Paul Diamond Blow's Rock Musician Resources

Gear Review: The Gibson Les Paul Studio Guitar
The Super Cool, Super Sexy Les Paul Guitar is Now Affordable with the Studio Model

by Paul Diamond Blow

Seeing as how I am one of the best guitar players in Seattle (and a bit egotistical), I decided I deserve the best guitar ever made: the Gibson Les Paul. I've always loved these guitars -- the looks and the sound -- but it was the price of these fine guitars that always stopped me from buying one. There are many models of the Les Paul to choose from, and most are priced in the $1500 and up range. Even used, these guitars are still priced very high, however I found that the Les Paul Studio model is basically a genuine Les Paul with a few cosmetic differences and a lower price ($1200 brand new).

I bought my first Les Paul Studio guitar used in 2002 for $750... I knew I'd have a hard time finding one for less anywhere, so I grabbed it. Mine is wine red with gold hardware -- very, very beautiful and cool looking. The main difference between the Studio and the more expensive models is that it does not have the white binding on the sides of the guitar body and neck, and the Gibson logo on the headstock is a bit different. Otherwise it is the same body, wood, and pickups as the other models. I loved this guitar so much that I later on bought a brand new white Les Paul Studio with gold hardware, a very sexy, very hot sounding guitar that has become my signature axe.

I play hard rock style guitar through a Marshall 100 watt half stack, and I'd have to say that the Les Paul is the best guitar around for this style of music. You've probably heard it before, but the Les Paul through a Marshall tube amp is simply the sound of ROCK! Power chords have never sounded so good! I can play my Les Paul Studio with no distortion box and get great rockin' leads and riffs. And yes, the sustain of these guitars is simply an awesome thing. And of course, the Les Paul guitar is the coolest looking guitar around, PERIOD!

Some people complain that Les Pauls are too heavy, and yes, my Studio is a heavy slab of wood, but the heaviness is part of what gives the Les Paul its great sound. I've played lighter guitars, and have noticed that the lighter the wood, the harder it is to get good heavy power chord rock without the use of a distortion pedal. I've regulated all my other guitars to backup duty now that I've got my Les Paul.

Besides being beautiful and having a great rock sound, my Les Paul Studio stays in tune, is very easy to play, and I can play with low action and no fret buzz. This is a high quality guitar -- it's not a piece of carp that will fall apart on you -- but of course, it's a Gibson and Gibson has one of the finest reputations for making quality instruments. The one weakness is the headstock, which can easily crack or break if the guitar is dropped. I strongly recommend NOT using Dunlop strap locks with this guitar (my Dunlop strap locks slipped out twice, cracking the headstock both times -- I since switched to Schaller strap locks which do NOT slip out) and avoid putting it in a guitar stand or anywhere where it might fall over. This is the Les Paul's big weakness...

I'd recommend the Les Paul Studio to anyone who wants a Les Paul but does not want to spend a small fortune. It is definitely an excellent guitar, and if you are a "serious" rock guitarist, you need one!

Paul Diamond Blow with his trademark white Les Paul Studio