Taking a Look at the Gibson Guitars of Strymon Demos

First I took a look at the Agile guitars we’ve used in some of our demos, then the Fender guitars, and now let’s look at some of the Gibson guitars. Gibson is one of those names that even if you aren’t a guitarist you still know what a Gibson is. And for good reason: they have some of the best, but I don’t need to tell you all that. Now have fun looking at Gibson guitars we have used in our demo videos, including one from a very special guest this time! 🙂

Let’s start with Gohan, who many of you might have gotten to know through receiving help and tips from him in support. Now Gohan has joined the marketing team and is helping out with social media, blogs, videos, and more.

Gohan, what type of guitar is this and what are the specs?

So my guitar is a 2004 Gibson Les Paul Classic 1960 Edition. It was one of the last purchases I made when I was still working at Guitar Center, which funny enough is located only a few blocks down from the Strymon office!

It’s my dream Les Paul — it’s very heavy (around 13lbs last time I weighed it), came with PAF voiced pickups, namely ’57 Classics, and the finish is a beautiful burst with no real flame to it, but a nice deep orange/yellow maple top that contrasts with the deep red mahogany back and neck.

Being the 1960 Edition, it’s also got a skinny, comfortable neck, as well as a skinnier headstock. It also has aged inlays, and it came with some genuine patina in the form of scratches, dents, rust, and other assorted marks, which were definitely not there when the guitar was new, as these are not sold relic’d when new.

Why do you enjoy using your Les Paul for demos?

I love using it for any type of demos as the guitar has great clean tones, especially with the neck pickup, and I can get anything from warm, round tones when doing jazzier tunes, to a bright jangle if I’m doing country music or the like.

The bridge pickup has a very old school voicing that works great for classic rock or old school punk, but paired with something like a Sunset, it works great to get tight, modern high gain metal tones! It’s my favorite guitar and a total jack of all trades.

Sometimes I do wish it was lighter, but hey that’s where all the tone is, right?

How did you acquire your Les Paul?

The story of how I came about it is a fun one. I would spend my downtime as an employee scouring the used guitar listings across the country for cool guitars to pick up, and I found this specific Les Paul one morning on sale for $899! It was being sold that low because the head stock had been repaired, and there were a few holes in it from where someone had previously installed and then removed a Bigsby.

I immediately asked my manager if I could put a layaway deposit on it and have it shipped over from halfway across the country (as it was located at some random Guitar Center in the Midwest) so I could inspect it before paying in full, and he was kind enough to let me do that.

It arrived a few days later, but whoever packed the guitar before shipping it out had packed JUST the guitar. No case. Nothing. Just a Les Paul and some bubble wrap? How it arrived in California in one piece is beyond me. I then called the store it came from, and they expeditiously shipped me the case that the guitar should have originally arrived in.

I had to part ways with a few guitars I truly loved, namely a killer Gretsch G5120 I’d scored for $130, and my white Mexican Stratocaster, but I don’t regret purchasing my Les Paul one bit. I had wanted a real Les Paul since I started playing guitar, since all my guitar heroes had one, from Slash to Gary Moore to Frank and Ray from My Chemical Romance, so it was a very happy day when I finally got my hands on one.

Next up is of course… Pete! Pete not only designs all the sounds in Strymon pedals, but he is also one of our fav for video demos. He knows each pedal as if it was his own child.

Pete, please give us the details on your Gibson.

My Gibson is a Custom Shop True Historic 1960 Reissue Les Paul with Aged Mountain Fade finish.

This guitar was built to original vintage specs and features Gibson Alnico III Custom Buckers. According to Gibson, even the composition of the pickguard plastic was analyzed and recreated! The maple top is nicely figured and highlighted by the not-too-common color and aged finish.

What do you enjoy about this guitar for demos?

It is one of those guitars that just feels and sounds right. It represents everything a Les Paul should: beefy fat tones and beautiful sustain, with a top end that is surprisingly bright but never piercing.

I used it in our Iridium Staff Audio Examples with the Punch amp to demonstrate the effectiveness of using the Volume knob on the guitar to control the amount of amp drive. A Les Paul into a Marshall is as classic as it gets!

And knowing that the pickguard is the proper type of plastic helps me sleep at night.

Next up we have Mark from Product Development. If you are an avid concert goer, then you have probably been at a show that Mark was at too!

Mark, please tell us about your Gibson.

