Price paid: $ 849.99
Purchased from: Sam Ash
Sound — 7
Now, before the hating begins about the amp I most often play it through, please know my review and opinions of the sound are based off of a number of amps I have played the guitar through. I most often play it through a Line 6 Spider 75, and I must say the guitar sounds flawless. I was expecting it to really Shine with full distortion and other such effects that would best fit the dirty sounding P90s, but the guitar seemed just perfect for blues. The pickups honestly did not meet my expecations, let alone actually fit the "60s" part of the guitar. Like many have said, it just has a 60s neck, and that's the only thing that really seems to be "60s" about it, especially given that humbuckers were created in like '57 and pretty much used in every Les Paul after. The P90s are much more modern than the outfit of the guitar, they are very HOT compared to what you would expect from the earlier P90s of the 50s. They still sound good and can be pretty versatile, but they're definitely far from what I would have expected from a Gibson. You can always put in different pickups either way, and for the price that may not be all that bad of an idea.
Overall Impression — 7
I play a lot of 60s and 70s music, and despite the name, I'd say its not the best fit. It sounds good and feels great, but tonally I know I could be getting something better. I have only been playing for about 4 years or so and have a few other much cheaper guitas and stringed instruments, but out of my collection, this is still my favorite. There is something about the guitar that just makes it worth it despite some of its mediocre characterists. When people come see my collection, its the first thing they notice. It is after all a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, and for the price, you just can't beat that. I wish I had looked into the P90s a lot more before purchasing, the guitar made me realize I'm really a humbucker man, but it still sounds good. I love the finish and feel of the guitar. When you pick up this guitar you know you're holding a Gibson Les Paul, despite the light weight and chambered body. If it were stolen or lost I would possibly consider getting another, I would just have to weigh my options out again. I am moderately impressed for the price, but fairly unimpressed for it being a real Gibson. I am highly impressed with the Goldtop finish, to me its what makes the guitar so special. Ever since I was very little I always wanted a Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, and I know many guitar players feel that way as well, so at this price, I just could not pass it up. The P90s are much too HOT for my taste, but I'm looking into possibly switching them out for ones I know I would like more.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It is sort of hard for me to give a good review on reliability and durability because I have only had it for a few weeks or so, let alone even play it live yet. I treat the guitar like a precious gem. I rarely spend so much on a guitar so I'm not really going to ever risk finding out whether or not it is durable. I will say though that it does feel like a sturdy piece of wood, and the finish seems like it would last quite a long time, under the right conditions, of course. The strap buttons are solid, I have not had any problems with the hardware on the guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The one thing that bothers me the most though is the way the pickups were set up when I recieved the guitar. It was very cheaply done and definitely lowered my impression of Gibson, but thankfully a quick visit from my guitar techie friend fixed it up. Another problem I have with it is the G string, and I am not sure if it is just the strings Gibson shipped it with or if I just need to break it out, but it hurts like hell to bend the G string. I assume it has something to do with the tension of the string that Gibson set it up with. Other than that, all the strings bend just fine on every fet with an easy amount of tension. Hopefully changing the strings might fix the problem. The big thing with these guitars that many may not have known is their origin. The manufacturing plant in Nashville where supposedly this whole line of guitars is produced had major flooding last year, and out of nowhere came this very inexpensive line up. It did worry me when I purhcased my guitar because I had to buy my Goldtop online due to unavailability and would not get the chance to inspect it before purchasing. Thankfully, there were no flaws on the guitar other than the awkwardly set up pickups and G string issue. I believe there are only 3 pieces of wood blended into the guitar, which is great considering that many people who I have talked to who have also purchased the guitar had some with 4 to 5. It's always preferred to have consistency in the wood. It makes Gibson look even worse to me though considering that they did not put the same care and quality into all of their guitars, even the cheaper models.
Features — 8
First review, so please just criticize me for the better :) The guitar was made in 2011 in Nasville, TN USA. I'm big on buying USA products, and adding the fact that it was also a Gibson and at this price, I could not pass it up. It's got a smooth Rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets. The mahogany neck has a slim 60's profile which makes moving up and down the neck a lot smoother and easier compared to the heavier and thicker Les Pauls. It has a chambered mahogany body with a maple top, and I have to admit, the lightness of the guitar does give it a sort of cheap feel. I've held my fair share of Les Pauls, and as many of you know, they're pretty heavey and fairly thick... Do not expect the same feel with this guitar. For those of you who like a thinner and lighter guitar, this would be a plus. For those of you who like the genuine heavey and thick feel of a Les Paul, this guitar may not satisfy. The finish on the guitar varies by which color option you choose and I have seen every available option so far. My least favorite was the Worn Honeyburst, the finish just looked like plain wood and looked incredibly cheap. The Worn Cherryburst was pretty nice, it did also have that "plain" look, but definitely looked much nicer and more vibrant than the Honeyburst. The Worn Ebony looked just awful to me, when I first saw it I thought the guitar store had just spraypainted it. The Worn White looked very nice from a distance, but up close it looked kind of like chalk. My favorite, and the one I purchased, is the Worn Goldtop finish. With the other finishes, the "Worn" characteristic was easily identifiable, but on the GT, I can't see it anywhere. I actually put it side by side to a much more expensive Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop and could not see any difference in the finishes. If you want the best bang for you buck, the Goldtop finish is a must. It is the most sought after finish for this guitar so it took me over 2 months to get it, but it was definitely worth it. It has a stoptail Bridge and truly just the basic set up that defines a Les Paul. It has Nickel Vintage Tuners with Perloid Buttons, and I must say, the color of the tuners is quite unattractive up close, but sort of ends up complimenting the Goldtop finish on my guitar. Of course, the big selling point of this guitar is the soapbar P-90 pickups. I never had a guitar with P-90s before, let alone a guitar with single coil pickups, so I was not sure what to expect. I was actually surprised at how versatile the pickups were, people had so often told me how harsh they sound and all the buzz they produce, but I found it to be hardly noticeable. More than anything though, they were just too hot. The guitar came with a gigbag, which none of us are ever really thrilled about, given that the guitar is apparently not "good enough" to come with a hardshell case, but believe me, the gigbag is awesome. The padding inside the gigbag is just perfect - strong and thick enough to support the guitar and soft and smooth enough to protect its finish.