In honour of their classic-style Les Pauls and as part of the 2013 Year of Les Paul celebrations, Gibson have revamped their incredibly popular Les Paul Traditional by adding some modifications that unleash a new kind of beast. As the name would suggest, the Gibson Les Paul Traditional II aesthetic is in keeping with the style of earlier models, particularly those produced in the 1980s and ‘90s. However, it also benefits from modern improvements in guitar building techniques, a selection of finishes and some killer electronic upgrades.
The timeless Les Paul shape embodies Rock and Roll attitude. The back is built using dense solid mahogany, which is unchambered and without weight relief, helping to deliver the customary warm and meaty tones that people come to expect from a Les Paul. The top is made from a carved, solid Grade-AA figured maple top, adding bite and articulation to the fat warmth produced by the mahogany. The body is protected by a classic, period-correct, cream-coloured pickguard and binding.
The neck is crafted from solid quarter-sawn Grade-A mahogany, before being carefully glued and set to the body. Being a set neck gives it a long scale length that produces excellent resonance and sustain. Each neck is carved to the rounded late-‘50s profile, which is very slim, very comfortable and very playable.
The neck is fitted with a beautiful Grade-A rosewood fingerboard that houses 22 medium-jumbo frets with traditional trapezoid inlays. It has a 12-inch radius, which is perfectly suited to smooth string bending. Effort has been made to ensure the period-correct cream binding meets the fret markers perfectly to prevent them from protruding from the fingerboard. This enables the fretting hand to slide effortlessly up and down the neck without being impeded. The nylon nut is cut using the PLEK automated trimming system for consummate precision so string sit perfectly in relation to the neck and fingerboard.
Given the slim neck profile, this guitar is perfectly suited to a wide range of playing techniques. Whether you’re a fingerpicker, heavy strummer or a flatpicker, you’ll find your home on this fingerboard.
The Gibson Les Paul Traditional II is fitted with the ’57 Classic neck pickup and Gibson’s new Super ’57 bridge pickup. The Super ’57 has been overwound to produce the distinctive vintage ’57 tone but with extra flavour. Each has been created in the image of the classic Gibson “Patent Applied For” PAF pickups and include Alnico II magnets, nickel-plated pole pieces, and vintage style, 2 conductor braided wiring. Both are wax potted to remove the tiniest of air pockets and avoid any microscopic squealing at high volumes.
Here’s where the fun begins!
Each pickup offers coil splitting for single-coil sounds and a boost circuit via push-push switching in the individual volume controls. Unlike the Les Paul Standards and Studios that feature a “Super Tap” coil-tap - which still has some humbucking qualities - the Trad Pro II pickups offer true single-coil tone making them incredibly versatile.
The boost circuit offers a preset 10dB signal boost that adds extra snarl to your tone. Not only that but within the battery compartment in the rear of the body there is a small trem pot. This can be attenuated in order decrease and even increase the amount of dB boost you want to add to the signal. Furthermore, if you don’t wish to make use of the boost circuit you can remove the battery and effectively use the push/push switch as a mute or killswitch option. With all of these options at your fingertips you will definitely find the tone you want, or at least have a lifetime of fun trying to!
Having the push/push rather than push/pull switches makes it very easy to make fast changes whilst performing and it is easy to monitor whether or not the boost option has been activated.
Grover locking tuning machines with chrome keystone buttons ensure that strings are kept firmly in tune no matter what tuning you’re in or how hard you rock out. The neck has been angled to ensure that string tension is maintained between the tuning machines and nut to aid in the delivery of a highly resonant tone.
To provide a firm seating for the strings and to allow easy attenuation of intonation and string height adjustment, a Tune-o-matic bridge is fitted. The bridge is coupled with the “stopbar” tailpiece to enhance and support the strings' connection to the body.
Vintage Gibson Top Hats are employed in the roles of the two independent volume and two independent tone controls.
Every effort has gone into bringing out the finer details in this beauty. Each guitar has received a great deal of care and attention at Gibson’s USA workshop. The top has been finished in high-gloss lacquer to give each guitar a distinctive look; whilst the back, sides and neck have a smooth satin finish that allows the wood to resonate to its full potential.
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