Iconic Guitars

Vintage guitars, re-issues and relics found on the web or in stores

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Gibson Les Paul - Studio vs. Special?

Gibson Lifestyle just did a spotlight on the Gibson Les Paul Studio. Interesting. I am not a big fan of the Studio but the bare bone finish in which it is presented in this article remembered me of the Les Paul Special, a guitar I am really fond of.
To me, the Studio has always been the cheap version of the Les Paul Standard. I own a 1990 Standard and if I had only one guitar to play for the rest of my life, that would be the one.

That being said, my perception of the Studio stems from the models of the 90's. Today, it seems Gibson has carved a better niche for the Studio in the Les Paul family. Looking at the 2009 Studio, I am starting to like it in its natural worn finish. Note: I am a sucker for worn / faded finishes: I own both a Gibson Faded SG Special in Worn Brown and... a Gibson Special Double Cutaway in Faded Cherry - here a Special 1960 TV re-issue, the $500 model seems discontinued.

And I still find that the Special has a je-ne-sais-quoi, a flair that stems from being the most simple no-frill Les Paul produced by Gibson: An ascetic worn finish which lets you enjoy a simple yet beautiful piece of wood. The eternal shape of a Les Paul (single or double cutaway). And a pair of P-90 pickups that are just what you need to rock on.

Really no frills: no elaborate sunburst, no binding on the body or the neck, simple pickguard screwed on the body.

And I guess the fact that Bob Marley played one confers a certain aura to it, Marley's simple yet beautiful music reinforcing the Special's simple yet beautiful looks and tone.

Bob Marley live with his Les Paul Special

So, if you want to get one of these, there is eBay:
Gibson Les Paul Special
(to narrow down to double cutaway's, try a search with DC too)

And here are the brand new models at Guitar Center:
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson Les Paul Special 1960 Custom Shop Re-issue Single Cutaway (like Bob!)
Gibson Les Paul Special 1960 Custom Shop Re-issue Double Cutaway


guitar collecting said...

interesting stuff. I think with the fashion for "road worn" "relics" and "faded" finishes the studio model fits well with the no frills approach. Would you like to swap links with out site?