Guitar of the week #75 - Gibson USA Les Paul Studio Faded T
A common complaint is that Gibson USA Les Paul guitars are too expensive. This one is actually priced very nicely.
I've been complaining for years that Gibson Les Paul guitars are too expensive. The Studio Faded T series model however has a price point that is - and I can't believe I'm saying this - reasonable.
The 2016 Studio Faded T series is the best bang-for-your-buck USA Les Paul model you can buy at the time I write this in September 2016.
Here are the quick specs:
- Tuners: Older style with plastic buttons.
- Neck profile: Les Paul '59 (as in not a SlimTaper)
- Body: Carved maple top over mahogany, weight-relieved
- Pickups: BurstBucker Pro
- Fingerboard: Rosewood
Where are the costs cut? There's no binding and the finish is "worn satin", which basically means a dulled finish. No mirror-like reflections here.
Is the '59 neck profile right for you?
If you have no idea what a '59 neck shape feels like, here's a quick rundown on Gibson Les Paul neck shapes.
While there are several Gibson neck shapes, the 3 that matter to most players are the early '50s, '59 and '60 profiles.
Early '50s feels like a tree trunk. Very chunky and thick. The '59 is less thick but still has good chunk to it. The '60 is the thinnest SlimTaper style. SlimTaper was originally marketed by Gibson as a "fast" neck.
If you've played any modern SG guitar, you are most likely already familiar with the SlimTaper feel as most SGs have a SlimTaper neck profile.
My experience with a Gibson neck profile of '59 spec is that at first, it feels weird holding more neck wood in your hand, but you do quickly get used to it. I consider it the same as when you switch from a modern Fender Strat with a "Modern C" neck to a Fender Classic Series '70s Stratocaster neck that has the U-shape. Feels odd at first because it's larger, but after a few minutes of play you warm right up to it.
Many players who prefer the Les Paul as their main guitar say the '59 neck profile is the one that feels best and can be played the longest.
Could you buy this Gibson even without ever having tried one and feel confident that the neck would agree with your fret hand? Yes. The '59 profile is well-liked among Gibson players, so you can buy with confidence even without having tried the guitar first.
Is there anything bad about this guitar?
The only thing that could stick out as a potential problem area are the tuners. They work fine but it's obvious the cheaper ones were used to keep the price of the guitar down.
If you do encounter any tuner issues, just get a set of Grover Rotomatics, a very common Les Paul upgrade. Problem solved.
You really can't do better for a new American made Gibson Les Paul
For an American built guitar from known-to-be-high-priced Gibson no less, you're getting something pretty darned good here.
The price of this Les Paul is something you would ordinarily associate with Asian-build guitars, but this one is labeled as a Gibson USA model.
And can you believe there's nitro on this guitar? There is. It may be a dull gloss worn satin finish, but there is a hand-sprayed nitrocellulose coating over it.
For a lot of Les Paul players out there, this model really does hit the sweet spot. Get yours.