#1
So yesterday I headed over to good old Birmingham to play a few guitars and see what I like the feel of.. I was already pretty sure what I was going to end up leaving with and once I played it knew I had to have it, only problem is it's a total lemon...


Yep that's right it's a Gibson Les Paul 2014 Classic in Lemonburst.

Time for a review:
The Sound
I played it through a Fender Blues Jr in the store and it did exactly what I wanted when I wanted.

The 57's sound great clean and dirty. You do get a drop in volume on the coil split but IMO it gives a really great single coil tone, and it's not too harsh on the treble pickup which always turns me off, it's just nice and slinky.

Originally I said the 15dB boost was pretty good, but after turning the amp up it really livens up. The clean tone gets a huge volume boost and it's great solo boost. I also would have liked a second Tone control and the switch moved nearer the pickguard or something, but I don't use the treble tone all that much so it wasn't a deal breaker.

I currently play through Bugera 22 until I upgrade and it just gives a great dirty rock and roll tone. Unplugged this guitar is actually louder than I thought (probably because of the cheese holes) and sounds quite nice when I'm not permitted to play through the amp

The Feel
There's a reason Gibson commend such a high price for their guitars and I think the feel is the main reason. This just feels like a great guitar. It's got a nice weight to it, heavy like a good Les Paul should be, but not back breaking. The '14 classic has the cheese holes. It's got a 60's slim taper neck that's (again in my opinion) still got some beef to it; it's a nice midpoint I think between baseball bat and Wizard II, although the wideness is something I've had to get used to again.

The fret over binding is one of the better decisions Gibson have made in the past decade. Bending is way easier and I definitely don't miss the scrape of hitting the binding.

The grip knobs are great. I prefer amber top hats but these are way more economical for live playing.

The Look
It's a Lemonburst Les Paul... I could probably end the paragraph right there. But let's continue just for kicks.

I would have liked a higher grade maple top but I enjoy the grain on top, it's got a light flame that hit's the light well and it's not too showy.
The burst is light and understated and just perfect. The colour and the Vanilla scent reminds me of Lemon Drizzle cake. I wish it didn't come with the Pickguard attached because I always take mine off and I'll be stuck with the holes, but I'm not a fan of what they've done with the pickguards on the 15 models. The fatter strap pins are great. That was my main gripe with Les Pauls of the past. They are just awkwardly positioned but the bigger pins help keep a strap on (ha).

The back is a nice golden brown colour and compliments the top so well. The battery compartment is also really easy to get to know it's placed in the control cavity cover, although the material they're made out of is questionable...

I was on the fence with the 120th Fret Marker but in the flesh it look's quite nice.

The brown leather case and pink insides is amazing. Although the quality is 7/10, i can see glue marks and it just doesn't feel quite as tank like as earlier cases. the original vintage pink fur cases will outlast these for sure, but it still protects the guitar fantastically.

Pictures! (Please ignore Jesse, he's also a new addition that wanted to know what all the fuss was about).
Any other requests let me know.




Last edited by ProphetToJables at Nov 16, 2014,
#2
Damnit, now I can't post my LP.


Great top. Seriously killer. Now if only you can get rid of the inlay and the toggle!
#3
The toggle is in the wrong place for sure, I keep catching the tone knock when I flick it on.
The inlay really doesn't look that obtrusive.

Also an interesting point I just discovered about the serial number:
in 2014 they've changed their system (I'm not sure if it's just for this year as a one off or if it's how they do it from now on) but the first 2 digits denote the year '14. Then every guitar has its own individual number after that. So my Les Paul was the 99966th Gibson made this year (I believe).
Last edited by ProphetToJables at Nov 16, 2014,
#5
I could imagine you playing The Lemon Song with this LP xD.

Now that's a killer guitar.
#6
Quote by ProphetToJables

The 57's sound great clean and dirty. You do get a drop in volume on the coil split but IMO it gives a really great single coil tone, and it's not too harsh on the treble pickup which always turns me off, it's just nice and slinky.


You'll always get a volume drop -- you're reducing the magnetic pull to half what it is with the extra coil in the mix. I learned long ago that there are times when you want to set up the amp for single coil playing and then just use the switch to humbucker mode as a boost. Think of it more as two completely different sets of pickups; single coils and humbuckers, and set up your amp accordingly. Lots easier with something like a Pod, of course, where you can have a wide range of options available at a stomp.

Quote by ProphetToJables
Originally I said the 15dB boost was pretty good, but after turning the amp up it really livens up. The clean tone gets a huge volume boost and it's great solo boost. I also would have liked a second Tone control and the switch moved nearer the pickguard or something, but I don't use the treble tone all that much so it wasn't a deal breaker.


