Price paid: $ 830
Purchased from: Second hand / Antique guitar shop
Features: This fine piece here was made in good old '81 in Japan at the Fuji-Gen facility of Greco Guitars. It accurately resembles the KISS's Ace Frehley's Gibson Les Paul Custom.
It has 22 frets, a Standard 24.75" scale, and a round '59 neck profile which has, as all grecos have, a slighly more convex fret surface. The frets are pressed into a pau ferro (ironwood) neck top with pearl block inlays.
The neck and the machine head represent a solid piece of wood with a special thickened spot where the head is bent against the neck thus making it much more resistant to mechanical damage.
The body is composed of two mahagony pieces and three inch-thick maple top. Interestingly, the top pieces are cut symmetrically relative to the neck Axis and are matched very thoroughly. The body pieces are not cut in the middle, but they too have a good matching of the tissues and my particular guitar has a little knot right in the middle of the body. The guitar has a cherry burst finish with cream plastic parts.
The bidge is a classic Tune-o-Matic, the tuners are Greco Deluxe keystone ones and like all the hardware have a golden finish.
The electronics arrangement derive from the classic LP design, but have a most noticable modification: there are three Greco U-1000 humbuckers, which are very similar to DiMazio Super Distortions. The bridge and neck ones stand in the same place as the ordinary LP and the third one is placed just between them. The three mosters are wired around a three-way switch, two volume and two tone controls. The positions of the Switch operate according to the following table:
Rhythm: Neck pickup, controlled by the neck tone and volume controls.
Treble: Bridge pickup, controlled by the bridge tone and volume controls.
Middle: Neck pickup in parallel to the bridge one and the middle pickup in phase-inverted series with the bridge one. All the controlls are used in that case. This setting is very specific and usually ends up rewired. // 9
Sound: This seems to be a versatile instrument and it suits just fine when it comes to blues, blues-rock, country, classic rock and even heavy metal. Plug it in a Fender deluxe and swim in the endless sustain with a sweet attack and picking details. Change to a cranked JCM800 and you`ll be blown away by the power of the chords and compressed low register riffs. /in addition to the above, this one seems to be rather trebly for a Les Paul.
The sound produced by this beauty is a typical Les Paul Custom tone - a little commpressed and "coughing" on attack. It gives a rich and mellow to precise metallic tone in the rhythm position adjusting the tone knob. When blended with the bridge pickup, the attack gains more steel and punch. The treble position is a perfect fit for an overdriven amp - very articulated middle range with very controlled highs and ear-popping attack even when the pickups are retained rather far from the strings.
The only drawback is a high level of hum, which is reduced easily by screening the cavities. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: Having seen some 29 years of rock 'nroll hell, it still operats perfectly. The most vulnerable parts seem to be invincible - the Switch still has discrete positions and the tuners show no signs of detuning or wear. The finish surely have lots of minor flaws caused by lesser damages from general long-term wear such as trails on the back caused by the belt buckle and some little bumps here and there. All in all the finishing seem to be done rather good - in spite of all the wear it never broke off completely to the wood still composing a strong cover.
The hardware surely seen some better days as it can be seen on the worn-off gold layer, that has small bubbles and cavities. This guitar looks like it has been on the road for a good while and its up to you to decide whether it's good or bad. // 7
Reliability & Durability: Like many of the old stuff this one little instrument yells "I've been there when your parents watched cartoons! So what?" Having lasted through all those years it still feels like it will last and last. Pretty well crafted piece of work which makes it a good working horse, and in addition you get some Vintage looks. // 10
Overall Impression: I've been around guitar world for a few years and have played some good and bad instruments... even really bad ones. Being a classic electric guitar this Greco suits pretty much evey style you choose and it will surely look great in the light of a jazz club, behind the smoky haze of a blues pub or under the pressure of some beer-river heavy metal live performance.
When you come to realize that you need a unique instrument with a soul and a character - this is your choice. // 10