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Is a '59 Les Paul really any better than a modern one?
Old 18th December 2014
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Vibrato View Post
I've seen a lot of goofy "innovations" by relatively unknown luthiers, which actually do nothing to improve upon traditional designs, and in many cases, the "innovation" actually makes the instrument worse than the traditional designs. Again, traditional designs exist because they worked better than anything else that has come along. A clever and intuitive luthier can refine traditional designs in such a way as to make an improvement. For instance the steep headstock angle of a LP can be reduced to improve the tuning problems caused by the too-steep headstock angle. But any radical departure from traditional designs will not be an improvement, and will at best (if they're lucky) be a marketing gimmick. The Parker Fly is a perfect example. Many aspects of its design seem to be different just for the sake of being different. In my opinion, despite their clever marketing campaign, those guitars are just weird looking and ergonomically awkward, and they offer very little in the way of improvement over traditional designs.
Whilst there are certainly plenty of 'innovations' out there we could all have done without, I refuse to accept the electric guitar has reached the point where only small refinements in the accepted norm are valid improvements.
As long as there are people out there willing to try these 'radical departures' the guitar will continue to evolve - hopefully there'll always be a supply of radical gutarists ready to try new things too. Surely the guitar has always been a radical instrument?
Unfortunately, the majority of guitarists are deeply conservative - and I'm sorry to say I'm including myself in that statement. If I only had the imagination to dream up that next big innovation...
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Old 18th December 2014
  #182
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Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
I suppose you could argue that but you'd be wrong. The key to Fender's popularity was that he started out with a lot of professional musicians coming to his shop for repairs and when he got into manufacturing he consulted with them and incorporated their ideas into his designs. There is actually very little that really original about what he did - his early guitar designs were lifted straight off from a guitar built by Paul Bigsby and Merle Travis. His first amps were based on designs straight out of the back of the RCA tube manual. After starting with what were essentially knockoffs of existing equipment he then refined the designs based on feedback from his professional customers, who would often take out prototypes to try. That lead to a large staple of popular musicians using his products.

That certainly gave Don Randall something to work with, but without Leo's musician-based, seat-of-the-pants development style all the marketing in the world would not have given him the success that he achieved.
I'm very aware of Fender's early history, and Bigsby, and Rickenbacker. I've actually done a lot of research on it. If the cooperation of professional musicinas was the key, how come how come Bigsby's collaboration with Merle Travis did not work commercially, when Fender's did? Bigbsy was a player, and travis, well, travis more or less invented a guitar style. Don Randall is the difference, and his marketing talent. Any account of fender's early days--and I've read them all--talks about how hard it was to reign Leo in and get him to deliver stuff on time. He had good collaborators but especially on the marketing end. There's nothing unreasonable about that conclusion: pretty much anyone who was involved says that. It takes nothing away from Leo Fender to point that out.
Old 18th December 2014
  #183
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Originally Posted by PB+J View Post
I'm very aware of Fender's early history, and Bigsby, and Rickenbacker. I've actually done a lot of research on it. If the cooperation of professional musicinas was the key, how come how come Bigsby's collaboration with Merle Travis did not work commercially, when Fender's did? Bigbsy was a player, and travis, well, travis more or less invented a guitar style. Don Randall is the difference, and his marketing talent. Any account of fender's early days--and I've read them all--talks about how hard it was to reign Leo in and get him to deliver stuff on time. He had good collaborators but especially on the marketing end. There's nothing unreasonable about that conclusion: pretty much anyone who was involved says that. It takes nothing away from Leo Fender to point that out.
I think that Bigsby simply didn't have the interest in doing something on that scale. Also, actually being a player might have been a handicap, as that would make one inclined to be biased in favor of one's personal tastes. Leo didn't have that handicap - he listened to anyone who came in his shop, plus he was an inveterate tinkerer. A lot of the traditional country guys looked down on the young upstart rockers during the '50s, but Leo would pay attention to the needs of a Buddy Holly or Dick Dale.

