#1
Hi UG!

I've got a Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2010 Desert Burst, which I bought new back in mid 2011. It was my first 'real' electric, which I bought whilst playing in a rock band. I was only about 19 when I'd got it, and I was pretty new to electrics and didn't really know exactly what I was looking for.
Anyway, I was happy with it for a while, until I started to notice how it didn't really cut through the mix in the band. I acquired a 60th anniversary Empress Tele last year, and the comparison really made me notice how muddy my LP is. It sounds like there's a blanket over the amp, and I have to really dial down the volume (even on the bridge pickup) to clean up the bass (which is pretty flabby). It also sounds kind of 'buzzy' and 'fizzy' with more gain. There's no real 'snap', but maybe I'm just used to the lovely brightness of my maple neck Tele.
Did I get a dud, or have I just switched from Team Gibson to Team Fender?

My amp is a VOX VT120+ (soon to be upgraded to a 'real' amp. Maybe a DIY Tweed Deluxe). I'm guessing playing through a proper tube amp will improve things, but I'm not sure by how much.
I know the guitar is only as good as the player of course, but I'm finding it pretty hard to get inspiring tone here! At the moment I'm pretty tempted to chuck it up on eBay and find a nice old ES-335 instead!
Guitars are a very personal thing, but what would you guys do if you were me?
I play John Mayer-ish pop rock with elements of jazz/blues/funk.

Cheers in advance
Dan
#2
No. Inherently, LP's and Tele's are very different-sounding guitars. There is probably nothing wrong with your LP other than you're probably not EQ'ing your amp correctly for the particular guitar you're using and the kind of sound you're looking for.
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Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Jan 27, 2014,
#3
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
No. Inherently, LP's and Tele's are very different-sounding guitars. There is probably nothing wrong with your LP other than you're probably not EQ'ing your amp correctly for the particular guitar you're using and the kind of sound you're looking for.


agree. you won't get the best out either guitar with the same amp settings. the LP will have a darker sound to it naturally. john mayer sound doesn't come out of a LP. you want blues then think john mayall's early guitar players (Clapton, peter green)
#4
well, ill say this in any scenario, but buying a top end guitar and putting it through a low end amp is really a waste of money tone wise. you would have been better off with a bottom end epiphone, and spending that money on a really nice tube setup.

some very bright tones can be had with a les paul. think allman brothers and led zeppelin. VERY bright whiney tones if you ask me. there are a lot of other factors there, but point is, its not just the guitar. the specific model, pickups etc all matter.

as a rule of thumb, the construction of a fender (any fender really) and single coil pups will make a brighter guitar with everything else the same.

my suggestion is that if you like your guitar, keep your guitar. i think guitar is your main tool, if you cant play it nothing else is gonna go well. HOWEVER, your map and pedals are the majority of your tone. if thats what you are unhappy with start there.

i probably will never let a guitar dictate my tone. i pick a guitar around my playing style for comfort and playability. i choose pickups for the type of music, etc, response, dynamics, the tremolo for hte type of music i play, but my guitar is NOT the basis for my tone.
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#5
Yeah the amp is your problem here.
The VT is a very bassy amp and the LP probably doesnt help that.

Run it through a valve amp and it should clear up a bit.

An ES335 really isn't going to sound that much brighter than a Les Paul.

I would maybe keep your favourite guitar and trade in the other one for a nice amp, isntead of a beginner amp.
Gear:

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Fender Road Worn Strat w/ Noiseless pickups
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#6
I've also got a Les Paul Traditional (I think mine is from the same year as yours but I'm not entirely sure) and I also thought it sounded quite muddy through my old amp (a Roland Cube 30x), but when I switched over to a new amp (Engl Gigmaster 15 with a Marshall 1960 cab) it sounded really balanced and not muddy at all. Les Pauls will always sound a bit darker than Telecasters but they sound really well when they're played through a decent amp. My advice is to try the Les Paul with a better amp and see if you like it then.
#8
Thanks for the advice so far, guys.
As I mentioned, I'm thinking of importing and building a DIY Tube Depot 5e3 Tweed Deluxe kit from the US (I'm in kangaroo land ). From what I hear, they're very versatile, and would be perfect for my style. I'm influenced by a lot of Mayer, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Ryan Adams, and that kind of thing. So I'm hoping that will help me get more out of my axes!

