Wanted a Gibson, tried a Gibson, now unsure

Have you ever been disappointed when sitting down to try a guitar? And how do you find a “good” Gibson?

I’ve started shopping for my next guitar. I’ve told myself not until next year, which is now a few months away, so the fun begins. It will be electric. I’m certain I want a fixed bridge as my squier is floating and I want alternate tunings to be easier.

I thought I wanted a Gibson Les Paul, now I’m not so sure. I’ve borrowed a friends one previously - for a week - and loved it. So I have played one before.

I was in a guitar shop earlier this week and tried a Les Paul studio. Black. Looked the total business. Neck felt good. I like the extra width. Sounded great to start, awesome tone. I was able to plug it into an identical amp to mine so that’s what it would sound like. Strummed some rock songs, sounds rock n roll (although I’m super conscious of my basic skills in a guitar shop).

Play some different stuff. Neck feels… slow. Like the back of it doesn’t allow me to move as quickly as my strat or acoustic.

Then, C7 chord. Sounds weird. Try it again, yeah, weird, it’s the pinky string. Check it’s in tune. It is.

3rd fret, with my pinky on it is sharp. I had a tuner attached to the guitar to tell. Not very sharp if I press super duper lightly, but if I press normally it is REALLY sharp. The other strings were fine. Is this an intonation issue? I’m a reasonably new player and was surprised I could pick it up so easily.

I’ve heard about intonation issues and challenges on Gibsons but didn’t expect to come across it so quickly. I’m not sure if the guitar is faulty or just needs a proper setup? I’m used to playing on my Maton, with factory setup, or Squier, which I setup myself with the fender guide.

Maybe my expectations were too high but I thought I would just WANT the guitar. I’ve dreamed of a Gibson.

Curious on others experiences. Both around quality issues (or not!) with Gibson’s and trying out guitars etc. They’re expensive guitars and I expected playing one would feel different.

Intonation could have been out, did you check? Worth trying another.

Theres a range of neck shapes with them but dont ask me which is which!

1 Like

Sounds like a normal Gibson thing: some are very good, some are the opposite, QC leaves a lot to be desired. The guitar really does require a good couple of hours playing in the shop for you to feel connected.

1 Like

I had the same experience with a Gibson SG. I always liked the look. Picked one and it just felt awful in my hands. The neck felt so thick. It was like someone had added strings to a baseball bat. Maybe SGs come with different neck profiles. I don’t know. I lost interest in SGs after that.

1 Like

Hi Jk,
I’m just trying to shout out some things that I “ran” into on my Fender in the beginning when my pinky and index finger counting went very sharp with some chords…my strings were too thin for me (0.09 ) with 0.10 it went better…and I did not (and sometimes still do) put my finger against the fret neatly and then you easily press the string sharply…but I assume that you the last one you have ruled out, right? But that one time in the guitar shop more than 2 years ago with several guitars it was mainly me and pressing too hard and placing wrong.Play a few more in the shop and you know it… you may have played a bit more tense there because of the other people/ears around you? … hopefully my story is of no use to you at all because then it is not your fault :joy:
Sorry for wasting your time probably ,…you should have practiced guitar instead of reading here ,…welcome to my life :smile:



I’ve had my Les Paul for 4 years now
Like you, it’s always been my dream guitar (big Peter Green fan).
I went to guitar guitar in Epsom with a wall full of Les Pauls. Tried a few and like you wasn’t impressed. Then I picked up MY guitar. I asked them to lower the action and then took it home. It’s always my go to. Still finding new tones, even now.

I know what you mean about “sticky necks”. I also brought a Rickenbacker and the first one was unplayable. Tried another (second hand) and it was great.

In summary, the guitar chooses you. Try as many as you can


Hi Steve, @SteveCarballo
Beautiful,… this actually calls for its own topic,or at least placed in an introduction or a learning log, show off that beauty`s extensively so that more people can enjoy it when they wnt to know you better(if you want that of course),… :grin:

1 Like


No issues with either Smokey or Cherry, both Studio LPs. Smokey has never been set up bar my own amateur tinkering but Cherry got a full make over and set up after the neck breaking incident. And Black Angus the SG is equally solid and had a set up by the same guy. If anything the e string on my MiM Roadhouse Deluxe Strat is a bit iffy now and then. Its in tune but just doesn’t sound right. So guess it could just be the one you were handling.


1 Like

I’ve played a Gibson LP Studio at a shop and it felt great to me, but every guitar is different. Plus I own an Epi LP studio so I know what I was getting into. To see if it was a QC issue I’d try a couple of different LP studios, including Epis so you can see if the feel is different from one made in china vs US. Hell try a tribute and standard model too, if they all feel like that to you then unlikely that’s it a QC issues (what are the odds). For what it’s worth I hear Gibson QC has gotten loads better the last couple years so I’d try to get a newer model year.