I don't mean to detract from Don Randall, but nearly any competent marketing guy could have done the same thing.
Old 18th December 2014
  #184
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Originally Posted by FFTT View Post
If I were in some horrible situation forced to sell off a few guitars, the ones with Humbuckers would go first.
but you can tolerate thin tone... Some people can't
Old 18th December 2014
  #185
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Old 19th December 2014
  #186
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Originally Posted by FFTT View Post

Johnny Rushmore FTW!!! You have won the internet.
Old 19th December 2014
  #187
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I was just grateful he drove nearly 2 hours to get here to help out.
Old 29th July 2019
  #188
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I hope my post sticks in here. I am almost 70 years old. Ive loved gibson since i was 21, when I had my first les paul. I saw a 59 sitting on gruhns wall in nashville back in 71. I said how much is it? He says 900 bucks I thought Lordy mercy Il never pay that for a guitar. Ok so think what you want and call me all sorts of names. Im mad about it too. Never the less...Bottom line is age and dryness of wood when built my friends! Thats all there is to an electric folks!.... after that its electronics alone. Mojo is that thing behind your zzzzz well you know what I mean. Im sorry you dont think we can build a better mousetrap after about 100 million les pauls and les pauls copies 60 years later? give me a break man!Who knows what gibson was doing in 1959? Were they going ......Oh! Hey! we can only use 20 year old figured canadian maple and philipine mahogony thats dried naturally to (8 per cent moisture in the woods)? I think even Les Paul was bored after the first Les Paul made which was actually an SG with a vibrato. I ve held one of them . Im sorry! Les Paul himself prided more in the Recorder Les Paul...a whole, another beast that did not gain popularity. It was a little ugly and busy looking. But probably a better guitar than the Les Pul of 58 59 and 60. My brother stripped the finish off his 60ish les paul and sold it in Korea for his plane ticket home back in 76. So get this vibe mojo thing out of your thinking! buy a chinese made les paul..... stick some american hardware on it and play your heart out and be a real man like eric clapton or duane allman or dickey bettes and quit dreaming about 59 mojos and sacred gods of wood with naturally aged finish. Make your own guitar for heavens sake! Be a man!...Or a woman! or whatever.
Old 29th July 2019
  #189
Every Les Paul I played back the 1960's was one of the worshipped models. Some standards, some original customs that were all black with those weird square P-90 neck pickup pole pieces. Folks would buy them for 500 bucks all day long.

Like all guitars, some were excellent, some were not. Same as today.
Old 29th July 2019
  #190
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In the early 70s I had a friend whose father had a 58. I played it occasionally. I didn't like it, it had a Bigsby on it. I had a chance to buy it for $1K, but didn't have the money, ended up buying a new LP on sale for about $500.

I tried out lots of new LPs, and most of them were better than that particular 58. So I have no regrets. Was it not setup right? Dont know.
Old 29th July 2019
  #191
Quote:
Originally Posted by phlipper View Post
I hope my post sticks in here. I am almost 70 years old. Ive loved gibson since i was 21, when I had my first les paul. I saw a 59 sitting on gruhns wall in nashville back in 71. I said how much is it? He says 900 bucks I thought Lordy mercy Il never pay that for a guitar. Ok so think what you want and call me all sorts of names. Im mad about it too. Never the less...Bottom line is age and dryness of wood when built my friends! Thats all there is to an electric folks!.... after that its electronics alone. Mojo is that thing behind your zzzzz well you know what I mean. Im sorry you dont think we can build a better mousetrap after about 100 million les pauls and les pauls copies 60 years later? give me a break man!Who knows what gibson was doing in 1959? Were they going ......Oh! Hey! we can only use 20 year old figured canadian maple and philipine mahogony thats dried naturally to (8 per cent moisture in the woods)? I think even Les Paul was bored after the first Les Paul made which was actually an SG with a vibrato. I ve held one of them . Im sorry! Les Paul himself prided more in the Recorder Les Paul...a whole, another beast that did not gain popularity. It was a little ugly and busy looking. But probably a better guitar than the Les Pul of 58 59 and 60. My brother stripped the finish off his 60ish les paul and sold it in Korea for his plane ticket home back in 76. So get this vibe mojo thing out of your thinking! buy a chinese made les paul..... stick some american hardware on it and play your heart out and be a real man like eric clapton or duane allman or dickey bettes and quit dreaming about 59 mojos and sacred gods of wood with naturally aged finish. Make your own guitar for heavens sake! Be a man!...Or a woman! or whatever.
Nice to know you're "almost 70", me too! It's a royal pain in the butt, isn't it?

