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Early tune-o-matic modèle P90 - Avis Gibson Custom Shop - Historic 1956 Les Paul Standard Reissue Darkburst

This model is a modern Custom Shop replica of an important transition model in Gibson history. This model represents them switching over to a more modern design. This guitar is part 1955 and part 1957. This guitar has the tune-o-matic which was the future of the Les Paul, but with P90s which represent the past but were still more than adequate at that time and even now. This guitar has a mahogany body with a maple top. The neck is a set in mahogany neck in the 50s profile. The fretboard is rosewood with 22 frets. It has a set of Kluson tuners up top with the aformentioned tune-o-matic down at the bottom. The pickups are P90s as I have mentioned. The controls are typical with a volume and tone for each pickup and a 3 way toggle on the upper bout.


This guitar feels like it was made in the 50s. It has a very big neck which provides a very vintage feel. Les Pauls do not have very good upper fret access but this is a normal trait that Les Paul users have had 60 years to deal with. This guitar being based off of a 56 model is technically better than the earlier models because this was the first year for the tune-o-matic bridge, a design which is still used today. This replaced the wraparound bridge and it provides much better intonation. Gibson Plek's their high end guitars. This means the guitar is placed in a machine and the machine does all the fretwork and leveling for the guitar. This machine uses a laser to get the frets super accurate so these guitars come with a great setup right from the factory.


P90s are great pickups. They came out right before the PAF so people forget about them usually. I find them more usable than PAF's in a lot of applications. While PAF's are super smooth the P90 has a lot of single coil bite. The PAF can get muddy in some situations but the P90 with its single coil high end bite retains clarity in a lot more situations. The P90s give out a bitey single coils sound but unlike a strat there is plenty of low end to balance it out. It kind of sounds like a fat strat with the humbucker and middle single coil on. You get the thick bottom end with a crisp clear top end from the single coil design.


If you are a collector or really rich player and are looking for the oldest Les Paul design that still has modern features this is the guitar. It is right in the transition between early 50s Les Pauls and the more modern Les Pauls that we still have today. It has the early 50s P90 tone but with the modern style bridge setup which is nice and keeps tuning well. These guitars are pretty expensive and if you are just looking at one for the tone there are much cheaper P90 Les Paul options.