Generally you want mini-switches out of the way of being hit under normal picking. I have one guitar that has a pair of them BEHIND the Floyd. There are some LPs that have a miniswitch right in the center of the "quad" of controls (check out the 25/50 Anniversary model from 1978). I actually prefer a master volume located nearer the bridge/bridge pickup (find a shot of the Neal Schon Signature guitar; that quad of controls is spread out according to his preferences, and he does pinky swells with the MV).


Quote by ProphetToJables
I currently play through Bugera 22 until I upgrade and it just gives a great dirty rock and roll tone. Unplugged this guitar is actually louder than I thought (probably because of the cheese holes) and sounds quite nice when I'm not permitted to play through the amp


The closer a guitar moves toward being a hollow body, the louder and more resonant it will be unplugged. That's not necessarily a good thing. For one, it means that more string energy is being lost to vibrate the body (and, thus, the air). That means reduced sustain. Truly solid body guitars will often sound thin and quiet by comparison (string energy is staying in the string) and will often sustain better.


Quote by ProphetToJables

The fret over binding is one of the better decisions Gibson have made in the past decade. Bending is way easier and I definitely don't miss the scrape of hitting the binding.


I quite agree -- the "nibs" effectively reduced the string spacing, and I *hate* getting a thin E string caught between fret end and binding. It was traditional and worked just fine for the big jazz guitars, but I maintain that the original Les Pauls were never designed for modern players and their bending and vibrato needs. The next two things that need modification badly are the headstock design and the clunky neck heel. The carved Axcess neck heel should be standard on all Les Pauls.

Quote by ProphetToJables

I would have liked a higher grade maple top but I enjoy the grain on top, it's got a light flame that hit's the light well and it's not too showy.


I always figure that if you're going to have a figured top, it should be a good one. Carvin is spectacular in this regard, and their pricing (recall that all Carvins are semi-custom guitars) is far more reasonable. At one point, I priced an Axcess Custom (about $4K) and asked about a 4AAAA top for it. I was quoted $1760 additional. Carvin ordinarily charges about $300-400 for a truly spectacular top added to one of their ordinary guitars (and they use the same wood and finish on the headstock!). In fact, the CS6 (Carvin's version of the LP shape guitar) comes with a full-thickness 4AAAA quilt or flame maple cap for less than the $1760 pricetag Gibson wanted to tack on.

Quote by ProphetToJables

The burst is light and understated and just perfect. The colour and the Vanilla scent reminds me of Lemon Drizzle cake.


The truth is probably a bit less romantic. The smell is due to an aldehyde that's part of a solvent that can be used for either the lacquer or the case glue. The aldehyde itself is harmless and closely related to vanillin, the aldehyde associated with vanilla smell/flavor, but the solvent itself is toxic, carcinogenic and is one of several volatile organic compounds that contribute to deterioration of air quality. It's an extreme health hazard for the workers at Gibson and one of the reasons that the stuff has been banned for most commercial and industrial uses by the EPA for years. Even Gibson realizes that it's going to have to switch guitar paints in the near future, but for now it contributes heavily to the re-election of Tennessee state legislature candidates that vote for grandfather clauses that contribute to reduced air quality requirements with Gibson in mind.


Quote by ProphetToJables

I wish it didn't come with the Pickguard attached because I always take mine off and I'll be stuck with the holes, but I'm not a fan of what they've done with the pickguards on the 15 models.

The battery compartment is also really easy to get to know it's placed in the control cavity cover, although the material they're made out of is questionable...

I was on the fence with the 120th Fret Marker but in the flesh it look's quite nice.


Remove the pickguard, but put the screws back in the holes. That looks a bit more intentional than empty holes and keeps you from losing the screws.

I've got no issue with the anniversary inlay. I'll be interested in knowing how well that battery compartment holds up and I'll even be more interested in knowing if you can get a replacement at some point in the future. I have *two* batteries on one guitar -- one lives in a flip-out battery compartment routed into the back of the guitar (it's for a Sustainer, which goes through batteries within about 12 hours of usage time) and another is simply stuffed into the control cavity (it's for a sweepable active mids boost of around 25 dB that has much longer battery life).

Congrats on the new guitar !
#9
Dspellman - who knew carcinogens could smell so good? I was always under he impression that they just sprayed the case with a vanilla fragrance, but I guess that's what they want you to think.

The battery compartment actually wasn't sitting flush with the cavity cover when i picked it up, had to pop it back in in store, a bad sign indeed, but it hasn't moved since.

And I'm not a fan of 4A tops, too flashy for my needs! But different strokes and all that

This was £1350 brand new if anyone's interested, and I was the first person to play it in store as they'd only had it for about an hour!

Something I forgot to mention in the original review:
After looking this guitar up and down the finish is actually flawless which I wasn't expecting. Maybe I picked up one of the rare ones but the QS on this guitar at least is 10/10
#11
Quote by ProphetToJables


And I'm not a fan of 4A tops, too flashy for my needs! But different strokes and all that

After looking this guitar up and down the finish is actually flawless which I wasn't expecting. Maybe I picked up one of the rare ones but the QS on this guitar at least is 10/10


Awesome! I don't think I've ever purchased a new guitar off a GC wall, ever. The last new guitars have been special ordered, and I've been able to open the box for the first time in the store (if there are issues, we all know instantly).