As far as the neck goes. When I switched from my squier bullet mustang HH to the epi LP studio the neck felt fat, even slightly uncomfortable. Now though when I go back to the squier it feels too thin and uncomfortable to me, I prefer the LP lol. so it was a matter of getting used to it.

1 Like

That’s a good call as if I recall correctly the necks are slightly different than that on the Studio model and if you went with a standard model then I think the neck profiles are different between the 50s and 60s models. So as Alexis says try a bunch of them even a couple of the same model until one or two say to you “take me home”.

1 Like

and while your there JK try a few other guitars that you like the look of around the same price mark as you might find one that really hits the mark that you never thought about initially.


When this happens …remember,…don’t drink and buy guitars…no really don’t…but,…NO.



Hi Steve, (@SteveCarballo) I think I have your LP’s twin :smiley:

I agree with the opinions expressed that you should play it for a while to decide if it right for you. If it doesn’t feel/sound right keep looking.

My experience with my LP: I need to be mindful of finger pressure when moving from my acoustic to the LP. The action on the 2 is similar but the LP’s frets are bigger and the strings lighter. The same finger pressure will sharpen sounds. Some finger combinations coupled with my specific fingers are harder to control uniform finger pressure. I view this as a technique issue to work on. A simple example: a G triad, top 3 strings, at the 3rd fret. I tend to put more pressure with my middle finger resulting in a sharpening of the B. If I use my ring finger for this note, all is well because I’m able to control the finger pressure better. So many things to work on.

Relative to the neck, it is one of the things that felt perfect the moment I tried it in the shop (though I took it home for a weekend before deciding to buy). It was the right shape for me, and movement was smooth and effortless

1 Like

Made at the same time!

One problem I had, which I forgot to mention, is the G string tends to go out of tune easily. This is due to the shape of the headstock and how the strings are angled before they get to the nut. This is a common moan on LP’s.
I brought a string butler and never had a problem since. Sincerely feel they should be fitted as standard

1 Like

I’ve had a Les Paul standard for a few years. No intonation issues.

1 Like

Wow some great tips here. Thanks to everyone that replied. I won’t quote everyone but all the experience and advice helps.

I think I just need to go and play a LOT more Gibsons, and know that when I find the right one, it WILL feel good in the shop.

I’m going to need to do that, I think. And try some different Gibsons before changing my mind on them.

I also have 10s on my squier. I wonder if 10s on a Gibson is similar tension to 9s on a strat, seeing as Gibsons are shorter.

Wow Steve, your guitars are awesome. Love them both, that finish on the Les Paul is one I’m super keen on. Your story gives me hope and makes me excited. The owner of the guitar shop I went to was pretty helpful - he said I can come back as many times as I want, and play all the guitars in the shop if I want to. I’ll need to do that I think, I tried probably 20 acoustics over quite a few visits when I was looking for my good acoustic.

On the necks - the actual profile / baseball bat feeling I was good with, fit my hands quite well. The stickiness of this one, not so keen on.

And welcome to the community :smiley:

Must be… of course I googled and found LOADS of forum threads of people with messed up Gibsons. Good to hear all yours are good.

That’s awesome to hear. And another beautiful guitar!

1 Like

I always wanted a Gibson, but once I was in a position to buy one I couldn’t find one that I liked. Maybe I “waited too long” and they just don’t feel right after years of playing teles and strats. Dunno. I’m kinda over it, now, though. If I wanted something along the lines of a Gibson I’d probably look at other brands like Heritage or PRS and so on. (Come to think of it, I might want to hurry before Gibson sues all the other companies…)

1 Like

They already tried over the Les Paul / single cutout and lost at the court of appeals!

In 2004, a federal district court ruled in favor of Gibson and issued an injunction against Paul Reed Smith to stop production immediately. But the next year, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned that decision on the grounds that by the time Gibson filed for a single cut trademark in 1987, the design was already ubiquitous and therefore generic.

Famously, court documents show that Gibson at one point stated that “only an idiot” would mistake a PRS Single Cut for a Les Paul. Perhaps not the best tactic for winning an intellectual property lawsuit.


Hi JK. My SG came with 9’s and I kept pressing too hard and making the notes sharp. I changed to 10’s and that helped a lot although I still have to concentrate and not press as hard as on my acoustic.
As you say, Gibsons have a shorter scale length therefore less tension on the strings so probably equivalent to 9’s on a Fender.

Regarding neck profile, one of the reasons I bought the SG was that the neck felt very similar to my acoustic. I bought it new in 2019 and the tech data said it had a ‘C’ shape profile. In the blurb for the current SG it says it’s a rounded neck profile. In the past they did a slim taper profile so they seem to change the profile every now and then. That’s why people find a second hand model that suits them I suppose.

1 Like

I’m wondering if that might happen to me. Curiously, did you end up with a similar dual humbucker guitar?