The first production Les Pauls were produced in 1952, gold tops with the notorious trapeze bridge-tailpiece that masde damping strings impossible. The SG Les Paul was introduced in late '60 or early '61, depending on who you believe. Les Paul had nothing to do with the design of these instruments and in fact notoriously hated them and demanded that his name be removed from that model.

One of my best friends in college owned a '52 gold top. I've also played dozens of '50s Les Pauls of all models, including the original '54 "black Beauty" Custom with the solid mahogany body (no maple cap) and 3 pickups - 1 P-90 and two of the "Alnico" pickups with adjustable magnets (not screw poles.)


There are a number of differences between the original '50s Les Pauls and new ones. The original guitars were made of old growth wood which is no longer available. In fact the particular species of mahogany used back then is not available now for legal reasons. The fact is that the general quality of available wood in the '50s was much higher than what is available now.

(Incidentally, FYI "Philippine mahogany" (sometimes called "luan") is a trash wood that was used in the '59s for packing crates. It is now frequently used for a veneer on cheap cabinetry and paneling. The mahogany used in Gibsons back then was Honduras mahogany which is now illegal under the CITES regulations.)

The other, really major difference is that back then guitars were hand built by craftsmen who knew how to get the most out of a piece of wood, not popped out by computerized CNC machines. That gives the old ones a feel and responsiveness that the new ones just don't have. The old instruments had pickups that were hand wound, whereas Gibson pickups produced after the mid '60s were and are wound entirely by machine. The type of wire has also changed; the modern insulation is not the same and thickness of insulation affects the capacitance of the coil. Also, the magnets used in the early humbuckers were slightly different - the magnets were a bit shorter. Some of them were Alnico II, not Alnico V like the later ones.

I could go on and on about various differences, but that's enough for now.

Machine made is never as good as constructed by a team of craftsmen who are specialists at their jobs. Guitars are made of wood, which is a natural, organic material that has variations that a man can take into account and take advantage of, which no machine can do.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 29th July 2019 at 09:56 PM..
Old 30th July 2019
  #192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
Does anyone remember, before the internet, did you still lust after a '59?
In 1968 I went to a show at a large roller rink in which Jethro Tull opened up for Jeff beck Group circa the Truth album. Both Beck and Mick Abrahams played Les Pauls through Marshall stacks and I later learned they were likely 59s... and yes, the lust only grew from there and then.

Since that time I've played many late 50s and early 60s Gibsons, including dot neck 335s and Les Pauls. I really didn't differentiate much between 57-59 since those I played or owned were a variety of qualities but all basically good. Just a few were truly exceptional and they were quite amazing.

I did once own a a 50's era LP Custom (possibly '56 or '57?) which had the weird p90s with the oddball clipped pyramid pole pieces. I didn't like the way it played due to the tiny frets but it did sound amazing. I sold it to a shop next to Manny's on W48th Street, NYC in 1973 for 700 bucks :(

The same day I sold them a dot neck 335 which is in the Top 5 most regrettable sales I've ever made. To this day I've not played nor heard a better guitar. Jimmy Thackery told me "this one's a keeper" and I really should've listened.
Old 30th July 2019
  #193
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Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
For the record, I'm not suggesting that modern Les Pauls ARE better than a '59. But then I'm not convinced that every guitar that came out of the Gibson factory in 1959 was a sure fire classic either.
Right. They made better and worst examples in the 50's, just like they do now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingofspain View Post
Does anyone remember, before the internet, did you still lust after a '59?
All of us who were buying, selling and trading knew. I had a few early 50's models, and a '56 that was near mint, zero greening, from the original owner. I got it in 97 for $5k (photo below). It was a beautiful example, but just an OK player guitar. I wasn't in love with it, and sold it because it was worth so damn much in the early 2000's, and I was worried about a bubble burst (that didn't happen until about 2005). Friends have owned examples from every year, '52 to '60 over the years, and I became very familiar with most of them.

Yeah, we wanted '58, '59 and '60 Bursts pre-internet, but by the time I got into looking for them, they were already too expensive for my wallet. Or so I thought. I should have begged borrowed and stoled to buy every one I saw in the late 80's/early 90's, and sold them all by about 2000.

Old 30th July 2019
  #194
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You guys do realize don't you that a Ferrari 250GT sold for around $5000.00 USD in 1964-5, right. One recently sold for $18,500,000.00 USD. The point is that while it is true that with technological advances gains are made but TANSTAAFL guys (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch) everything is a package deal and advances are accompanied by losses. Example: there is obvious value to concrete over rebar in building tall structures quickly and they last a reasonable amount of time for the times they serve. While it's possible that stone was more select and somehow better "in the olden days" (looters apparently thought so, or maybe they were just lazy) what really changed most was attitude and sense of time. When is the last you heard of someone starting a project they expected to complete in 200 years? You may ask how this applies to guitars and I will say it is a sliding scale of progress/regression.

In the 50's, yes , Gibson was not a charity they expected to make a profit BUT it was before the Bean Counters took over as they did in the '70s and we can see what that did to quality. In the 50s things were still being built to last. We had not become ":the disposable society" yet. People still took pride in the quality of their products not just the bottom line of how many units at what margin. We do have better consistency today thanks to machines that don't have hangovers on Monday and can do the exact same thing 24/7 but machines are not as adaptable as humans and when a human is "in the zone" no machine can compete in most areas.

This will seem an odd photo in a gear forum but it will illustrate my point. For a few years, I took the skills I'd learned and developed in fine violin restoration and figured I'd have a more regular gig doing antique furniture and art restoration. The photo below is of a piece of antique furniture created around 1777 in a shop somewhere between France and Switzerland. It was commissioned by a family as a wedding present for a honeymoon couple and stayed in the family to this day.

I got involved to restore it because initially it was damaged in a move. I fixed the damage properly and the family then commissioned me to fully restore it. It took 2 months and almost every day something caught my eye that just made me gasp in awe at the workmanship. The tongue and groove joints were no wider than 1/4 inch at the widest, commonly called "needle joints", all hand cut and fitted. I wish I'd taken photos of those but what I do have and will shortly share is just as amazing.

Look at the overall design. There is hardly a straight line anywhere. It is drenched in French Curves. There were very few repairs of the veneer required despite being bent over compound curves. That central door is solid Rosewood and the face starts at one edge, curves inward, then outward, then back inward and then again outward to the opposite edge. The stag, tree, and cherubim are made of African hardwood (sorry, I forget the exact name) and are inlaid into the multiple curved surface of the rosewood. Over 200 years later it is impossible to slide the thinnest razor edge between the two woods anywhere. It is still absolutely flawless.

I defy any machine to recreate this piece let alone have it last for over 200 years, even if only because it would take so long to program all the details since that is exactly the point. Time vs/ Return since who would buy such an ungainly beast at the price even a machined one would have to cost?.. Most people keep furniture less than a decade these days.

Naturally the quality of workmanship at Gibson is likely not on a par with such a masterpiece but because of pride and sense of time, not to mention not being aware there was any faster way of doing things, this similar mindset which is now eclipsed by fast, mass production driven by bottom line is what made the very best guitars of the 50's worthy of praise and awe.

All this said I still hate the fact that some rich collectors not only has driven the prices to ridiculous levels but have effectively removed them from what they were created to do, make beautiful music just so they can impress their friends. At least Paul Allen actually loved Music, played guitar and made sure Jimi Hendrix would be memorialized.

Well here it is. I apologize for the lack of quality in the photo. It was a crappy Instamatic in a dark area.



BTW since some have talked of the devaluation due to what I see as maintenance I am quite sure most collectors will devalue this piece because is isn't still alligatored and black. Thankfully the family that owns it wanted the true spirit of the piece as it was originally intended to shine. I used all hand tools and period adhesives and finish and the romantic side of me imagines the original Master, smiling. Collectors be damned.

Note: and yes, I know, one of the knobs is on the wrong drawer in this photo
Old 30th July 2019
  #195
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I played a 52 Les Paul for a few years with P90s and I loved that guitar. It was owned by my bass player and it was destroyed in a flood about 10 years ago. About 3 years ago I came across a Custom Shop 58RI which is every bit as good as the 52, in fact better in a lot of ways but in particular just sounds and plays way better. So you can still find gems out there today which are modern guitars. I played a lot of late 50s and 60s models of both Fender and Gibson, Epiphone, Guild, the list goes on. There were a lot of really doggy guitars in those days as there are today. I've played about 10 of the Custom Shop Fender Strats and really only one stood out above the rest. So it really depends on your hands and what you like to experience as there is probably a guitar out there for you.

This reminds me of a story about the Eric Clapton Brownie starts that came out about 8-10 years ago and could be acquired at Guitar Center for around $20k. Exact copies made from the original template. I was fortunate to play one of these remakes and frankly, would not have paid even $500 for that guitar. It was difficult to play, had a weird neck and tonally sounded flat. Why? Because it was exactly like a 50s Strat but not a good one and I don't think the remake pickups, no matter how well made, sounded like the original. If I blindfolded a player and handed him several modern Strats, believe me, this would get cut in the first listening round. My 2008 Strat deluxe put this Brownie to shame. So modern can be just as good. Don't buy into the myth that vintage holds some magical element.

That said, I have played a few Vintage guitars, one 52 Telecaster comes to mind, that had a sound not found in almost any modern guitar. The early 50s light ash body Telecasters where made from very seasoned old wood which is hard to find these days. But there was a 52 Nocaster RI I recently played at Norm's Rare Guitars and it rivaled the original which knocked me over. I had not heard a modern guitar have that sound and this one had it. The almost piano string sound of the low E.
Old 30th July 2019
  #196
Pete Anderson has a white 1962 strat, a well preserved model of that collectable era. It's not a great guitar. My 1986 Honshu Squier strat is very close but has better woods and construction. His has gaps and isn't very straight, mine is tight and everything lines up perfectly. I did put 1960's strat pickups into mine. Pete's strat is worth in excess of $20,000, I paid $225 for the Squier new. Now I heard those first year issue Squiers are collectable?
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Old 30th July 2019
  #197
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Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Pete Anderson has a white 1962 strat, a well preserved model of that collectable era. It's not a great guitar. My 1986 Honshu Squier strat is very close but has better woods and construction. His has gaps and isn't very straight, mine is tight and everything lines up perfectly. I did put 1960's strat pickups into mine. Pete's strat is worth in excess of $20,000, I paid $225 for the Squier new. Now I heard those first year issue Squiers are collectable?
Yeah, I had a white one that was a beauty. 1982. The guy I sold it to still laughs at me for selling it to his so cheap.
Old 31st July 2019
  #198
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This is probably my favourite Youtuber, a great teacher and wonderful player (well worth checking out his other videos.) Here he compares the cheapest guitar he owns (a Squier Affinity) to his most expensive (a 62 Strat) and surprisingly concludes there isn't that much in it - at least build-wise. But he does think there is a major difference regarding 'mojo.' Around 18 minutes in, he explains what he thinks 'mojo' is and why not every vintage guitar has it. Very interesting stuff ime and fits with my own experiences.

