A few weeks back I got my first ever Gibson Les Paul, and a few of you asked for some sound clips. After getting back from a very nice trip with the family to London I decided to give it a go on one of my all-time favorite guitar solos - and a big reason why I always wanted a LP in the first place; The mighty “Still Got The Blues” by (of course) Gary Moore.
We just started playing this one in the band, and I want to start integrating the LP in band use. For me that means a few things; First of all I need to simplify the hardest parts of the solo a bit, so I can confidently pull them off in a live setting… every single time we play the song, and under less than perfect sound and lighting conditions! In this particular solo it means getting rid of some of the very fast “signature flurries” that Gary loved to fire off in his solos, and I’m still working on coming up with proper “replacement licks” that are a bit easier and still sound good. In my opinion, when playing something like this with a band the most important thing is to nail the bends, nail the tone, have good vibrato and feel… make the guitar scream, put emotion into your playing. Then it’s less important to play the exact same notes as is on the recording, or play as fast…
Secondly it means that I’m currently doing all my LP practice standing up (I tend to otherwise sit down when practicing). But the LP is, honestly, a very different (and even a bit clunky) feeling guitar compared to my other instruments… It was surprisingly difficult to play up high on the neck… I’m used to having much better access to upper frets. My hand positioning needed quite a bit of adjustment, which also means adjusting my bending technique. I need to be standing up with it for as much time as possible, until I’ve grown more comfortable with it.
But the tone!!! OMG, it got it!!
Anyway, here’s a link to the video of me rehearsing Still Got the Blues solo on the LP:
Thanks for sharing, Kasper. Sounds just like the original, awe-inspiring playing and tone.
I’m curious about a Gibson LP vs using one of your other instruments that appear to have humbuckers (looking at the guitars in the background of the video). And if those don’t then did you consider another guitar of similar design with HBs that may be more playable?
@DavidP Yes, I have a few other guitars with HBs, some of which should - in theory - be close to a LP in tone. But while all of them sound great, they don’t get it exactly right. The blue Suhr that you see in the background is actually my main axe for live/band use. It’s a super versatile guitar, with a very stable trem system and nice split PU tones (single coil’ish). The closest to a real LP that I had is my MusicMan Reflex, which is a cool hard-tail double HB guitar (the gold one I use for another Gary Moore solo cover on my YouTube).
In this particular solo there is one detail that I never was able to get with my other guitars - that’s the place where the solo switches from the neck to bridge PU (at 0:45 in my version). With my other guitars, no matter how I set the amp, I was never able to make that very clear “cut” from smooth to sharp. The neck and bridge PU always sounded too similar. On the LP, because it has separate volume & tone for each PU, this can be done. In this clip I have the neck PU at 8 on both volume and tone, while bridge is all the way up. This is perhaps a detail, but sometimes the devil is in the detail In any case, I’m enjoying that spot in the solo every time I play it (unfortunately the vibrato and timing is not my best at that spot in this particular take, but that’s how it is when performing “live”… gotta look at the overall picture. But it could sound even sweeter!).
Anyway, I’m rambling… perhaps some of it is psychological or a honeymoon phase - but I feel like the Gibson LP has something special, when it comes to tone.
Superb my friend. Just superb. Exquisite tone, clarity, dynamics, and phrasing.
Thank you for sharing this. Perhaps the greatest song of all time in my opinion, and on each listen, its like the first time.
I’ve been silently waiting for a while now for someone in this forum, of your calibre, to show me how its done with this awesome tune from a true master. Privileged to be able to listen to, and absorb it.
I have been learning this song for over a year now, and have watched dozens of renditions of this tremendous song online over many, many months. I have probably listened to this song over 200 times this last year , and slowed down, rewound it etc probably alot more. Yours is truly among the very best of them. Another quality teaching resource for me
Ive made some great progress with it, but still a long way to go. I’m very glad you mentioned the simplifying of some parts. I’ve done my head in over some sections at times, with the sheer speed of Gary’s playing. You’ve reaffirmed to me that modifying a few licks here and there can be pretty indistinguishable from the original. Gary has played it many different ways anyway.
