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I'm not a Gibson Player


I have a couple of Gibsons, but I am realising that this does not make me a Gibson player.

(all that follows only concerns soloing, not chords)

I plugged in the Les Paul last night & played for a couple of hours. My regular alternating pick technique didn’t sound as good as it should. It has something to do with the sound (and definitely the sustain) of the guitar. So I concentrated more of hammer-ons & pull-offs. This made it sound much better. There was less pick noise and made the decay of the notes sound much sweeter.

The sound of a guitar has always influenced how I play it, and for 44 years I never owned a Gibson. I’ve had my 339 & Les Paul for less than a year.

I always loved the sound of a Les Paul, but knew from the earliest days that ‘my’ sound was something else; essentially more of a Fender sound.

When I gigged the 339 last year I even felt there was less of me in the performance. I played fine and enjoyed the gig but I felt as if I was acting the role of different guitarist.

Try and imagine a machinist who has used his lathe to turn metal for 45 years, now suddenly working with wood. He has to change the speed of the spindle and the feed rate of the cutting tool. He’s the same fellow with the same experience using the same machine, yet everything has changed.

I could change the sound of the LP with my signal processor, but it would be inhibiting the natural sound of the guitar. The main reason for buying a different guitar is to experience a different voice. So it’s me that needs to adapt to the guitar, not the other way ‘round.  


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I was a serious Gibson player till I bought a Stratocaster.  Mostly it was about feel for me.  My first guitar was a 335.  Saved and saved for months.  Borrowing friends cheap guitars till I had it.   That 335 was what I burned my self into.  Even though it was too big for my body.  Later I would have two Les Paul's.  I love LP and a few other Gibson guitars for their tone.  I've never been happy with LP copies,  Heck I've been dissatisfied with many models of LP's  They are either too heavy or too like or the neck is too round.  I'd always preferred the 50's slim profile over the beefier necks that came later.  That was the profile of my 78' Custom.  I still hated the weight.  


I can't get away from the tone of certain (not all) Gibsons.  Oddly I'm not a fan of 335 tone.  I was when I wanted it and when it was my first guitar.  That quickly faded.  For a semi-hollow tone I much prefer my Raven West 450.  Smaller (prs shape) semi hollow.  


In the jazz category it's easy to see the association with Gibson.  Mostly because Gibson used to give huge discounts to named professionals in return for the advertising having the gibson brands predominately displayed in various magazines and on shows.  Anyone who has had a box(full body) for years knows what happens to them over time. Warped necks worn frets, the guitar rattles glue loses cohesion.  The thing that remains is when listening to those old recordings you hear that gibson tone. So it becomes the benchmark you hold all other guitars up to. I've seen it for myself with serious boxes.  And yet I love the tone.


Technology makes it so that I'll prolly never own another Gibson or Fender.  Variax is the answer.  Strat wieght, Strat, neck.  All the tone in the world and I can play a Les Paul tone without shoulder pain or my leg falling asleep.





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New tech is wonderful thing. I never had a 'good' sound all through my early gigging years. I had several rigs but they were never great sounding. I was aware that other players took this very seriously and spent a lot of time and money chasing 'tone'.


Tech eventually came to my rescue. Signal processors are a real blessing.

Edited by Rudi
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