Bursts…I don’t get it

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by Robbie, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. Teledriver

    Teledriver Synchromatic

    Feb 12, 2011
    Iowa City, IA
    My 59 Burst doppelganger does it for me, only because I literally hand-made it to spec, have PAF's in it to spec (YMMV- there's tons of opinions on this), and it has been action/string raised/lowered and re-nuted, and overall adjusted enough to make a chiropractor jealous, including a glued neck re-set last winter (!). It is mine, and it is my '59. For sound and feel I challenge any Les Paul.

    That said, (ahem) I have not played a 1959 Les Paul 'Burst...
    ..but from what I hear over at the MyLesPaul forum, many are not worth playing at all.
    Robbie likes this.
  2. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Me too even though my first electric was one. Maybe that was an Allman influence. I remember really wanting a Les Paul (Epiphone), but can't remember why.
    stiv likes this.
  3. wabash slim

    wabash slim I Bleed Orange

    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Bursts always looked cheesy to me, as if they were trying to hide some flaw. It's not that I dislike LPs, it's the burst paint job on any guitar.
    Henry likes this.
  4. juks

    juks Country Gent

    Nov 26, 2020
    Fremont, California
    Any guitar I pick sounds equally bad, despite some tonal differences. That's why I'm practicing every day :D.
    SAguitar and Mr Swisher like this.
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Electromatic

    May 16, 2017
    Near Detroit

    Trained violinists cannot tell the difference in blind playing or tone comparisons of famous Stradivarius violins or Chinese knock-offs.

    As far as guitars ... remember that those bursts were discontinued due to abysmal sales. Gibson replaced the LP with the SG trying their hardest to compete with the Telecaster and Stratocaster sales runs. Famous rock bands bought those LPs at flea markets and pawn shops for pennies. It was the rock bands who made those guitars famous.

    As the value of those old guitars went up, any owner who had one would take them to better and more expensive guitar techs who knew how to make guitars (any guitar) play better. Those guitar techs never worked on new guitars because who gives them a $1,000 guitar to do $2,000 of work on it? But when you've got a $20,000 vintage instrument you make sure it's the $1,000/hour guy working on it not the string jockey at the local Guitar Center.

    So what you are really paying for with those old guitars is 1) the ability to tell your buddies you have some sort of a piece of history and 2) the skill of those talented guitar techs. Those guitars never left the factory in as good of playing and tone condition as they are now.

    I'd rather buy a $50 beater and put a $100 fret level/crown/polish job into it than buy any new guitar under $2,500 -- because it will play better than anything sold between those prices.

    mr coffee likes this.
  6. TSims1

    TSims1 Gretschified

    Jun 18, 2013
    Honestly, I was shocked he was so willing to share. Joe is actually a cool, cool dude.
    j.s.c, Robbie and blueruins like this.
  7. wildeman

    wildeman I Bleed Orange

    May 10, 2015
    I've played some really, really good, beautiful old Les Pauls that I'd give my eye teeth for, they were gold and had soapbars.
    j.s.c and Robbie like this.
  8. mr coffee

    mr coffee Country Gent

    Oct 7, 2009
    I ~kind of~ like a sunburst strat. Kiesel is knocking out some amazing bursts. Most LP bursts I don't care for - I think the darker it is the less I like it. Some honeybursts and iced tea bursts are okay, by the time you get to cherrybursts or tobaccobursts I'm kinda eh...some of the worst are more or less black with a yellow blotch. Meh.

    wabash slim likes this.
  9. knavel

    knavel Country Gent

    Dec 26, 2009
    London, England
    Original LPs' value is largely about who played them and on what, not about how "good" they actually are. It's well beyond that.

    At $250K (or $350k last week end for Neal Schon's) it's going to cause many to evaluate them terms of wood and wire especially when something very similar, perhaps indistinguishable can be had new from the custom shop certainly for 1/40th the price. But don't throw out the baby with the bath water; a good LP is a great guitar.
    Robbie and wabash slim like this.
  10. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    Same story here, thousand miles away in sunny Florence.
    My first electric guitar was a Kingston LP cherry burst. To be honest at the time I didn't even know the difference between a Tele and a LP, so I'm partially excused. I sold it after 3 months for a Hondo 335 copy.
    Btw, in the mid 90's I gave Les Paul another try... I had a bargain on a Wine Red '75 Deluxe with minihums. It lasted 6 months, I swapped it (with some cash) for a '74 Tele deluxe.
    God knows I tried to like them. :)
    Robbie likes this.
  11. stiv

