Vintage Guitars vs Just Plain Old Guitars 1
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Vintage Guitars vs Just Plain Old Guitars

There is a lot of fuss made in the guitar community about so-called ‘vintage’ guitars, ‘vintage’ being another word for ‘old’. There is a certain part of our world that longs to play a 30-, 40-, or even 50-year-old guitar or bass for a variety of reasons. […]

Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul Guitar
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Gibson vs Epiphone Les Paul – What’s The Difference?

Both guitars feature thin, 60’s style mahogany necks with rosewood fretboards. This same mahogany is also used as the underbody for each of the guitars. The top material of Gibson’s Les Paul is constructed of maple wood with a nitrocellulose finish, while the Epiphone uses a maple veneer with a standard gloss finish. This actually serves to make a huge difference in the tone of the guitar. FYI, random but relevant fact: veneer is created by gluing a multitude of thin sheets of wood together. While this creates a product that is less likely to crack, it in many ways seems to slightly alter the dynamics and removes a bit of the lower mid warmth. Since the maple top and the tone associated with it is one of the most ICONIC parts of the classic Gibson Les Paul, this point of contention seems to indicate at least one area where Gibson’s Les Paul is demonstrably better than its Epiphone cousin. However, wood is only as good as its protection, and as you may know, these two guitars have entirely different finishes… […]

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Guitars

Gibson Eric Clapton 1960 Les Paul

Clapton picked up a 1960 Les Paul Standard and a Marshall tube amplifier and set the music world on fire. This Les Paul/Marshall combination, along with Clapton’s incredible playing, helped define not only the cutting edge blues-rock of the day, but the powerful, rich, and fat sound has influenced generations of guitar players ever since! […]

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Charvel Desolation DS-1T and DS-1 ST Guitar Review

Since Fender’s acquisition of the Charvel brand in 2002, the parent company has remained pretty true to the original tearaway teen’s mantra of producing hot-rodded rock guitars.

After the Art Series and its association with Edward Van Halen (surely the most famous of the original Charvel users from the late seventies) piqued interest, along came the truly awesome San Dimas range, which stayed even closer to the original West Coast vibe.

Today, with a San Dimas Style 1 costing a mere £619 and selling very nicely, we’d assumed that Charvel would consider continuing along these ‘heritage’ lines. However, in the spirit of evolution comes the new Desolation range, which includes a number of versions, also at various price points, of three designs that Charvel has not previously utilised – the Skatecaster SK-1, DS-1 and DC-1, all available in Floyd Rose or hardtail models.

“The layout of the four control pots has the bridge pickup’s volume control set closest to the picking hand – attention to detail that we heartily applaud.”

While Charvel has a history of producing genuine ‘shape’ guitars, such as the Hydra and the Star, the brand never turned its building skills to the humble single-cutaway, save for the much-missed and wonderfully over-the-top Model 7 T-type.

The body here is closer in vibe to established models such as the ESP Eclipse than anything bearing the Gibson logo, and is without doubt a very modern guitar – not even the Les Paul Axcess offers as much body contouring as we see here.

The flat black finish of our example looks good with the black nickel-plated hardware, although its abalone binding looks seriously out of place. It’s fitted with Grover rather than Charvel tuners, presumably to echo the associated Nashville vibe.

The pickups comprise a set of Seymour Duncan’s underrated Blackout active humbuckers, which are controlled by individual volume and tone pots plus a standard three-way toggle. The choice between the Duncans and the more ubiquitous EMG set throughout the Desolation range is one we’re sure that players will appreciate, and what’s more, the layout of the four control pots has the bridge pickup’s volume control set closest to the picking hand – attention to detail that we heartily applaud.

The DS-1’s neck is slightly thicker in depth and it does offer a slightly more rounded feel compared to the flatter-backed profile of other Desolation guitars we’ve seen, although its difficult to ascertain whether this is just an anomaly or what’s likely to be a standardised production process.
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Through-neck designs are celebrated for their long sustain, and that’s the case here. Because of its less-than-totally intimate connection with the body wood, however, a Floyd Rose will take some tone away – but the DS-1 still packs a beast of a punch.

The SD Blackout humbuckers at the bridge offer a slightly smoother high end than the default Desolation EMGs, something akin to the roar of Mark Tremonti. There’s plenty of gain when required, but the DS-1 demonstrates that there can be adequate tonal wiggle room within the realm of the active pickup.

Played clean, there’s some lovely woody body to strummed chords and, as the amp gain is raised, so is the trebly edge. The DS-1 stays perfectly in tune, plays wonderfully and is well balanced when strapped on.

For anyone who remembers the late ’70s and ’80s, it feels slightly off-message for Charvel to be going after a genre where the likes of ESP, Schecter and indeed fellow Fender-owned brand Jackson are already so well established. But it’s questionable whether the kids will care, so if you can get over this hangup, the DS-1 is well worth a whirl. […]

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Gibson Buckethead Les Paul Studio Guitar

The Buckethead Les Paul Studio is crafted from a 2-piece maple top set into a chambered mahogany body. This wood combination, one of the most acclaimed pairings in the history of the solid and semi-solid electric guitar, yields a “best of both worlds” tonal splendor. With the great clarity, definition and treble bite from the maple, and excellent depth and richness from the mahogany, elements found in the classic Les Paul tone. The chambering adds a further dimension, increasing the complexity of this guitar’s tone, while also increasing its acoustic volume and sustain. […]

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Gibson Les Paul BFG Gator

The BFG line of Les Pauls has been well-received by the public. The “photo-finish” archtops, which remove so much of the woodworking from the process, allows Gibson to sell the Les Paul at prices comparable to what people have always been willing to pay for standard American Fenders. A Les Paul Custom, costing three times as much […]

Alex Lifeson Gibson Guitar Les Paul Review
Guitars

Reviewing the Alex Lifeson Gibson Les Paul Axcess Guitar [2020]

Gibson Created through extensive work with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, this new model incorporates the Graph Tech Ghost-equipped, Floyd Rose-licensed, double locking tremolo system. Newly designed output circuitry offers unprecedented signal routing (via “Regular” output jack and/or “Life-O-Sound” output jack) and tonal shaping flexibility (via push/pull pots) that make full use of the guitar’s complete pickup arsenal consisting of piezo and 496R ceramic-magnet neck humbucker and 498T Alnico V bridge humbucker. Available in viceroy brown and royal crimson finishes, both specified and approved by Alex Lifeson himself. […]