The Gibson 2016 Lineup of new Les Paul, SG & Other models has started to land! Could this really be Gibson's best ever year? Find out... here!
The new Gibson 2016 lineup is a varied mix of tradition and innovation, and might as well be, as Gibson suggests, their best ever year, improving not only on the previous year's models, but considerably better than the popular Gibson 2013 lineup, which many guitarists consider the best in a while. Our blog will take a closer look at what makes these new models so special, and why many guitarists are already getting so excited about them!
But before we look at the 2016 models, a quick recap of the Les Paul's bumpy road to Rock'n'Roll glory...
Was 1958 Gibson's worst year, ever?
Well, that would be a pretty good bet. Yeah, that's right! That year, Gibson released the first ever Les Paul Standard and, well... it didn't quite take off! It featured a new Cherry Sunburst finish, and humbucker pickups, which were an innovation first introduced the year before. They were also more expensive and considered too heavy and old-fashioned, which alienated both the jazz players (Gibson's main customers then) and the younger guitarists. It was produced for only three years and only 1,700 units were made. Probably even less were sold.
But tastes change, and by the mid-Sixties some of the most popular guitarists we're using a Les Paul Standard: Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and many others, and since the Seventies it's become synonymous with rock'n'roll. The result: 1958 Les Pauls became the most desirable guitars ever, and many 1958 Gibson Les Paul Reissues are still available and sought after!
Gibson 2015 Models: The Good, The Bad & The Beautiful
Gibson stirred some controversy again with their 2015 models, by introducing several changes on the lineup, which didn't please those who wanted their guitars (especially their Les Pauls) to be, you guessed it, heavy and old-fashioned! What made them so unpopular decades earlier, was precisely what many guitarists now wanted...
But what's bad for some is good for others - and many players did enjoy innovations such as the adjustable nut, G-Force tuner and booster switch. One thing everyone has to agree - the 2015 models were some of Gibson's most beautiful guitars, ever! Proof that in terms of guitar craftsmanship, Gibson were still on top!
2016 Traditional & High Performance Models: How Do They Compare?
For 2016, Gibson decided to marry both strands of its story: tradition and innovation. That's why they are offering a much wider variety of guitars, which can either be "Traditional" models, or the "High Performance" ones (basically improved versions of the 2015 models). The "T" models will appeal to any guitarist who want their Les Paul or SG to be as close to a vintage Gibson as possible, whereas the "HP" models are great for soloing, shredding, 1st-time buyers and players who fancy something with a more sophisticated finish. Both are great, of course!
Gibson's Best Traditional Guitars Ever
|Add Tomorrow's Tradition to Your Collection|
Do All Gibson Guitars Still Come With G-Force Robot Tuners?
No. In 2015 players who were not too keen on it were left with no alternative, but now all models are available in two versions, as explained previously. The Traditional models do not come with G-Force, only the High Performance do.
But that's not all! The 2016 version of the G-Force tuner has been improved and is now smoother to use, and faster. The adjustable brass nut has been replaced for a titanium one.
2016 Les Paul Studio, 50's Tribute & 60's Tribute: The Best-Value Les Paul guitars...
The Les Paul Studio 2016 T delivers classic Les Paul tone, style, and playing feel as well as the versatile voices of split coil humbucking pickups - all in a package that represents amazing value for a genuine American-made Gibson electric guitar.
The Les Paul Studio '50s Tribute 2016 T has a traditional Les Paul mahogany body with a grain textured, satin finish maple top, as well as a mahogany neck with a '50s profile and a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard. The time-tested selection of tonewoods, while Green Keys-style tuners and the faithful Tune-O-Matic bridge keep your tuning stability and intonation true during even the longest gigs. The '60s Tribute have P-90 pickups. They all look stunning, and are quite possibly the best ever Les Paul Studio models!
When you also add the fact that the 2016 range includes some of the best-value Les Paul and SG they've ever made, it seems Gibson got a point when they say it's their best year ever!
Les Paul 2013 vs. Les Paul 2016: Which One Is Better?
The Gibson 2013 lineup is regarded by many as their best range in recent years, but in 2016 Gibson offers much more options, and the Les Paul Standard models, for instance, have new, subtle improvements that make them better guitars than the 2013 models: Tektoid nut with more density for solid sustain and self-lubrication for accurate return-to-pitch - even with heavy string bending; and thicker rosewood fingerboard for even better tone. The 2015 LP Standard has the same traditional neck width and Burstbucker pickups.
Each new 2016 Les Paul looks and sounds superb, so it's difficult to recommend one in particular! It all depends on your tastes and budget, but, as mentioned before, even the cheaper 2016 models are great!
PMT: The Best Place To Buy Gibson Guitars In the UK!
Luckily for you, we are one of the biggest UK Gibson dealers, and our PMT Stores are the best place to buy your new Gibson guitar! We got a huge stock of all the newest models as well as some older ones as well as pre-loved Gibsons, and our friendly and knowledgeable staff will gladly help you to try out the ones you fancy! So whether you live in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, London or anywhere near one of our several stores across the UK, why don't you come and pay us a visit to try out a new Gibson?
Gibson SG 2016 Guitars: What's New
It seems that 2016 will be a classic year for SG lovers. This model has always been the other staple in Gibson's range, but in 2015 not that many versions were released. By contrast, there are lots of different SG models in 2016. Leading the pack, the SG Standard returns to its vintage glory, including traditional nut, neck width and tuners:
SG models with faded finish, Mini-Humbuckers and P-90 pickups are also back... in other words: those who love the SG-shape have plenty to choose from!
And finally... Flying V and Explorer Guitars are back!
As if all that wasn't good enough... the Flying V and Explorer models make a welcome return! Both models are available in Wine Red or Black finishes, and with Traditional or High Performance specs. These guitars are ridiculously tasty, and heavy rock players are highly advised to try the HP models.
In 2016, Gibson continue to manufacture the Firebird model as well, but, unlike 2015 it also features the traditional specs.
So... is 2016 Gibson's Best Ever Year? Well, it seems they do have a point...