I like extremes. This is an extremely simple guitar. I love the sound. It has the best of the best Les Paul sounds. It is light but it sustains well. I like the 24.75" scale. I like the neck way better than a Paul Reed Smith. It looks classy. I got rid of a Washburn Falcon. The Wasburn had coil-tap humbuckers, but they didn't have that clean Gibson sound. I compared the Washburn to the Gibson by playing through my Fender amp. My wife could tell the difference from downstairs and she really liked the Gibson. I am tempted to put a Bigsby on it. I might be tempted to swap it for a Brian Moore 21.i13, but I'm afraid of loosing that chiming two-pickup Gibson sound. For the money, you can't touch the wow-factor of this guitar.
Where Obtained: Friend
USA LES PAUL DOUBLE CUTAWAY STUDIO (LPDS) - offset double cutaway mahogany back, carved maple top, set-in mahogany neck, 24 fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlay, wrap-around stop tailpiece, 3 per side greenish vintage style non-locking Kluson tuners, chrome hardware, 2 covered passive humbuckers (490R, 498T), 1 volume control, 1 tone control, 3-way toggle, wine-red (WR), Mfr 1997-99. Gibson case is brown on the outside and pink on the inside.
There isn't anything extra, but what it has works well.
I had the guitar set up professionally with .010's. The neck is perfect. There is no big heal like on a PRS, so the access is nice all the way up the neck. When I play on the 24th fret, however, my hand does get caught in the cut-way from time to time, so the radius of the cutaway should be a little bigger. The finish on the neck is lacquer finish. If you really like to feel like you are touching wood, you might not like this neck. I personally prefer it. It feels finished to me.
I play though a POD, so my setup is ultimately simple. I like the clean sounds. There is a quality to the sound of a Les Paul with both pickups that I can only describe as pretty or beautiful. You can play leads with either the bridge or neck pickup. Bridge pickup has that Les Paul sound that you've on lots of platinum hits. It is that crisp, biting sound. The neck pickup sings like a soprano. When you put them together, it is just magic. If you are into Christian music, this is the sound you want. Pick up a Les Paul and play it like a Telecaster, and you get a new sound. It is a sound I like a lot. Bands like Third Day know how to make Les Pauls laugh, cry, rant, rave, and tell a story.
I used to notice that the bass strings would sound booming and over power the melody line during jazz-chord solo arrangements. I don't seem to notice the unbalance any more. Maybe I have adjusted my playing, or I've gotten use to the sound.
I have read complaints by players who say the wraparound bridge isn't built for palm-muting. I think I know what they are talking about. It takes work to get the palm-muting to sound right on this guitar. Palm muting on the bass strings (E-6, and A-5) is easy, but the higher strings are more of a challenge.
A Telecaster is easier to deal with as far as muting the higher strings. I like Telecasters, but for church, the quiet humbuckers are the bomb.
I am seriously considering a Line 6 Variax. I couldn't get past the cheap-feeling playability of the Variax. I am anxious to try the new Variax 700 series. If if feels good, I might do it. The translucent red finish would still match the color of my POD (very important).
I do check the tuning on this thing a lot. I change strings on all my guitars frequently, so I'm used to it. It does seem my old Telecaster stayed in tune better, although, tuning hasn't really been that big of an issue for me.
I also play through a Fender Blues Deluxe and an Tube Screamer.
I play once a week at church. It has performed flawlessly for me for years. I have never had to adjust it since the first time I had it set. It intonates well. I have a little trouble keeping it in tune after I change strings even though I stretch them. I live in Tulsa. The weather can be extreme. Can't tune it at home and expect to bring it out on stage without tuning it. The strap holders should be replaced because they are too small. I have heard the neck is weak, but I haven't had any problems.