Price paid: A$ 3000
Purchased from: Gallins Guitars
Sound — 10
Like many others here I play blues / hard rock / funk and have been playing guitars for over 20 years. I play this through either a Marshall Class 5 tube amp or a Marshall 100w solid state combo. Effects are a bunch of pedals but mainstays are Boss Turbo Distortion, a Reverb Pedal, EH Big Muff Pi. I know sound it pretty subjective, particularly when everyones rig is different but this instrument is the finest thing I have ever played and/or heard. I have always loved Les Pauls and most of my favourite guitarists are Paul players. Being a Les Paul, that huge, deep tone and 3 day sustain is a given. I've copped Jazz, Metal, Blues and foot to the floor rock with this guitar and that is just on the stock settings. The coil tap side of things is a whole other world. While splitting the coils down to single via the push/pull system you wont get a "strat" sound but something altogether different, much more biting, almost a little like those old P90s but still different. The only drawback with this is the noise you get at high gain but I guess that's with any single coil PuP. My personal favourite setting is putting the PuPs out of phase by pulling up the neck tone control - you get this really fat, nasal sounding "honk" sound that just so funky. Bypassing the volume/tone pots altogether by lifting the Bridge Tone Knob gives you a nice lead boost. As I've mentioned I've played many guitars over the years and I can't say that I've ever been 100% happy with the sound of any of them (even one I built) - 98% maybe but never 100%. This guitar absolutely nails the sound I have been looking for for many, many years. Its perfect for me and I'm now 100% happy.
Overall Impression — 10
As mentioned, Ive been playing blues/rock guitar for over 20 years. Ive had many guitars over that time and even made one myself. I've never been able to justify spending this amount of money on a guitar (or convincing my wife) but with the Australian Dollar being very strong against the US$ during the GFC the prices on Les Pauls here dropped quite sharply and so on turning 40 I decided that if I didn't splash out now and buy the guitar I've always wanted I probably never would. And so I did a lot of research on exactly what it was that I wanted particularly given that the Les Paul Traditional is a close runner to this. I took this over the LP Traditional because of the diversity of sound the coil tapping offers. That and the AAA Maple top which the Traditional didn't have. I had to search for the Desert Burst as there were not a lot of them in this country (Australia) as apparently Gibson didn't ship many of them here. I was left with no questions, I knew everything about what I was buying and even played it in the store. I love everything about this guitar the sound, the look and the name. I still can't believe I own something as beautifully crafted as this and which suits my style of playing so perfectly. For the first time I'm 100% happy with my tone and it will be my tone for the foreseeable future.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I'm hoping I will have this guitar as a mainstay for the rest of my life. I have no doubt that if cared for properly this thing will last, it is a Gibson after all. Look at all those old Les Pauls abused and beaten by rock stars of old that still keep on keeping on. I had one problem when putting strap-locks on it was the stock screws kept coming loose after a lot of upright playing but that's a minior foible that was quickly sorted with a longer screw. The hardcase is brand new and extremely sturdy with a very plush interior.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Well, straight out of the box this thing was an absolute delight to behold. Opening the lid of the hardcase took my breath away, the tiger striping of the AAA Maple top has been bookmatched slightly off kilter on purpose apparently to give it a slightly different look. Desert Burst was my choice and I don't regret it. It is a stunning instrument to look at. An odd thing I noticed when I opened this for the first time and even for a week or two after was a really pleasant smell, almost of vanilla. Maybe it was the moisture tabs they put in the hardcase but it was kinda nice. I could find no real flaws with this thing apart from a slight buzz on the G string up near the 10th fret but was adjusted away pretty quick. That aside, this instrument was set up precisely how I would have set it up myself.
Features — 10
Gibson Les Paul Standard 2012 - made in Nashville. Carved AAA flame maple top in Desert Burst that is immaculate. All your normal LP construct specs, 22 frets, 24.75" scale length, Mahogany body that is weight releived (but not as drastically as the earlier standards) - all the usual but with a few differences. It's got a '60s slim-taper set neck which suits my style of playing and makes those higher frets so easy to slide into. 2 Burstbucker Pro Pickups that are coil tapped via a push/pull feature on each individual volume and tone controls that gives you neck and bridge single coil tones as well as an option that puts the PuPs out of phase. This feature also provides for a direct output option that bypasses Vol / Tone pots and goes directly to you amp. The versatility of this configuration is obvious and you can pull some pretty varied sounds out of this instrument. Also the tuners are locking (Grover keystone) in a chrome finish as opposed to your Jade, tulip style pegs. Handy, but being a traditionalist I like the older jade pegs. I got a set of fresh strings, users guide, a Gibson pick holding keyring, and bunch of picks all in a brand new Gibson hardcase. Opening this for the first time was almost like seeing the birth of your first child.