|Body And Neck:|
Gibson are shining in 2017, having upgraded their entire catalog of iconic models. And the legendary Les Paul range has received several makeovers, including their affordable American-made Les Paul Faded T – combining vintage played-in style with modern performance, making it one of the most interesting prospects on our list of guitars under $1000. Let’s see what’s new!
On the face of it, it’s hard to tell the differences between the 2017 Faded T and the previous year’s model, as the traditional single-cutaway body shape – made from solid mahogany, along with a carved maple top – looks very familiar. However this model benefits from the added resonance and comfort that comes with Gibson’s new ultra-modern weight-relief. Another new body feature is the ‘faded gloss’ finishing, which – paired with the Worn Brown paintwork – is very appealing, and gives the guitar a vintage, worn-in look, with the alternative Worn Cherry finish equally attractive. The set neck is made from mahogany with Gibson’s very playable Slim Taper profile, as well as a sustain-enhancing thick rosewood fretboard, featuring 22 polished medium frets. Incredibly light and comfortable in every way, this is a real performance guitar.
When it comes to hardware, there’s no surprises, with nothing that shouldn’t be on a Les Paul. But the components you do get are quality. At the bottom of the guitar we find Gibson’s adjustable nickel-plated tune-o-matic bridge with an aluminum stop bar, keeping tuning stable and sustain long. At the other end, on the traditional 3+3 headstock, are six vintage-style keystone tuners, which are responsive and increase tuning stability. Just below, you’ll find a TekToid nut, which is self-lubricating, meaning nasty string stick is a thing of the past. This model also arrives in its own branded padded gig bag, with a strap and a polishing cloth.
As you’d expect from an American-made Gibson, the electronics on this model are solid. First thing to note is that the pickups on the 2017 Faded T have been updated, with the addition of double-black 490R (neck) and 490T (bridge) passive humbuckers featuring Alnico II magnets, replacing the Burstbuckers from the previous 2016 model. Sadly there’s no coil-splitting, although the two humbuckers are still very versatile, especially when you consider two volume and two tone ‘top hat’ control knobs, as well as the three-way pickup selector switch (which interestingly no longer features the classic rhythm/treble ring).
This is a great sounding guitar, with good natural resonance thanks to the weight relief, as well as lengthy sustain. Through a decent amp, the classic warm Gibson tone is instantly recognizable, with the powerful, high-output humbuckers truly singing. It’s hugely versatile – as you’d expect from a Les Paul – and well-balanced, whether you’re playing classic rock or gritty blues. The 490R offers the sought-after vintage tones of an original PAF, while the 490T at the bridge is tonally similar to the bluesy '57 Classic, with lots of crunch – perfect for lead playing, whatever your style.
While nothing has drastically changed from last season’s model, Gibson’s Les Paul Faded T 2017 has several subtle differences that improve the overall playability, look and sound. A sleek finish, ultra-modern weight-relief, super fast neck, and solid pickups make this a winner.