Thursday, November 8, 2012

2005 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Electric Guitar Review

Hi there!

Today we are looking at a really neat guitar, a 2005 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe. These guitars have come and gone from Gibson’s line up over the years, and you really do not see many of these for sale at any given time.

The Les Paul Deluxe was originally introduced in 1968 with the usual Les Paul Standard features except for a new choice of pickup, the mini-humbucker (also known as “New York humbuckers.” This was not so much an example of Gibson stretching out and trying something new, rather they were trying to use up a batch of Epiphone mini-humbuckers that were in stock after Epiphone production was outsourced to Japan. These humbuckers fit into P-90 pickup cavities, using an adapter ring that was made from a p-90 pickup cover. This is not one of the most romantic stories ever told.

Deluxe models were built until 1985, when the line was killed due to lack of interest and sales. But, consumer demand built up and in 2005 the model was re-released, probably due to Pet Townshend’s association with the guitar. By the way, David Bowie and Thin Lizzy were also fans of the Deluxe.

This is one of the first Les Paul Deluxes built after the line was re-introduced, and it is finished in a gorgeous transparent Wine Red. This nicely shows off the figuring in the carved maple top. The rest of the body is one piece of unchambered mahogany, and it is single-bound like a Les Paul Standard.

The neck is mahogany (some of the old Deluxe models had maple necks), and it has a rosewood fretboard with trapezoidal pearl inlays. I would say this is a little fatter than the 60’s profile necks that Gibson is currently building. The neck has a tasteful cream binding to match the body binding, pickguard and pickup rings.

Chrome hardware was spec’d out for this guitar, with Grover tuners and a Tune-O-Matic bridge. The electronics include the aforementioned mini-humbuckers that are wires in the usual volume/volume/tone/tone configuration.

This one has been spared the indignities of ill-advised modification/improvements, and it is completely original. It is in excellent condition with no damage or play wear. I have been a harsh critic of Gibson’s quality over the past decade or so, but they did a great job assembling this instrument. The finish and craftsmanship are top notch, and the frets are perfectly level. Thank god.

With the slim neck and good fretwork, it is very comfortable to play and it has a great natural sustain. The sound of the electronics is noticeably different than that of a regular Les Paul. I think there is a bit less output, and it is definitely a lot bluesier. It certainly sounds terrific when paired with a class A or class A/B amplifier.

As it does not sound exactly like a regular humbucker-equipped Les Paul, I could not justify keeping one of these in lieu of one of the originals, which is my same logic for not keeping a P-90 equipped Les Paul around. But if you want to add a Deluxe to your current collection of Les Pauls it would certainly be a fun counterpart.