Price paid: $ 849
Purchased from: Jimâ€™s Music
Sound — 6
I will be blunt here; I am giving this a 6/10 because it doesn't sound good. It doesn't sound like it should and my point being, these P-90's are way too hot. I know this isn't correct but I generally look at P-90's as a pickup that falls somewhere in between the output of single coils and humbuckers. The pickups that Gibson equipped on this guitar are way too HOT for what this guitar is trying to go out and accomplish. The pickups don't necessarily sound bad in general, I mean they play fine, they pickup and recreate a P-90 sound but it is just too much. For a guitar that is trying to emulate the pickup sounds of the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's this pickup is far too much overkill. The reason this is called the 1960's tribute is because it has a 1960's type of a neck which most modern players love, unfortunately Gibson also gave it modern type of a sound. My problem lies with the fact that the old P-90's weren't that great. It was laborious to get a great tone out of them; one of the first Les Paul's that did a good job was the 1956 Goldtop. That not only looked amazing but it also sounded great. If you want to buy one of those you will nearly be spending $4,000usd so we aren't going to waste our time in an apple and oranges argument. This is a studio, which means it is Gibson's entry level Les Paul. I am really glad that they have given users the option for P-90's but I really do not think they did a great job with these pickups. If this was just a Les Paul Studio with P-90's that would be one thing but this is a Tribute' model. As stated, these are far too hot; these pickups are pushing out more power than they should based on what P-90's of that era did. For this Gibson, you have failed.
Overall Impression — 7
Even though I really was not a fan of the tone of this thing (which is for me the most important part of any instrument) I am overall moderately impressed. I think Gibson has the right thought but did not carry out the right actions. I like the idea of a 1960's tribute guitar, especially at an affordable price, but I do not like the fact that this is not well put together, doesn't look superb, and doesn't deliver an accurate sound of the period it was aiming to replicate. With a fair amount of refinement and some keener eyes from the quality control team this guitar could be a real smash. Now on a side note if you really like this guitar but want the 1950's neck profile, good luck. These were being produced last year but after a massive flood in the Gibson factory these have moved into the realm of collector's items, with collector item prices. You can find people selling these on eBay and Craigs List for nearly $400 more than their original MSRP. It is honestly a bummer that this guitar with the 50's neck profile is commanding those big dollars, great for the people that own them but I think they are really taking advantage of the market for no reason, simply because they got lucky and got theirs before the great flood.' So if you really want a Les Paul with P-90's buy yourself the Gibson Les Paul Studio '60s Tribute Electric Guitar Epiphone Limited Edition 1956 Les Paul Goldtop. I used to have one of these and it was an amazing guitar, to this day it is the one piece of gear I will always regret selling. Years ago these were $399usd brand new, now though they have moved to $499. Pick yourself up a used one and enjoy the better craftsmanship and better sound of the P-90's. The reason I say this is because I really believe it is true. I do not see any reason why the Gibson is double the price of this Epiphone, where in comparison everyone I have seen is extremely well crafted. Go try those out back to back and tell me what you think. Enjoy the tone and happy picking'.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I really can't imagine anything bad happening with this guitar. I, owning several Gibson guitars, have never encountered any problems when it comes to reliability and durability. I have checked out some online owner feedback reviews in regards to this and no one has had any problems with the electronics of any sort. I did find that some had initial problems with the guitars they ordered online. Some stated that their setup was completely out of wack and that there was some physical damage to the guitar on the fretboard. Lesson being, buy the guitar in person if you have the ability and option to. It seems that some are better than others.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
It looks OK'; at best. It really doesn't do it for me. Once again I know the price point, I know how cheap this is compared to other Les Paul's so I am not going to attack this for not having the aesthetic beauty of 57' Black Beauty, however, the craftsmanship on this really doesn't seem that great either. For instance, none of the plastic parts seem to fit the body correctly. Everything has pretty big gaps most notably is where the Pickguard meets the body and where the Pickguard meets the pickup. You look at this guitar closely and just realize to yourself that something doesn't look right. They were going for an older finish and that they did great with making it look older but even without the gloss I don't like any of the color patterns outside of the Honey Burst. The fact that I don't like the majority of the colors had nothing to do with my rating of 7 but it is a point to be made that everything on this just not only feels, but looks cheap. The one saving grace of this guitar are the Grover Kluson tuners Green Keys. These are the same tuners that I have on my Gibson 61' SG. They look great and stay in tune even better! As I have stated, I know this isn't a $2,000 guitar but you can still make something look nice for eight hundred and forty-nine hard earned dollars. It still says Gibson at the top; they still should uphold their company and most importantly their quality. Could it potentially reduce profits to have the quality control team send something back, absolutely, would it be better for all of their consumers, hell yes. Nearly all new Les Paul's rolling off the factory line all have the Plecking system performed on them. My 2008 Les Paul Traditional Pro has that and I was very pleased with that machine. This guitar played fine, had slightly higher action than most would be accustomed to but out of the box an extremely playable guitar. No complaints here.
Features — 8
The Gibson Les Paul Studio 60s Tribute has features that the Les Paul's did in the beginning of their time. Most notably are the P-90 pickups in this guitar. It does not have a worn' look as the Road Worn series by Fender but Gibson has done their version of aging this guitar which is essentially removing the gloss finish on this Les Paul. Specific Features of this guitar are: ▪ Top wood: maple ▪ Body wood: mahogany ▪ Finish: worn nitrocellulose lacquer ▪ Truss Rod: Gibson Adjustable Truss Rod ▪ Neck: mahogany ▪ Neck profile: slim '60s ▪ Neck joint: set ▪ Nut: Corian ▪ Fingerboard: rosewood ▪ Fingerboard inlays: figured acrylic trapezoids ▪ Hardware plating: Chrome ▪ Tuners: Grover Kluson style green keys ▪ Pickups: Gibson P90 with cream covers ▪ Pickup selector: 3-way ▪ Controls: volume, volume, tone, tone ▪ Knobs: cream top hats with silver inserts ▪ Pickguard: cream ▪ Bridge: Tune-o-matic ▪ Tailpiece: stopbar ▪ Case: Gibson deluxe gig bag The features on this guitar are pretty basic, which is one of the reasons Gibson is able to make this affordable.' This doesn't have any binding, it doesn't have the nice gloss, and it doesn't have the craftsmanship I have come to expect from this company.