Submitted October 24, 2020 by David G in Woodbridge, VA
"Bonded with this immediately!"
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Here's a novel of a review to read, but I think I covered most of the questions most folks would have.This is my third attempt to bond with a Les Paul. Had a 90's Standard, great guitar but never really connected with her. Had a phenomenal mid-2000's CustomShop R8 Plaintop...looked great, sounded great. But the neck was too beefy for my tastes and ended up selling for a small profit. Saw the Honeyburst Classic & took the plunge. Looks wise, it's gorgeous. The top has a better grain pattern than my R8 did. For the first few days I though it was a one piece top. It's a 2 piece top & the ends are matched so well, I literally had to look for the seem in bright sunlight in order to find it. Unless the light hits it just right, you'd swear it was a one piece. Back is 2 piece mahogany, grain is very well matched. Binding inlayed perfectly, not a rough spot to be seen or felt. Rosewood board looks great, not super dark...but that will happen with time. Grain is even, no knots or oddly off colored spots. It's smooth, I didn't have to smooth any spots out like I did with my American Original 60's Telecaster.Grover tuners...a big plus to me. No offense Gibson, but the "Deluxe" tuners stink...they slip & have a poor ratio. I always end up replacing them. The Grovers are...Grovers. Smooth, no slip or black lash & a good ratio..offhand I think they're 18:1, but not sure.Fret ends...perfect. Level, no buzz, no sharp ends. I think I should get through winters with little to no problems with these.The finish. Honeyburst is a favorite of mine because it's done what I always use the sun to do...fade the burst. I'm a BIG fan of the faded burst look. This one is EXACTLY what I love. No blemishes, no uneven areas, it's cured correctly & the sticky factor of a new nitro finish is minimal. I haven't had to buff the back to the neck to make the nitro "fast"...that's a first for me. It's not that smooth broken in feeling of a well played neck, but you probably won't be grabbing 1000 grit sandpaper & polishing compound due to stickiness. The metal jack plate? One less stock part I would have replaced. I prefer top hat knobs to speed knobs, so that's a plus to me. I did add pointers...it's just something I like. $10 extra bucks, big deal. The nut is EXTREMELY well cut. I use 11-48's...with a .18 wound 3rd. Normally I'll have to take a file & tweak the nut b/c of the wound 3rd or use graphite to eliminate that grab you can get with a wound 3rd. No problem with this nut. None of the strings grab or bind in the nut. Out of the box setup was close. The string gauge change necessitated a couple of tweaks, it took all of 10 minutes. The intonation was within 5 cents after the gauge change according to my strobe tuner, easy fix.Now to the most important part...how does it sound?I freaking love the pickups! I'm a BIG fan of the Gibson Classic 57's and the early 80's Ibanez Super 58's are my favorite humbucker of all times. I figured there was a better that average chance I'd be doing a pickup swap. Not a chance! These are staying put. The 61's are bright, clear are NOT muddy or too hot. I set the neck level with the mounting ring & the bridge a little higher and to my ears they're perfect. I did add unfinished nickel covers, I just prefer that look. The addition of the covers didn't change the tonal characteristics at all, if they had I'd remove them. The push pull options may not be everyone's cup of tea...but seriously TRY them. I use each and every one of them and as a primarily Tele player, I love them all. The out of phase option? If you know who Peter Green was, you'll know what to do with it. The bypass to straight bridge is brilliant! Set the controls up anyway you want & then pull up the bridge tone pot...INSTANT full volume, tone circuit bypass bridge pickup! Push back down & you're back where you started. That's a great feature.All in all, this is a keeper. For being the "entry" level Les Paul with all the cosmetic features (minus flame)...the Classic is to me far more impressive & more versatile than the 50's & 60's Standards. The tonal possibilities are far greater with a stock Classic than a pricier unmoded Standard...and worth the extra couple of hundreds compared to the Traditional or Studio.If you're in the market for a Les Paul, you're doing yourself a huge disservice by not giving the Classic VERY serious consideration. For looks, versatility, sound & quality of build...the Classic is a steal when it comes to Gibsons. And maybe it's due to the pandemic & a slowdown in orders...but the quality control in mine is something I haven't seen Gibson for a LONG time. It's better than my last two MIA Fenders, this Classic is the equal in build & quality to the Custom Shop R8 Plaintop I used to own.The "Wow" factor I graded with Flame snobs in mind.Manufacturer Support I've never had to use, so I can say one way or the other about Gibson's support so I just graded it as a 4.
Home player...occasionally brilliantly marginal. But I can wire pickups, do finishes, setups, level frets, cut nuts & saddles.
Blues, Classic Rock, R&B...you know your typical middle aged guy living in the suburbs.
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