Rock Guitar Teacher in Miami | Gibson Les Paul Modifications

Rock Guitar Teacher in MiamiRock guitar teacher in Miami Dyce Kimura at your service! I am a Miami guitar teacher and a Skype guitar teacher and today I’m going to talk about my Les Paul. This is going to be kind of a review of this Les Paul model which is a Gibson traditional pro-1, but I have done so many modifications to this guitar that it doesn’t necessarily resemble a trad Pro 1 anymore.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami. I want to talk about what I did and why, and I just want to say that this is one of my favorite guitars. It’s really incredible. So I have a lot of history with this guitar; I got it in 2008 so it’s probably like a 2007. Last year I almost sold it and I’m really glad I didn’t, because it sounds amazing. So let’s get into it. I want to tell you a little bit more about the story of this guitar and what are the modifications that I did and why.

So first of all, I was on the market for a Les Paul for years, and that’s no exaggeration, I was looking for a good Les Paul for about 2 years straight and I use to work on the road a lot doing music work in the area in Fort Lauderdale, