Gibson Les Paul Standard Review - Are the Changes Worth It?

Along with the Fender Stratocaster, the Gibson Les Paul is synonymous with rock & roll and blues guitar. Though the shape and thick, chunky sound have stayed constant throughout the years, the particulars, from pickup selection to neck design, have been modified to reflect Gibson's continued desire to innovate.

In 2008, Gibson introduced a Gibson Les Paul Standard that contained more than its fair share of alterations, some welcome and some not. Let's take a look at these revisions.

Here's a summation on the changes Gibson implemented. The new Les Paul Standard now includes Strap Locks (Dunlop), chambered body, Grover Locking Tuners, TonePros bridge/tailpiece, Neutrick output jack, and a setup via Plek. If you're familiar with these guitars, you'll right away notice the lighter weight, because of the chambered body.

We didn't ascertain any lack in tone due to the chambered body, and played acoustically, the Les Paul Standard had a well-balanced, deep tone. If you've ever gigged with a Les Paul for any extended period of time, you'll prize the lighter weight.

Since I ordinarily substitute tune-o-matic style bridges with TonePros, the upgraded bridge and tailpiece are a welcome addition, as is the Plek setup, which resulted in a solid playing and sounding guitar right out of the box.

We did have to make a small truss rod adjustment, but for an instrument that was sent halfway across the country, that's regular procedure. For the record, though, this guitar was ready to take to a gig straight out of the box. Not bad.

The finish on the revised Standard is as superb as ever. We went over a Heritage Cherry Sunburst finish that had just a gorgeous flame. We found no defects in either finish or fit, and the fret dressing and setup was as good as we've ever seen from a production instrument. Gibson also opted to exclude the pickguard from this model, though you could easily install one if you miss it. The pickguard is included, however.

We were intrigued when we found that Gibson built this series using an asymmetrical neck profile; however, we have to say that we're glad they did. The profile sports a thicker bass side and a thinner treble side.

Think of it as the best of a 50's and 60's profile in one neck design. The fretwork and factory setup were the best we'd ever seen from an out-of-the-box Gibson.

It's hard for us not to think of a Les Paul without thinking of the sound of a Les Paul cranked up through a Marshall, so we ran the Gibson through a reissue Marshall JCM800 half-stack. We liked what we found, though you do need to know that the chambered body gives the guitar something of a ES-335 sound when cranked. Think old Clapton.

The Burstbucker pickups seemed to be a pretty nice fit, since they are aggressive and dark by nature. There are unquestionably some definitive Les Paul tones to be found here, though the chambered body/Burstbucker combination has its own unique flavor. To each his own. We liked them.

We have to say, though, that there were a couple of things we just didn't care for. Gibson chose to include Neutrik locking input jacks, for example. Some individuals love them, but we're not fans. Still, the Neutrik jacks are superior quality, so we appreciate that at least.

Same goes for the PCB mounted volume and tone pots. In fact, all pots, the pickups, the selector switch, and the jack are all connected to a main PCB board via pluggable connectors. While it's cool in a way, it could also greatly hinder switching a pot or swapping pickups. We were left rubbing our heads on this one.

Still, these concerns are minor. Overall, the new Gibson Les Paul Standard is a terrific guitar in many ways, and we sense the spirit of classic Les Pauls here. Gibson also now makes a "Les Paul Traditional" that might appeal to individuals who want a more conservative Les Paul. Obviously, Gibson has something for everyone in their Les Paul series.

If you are searching for the absolute cheapest price on a new or used Gibson Les Paul Standard, then you need to visit Ray's Guitar Shop, which offers the lowest prices on all new and used guitars. It doesn't matter if you're searching for a Fender Stratocaster, an Epiphone G-400, or a PRS McCarty, Ray's Guitar Shop has what you're looking for!

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