I have been reading about the new Gibson Les Paul Standards. It seems that a few years ago, Gibson decided to chamber out much of the mahogany underneath the maple cap, mainly to reduce weight.
Les Pauls have always been heavy. I always felt that the weight was part of the mystic built up around this guitar. However, there must have been thousands of complaints about the weight for Gibson to make the new models into what can be now perceived as a semi-hollow guitar.
When you read the forums on this issue, people are upset that Gibson tried to pull one over on the consumer. After all, the Les Paul that most people want have to be modeled after the 50's sunburst guitars from 1958-1960. These guitars are heavy pieces of wood, and set the standard for the guitar tone we all love.
But before all this happened, people were complaining that the guitars were too heavy. When I read about a Les Paul for sale, it is almost a requirement the you have to ask about the weight. It seems you can't satisfy anyone on this. The guitars are too heavy - people complain. Gibson starts to do something about it and people complain they are messing with a classic.
My opinion is that Gibson should have just continued to make the guitars solid, even without the swiss-cheese holes they have been using since the early 80's. None of the Les Pauls I ever owned, of which three were1970's models and one a 1980 model, were light weight, and I never expected them to be light. So I suppose you can put me down as one who thinks Gibson is ripping consumers off by cutting away a good portion of the wood that is somewhat responsible for the tone. If I wanted a semi-hollow, I would buy one.
I have played these new guitars. They were ok, but they did not feel like the real thing. I am sure there are Les Pauls out there that are chambered and sound fantastic. Good. Glad to hear it. But to keep charging over near $3,000 for a guitar chambered like this seems to be crazy.
Gibson has just released the new Les Paul Traditional, which apparently is a reaction to all this. This guitar is not chambered. The Historics aren't either.
It really shouldn't matter to me, though. I don't have the money for one, and I sold my last one to get a Stratocaster, which I am quite happy with. Nothing compares to a real Les Paul, and if you have the cash, go for it. My reason for writing this is I feel that Gibson is not running their business honestly at times.
Someday, when the kids are through college and the house is paid for, I may get one again. But I want it to be a solid body!
Here are a few links about it.
Les Paul Forum
Birds and Moons Forum