I finally understand the obsession some people have with the Gibson Les Paul.

For as long as I have been seriously interested in playing guitar (versus simply making noise) I have always been a Fender guy. My influences included players like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, and Buddy Guy. I never understood the cult like obsession certain players seemed to have with the Gibson Les Paul.

I have owned a huge variety of different guitars over the past thirty-five years. Yes, a lot of the more recent instruments were various Strats and Tele’s but in my “Metal Years” I had guitars from Kramer, Charvel, Jackson and … ugh even B.C. Rich. Once I even owned Gibson Les Paul studio. That must have been near the end of 1991. It was wine red with gold hardware. Yep, it was a very pretty instrument but at the time I was into metal and progressive-rock or maybe just call it prog-metal. Music genres: who really knows?

I owned that Les Paul only a very short time. I think Zakk Wylde had a lot to do with my impulse to buy a Les Paul. Unfortunately I found the medium output pickups and relatively low, narrow frets less than satisfying. I traded that guitar back to the music store where I purchased it in exchange for something more metal.

I’m an old man now and thankfully I outgrew the VERY METAL stage a long time ago. As I have matured (musically speaking) I’ve really opened up to all kinds of music and gear that I never would have considered in my youth. That includes both the Ibanez Tube Screamer and the Gibson Les Paul.

Recently I decided I wanted a two humbucker guitar for different tonality and also because the Strat middle pickup is right in my picking sweet spot. So, I picked up a Les Paul and suddenly I get it. the Les Paul’s four knob control scheme makes it an extremely versatile instrument. I’m sorry now that I let go of that old studio from back in the 90’s.

Gibson and Fender are both massively important to the heritage of American Guitar making. I’m glad that guitar players have more sense that say … Pickup-truck owners or cola drinkers. American consumers love brand rivalries like Ford VS Chevy or Coke VS Pepsi. When it comes to Guitars, I prefer “BOTH AND” to “EITHER OR”.

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