Gibson Les Paul Studio Swirl Guitars
October 20, 2011 by Charlie
The Les Paul Studio Swirl is a stunning new addition to the popular Studio series, which has been bringing full-fledged Les Paul performance and tone to hard-working musicians since its introduction in 1983. These guitars include all the classic ingredients that have made the Les Paul Standard legendary since humbuckers first hit the model 1957, but add four exotic swirl finishes to the formula, while retaining the down-to-business package that is light on frills, heavy on swagger, and easy on the pocket. Not one element of construction or component quality is sacrificed to bring you this high-performance electric guitar, and the Gibson USA Les Paul Studio Swirl might just be the most head-turning Studio model ever produced.
A handful of cosmetic simplifications help to bring this Les Paul in at a truly astounding price. A minimalist finishing process results in a thin nitrocellulose finish in one of four gorgeous new “swirl” options: Black/Green Swirl, Black/Silver Swirl, Gold/Blue Swirl, and Silver/Blue Swirl. A lack of binding around the body top and fingerboard also gives a tactile, organic look and feel to the instrument as a whole. Where tone and performance are concerned, however, the Studio Swirl model stays right in the legendary Les Paul Standard’s wheelhouse, with the timeless hardware that has helped to make Les Pauls total sustain monsters for more than five decades. The pickups are a pair of Gibson’s most popular humbuckers, a 490R in the neck and a 498T in the bridge, both made with 42-AWG wire and genuine Alnico magnets (Alnico II and Alnico V respectively) just like the original PAF humbuckers. Wrap it all up, and it’s an unparalleled package for anyone from the discerning studio musician to the hard-touring artist in search of a no-nonsense tone machine that stands out on the stage. And at this price, there’s no reason not to check out the Les Paul Studio Swirl today—and make it your very own.
Just like the most revered Les Paul Standards of all time, this Les Paul Studio Swirl starts with the classic tonewood combination of a mahogany body with solid carved maple top. Together, these woods offer outstanding tonal depth and richness from the mahogany, with superb clarity and “snap” from the maple. In this model, the strategic placement of several tone chambers enhances resonance while also reducing the guitar’s overall weight considerably, without sacrificing an ounce of punch or sustain. And even in this more affordable instrument from Gibson USA, the glued-in solid-mahogany neck is cut to the superior “quarter-sawn” grain orientation for superior strength and optimum resonance transfer between neck and body. For the fingerboard, Gibson USA uses exotic Obeche, a hard-wearing dark wood that is not unlike Ebony wood in appearance.
To further maximize all that vibrational energy, Gibson includes its legendary Tune-o-matic bridge and stud-mounted Stop Bar tailpiece, arguably the most storied hardware combination in the history of the electric guitar. Designed to allow precise intonation of individual strings for perfectly in-tune playing, this bridge and tailpiece pairing also provides rock-solid string anchoring at the body end. Of course, to make optimum use of all that sweet resonance and singing sustain you need a couple of superb pickups, and the Les Paul Studio Swirl with Maple Top carries a pair of the very best: a 490R in the neck position gives you warm, rich tones with outstanding clarity, while a slightly hotter 498T is great for singing solos and crunchy rhythm parts. Both are made with genuine Alnico magnets, and feature wax-potted coils to squelch microphonic squeal at high volumes.
All this tonal splendor would do you little good without superb playability, and the Les Paul Studio Swirl excels in this department, too. A rounded ’50s neck profile is extremely comfortable in the hand while still fast and supple under the fingertips, and the fingerboard’s 12-inch radius and 22 medium-jumbo frets offer easy bending with no choking out. To top it all off, the Les Paul Studio Swirl with Maple Top looks great in your choice of Black/Green Swirl, Black/Silver Swirl, Gold/Blue Swirl, and Silver/Blue Swirl finish, all in genuine nitrocellulose lacquer, naturally. All this, and your guitar comes protected in a Gibson Hardshell case, and covered by Gibson’s famous Limited Lifetime Warranty and 24/7/365 customer service.
Current MSRP for these guitars are at $2,399. Go to Gibson.com For more information.