My new Les Paul

My girlfriend got me a brand new Gibson Les Paul Studio Silverburst for my birthday yesterday. I’ve been playing for 26 years and this is my very first Les Paul (or any Gibson for that matter). I’ve always had Schecters, and Ibanez, and Deans. A good Gibson has always been so far out of my price range that I never even considered it. Apparently she ended up with such a good deal that the store took a loss on the sale. It should have been marked at $1399, but it was priced wrong at $999…and then she had a coupon for $150 off. So $850 before tax, and that included the OHSC. :slight_smile:

I fucking love it. The tone and playability of this guitar is simply amazing. The clean tones I can get out of this thing are top notch. I also love that the volume knobs are push pull to turn the humbuckers to single coil. I have so many sound options with this guitar that I am still in awe.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my good news and see if anyone any suggestions for upgrades. I was considering a TUSQ nut for it, a TonePros bridge, and probably some locking tuning keys. Any other suggestions?

And just so everyone can see exactly what I got, here’s the link:

Love it. In the right hands, a silver burst delivers the goods. Adam Jones of Tool is a great SB player.

Okay - here’s a quick set of thoughts about mods to your LP. By way of background, I have owned a few vintage, modern and Japanese replica Les Pauls, and built a couple of my own solidbody Tele’s. And I read you’ve been playing 26 years - if you know all this, sorry for troubling you -

  • Start with a set up - may already be set up since you just got it, but I always make sure that my new guitars have the neck relief, action and intonation - and for electrics, pickup height - set to my preferences, to insure that any issues I have with the guitar’s tone are not related to basic set up.

  • Review the pickups - you typically know on the pickup spectrum where you want to be - from clean to high-gain, super-hot metal. I need to go from clean to distorted rock and punk, for instance. If the pickups seem to be in your spectrum, stick with them - if not, strongly consider replacing them, but first you might consider…

  • …upgrade the components - i.e., the volume and tone pots, resistors, shielding in the pickup cavity - that stuff. With Les Pauls, especially, there is a huge cult around bumblebee resistors, and certain types of pots - the old-school examples are inefficient, yes - but in a way that imparts goodness on the tone. Oh, but even before that, you need to…

  • …make sure you have the right amp for you - what type of music do you play? Do you have experience with tube amps vs. solid state? How do you feel about the amp you have now?

  • Check the bridge, nut, etc. - if you’ve sorted out the setup, pickup, components and amp (effets pedals, too, if you have any that are always on in your chain) - then you start evaluating the bridge and nut - basically to either modify the tone (brass is brighter; bone is warmer), improve intonation or to seek to increase sustain (but most of sustain should be in your fingers, anyway…).

So - hope this helps. If you want to come back and help us understand your gear and what you are trying to achieve we can help more. But not for long - I will be out of computer access for a week or so starting soon :wink:

You need absolutely nothing on the guitar (other than the setup mentioned above). You need a full Marshall stack and/or HiWatt 50 for smaller venues, 95 Dunlop cry baby, 50 songs, some spandex britches, and you are ready to go. You should hang on to your girlfriend.

There are only two things I would address with a Les Paul Studio (or any modern Les Paul):

  1. The shielding and electronics are fine the way they are, but mylar caps (any mylar caps, any brand) generally sound just a little better than ceramic caps. Expensive caps are worthless … just a moneymaker for the sellers. They don’t sound any different in a passive tone circuit than dirt cheap caps.

  2. I’d crank the tailpiece all the way down and top wrap the strings. You can Google that … it’s the way Duane Allman set up his Les Pauls. Some folks like to add an extra ball end to the string (from an old discarded string) to get a little extra protection at the tailpiece end.

The result of top wrapping is that you get all the sustain and tone of a cranked-down tailpiece, but also a shallow break angle to the bridge. It changes the feel of the strings, too. Most players describe it as “slinkier” or “bendy”.

I try top-wrapping on all my Les Pauls - it seems to be a real improvement on some and kinda “meh” on others. But I totally agree that you should try it, especially if you are a blusey, bendy kinda guy…

Beautiful guitar! Enjoy it!

Awesome axe. Is Gibson building silverburst guitars again?

I’ve played a couple '79 silverbursts that yellowed a bit over the years. Both were heavy (12 to 13 pounds) and sounded stellar through a Hiwatt DR103 halfstack. The tone is a bit darker than other most other LPs.

I like to top-wrap with 11 gage strings. The feel is too slinky for my taste with lighter gage strings.


I’ve got an old beat-up Les Paul that’s been taken apart and put back together a number of times. It’s got neck issues (it’s already been through the heat-press) and pick up switch is faulty and the action is still a little too high for my tastes. It sounds great, like a Les Paul should, but I just can’t get it to tune correctly because of the eternally re-warping neck.

Nice axe you got there.

Gibson began making SB’s at least 10 years ago - with folks like Adam Jones picking them up, Gibson took advantage.

