Saturday, June 1, 2013

2001 Gibson Les Paul Electric Guitar Review


Today we are looking at a real peach of a guitar that most any rock guitarist would love to have in the arsenal: a fine-playing 2001 Gibson Les Paul Standard.

I will be the first one to say that Gibson guitars of the past few years have slipped markedly in quality, and finding one that plays well right out of the box is not an easy task. This is especially galling when you consider how much they cost. I had a hard time finding out I liked, so I ended up getting a used one that played great and sounded just as good as it looks.

This one is finished in a tasteful black with cream binding and plastic bits and chrome hardware. I always liked the simpler looks of the Standard models when compared to the Custom models. It has a solid (not chambered) mahogany with a carved maple top, and it is a heavy beast, coming in at over 11 pounds (the limit of my digital postal scale).

The mahogany neck has the 1950s rounded profile, and it is capped with a rosewood fretboard with mother of pearl inlays. Did you know that Gibson is not using rosewood on these anymore? You get some sort of dyed maple substitute. Bah!

Twelve years later the frets are level and are still in great shape. I know they say that new Les Pauls are all Plek’d, but my god their necks are lumpy and the frets still need to be leveled when the box comes out of the box. The neck is capped off with the classic Gibson Logo and Les Paul script on the headstock.

The hardware is just what you would expect with Grover sealed-back tuners and a Tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar tailpiece. The electronics include 490R and 498T pickups that are wired through normal potentiometers. No printed circuit boards or goofy push-pull pots on this one.

Over the years the hardware has tarnished and the finish has gotten a little cloudy and received some light dings and scratches, but most of this would buff out easily enough. I would certainly not trade the broken-in neck for anything, and polishing it out would be a huge mistake. This neck is easiest-playing of any Les Paul I have ever owned (I have it set up with 0.010 Slinkies, BTW).

The tone is marvelous, too. Over time the finish has hardened and the original pickups have aged to become ultra thick and juicy. It can be warm and mellow, or gloriously beefy and overdriven. The sustain, harmonics and dynamics of this guitar are second to none.

The only downside is its weight: this thing weighs in at over 12 pounds (the limit of my postal scale). Ouch.

But otherwise, this is the ultimate Les Paul, and I would be hard-pressed to find another as good. I hope your search will be as fruitful!


1 comment:

  1. I have a 2001 Les Paul Standard that I bought in 2002. It's the only thing I own that's appreciated in value! Which is really pointless to me, as I'd never sell it! I've played a lot of guitars in the last 12 years, and I've gotten rid of every single one of them except for the LP. I'm looking forward to many more years of exceptional performance!