    stiv Country Gent

    Sep 12, 2014
    Firenze, Italy
    There's a lot of great guitarists that are always on the hunt for good Bursts, anyway.
    I probably shared this before, but a friend of mine from Italy (a well known collector and trader, nicknamed Flamin'Guitars in case you guys bought something from him :)) found a great '59 Les Paul in the UK and sold it to Jimmy Page. Old Jimmy paid him the fly to London to do the hand delivery (and included two tickets for the last Zep Reunion gig). Jimmy paid slightly less than 60.000 euros for it, and it was 2007. My friends came home with 1000 euros in his pocket and some nice pictures. ;)
    Robbie likes this.
  12. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    He really appears to be in his interviews. He doesn’t seem to take himself overly serious. What an awesome opportunity.
  13. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    mr coffee likes this.
  14. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    I’m hoping to someday be able to sit down and play the ‘59 LP Special owned by our own @Tony65x55 Tony has told me what a fabulous instrument it is and I certainly would always take his opinion on a guitar to the bank.
    Tony65x55 likes this.
  15. bigjohnbates

    bigjohnbates Gretschie

    Jun 15, 2011
    I once played a lovely '56 Goldtop for an afternoon and own a 2012 LP Custom ... to be honest they played very similarly except the '56 seemed somehow "softer" - very smooth to play but otherwise not much different aside from the neck dimensions. I don't know how else to explain it. As far as vintage goes I think there's more difference between Gretsches from various eras (and I've had a LOT) than any other guitar.
  16. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    There’s no doubt that a ‘59 Burst can be an amazing guitar, but the notion that one of these can be so much better sounding than a newer one doesn’t ring true to me. I’ve had some great guitars in my day, but I’d say that most of what makes them great is a proper setup and using them properly. I’m always amazed by the number of people that don’t even understand the controls on their guitar, but I’ve seen it many times.

    Years ago, I got to play the guitar that the guitar solo on Green Eyed Lady was recorded on. It felt great to play, but there was no magic in the instrument. It was simply a well setup guitar with string gauges that were appropriate to its use. Any “magic” existed only in my head.

    On several occasions, I have heard people mention that well respected artists, such as Eric Clapton, are able to get their sound even when using someone else’s gear. I haven’t seen this in person, but I believe it. One reason I believe it is that the same thing happens to me. If I pick up someone else’s guitar, I twiddle a couple of knobs on the amp and then I sound like myself.

    The feel between guitars always strikes me as being more of the difference than the sound. My guitars tend to have a great feel, but that’s a matter of setup.
    GlenP and Robbie like this.
  17. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Agree 100%. Proper set up is critical
  18. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Robbie, pmac11 and GlenP like this.
  19. amp360

    amp360 Synchromatic

    Oct 21, 2012
    Right now I have two - a '58 and a '60 as well as a '56 Goldtop. If you don't get it that's fine.

    How many have you played?

    I don't get Lamborghinis or Kias but maybe if I drove one or owned one for a few years I wouldn't want to drive anything else.

    I actually took my '58 to two gigs in the past three weeks and am playing it tomorrow night at a show as well. I bought my '60 in 1996 for 20k. 12k of which was cash and 8k trade (or something like that). It's a factory overspray with a removed Bigsby.

    Both have made me more money than it cost, have been good investments (don't believe those internet prices) and I've gotten a lot of joy out of owning them.

    I own a guitars that cost less that I like just as much but they're not guitars that sound like those do. I also own a Dumble (that I got way before the internet clowns jumped on the train) and it's a great sounding amp but it's not really the one I would pick if I had to sell everything.

    These days if I wanted an older Gibson I would probably buy a 3x5 or something that had been repaired. That's just me.

    If you don't like them don't buy one. Talking about something that a person may have never seen, held or maybe they just played a few times just seems moronic to me. YMMV.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
    NJDevil and j.s.c like this.
  20. Robbie

    Robbie Friend of Fred

    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Perhaps I didn’t express myself properly. Hope you took no offence, there was certainly none intended. I did not say I didn’t like them, I don’t get them..perhaps I should have said I don’t understand them.

    In a later post I said “Just to clarify, I’m not saying Bursts are not phenomenal instruments. I’d love to play one for a while, I’d love to own one. I’m just not hearing the massive differences when compared to a new(er) generation really good LP.”

    Again apologies if you were unintentionally offended.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
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