone Les Paul Standard, also I noticed that the new ones that the music stores are stocking are "Plus Top Pros". Now I know that it's just the new version of the standard and the biggest difference they put in is these probuckers which allow coil-tapping.

I alerady have two strats, I'm not interested at all in the coil-tapping. I also think the coil-tapping sounds quite terrible (but I see where they're coming from so fair enough). I'm getting an LP for my jazz and rock and roll tone. So anyway, which brings me to my question..

Are these new coil-tapped humbuckers making any difference in the quality of the normal sound of the humbuckers? I'm hoping that they haven't sacrificed the quality of the normal humbucker tone for this coil-tapping feature.

And if they do affect the normal humbucker tone is there somewhere I can get the normal LP standards new? I don't buy used guitars, only used amps, equipment etc.

I'm in Melbourne, Australia.

Cheers!
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:43 AM   #2
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The new Probuckers are MUCH better than the old Epiphone pickups. They actually sound pretty damn respectable for stock pickups and they sound decent when split too. They sound very, very similar to Gibson Burstbuckers.

The wiring for the splitting is completely bypassed when its not in use, so when using the pickups normally, the splitting feature makes absolutely zero difference to the tone.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:59 AM   #3
Boreesimo
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My advice is not to get an epi lp standard, or the plus top for that matter, at all. I was in thus position 6 months ago, went to the music store and tested 4 guitars: the epi lp standard, the epi lp standard plus top pro, the epi es339 pro, and the gretsch pro jet 5434 The normal standard I found was a bit muddy, and lacked clarity, and it also didn't have the richness of sound expected from a lp. The plus top pro was pretty good but I thought the pups were pretty weak sounding, so I tested another one and had the same problem, nice weight though, and the coil tapping was poor, as you mentioned, imo. The 339 for some reason had a hotter and warmer sound, but still had a bit of bite, much better than the two lps. The sound from the bridge was Rick and roll all over (ala chuck berry), and the neck was thick and smooth. Overall I thought it was better than the lps, but it feedbacked like hell, with only a touch of drive. The Gretsch is what i bought, and for the price its great. Its got a nice amount of sustain, the bridge pickup is hot, and bright, while maintaining a bit of natural drive, perfect for rockabilly/rock n' roll, the neck is warm and bassy (not too much so), and cleans up a treat, and the combination of the two gives a sound that has enough bite and edge to cut through, but enough depth and sustain, to give the smoothness and warmth similar to an lp. Personally for me the stock sound was by far the best of the four, the neck is also a tad thicker, which I like. For blues, and rock and roll, its a very good match, not quite as good as the es339 on clean, but it allows for a lot more drive, and has a lot more clarity when driven than the es, so is better all round imo.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:08 AM   #4
Volcz
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Even for general hard-rock, ala GNR, punk, etc?

I'll check it out man cheers.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
Volcz
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I've had a look at the Epiphone 339 too and it looks great.

I think I'll be tossing up between the 339 and the Les Paul. If you want me to be more precise I'll be playing stuff like well.. hard rock, jazz and punk. I use my strats for classic rock (Hendrix and such) as well as funk and just general use John Mayer etc. The reason I'm investing in a humbucker guitar is so I can get those really crunch rock tones. Especially with those soaring lead tones. Carlos Santana, Slash, all famous 80's 90's rock bands. Cause you really can't get there with the brightness of strats.

Are the 339 and the Les Paul comparable?

Cheers.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #6
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If you're going to get a 339, you might as well get a 339 Ultra because of the features it comes with.
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:14 AM   #7
Boreesimo
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The les Paul or gretsch'll cover punk and hard rock quite a bit better than the 339, I currently use it with a Boss DS1, a crybaby and a digitech blues screamer, through a Marshall jcm800, and I am able to get a very similar sound to slash, with the tone rolled back a bit, on the bridge, and even smoother with the neck, the extra bit if bite helps that soaring lead sound you're after.
The 339 is comparable, but with the gain up it's gonna feedback alot, and being fully hollow isn't going to sustain as much, or have the depth, that the les Paul, and gretsch both manage. It has a much better sound than the les Paul though, when only lightly distorted.
I had my heart set on the les Paul before I played them, and while the gretsch is no match for a proper Gibson, (having played my mates afd goldtop), in my opinion it sounds much better (stock) than the epi, and it will do the distortion and soaring leads better than the 339.
really best advice is to play 'em and see what you prefer, we're all different.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Volcz

Are these new coil-tapped humbuckers making any difference in the quality of the normal sound of the humbuckers? I'm hoping that they haven't sacrificed the quality of the normal humbucker tone for this coil-tapping feature.



