Gibson Les Paul Standard 2014 Review: How Good Is It Really?
Many enthusiastic guitarists have Les Paul posters on their wall dreaming of the day they can finally own one.
Many more guitarists enjoy and create music with the signature sound of a Les Paul every day.
Some guitarists even purchase every Les Paul model that is released for the sake of memorabilia and homage to this fine instrument.
But what’s it really like to play it? Read on to find out.
It is clear that the Gibson Les Paul is deeply ingrained into our modern guitar culture. The instantly recognizable shape and tone of the Les Paul would be sorely missed by millions of musicians if the design were ever to be discontinued.
With the 2014 standard edition Gibson has taken the liberty of adding many modern features to the guitar as well as improving some small elements of the design.
This has angered many die hard fans of the original Les Paul but the fact is that these modern features and improvements make this guitar desirable to almost every musician out there.
As far as construction goes not much has changed. The guitar is made out of a chambered mahogany body with a AAA-maple cap on its front. The hollow chambers greatly improve the weight of the guitar and undoubtedly affect tone as well.
The neck is also full mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard as have been standard on all Les Pauls for decades. However, the slim-taper on the neck is now asymmetrical meaning that some girth has been taken off the high-E side.
Another improvement is that the frets now go over the binding which means that is easier to do vibrato on the high and low E strings without the string falling off the side of the neck.
The asymmetrical neck makes for a really good natural feel while playing especially for thumb over neck players.
The Les Paul uses Gibsons signature Plek setup meaning buzzes and chokes are eliminated even at ridiculously low action.
The features list for this guitar is extensive and modern yet all the features manage to be useful and intuitive.
The guitar has also received an impressive upgrade in the electronics department.
A powerful set of BurstBucker Pro pickups have been connected to the classic 3-way switch, but on this guitar all pots are push-pull. They activate ‘tuned’ single coil-taps, pick-up phase shifting and a bypass which engages the bridge humbucker on full volume.
The usefulness of these features cannot be overstated. The single coil tap is a standard feature on many guitars but the pick-up phase shift is something that guitarists like BB King or Peter Green were able to achieve only by changing the wiring configuration inside the guitar.
Now you can get these classic tones at the flip of a switch.
Bypass is also another great feature especially for live play.
There is no longer a need to change many pots and switches on the guitar between your rhythm and lead sections. Pulling out the furthest tone knob bypasses all your tone, volume and pick-up setting and sends your signal straight to the bridge pick-up at full volume.
Lastly a Min-ETune has been fitted to the back of the headstock. This amazing little box actually automatically tunes your guitar with one strum of the strings. You need to see for yourself how cool this is so I have linked to a YouTube video below:
Clearly you do not need to worry about getting a bad tone with this guitar. There are no settings on this guitar that sound bad or unusable. All the different tones you could possibly come up with on this guitar sound great.
In Humbucker mode the guitar embodies the classic Les Paul sound that we know and love. Add some overdrive or distortion and you will get a guitar tone that cuts through the mix with an appealing midrange crunch combined with warmth and fuzzy overtones.
Switch either of the pots to single-coil mode and you will get a cleaner rich tone that cuts out the thick bottom of the humbucker. You will end up with a Clapton type strat tone that sparkles with presence and treble on top of a clean warm midrange.
These standard tones combined with the variations achievable through combinations of tone, volume, coil selection and phase will give you many great guitar tones.
It will take a short while to come to grips with all the settings on the guitar. Once you are familiar with all the tone options you will be able to switch from Country, Jazz and Blues all the way to Classic Rock and Modern Metal.
The Gibson Les Paul 2014 line-up features many different Les Paul options for all guitarists and budgets.
Some of the notable models available are the the Les Paul Melody Maker, Les Paul Studio, Les Paul Futura, Les Paul Signature, The Les Paul Standard and The Les Paul Supreme.
These Guitars span the entire Gibson Les Paul price range and I believe there is a guitar in this line-up for everyone.
The Gibson Les Paul Standard 2014 is of course the flagship of this range and rightly so as it has the best combination of features.
The Les Paul Standard comes in color options of Rootbeer Burst Perimeter, Brilliant Red, Heritage Cherry Sunburst Perimeter, Honeyburst, Ocean Water Perimeter and Tobacco Sunburst Perimeter. All in nitrocellulose.
Although this guitar can be considered pricey you really do get what you pay for.
It may be above many guitarists budget but for the professional player the Les Paul Standard is a must have guitar.
Thankfully Gibson have created a range of Les Paul guitars to suit every guitarist and the entry level Gibson Les Paul Melody Maker can be picked up for about 600 bucks.
Great iconic Les Paul tone
Large set of features
No tremolo bridge option
The amazing set of features combined with the great quality and reputation of Gibson makes this guitar worth every penny.
120 Years into the guitar game and Gibson should be proud of creating such an iconic guitar. The 2014 version being the best one yet.