Old 2nd August 2019
  #199
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Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
This is probably my favourite Youtuber, a great teacher and wonderful player (well worth checking out his other videos.) Here he compares the cheapest guitar he owns (a Squier Affinity) to his most expensive (a 62 Strat) and surprisingly concludes there isn't that much in it - at least build-wise. But he does think there is a major difference regarding 'mojo.' Around 18 minutes in, he explains what he thinks 'mojo' is and why not every vintage guitar has it. Very interesting stuff ime and fits with my own experiences.
Yeah, that is interesting, and mostly fits my experiences, until it doesn't. A few vintage guitars have, for one reason or another, certain qualities not available in newer guitars. I've got a few. Like old jeans. I've got other vintage guits that are nothing special.

I've mentioned so many times here that I have a Squire Bullet I got for €120, and it's become my favorite guitar of sorts; almost always comes along to gigs with the Tele as a backup, or I'll play a set with it, or even a whole night. It competently trots alongside anything else in the stable. I had to change the tuners, they are total crap from the factory. So bad, it's a mystery why they even use them. I've got better tuners on $5 yard sale finds. Everything else is great; even the whammy works OK.

Funny, just yesterday I kind of got run out of our local GC (killing time while the wife shopped at TJMax ). I was noodling around on a cheap Affinity through a Blues Jr, and a sales lady was trying to sell a $2k guitar to some guy in the next aisle. The guy puts down the guitar, and comes over to say, "Hey man, that $100 guitar sounds better than that two thousand dollar thing." Another employee was watching, comes over and asks me if he can help me with something, in a clearly confrontational tone of voice. I put the Strat down, and walked over to pro audio. They've got a cool thing where you can audition a bunch of cheap mics with headphones now, so I did that for a while until I got the stink eye from that sales dude.
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Old 2nd August 2019
  #200
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Originally Posted by enorbet2 View Post
I did once own a a 50's era LP Custom (possibly '56 or '57?) which had the weird p90s with the oddball clipped pyramid pole pieces. I didn't like the way it played due to the tiny frets but it did sound amazing. I sold it to a shop next to Manny's on W48th Street, NYC in 1973 for 700 bucks :(
No, it probably wasn't. It was a '54, 55, or possibly '56. In '57 they replaced the pickups with gold humbuckers. I love those guitars except for the "fretless wonder" frets, which are great for speed jazz playing but not so much for bending notes.

The original Customs also have a solid mahogany body, no maple cap. Makes them a bit darker, presumably for a jazzier tone.

Last edited by John Eppstein; 2nd August 2019 at 08:13 PM..
Old 2nd August 2019
  #201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldone View Post
I played a 52 Les Paul for a few years with P90s and I loved that guitar. It was owned by my bass player and it was destroyed in a flood about 10 years ago. About 3 years ago I came across a Custom Shop 58RI which is every bit as good as the 52, in fact better in a lot of ways but in particular just sounds and plays way better. So you can still find gems out there today which are modern guitars. I played a lot of late 50s and 60s models of both Fender and Gibson, Epiphone, Guild, the list goes on. There were a lot of really doggy guitars in those days as there are today. I've played about 10 of the Custom Shop Fender Strats and really only one stood out above the rest. So it really depends on your hands and what you like to experience as there is probably a guitar out there for you.

This reminds me of a story about the Eric Clapton Brownie starts that came out about 8-10 years ago and could be acquired at Guitar Center for around $20k. Exact copies made from the original template. I was fortunate to play one of these remakes and frankly, would not have paid even $500 for that guitar. It was difficult to play, had a weird neck and tonally sounded flat. Why? Because it was exactly like a 50s Strat but not a good one and I don't think the remake pickups, no matter how well made, sounded like the original. If I blindfolded a player and handed him several modern Strats, believe me, this would get cut in the first listening round. My 2008 Strat deluxe put this Brownie to shame. So modern can be just as good. Don't buy into the myth that vintage holds some magical element.

