Guitarists will be excited to know that Gibson have announced their new electric guitar models for 2015. The guitars mix traditional Gibson features with innovations such as the new G-Force Tuning System, which is included on most 2015 models.
Of course, the highlight of any new Gibson range will always be the Les Paul, and, for 2015, they are bringing quite a few stunning new Les Paul models. When we think of Les Pauls, the first thing that always comes to mind is the classic Les Paul Standard model, so the highlight of the 2015 range has got to be the new Premium Quilt models. They come in two colours: Ocean Water Perimeter and Honeyburst Perimeter. With a killer sound to match its visual, the Premium Quilt models feature modern body rout, AAA figured quilted maple top, and Burst Bucker Pro 1+2 pickups, with Push/Pull Coil Taps, Phase changing and Pure Bypass. The Reverse polarity rear pickup gives authentic single coil combinations, and the back plate is signed by the employee who book matched each top!
One (slight!) step down the Gibson ladder is the new Les Paul Standard models, which in 2015 come in candy pearlescent colours and have the same pickup configuration as the Premium Quilt ones. These guitars really set the benchmark for what a modern Les Paul should look and sound like - and indeed, are proof that LP copies could never match the real deal!
Once we move away from the Standard models, things get really interesting in 2015. Gibson pulled no punches and is bringing out some truly cool, unique Les Pauls:
The Les Paul Classic series guitars (available in Seafoam Green, Vintage Sunburst, Heritage Cherry Sunburst and Fireburst) look like, well, a classic Les Paul, except it only has three knobs - in keeping with Gibson's new habit of recent years, which is trying to make their Les Pauls even more versatile for the players. The Zebra coil '61 Tribute pickups have push/pull coil split on each volume pot, with added 15db Turbo boost mini-toggle, master tone pot with Orange drop capacitors - great for soloing!
The Les Paul Less + models are somewhat similar to the Gibson LP Classic series, except they have some different finishes and 57 Classic and Classic plus humbuckers with double black exposed coils and Mini Toggle coil split, rather than boost.
One of the highlights of the 2015 range is certainly the Les Paul LPM series, at just £799, making it one of the most affordable Gibson Les Paul guitars around!
For an instrument made in the USA, this is exceptionally good value! If you haven't tried/ heard of the LPM models yet, they are basically a re-invention of the LP Studio models, which means: simpler, straight-to-the-point Les Paul guitars for the everyday musician who doesn't want to blow the budget. But there are differences, of course: the LPM has a traditional body rout and '61 Zebra pickups with no coil splitting, for instance.
Talking about it, of course the Les Paul Studio series is back for 2015! Since being introduced back in 1983, these guitars have proved to be among the most popular Gibson models. They are recession-busting Gibsons, still affordable at just £899, therefore making them just slightly more upmarket than the LPM models, but still very cheap. Unlike the LPM, though, they come with Satin Nickel covered 57 and 57 + humbuckers with coil split and orange drop capacitors, making them more versatile in the studio. And what about those figured maple tops? Simply, superb looking - gone are the days when LP Studios looked like cheaper Les Pauls.
In the past few years Gibson have recognized that many players were taking their LP Studios on stage, and decided to give them better finishes. Today, the Les Paul Studio models look as comfortable on stage as in the studio - and if the 2015 models are anything to go by, they'll get even more popular!
It's important to mention that some players really don't care about innovations. Fair enough, and Gibson are not fools, so they obviously have the perfect guitar to please this crowd: the Gibson Les Paul Traditional is the Les Paul as Les Paul used to be: 50's neck profile, no body rout, and '59 Tribute Humbuckers with no coil-split. Perfect!
And to finish this round-up of the new Les Paul models for 2015, we left the best for last: the Gibson Les Paul Supreme sits at the "toppermost of the top" amongst the Les Paul guitars: they represent Gibson going to the extreme of beauty and sound in one instrument: exquisite, hollowbody Les Paul guitars with f-holes, goldplating, pearl crown inlays and a combination of a floating humbucker and a 492T pickup.
There are many more guitar and bass models for 2015, all of them made in the USA to Gibson's highest standards: Gibson Les Paul Junior Single Cut, Les Paul Special Double Cut, Les Paul Deluxe, SG Standard, SG Special, Thunderbird Bass and SG Standard bass. They all look and sound great, too!
One special mention goes to the Gibson Firebird Electric Guitar in Vintage Sunburst. This is one of the coolest tone monsters Gibson ever built, used by many players such as Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), James Hetfield (Metallica), Kim Thayil (Soundgarden), Brian Jones (Rolling Stones) and the much-missed Johnny Winter, of course!
Innovations for 2015 on Most Gibson Guitar Models:
G-Force tuning system; Zero Fret Nut- Patent applied for nut with adjustable action; New removable LP pick guard with no screws needed; In honour of Les Paul’s 100th birthday all LP and SG guitars carry the 100 logo on the headstock; Les Paul Hologram-For authenticity and a tribute to the man; New wider neck and fingerboard (.050 per side) for increased playing comfort; New tune-o-matic bridge featuring hex wrench adjustment on thumbscrews for easy action adjustments Professional set up, accurate intonation, new PLEK program, 27% lower fret wire; Smoother sanded/buffed fingerboard with new oil treatment and One piece thicker rosewood fingerboard.
About the G-Force Tuning System:
Eight years in development, the new G FORCE improves on the innovations introduced in Min-ETune with simplified ease of use, an enhanced feature set, and increased speed. Standard on most 2015 models, G FORCE provides the best and simplest experience yet in an automatic tuning system.