Back in the late 70’s, weight was considered a key factor in tone and sustain - so heavy guitars were prized. Jerry Garcia’s Tiger weighed something like 14 lbs - silly.

Happy new guitar day!!!

Congrats, Bambro.

Sorry for being away from the thread…but I’ve been jamming all day. :slight_smile:

I think on the next restring I may try a top wrap config with some 10s. One question on top warapping I had was reading online I saw that I was supposed to lower the tail piece as far as it can go and then top wrap the strings. Does the lowering of the tail piece affect intenation at all? Am I going to have to go through, after lowering the tail piece, and reset the intenation or will that still be good since I’m not adjusting the hardware that holds the saddles?

Right now the only amp I have is a little 30W Marshall, but it sounds so damn good with this guitar I don’t really need anything else right now. And when everyone is asleep and I hook my Beats headphones up to the amp…OMG. It sounds fucking amazing. I damn near have an eargasm everytime.

As for the setup…My local Guitar Center where it was purchased doesn’t have a shop in it, and I don’t know how to go about finding a reputible luthier in my area (but being in a major metropolitan area [Dallas] I figure there has to be one). As far as the setup goes, do I just take it to the shop and tell them I want a pro setup on it, or how exactly does that work? As I said I’ve only ever had lower end guitars before and have always just played them stock.

Oh yeah, I was also reading onling about Vintage Russian K73 Russian oil Filled Tone Caps for even better tone. Thoughts?

Oh yeah…by the way, I LOVE THIS FUCKING GUITAR!!! :smiley:

If it plays well with no bad buzzing, it probably doesn’t need a set-up.
Expensive caps are a waste in passive circuits. Save your money, no one will ever hear the difference.

You can Google setting intonation, all you need is a tuner and a screwdriver.

By the way, don’t believe everything you hear online … except this.

My understanding is what you do with the tailpiece, or really anything that isn’t about the distance between the nut, bridge, and fingerboard, will be irrelevant to the intonation. I think you’ll be fine.

If that sounds awesome, then you’re done. For now. :slight_smile: The tone journey has no ending, but you find good places to stop along the way, and it sounds like you’re at one.

I’m surprised your GC isn’t equipped to set up a guitar. At the least they might point you at a shop who is. Where do you live approximately? Maybe someone on the thread knows a local place near you. As for what you ask for, just tell them you just bought the guitar and want it setup properly. They may ask your preference for type of strings, how low you want the action, etc. That’s about it. ETA: Or what SirGalahad said. If you think the guitar sounds and plays fine, and at 26 years playing you think you can judge that well, don’t sweat it. See here for stuff about intonating a guitar yourself, which also lets you see if the intonation is out at all, you just need a tuner.

Sounds like utter snake oil to me.


Well the manual that comes with it cover how to check and set the intonation, but just didn’t know if lowering the tail piece would affect it or not. I’m not scared of it, just want to make sure I have to time to devote to it before getting started.

The tail piece should have minimal impact on intonation. The break angle of the strings at the bridge does affect the bending and bend release feel and tension. There can be some influence on tone and sustain as well depending on the severity of an adjustment. In general, a steeper break angle mitigates the chance for strings to pop off the saddles and also promotes sustain.

You will need a tuner, flat and philips screwdrivers, and an allen wrench for adjusting intonation. The truss rod in the neck can be adjusted (allen wrench) by removing the cover above the nut on the headstock. I like to have the bottom side of the low E string at about 5/64" above the 12th fret when in tune. On a Les Paul, I adjust the rod tension and bridge height with strings loose and then tune the open strings, repeat trial and error as needed, and then adjust the bridge saddles until the open strings and 12 fret note are in tune. You can pay a guitar shop to do this, but may like the results better if you do your own adjustments.

What 30W Marshall do you have? Which speaker(s)? Marshall has built some great amps and some awful amps and everything in between over the years.

If you’re happy with the current sound, then I don’t see the need to bother. However, if you have soldering skills and equipment, then you can swap the tone caps and then go back to the original caps if not satisfied. I usually replace the tone caps, pickups, potentiometers, wires, switch, and jack in Epiphones and other cheap Asian built guitars, but I rarely bother on better quality guitars. I’ve been happy with Hovland and Sprague Vitamin Q 0.022 µF capacitance oil filled caps when installing then in Epi LPs. I haven’t tried the K73s.

Yeah, many of those Norlin-era Les Paul solid bodies are quite heavy. I don’t wanna open up a can of worms on the weight/density & tone/sustain debate too much. Some of those heavy slab LPs are real winners and some are duds.


You’ll have a hard time adjusting the truss rod on a Les Paul with your Allen wrench, there dude, since Gibson truss rods turn with SAE 15/16" sockets.

Also, Bambro, don’t dick around with magic capacitors, you’re wasting your time.

That should read 5/16". That’s 5/16". Sorry, my typing finger got lost.