That said, I have played a few Vintage guitars, one 52 Telecaster comes to mind, that had a sound not found in almost any modern guitar. The early 50s light ash body Telecasters where made from very seasoned old wood which is hard to find these days. But there was a 52 Nocaster RI I recently played at Norm's Rare Guitars and it rivaled the original which knocked me over. I had not heard a modern guitar have that sound and this one had it. The almost piano string sound of the low E.
Well that's a nice anecdote but it doesn't prove anything because you didn't have the real Brownie to compare to, all you had was a "reissue" created for sucker "collectors". What makes you believe that it played or sounded anything like the original?

So an expensive "collector edition" modern guitar didn't play as well as a production model modern guitar - why am I not surprised? Something to think about - the target market for "collector edition" reproductions is not the market for actual guitar players - it's a market of rich guys who want guitars as status symbols in their "man cave". Most of those guys can't tell a great guitar from a dog. But they sure do have lots of money....
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Old 2nd August 2019
  #202
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kennybro's Avatar
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Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Well that's a nice anecdote but it doesn't prove anything...
Not to mention that a '52 has a shallow neck angle and trapeze with strings under the bridge making muting impossible.

Every year Les Paul after that from '53 to now has a deeper angle and "strings-over" bridge, as it should be.

Two massively different player experiences.
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Old 8th August 2019
  #203
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Stu Gutz's Avatar
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Originally Posted by cliffman View Post
Perhaps boomers was the wrong choice of words -
My point is simple.
What I see is that 58-59 Les Paul's are still selling for way, way more than any other guitar Gibson made in those years.

Why is a 1958 LP worth 6x the cost of a 1958 ES-335 ?

I can't see any reason beyond hype. Can someone explain why the 1958 Gibson Les Paul is so very, very, much better than a 1958 Gibson ES-335?
Six times better?
Some real, musical reason? I certainly can't.

<snip>
There is a billionaire named Dirk Zif that supposedly has 300 or so Bursts. I believe that him taking so many out of circulation had a lot to do with the ridiculous upsurge in their "value". I remember in the 90s they took a huge value jump and was laughing then at the stupid prices ... and that was about thirty something thousand Canadian dollars. At several hundred thousand? Crazy to me.

I agree that vintage 3x5s are just as good.
Old 14th August 2019
  #204
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becks bolero's Avatar
 

I don't think '59 Les Paul's are anything special

the people who built them, were factory workers on an assembly line. Not "luthiers". There was no Stradivarius level mythical balony involved. In fact, the Les Paul wasn't even a high end model: the big bodied Jazz guitars were where the workmanship happened. A Les Paul is a chunk of wood, with a neck glued on, in comparison. I think it was even assembled in a separate building, because it was so basic

I think the reason they are so valued is

1. Eric Clapton started a landslide with his "bluesbreakers" recording, and every other guitarist wanted to know the secret recipe. Well, back then, the Les Paul was out of production, so became a desireable instrument

Mike Bloomfield
Peter Green
Joe Walsh
Jimmy Page

and all the others who followed, created the cult status for these things. truth is, it was a somewhat rare instrument in the '60's

it almost parallels the Roland 808 as a failed product, that was reinvented by some creative musicians

but then the mythology took hold, and collectors started going bananas, driving up the price & desirability: "oh, the '59 Les Paul is the holy grail of guitars!"

I call bull****

lots of great guitars being built today, that are as good or better than a '59 Les Paul
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Old 15th August 2019
  #205
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kennybro's Avatar
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Originally Posted by becks bolero View Post
I think the reason they are so valued is

1. Eric Clapton started a landslide with his "bluesbreakers" recording, and every other guitarist wanted to know the secret recipe. Well, back then, the Les Paul was out of production, so became a desireable instrument

Mike Bloomfield
Peter Green
Joe Walsh
Jimmy Page

and all the others who followed, created the cult status for these things. truth is, it was a somewhat rare instrument in the '60's
Yeah, of course. That truly is the main reason why Bursts are so highly valued today, and have taken on such a mythological status.

