Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gibson 1958 Reissue VOS

Let's talk about Les Paul Standard 1958 Reissues. For the most part this guitar is very similar to the 1959 save for a few exceptions. The top on the 1959 could be tiger stripped and the neck on the 1959 might just be a little bigger. There are many players who are noted users of the the 1959 so that is an appeal itself. Billy Gibbons (Pearly Gates), Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, Peter Green used '59's. An original '59 is cost prohibitive - they are rare and frankly over priced due to collectors hording the few left. I know players who can afford them and most would rather add a new room onto their house than buy this pricey collection piece. I like the fact that Brother Warren Haynes plays Les Paul's and I really like his artist model. I digress. Enter the Gibson Les Paul 1958 reissue VOS. The effective retail price is around $3200.00 USD and within reach if you are not bankrupt from the housing crisis. This particular model is NOT chambered. Personally, my back loves the chambered guitar due to its lack of mass but my ear likes the non chambered guitars. I think the tone difference at normal Db levels is negligible. However, I did notice that they chambered seemed to reach higher in the high frequency range than the non chambered but one must remember that each guitar is unique and my sample size was limited to only 2 instruments - Hardly a good sample size if I was talking tech statistics. Not to mention variations in wood density, resin glues, finish properties, wood MC (moisture content), wood age, builders, builders experience or lack, mojo, voodoo... all of these variables make for guitar magic. I like to think no two guitars are alike. The baseline product should be good but really the proof is in the tasting.

Tone? Gosh, who doesn't like the scream and low end of a humbucking pickup? I found the 1958 VOS to be very satisfying. I ran it through a Marshall 2203, Mesa Boogie Mark I, and a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special and I could get the ZZ Top tone down to the Peter Green tone save for the mixed up pickups. The volume roll off was smooth and the tone maintain good levels while the guitar was equipped with bumble bee caps. I ran D'addario EXL 110 gauge strings which gave me about the same amount of tension as a Fender Stratocaster or Telecaster with 009 gauge (Les Paul has a shorter scale length of 24.75"). What I also like about the Les Paul is the short scale length. Compared to the Fender products I found the decreased tension to make string bending easier. In the order of aesthetics, it's hard to not love the washed cherry or the Ice tea. These colors were derived from the ultimate tint and stain changes due to light exposure over the years. It makes for a wonderful patina. I think a Les Paul should be in every players arsenal. If you are in a band playing classics you will need a Les Paul. Will you need this beauty? That is for your wife to decide! LOL Really, the only negative thing I can say about the Gibson Les Paul is the fragility of the neck. I won't get into that here - ! At the same time, I do like the bigger neck even with my hands which are not overly big. I think the sustain and tone seems better than the 1960's style neck. This is just my opinion!! Again, a Les Paul should be a guitar you own.

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