FWIW, this is nothing new (coil tapping of one kind or another has been done since the late '60's) and it doesn't affect the normal sound or operation of the pickup at all. The early '70's Gibson L6S, with the very first "hot" Gibson pickups designed by Bill Lawrence, was born out of an interest in finding a wider soundscape for the SG. Lawrence used standard humbucking (serial) and parallel modes, along with some capacitors and some out of phase positions in the six-way pickup selector (no, it's not a varitone!) switch on the L6S. The L6S is considered one of the most underrated guitars in the Gibson arsenal, largely because people try to make it sound like an LP, when it's really a very different guitar. Same goes for the misunderstood Nighthawk.

I have an '82 Ibanez Artist AR300 with a pair of "Tri-Sound" switches that switch between serial/parallel/single coil modes for each pickup.

Depending on the guitar and the pickup, these other modes can be used quite effectively. Generally, you'll get a better coil tapped mode from a hotter pickup (because the remaining pickup coil will have an output closer to that of a Strat, for example). The benefit of coil splitting is most apparent on the neck pickup of an LP -- there are phasing and interference patterns on the shorter scale LP with a standard neck humbucker that lead to generally muddy output. By reducing the amount of vibrating string "seen" by the pickup, you can often clean up a neck pickup on an LP a LOT. Lots more clarity, especially at the bottom end. The tradeoff is in the volume of the neck pickup after the split. Once you compensate for that, it's an excellent option.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:43 AM   #9
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I tried a Chinese LP Std PT at the local guitar center and it was alright, but the wrong color. I ordered one in Heritage Cherry Burst and got a really nice one made in Indonesia. I let it set/played a few days then replaced the ? stock strings and performed a very easy set up. This is one very fine instrument. I got a good one. Whoopie!!!

Take your time selecting one of these. Even the Gibsons can be horrible. Some of these Epiphone LP's are really fine instruments; dense and rigid, and the pickups are great. The single-coil switching I dunno. I checked for silent operation of all controls and structural integrity at all joints. The action was slightly high, but the stop bar, bridge, pickups, neck, nut, and tuners were all in line, so I neglected the high action. It was easy to adjust the instrument to play as well as anything a few days later. When you inspect one of these, keep in mind the instrument's journey from factory box to truck to oceanic shipping container to railroad car to truck to warehouse to you. Things will come loose, but if they stay in line and don't break after all that rough handling, the guitar is likely good mechanically. Test any new guitar thoroughly for pickup/selector switch/potentiometer performance.

I do think these Epi LP's are a very good bang for the buck.
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Old 07-08-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
Megadeth2011
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I just bought an Epi Standard PTP back in March... and what a marvelous instrument it is! I'm not a fan of the coil tap feature, but it certainly doesn't suck tone from the standard humbucker setting on it! I actually think these Probuckers sound pretty damn nice... for stock pickups, they've gotten pretty close to a Burstbucker sound!
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:28 PM   #11
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I owned but have since parted with 3 Epiphones over the past 3 years and each time I say I'm done with them... and yet the spec sheet vs dollar spent value seems to keep suckering me back in. The best of the three, by far, was the Tribute Plus LP, which had true Gibson 57 buckers in it. The 339 I owned I wouldn't buy again, unless you fully intend on replacing the pickups. They're muddy sounding and no matter what I did I couldn't generate any attack or crispness from them. Beautiful guitar to look at.

Personally I'd save a few more bucks and spring for a Gibson Studio even used if you had to. However I've also grown weary of Gibson for the opposite reason that Epiphone looks so good... the bang for the buck quality really to me isn't comparable to Fender or Ibanez. Your mileage may vary. I own a Gibson USA LP and at less than a year in the pots are brutal and even the toggle is running into issues. This shouldn't happen in a $1000+ USA-made guitar. I've never seen it in a Fender, not even on lesser-priced jobbies like the MIM's. However when things are right the Gibson sounds nice and far more articulate than the Epis I've owned, and it's a beautiful guitar to look at.

Have you considered an Ibanez Artcore series if you're considering hollow body? The AS93 I bought recently runs circles around the 339 in terms of build quality, finish touches and especially tone. Just some food for thought. Good luck with the shopping. My best suggestion is to get your hands on them and really try them out. Spend the time to know you're going to be happy with the tone.
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