Tuesday, December 9, 2014

1990 Gibson Les Paul Standard 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 slightly tattered but fine-playing 1990 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 a new one that I liked, so I ended up getting a used one that played great and sounded even better than it looks.

It did come to me with a few issues, and the most notable was a roughly-repaired headstock break. Also, some time over the past few decades someone replaced the original Kluson Deluxe tuners with sealed-back Schallers. And lastly, it was in terrible need of a set-up. All of these issues were handily remedied by my friends at Long Beach Guitar Repair, so the headstock joint is cleaner, it now has the right machine head son it, and it has the super fun low action going on.

This one is finished in a tasteful Cherryburst with cream-colored 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 not too terribly heavy, coming in around 10 pounds, which is about right for a Les Paul

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 instead. Screw that! Twenty-four 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 guitar comes out of the box. The neck is capped off with the classic Gibson logo and Les Paul script on the headstock.

Now that it has been put back to stock, the hardware is just what you would expect with the aforementioned Klusons 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 feel of this neck – it is the easiest playing 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. If you do not mind a few dings and scratches and a repaired headstock, there really is no downside this instrument.

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


No comments:

Post a Comment