My Next Guitar Will Be A Les Paul

Or Not. Or Well, It Will.

Monday, May 30, 2011 - 05:18:29 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
We've been saying it for years. I was convinced of it. You just have to look at my list of favorite guitar players these days, and the choice is obvious.

Or so you would think. We spent most of yesterday (literally) at Guitar Center. The trip was really about basses for Katie in light of the Memorial Day sales. But y'know, the second fret on my Squire is all but shot these days. I guess you get that with 15 years of jamming away on it. So it couldn't hurt to look at new ones.

So I started out looking at some Epiphone Les Pauls. Never let it said that I'm not a realist. It would have been fun to try out the Gibsons, but let's face it, buying one just wasn't going to happen unless we stumbled across a truck filled with cash.

I was never into the Les Paul look growing up, but that has certainly changed over the years. In the store I started out playing a Standard. My initial thought? "This is the most uncomfortable slab of wood I've ever held!". Over the years I may have come around to the look. The feel I certainly have not it would seem. It wasn't just slightly uncomfortable, it was completely foreign feeling, to a degree that is hard to believe I could ever get used to. I tried the Studio model next. It was a little better, but not by much.

Absolutely everything about the thing felt weird. The shape of the body, the fatness of the neck, the pickup switch (getting in the way of my strumming), the raised pick guard (also getting in the way of my strumming). The only thing I didn't mind was the bridge. So, years of dreaming of owning a Les Paul were shattered pretty quickly. I don't think I could ever get used to an uncomfortable slab of wood like that, as sacrilegious as that might be to say.

For fun I played an American Standard Tele - now that was a sweet guitar. And I've mildly considered a Tele, because after two Strats, I would like to branch out if I'm going to fork out cash for another guitar. Of course, with that said, there was no way I was going to be getting the American Standard with the $1,400 price tag. Sweet ass guitar and awesome to play though. I also had a crack at a few American Standard Strats. Again, sweet plays. Though if anything I'd be looking at the Mexican Straits in reality. Still, it was fun to give them a try and see what all the fuss is about.

While testing out an effects board that I was looking at getting in addition to Katie's bass, I tried out a Musicman. I thought it'd probably be an awful experience like the Les Paul. But it wasn't, it was a joy to play. Further putting a nail in that whole Les Paul dream.

Despite spending all day there (and visiting the Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix stores) we walked out not spending a cent. That was being saved for today. We went out to the Tempe store so Katie could try a Fender P-Bass one more time before making a final decision. While browsing I spotted a sunburst Les Paul, that just looked sweet ass. Which I'd later showed Katie, only to say "it's a shame they're not meant for me, because that one looks sweet". She happened to notice the green tag (Memorial Day sale) on it and suggested that I should play it. What the hell? It'd take 5 minutes to hold another uncomfortable slab of wood, and I could at least see what I'd look like with a such a sweet guitar, if we lived in a different world where I were born to play a Les Paul.

And well, on sitting down and plugging this puppy in, I would have to say that it was love at first touch. I was amazed, but this was completely a different experience to the Les Pauls I played yesterday. I almost immediately knew this had to be my guitar. Part of what visually attracted me to it was the lack of a pick guard. That also made it to play and more comfortable. As did, even more so, the Slim Taper "D" neck. And unlike the ones I played yesterday, this sounded like a Les Paul. It sounded super sweet. I don't know if it was the amps or the guitars yesterday, but there was nothing impressive sounding about what I played. I know that Katie was disappointed that I didn't find my dream guitar yesterday (and probably even moreso that I had such a negative reaction to Les Pauls), but all that changed the moment I picked this baby up.

It was one of those potentially dangerous guitar store experiences, as it was slightly more than I was thinking of spending, but no self restraint or logic could overcome the fact that this had to be mine. [smile] Well, within reason, it was of course a green tag sale item after all, and that did make it easier to give in to. But I did walk into the store figuring I need to give finding a new guitar more time and wasn't expecting this at all.

But it gets better. Ironically yesterday I had mentioned to Katie how one of my aversions to Les Pauls as a kid was the lack of a tremelo bridge. And while that's not an issue for me anymore (I don't remember the last time I've even had a tremelo arm screwed in - it's been years), looking at buying a Les Paul is kinda strange that you're giving up that, whether or not you use it. The clincher with this puppy that I was holding - it's equip with a Floyd Rose Locking tremelo bridge. Well, that absolutely does it. Not only does the thing look amazing, play comfortable and sound awesome, it negated any possible of doubt in the future that I could have instead gone with an Ibenez or B.C Rich with a Floyd Rose that I desperately wanted as a kid. I'm not likely to need it for what I play, but it absolutely made it easier to quickly say this is the guitar for me!

So this whole Les Paul thing has really come full circle. We went up to Scottsdale and picked up the other stuff, and then came back to Tempe for my baby when they didn't have any in stock up there. And as such closes out the chapter of our ridiculous Memorial Day Weekend at Guitar Center.

And I've finally come good on that promise that my next guitar would be a Les Paul. I could not be happier.

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