Why pay for a name like Gibson?


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Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 7:31pm

In all my years playing the guitar, the one thing I hear most from young players, is  I could play better if I had a better instrument.

Some of the best advice I ever received, came from one the greatest bassist to grace the musical scene, Victor Wooten, was that you make the guitar sound better and not the other way around. Although I agree with that concept, not all guitars are made equal.

The differences between good and bad guitars, cars or female stars for that matter, is what’s under the hood so to speak and the prices will vary depending on their components.

As far as electric guitars, what you’re paying for is the wood they use for the body and neck, the pickups, the electronics, body style, the finish and, of course, the name across the headstock. 

The only names worth mentioning are Fender, PRS, Ibanez, Epiphone and Gibson.

Regardless of these company’s dabbling with both electric and acoustic instruments, they don’t match some of the big boys in the acoustic realm like Martin, Taylor, Breedlove and even Takamine. But since we’re talking strictly about electrics, let me tell you why my friend and I both just bought Gibson guitars. 

Gibson is based out of Nashville and has been manufacturing stringed instruments since 1894.

They started with mandolins and classical/acoustic guitars and started making archtop guitars based on the same violin archtop carving. In the 1950s, they were one the first to assemble electric guitars with the iconic Les Paul model which they still make today. 

In fact, Gibson Les Paul Standard is the guitar I recently purchased. It has maple body, top and neck with a rosewood fretboard. I decided to go with the natural finish so it only has a stain over the natural maple grain, absolutely beautiful.

The action(which is the space between the strings’ and the fretboard) is unbelievable which increases the playability one-hundred fold.

An electric pickup is a magnet which picks up the strings vibration and then sends it to an amplifier.

It’s equipped with two Burstbucker Pros and what set it apart from other models. They make the lows rumble, the mids creamy and highs screaming. 

My buddy Matt Adams, fellow musician and recent member of the Gibson family, will give us his take on a different Les Paul model. “I guess the official name is the Les Paul Junior Special Double Cutaway. Quite the mouthful. The phrase beauty is in the eyes of the beholder comes to mind. The Les Paul Jr. came to life when Gibson wanted to produce a student model the Les Paul Standard.

“They stripped it down by getting rid of the maple top and put only one P-90 pickup on a mahogany body.

“Over the years some great musicians like John Lennon and Leslie West and even Johnny Depp have realized that this guitar is far from a cheap version from the Les Paul Standard.

“Every guitarist is on a quest to find their dream guitar and mine started long ago. Since embarking on this journey I’ve played dozens of brands and hundreds of models coming to the realization that I like simple things. After hearing the Les Paul Jr. referred to as a stick with P-90s, I gave it a shot and it was love at first strum.

“Sounds cheesy but it’s true. I couldn’t love a human baby more than I do that guitar. It’s perfect for me and my style, and although I recommend Gibson to everyone, I advise all you players to  not settle for just anything cause someone tells you it’s good. Find the guitar that’s right for you and your style.”

Good advice for all players young and old. Just remember to play as many guitars as you can on your quest to find the one. Even though Gibson isn’t the guitar for everyone, they obviously have the stamp of approval for me and my fellow bandmate.

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