This is a Gibson Vintage Sunburst 1963 ES-335 Block Reissue from 2014.

This Made in Memphis guitar represents the pinnacle for me both with regard to both the instrument itself and what it represents to me personally. It’s a stunning instrument that’s a dream to play – the 1963 335 had a slim taper neck profile, block inlays, “Mickey Mouse” cutaway profile, Kluson tuners, and the tobacco sunburst finish, which are the perfect combo for me. I replaced the pickups with Seymour Duncan Antiquities and the tone is both versatile and sublime. It’s really easy to dial in a tone with this guitar.

If I was only able to keep one electric guitar, I would definitely choose this one!

It’s also special to me because it was a gift from my family. It was common knowledge that this was my dream guitar, but I always felt like it was just out of reach. My wife enlisted the help of several others in my extended friends and family network who all banded together to gift this instrument to me for my 50th birthday! I feel the love whenever I play it and it just feels “right.”

Matt, when not super busy creating Strymon videos, spends time with his favorite Gibson. Let’s hear about it!

What kind of Gibson is this?

This is a 2008 Les Paul Traditional that I’ve been playing since 2008. It’s really more or less what had always been known as a Les Paul Standard, but the year it came out, Gibson released a new Standard that had a bunch of modern features (non-Standard features?), so they concurrently released the Traditional for people who wanted what had traditionally been included in a Standard.

I had actually thought I wanted that new Standard, but when I played both guitars, the Traditional spoke to me more.

Can you also please share your Gibson’s specs.

It’s all stock, which means ’57 Classic humbuckers, somewhat weight-relieved body, 50s rounded neck profile, and all the appointments you’d expect on a Les Paul Standard.

What do you enjoy most about playing this Gibson?

It’s really just the easiest guitar to play of all my electrics. Part of that is the slightly shorter scale compared to the others, and it has always had a nice low action. Also I have an easy time getting tones I like out of it.

I guess if I had to flee my home hastily and could only grab one electric, that’d be the one. It’s the one I think I can express myself the most effortlessly with.

Do you have a fun story about your Gibson?

Well, in 2008 I was minding my own business with no gear lust at all, happily playing the same two electrics I’d been playing for over 15 years, mostly through a Fender Blues Junior at the time. I had never owned a Gibson. Then a friend loaned me his 1993 Les Paul Standard. It weighed a ton. I took it home, and (thanks in part to its super hot and beefy pickups no doubt), it sounded WAY better through my Blues Junior than my other guitars, and I really was inspired and excited by playing it and knew I needed a Les Paul in my life. My friend however would not sell it, and I didn’t have any money anyway.

But I became obsessed, and began lurking on Les Paul forums and saving money for a Les Paul. I immediately removed the tremolo arms from my other electrics, and in the months it took to save the money, I worked as hard as I could on strengthening my left hand in regards to bends and vibrato while bending, since I had for so many years been relying on my whammy bar for adding vibrato whenever I had a note bent up a step on the neck. It really took me some time to dial that in with my left hand! And there’s still always room for improvement.

Matt used his Les Paul for the NightSky Combination Examples in the demo below:

I’m very excited to have special guest David Ryan Harris join us for this blog. Make sure to visit davidryanharris.com to see if he is touring near you! Now let’s hear about his Gibson.

David, what Gibson guitar are you using?

My guitar is a 2014 Custom Shop ES-330.

What do you enjoy most about playing this Gibson?

I love the chunkiness of the neck. It almost feels like an acoustic. I had been thinking about switching from playing solo acoustic shows to solo electric shows, but I didn’t want to lose the “air” around the tone that you get with an acoustic.

Do you have a fun story about your Gibson?

I was touring through Texas and had to stop in a Guitar Center in Dallas for strings. I bought my strings and as I was headed out the door, I stopped in their “vintage” room to see what was in there. I saw this 330, picked it up, played it and liked it a lot, but I was NOT looking to purchase a guitar. I got in my car, drove about 45 minutes towards the next show and thought to myself “I think there are songs in that guitar,” so I turned around and went back to buy it.

Missed soundcheck, but I ended up with a guitar full of songs!

Thanks all for joining me for a look at Gibson guitars. Now comment below with a fun story about your Gibson! 🙂

If you have questions about these or any other Strymon products, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Have an idea for a blog or a question about Strymon, our products, or effects in general? Let us know in the comments below!

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