Too many "off the wall" horror stories.

Worth noting that a 4A top can include a nice tight flame that's simply very consistent across the entire face of the guitar. Not very "flashy" at all. It's just subtle evidence that the quality choices were intentional.

On the other hand, if you want flash, it's going to come from folks like Nik Huber and Carvin and PRS, who choose a spectacular quilt, work a dark dye into the grain, then sand it back just enough to leave the already good grain emphasized, and who then apply a translucent finish that really helps it pop. Some of those are absolutely flash.

This guitar *could* have been subtle:

]

But didn't end up that way:

#13
Quote by dspellman


The truth is probably a bit less romantic. The smell is due to an aldehyde that's part of a solvent that can be used for either the lacquer or the case glue. The aldehyde itself is harmless and closely related to vanillin, the aldehyde associated with vanilla smell/flavor, but the solvent itself is toxic, carcinogenic and is one of several volatile organic compounds that contribute to deterioration of air quality. It's an extreme health hazard for the workers at Gibson and one of the reasons that the stuff has been banned for most commercial and industrial uses by the EPA for years. Even Gibson realizes that it's going to have to switch guitar paints in the near future, but for now it contributes heavily to the re-election of Tennessee state legislature candidates that vote for grandfather clauses that contribute to reduced air quality requirements with Gibson in mind.



You seem to overlook that the type of polyurethane used for many guitars is also quite toxic.

Eventually I suspect a water based lacquer will replace the nitro finish and the plastic poly finish both.
#14
Quote by ProphetToJables
The toggle is in the wrong place for sure, I keep catching the tone knock when I flick it on.
The inlay really doesn't look that obtrusive.

Also an interesting point I just discovered about the serial number:
in 2014 they've changed their system (I'm not sure if it's just for this year as a one off or if it's how they do it from now on) but the first 2 digits denote the year '14. Then every guitar has its own individual number after that. So my Les Paul was the 99966th Gibson made this year (I believe).

Interesting. Makes mine the 28,123rd.
#17
I've never really been drawn to LPs, in spite of owning a PRS SC245 (my #1), but that lemonburst is gorgeous. I could see myself with one of those.
#18
Quote by ProphetToJables
NGD thread slapsy?

It would be a few months late, but I might get around to it at some stage.
#20
Quote by KenG
You seem to overlook that the type of polyurethane used for many guitars is also quite toxic.

Eventually I suspect a water based lacquer will replace the nitro finish and the plastic poly finish both.


Since we were talking Gibson, I wasn't overlooking anything.
Some other guitar paints are also toxic but not nearly so compared to nitrocellulose and the solvents associated with that.

"Poly" is a blanket term that covers a wide variety of finishes, many of which are not very similar in material makeup or curing characteristics, including water-based coatings. Worth noting that poly finishes are no more "plastic" than nitrocellulose itself; it's one of the first plastics, used in tuner buttons, plastic inlays (pearloid) pool balls, pickguards, combs, knobs, etc., etc.

Some manufacturers have already moved into a more modern process; Taylor has a computer controlled paint system that puts the guitar on a robotic fixture, the paint emitter on a robotic arm and is using a paint that is nearly all solids. This allows them to run their guitars dry-to-dry through the paint department in under 24 hours with a result that's thin and highly protective but far more even than any human with a spray gun could achieve. It's also far less dangerous for its workers.

Last edited by dspellman at Nov 16, 2014,
#22
that looks like a winner. im not even a fan of gibson.

i do miss my bugera v22. really, solid tone coming out of that cheap little box. really. the clean and crunch easily rival by egnater tweaker and even the carvin v3m i have now. but beyond a classic rock crunch thats where it leaves off. honestly, i may like the tone better than my tweaker. except i wanted to move into a head/ cab setup and through my avatar cab the tweaker probably sounded better. i would be willing to bet with the right settings a v22 cimbo and a stock tweaker 1x12 combo, hmm may be a tough one with about a 300-350 dollar difference in price.

however, it is still a fairly budget tube amp. im sure if you got yourself a better quality tuber, that nes USA les will realy shine. i would make that a priority in your amp search.

honestly, if you just play at home in a bedroom and play classic type rock or indie, a vox lil night train 2 watter would give you "to die for" rock crunch with that les paul at managable volumes. my goodness.
#23
I'm after a nice 20-40w combo next, I do tour, but tend to mic it up anyway.

At the moment I may get either a Blackster Club 40 or a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

...Or break down and get a Two Rock
#24
Congrats on the zebra lemon.

I can't imagine that toggle being popular with the LP purists