I'm a singer/songwriter, and a lot of what I do is acoustic, so I'm still learning the ropes with electric guitar tone. But this year I really want to step up my game in that department, to make myself a more well-rounded artist.
Apart from it being a 'beginner amp', I'm kind of sick of all the on board presets, amp simulations and effects in my VOX. It's useful in the studio because of the vast sonic possibilites. But I never use most of the effects, and I feel like having so much choice has actually made it harder for me to learn how to get good tone.
I just want a small, light, bread-and-butter tube amp that does clean/moderately crunchy rhythm and Mayer-ish lead tones really well. Which is why I'm looking in the direction of Fender-type amps, and specifically the 5e3 kit.

Hmm...
#9
Can't help you much with the amp without a budget, but definitely do consider a pickup swap too.
#10
If you've got the coil splits on that guitar, use 'em.

Don't simply swap pickups for other humbuckers without a plan. You'll end up with more of the same, but a much lighter wallet.

If you're leaning toward a Mayerish sound, you may want to swap at least the neck pickup for a Seymour Duncan P-Rail. This is a pickup that contains a real rail coil single coil pickup and a real P90 coil. Check out their Triple Shot pickup surround for switching possibilities; you can select rail coil/P90 coil/both coils in serial mode (standard humbucker) or both coils in parallel mode (a "lighter weight" humbucker).

Here's another possibility -- you can cut the bass on the neck pickup in particular by switching in an inductor. Gibson has done this before in the original L6S and again in the M-III. Both of these were guitars that were designed to lean toward the Fender side of things. In the M-III (which used three pickups) the guitar used a five-way switch and all single coil settings to emulate a strat. With the flick of a switch, the same five-way selected LP-ish settings, including a full bridge humbucker, a middle position (both pickups selected), a neck-only position in full humbucker, and an "enhanced" neck humbucker. This last cut in the inductor, and that removes a lot of the muddy bass. The schematics are available, the inductor isn't expensive, it can be easily implemented with a push-pull on the neck tone pot and it's completely reversible. Another possibility is to put a Q-filter (Bill Lawrence) on the guitar. Google it.

Another option is to substitute a single coil size stacked humbucker for the neck pickup. I'm currently using a DiMarzio Fast Track II (it's tucked in next to a Sustainer driver) in one of my LPs. The result is a far more focused sound and much-reduced bottom end mud. I didn't come up with this myself; I discovered it while looking over one of Neal Schon's guitars. There are adapters to drop these into your neck pickup position with no changes to the guitar itself.

Keep the strings light. 9's or 10's at the heaviest. Keep your action fairly low (unless you're one of those "digging in" blues players). Keep the pickup height low; you'll find most of the original LP players had the neck pickup nearly level with the pickup ring. The closer you bring the pickup to the strings, the more mud you'll get.
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 27, 2014,
#11
Obviously you like your Fender more. Trade the Gibson and Vox (VT series is rubbish) for a high end tube amp and your mind will be blown how much better it sounds. That Tele through a Vox AC30 will make you shed tears.
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#12
Quote by Kroc


I've got a Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2010 Desert Burst, which I bought new back in mid 2011. It was my first 'real' electric, which I bought whilst playing in a rock band. I was only about 19 when I'd got it, and I was pretty new to electrics and didn't really know exactly what I was looking for.


You'll find yourself vacillating between the brightness of a tele (sometimes way too bright) and the low mids of an LP a lot over the years that you play electric, if I'm any example. I ended up with a ton of guitars, each for a different purpose. These days I've got three Variax guitars (in addition to all those others, of course) that save me a lot of guitar cartage; I can punch up a 335, an LP, a tele or a strat at will and wander around tone heaven all day. I've done the same with amps; I've got at least 15 tube amps and several solid state versions, but I use a modeler these days as well; all the choice and no box truck; I can put a 1500W rig (not a typo) into the back of a Honda FIT.

I'm not suggesting that you go this direction; just be prepared to change your mind now and again over what guitar/amp combination you like, and consider whether you want to flip or accumulate. For me, flipping would have been filled with regret, and some of the early guitars I bought are now worth silly money, thanks to "vintage" nonsense. A good thing. Your space, time and money circumstances will likely dictate now and then.
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 27, 2014,