Thanks again Kasper for a great listen, and for re-energising me to keep going.
Thanks for sharing more of the details, Kasper (certainly wasn’t rambling to me). I noticed the moment of the switch from neck to bridge, the distinct change in tone.
When replicating the original is the aim, then the details matter. Watching GM (and others) I notice how often they make small adjustments to the guitar controls during a solo. As you did at the end of the solo.
For us mortals, you sound no different to the original already. And if you adapt a few licks only a pro at similar levels is likely to notice. GM was a fantastic player, perhaps a little under-rated?
Welcome to the LP club. A land where custom means a $5k plus asking price and I am not sure after putting one in my arsenal, that it is worth it. However, it is a great guitar!
Great play and tones on this one, that is of no doubt. You put it to the test and the outcome was wonderful.
I do recall though a discussion we had a few years back about the MM Reflex. I swapped my pups out for a set of Seymour Duncan Billy Gibbons HB(s). I certainly got the tone Billy has going. But now I can’t recall if the control pots of those pups come close to the LP? I don’t think so as I think there is less to work with on the Reflex. You would know for sure. Sadly, my go to Reflex got relegated to more wall duty as my left fret hand has thumb issues that preclude me playing it much at all. I found and have been switching over my guitars to fat C shaped necks as that is what works for the thumb. That is where the 2021 LP custom comes in as it was one of the few I found with a fat C neck in a LP. In later years, the fat C neck is pretty rare.
On your new LP, is it chambered? I bought one non-chambered and can’t play it more than maybe 10 minutes (standing) before it wrenches out my back and spine. That is one heavy beast. The new custom LP is chambered and wow, what a difference!
Keep up the great play and tone hunt, it is sounding good!
Thanks all for listening and commenting. Very appreciated!
@sclay I would say, definitely make it your own! I feel that I can play some pretty fast stuff, but the GM “flurry licks” is really just too much for me. What I think we have to keep in mind, when trying to learn his stuff, is that at least parts of the solos on the Still Got The Blues album is a “live in studio” kind of thing. Gary probably had some rough ideas of the overall structure he wanted, but those fast individual licks are probably improvised on the spot, with a cooking amp and a band grooving. Then he leans on 20+ years of playing experience and lets muscle memory take over. Almost impossible to copy, and frankly not worth the time IMO. Even seasoned guitar instructors give up on those parts. It’s a lot easier to aim for playing, for example, a fast Metallica solo… because those are much more written out, and based on structured licks - scale sequences, arpeggios, cyclic repetitive phrases etc - that can be practiced with a metronome. I feel that many Slash solos is actually the same as the GM stuff… outro solo on Paradise City for example, not even going to try learning that stuff note for note
@LBro Congrats with your LP - must have missed that NGD! Mine is actually not a custom, it’s a Slash Signature - so basically a Standard with different PUs and a different finish. I did look at some of the custom stuff, but to be honest I also feel it’s a bit overpriced. This one is expensive enough at $3200. It’s a very traditional LP, no modern weight relief, no coil splitting (which I would never use on this guitar anyway) and a 50s style neck profile. The PUs are a bit hotter than the traditional burstbuckers, which I like for my playing style. I do remember discussing the Reflex PUs with you back then, and I also considered swapping them out. However, I’ve found that my live rig is pretty bright sounding… so stock Reflex have actually worked out well for playing with the band. In the home studio I don’t use it all that much, but it sounds great through a Marshall amp as well.
It sure does have the tone and the looks and the vibe.
And you have the skills to make it sing.
I love the lick at 32 seconds and how you allowed a small wait time before playing it. Very smooth and cool.
Is it stock? I’m curious about the zebra pickups.
Just wow on that my friend!