Gibson 1958 LesPaul R8 Reviews
I've been playing for 30 years. Mostly in cover bands.
I was never a big Les Paul fan. I leaned into early PRS Customs, Strat's, Tele's and Leo Era G&L's. But never gave up hope on a Les Paul. I have stayed away from Gibson due to the low quality of many 1970's & 80's. Till now. I walked into Guitar Center and fell in love with a very flamed Butterscotch 1958 / R8. It was $3K with tax and I also picked up a Park 75 "Red" combo loaded with T1221's that same day.
The weight is around 8 1/2 pounds, it is very resonant and I bought it without ever plugging in. It had so much snap and sustain. The big neck is a dream to play. It has remained stock with only one change in the tone caps.
The stock guitar built before Gibson introduced the re-issue Bumblebee's, had ceramic caps on the tone controls. I installed an actual pair of 1959 Bumblebees caps and it suddenly became much closer to the tone we all know and love. If you don't have bumblebee's, I highly recommend Angela Silver lead-out Alu-foil caps of the same stock value. They sound like butter and give the guitar a very fluid sound with more harmonic content. Your choice, $50 / $75 for a real Bumblebee cap or a $15 for Angela. Tuners: The tuners are a bit too yellow, they are dipped in something. But I bought new Gibson Historic tuners of the same type but "white" keystone and they don't look right, Too white. So don't try that.
The R8 is simply amazing. A killer book matched top. Very resonant. I found that this being a new guitar, did not have a broke-in feel on the front edge of the neck binding. I simply used my wifes soft foam nail buffing block to take the slight edge away and not touch the tinted finish or frets, I'll break it in myself the rest of it's life. The finish is amazing, thin nitro and just what you'd expect for a Les Paul of this price range.
This is a wonderful Les Paul. Gibson is making the same quality instruments now as they did back in the 1950's. Lets face it, those old growth trees will never grow back. Expect the new maple tops, mahogany and rosewood used to be well kiln dried, but never be seasoned for years unless I have a $10K budget... But the consistency, traditional 1950's construction spec's (close) and pride put into these newer Gibson's is by far, the best they have offered. This is an excellent guitar and worth every cent.T. Sims
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