There is no way someone can listen to a Burst, and then a nice newer Paul with original PAF's, and tell which is which. Even some clone PAF's. That said, I've had plenty of guitars with original PAF's, and PAFs will sound different from one another.

I put WIZZ Premium PAF Clones in my 90's Paul. They sound like PAFs I've had... to me anyway. Unfortunately, kind of hard to get right now for some reason. Throbaks are also good, and right around the same price as WIZZ, but I think not quite as complex sounding as WIZZ. JM Rolf is another guy who makes some of the best PAF clones, but he is hard to contact. I've got a few of his Fender Tele and Strat pickups, and they are amazing. A friend has a set of his PAFs.
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Old 15th August 2019
  #206
Lives for gear
 
audioforce's Avatar
 

The vintage guitar scene is pretty wacked, imo.


Best,

audioforce
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Old 15th August 2019
  #207
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kennybro's Avatar
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Originally Posted by audioforce View Post
The vintage guitar scene is pretty wacked, imo.
Yes, it is. Has been since the mid 80's, when it really blew up. ( “From 1984 through the end of ’92, most collectible guitars, banjos, and mandolins increased in price tenfold,” said Gruhn.)

There are a few parallels; i.e. stuff made in the 30's, 40's and 50's worth a lot, i.e. a few first edition books, a few furniture pieces, a few cars. But nothing on the scale of guitars, because none of these things has the Hendrix, Page, classic rock idol-worshipping base propping up value.

Supply and demand rules. Not that many people wanted a Burst in the early 80's, so you could get one for $5k. Suddenly, the boomers who were weaned on Zep and Clapton became lawyers, doctors and executives, and had money burn. Values skyrocketed along with demand and excessive loose income. By early '00's, values hit hundreds of thousands, and million-dollar predictions were in the air.

But the VG balloon popped about '07. Bursts held value for a while, but you see them now for $130-150k, excellent condition about $300k... and sellers are once again posting prices, something nobody did previously. A lot of people still say they are worth half a mil, but actual selling prices are something different. The market will not recover, because the guitar hero worship class is dying off, literally. It had its day... it's going away.
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Old 15th August 2019
  #208
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
... Suddenly, the boomers who were weaned on Zep and Clapton became lawyers, doctors and executives, and had money burn. Values skyrocketed along with demand and excessive loose income. By early '00's, values hit hundreds of thousands, and million-dollar predictions were in the air.

But the VG balloon popped about '07. Bursts held value for a while, but you see them now for $130-150k, excellent condition about $300k... and sellers are once again posting prices, something nobody did previously. A lot of people still say they are worth half a mil, but actual selling prices are something different. The market will not recover, because the guitar hero worship class is dying off, literally. It had its day... it's going away.
I feel really bad for those guys losing hundreds of thousands on their investments.
Old 15th August 2019
  #209
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

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Old 15th August 2019
  #210
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kennybro's Avatar
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Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
I feel really bad for those guys losing hundreds of thousands on their investments.
Yeah, it's a bummer for sure. I'm going to guess that those who paid max for Bursts in the early 2000's have big money. Not like anyone was selling their house to buy a guitar. A hundred $K one way or another... probably less of an issue than it would be for most middle class folks.

Anyone who bought them in the mid 90's are still seeing a potential gain, but I think they are harder to sell today. There are just too many of them for sale right now in the $200k and under range. Many owners are no longer mesmerized, and are trying to cash out.

I got the guitar pictured in the thread for $5k in the 90's, and sold it early 2000's. My buyer called four or five big dealers that he knows for advice while we were hammering the deal, and even that early, a few advised him to pass because Goldtops other than 1957 were becoming a bad investment. Dealers were already smelling a downturn.

Try to sell a '58, '59, or '60 Burst to a dealer today, and you might have a coronary over how little they might offer.
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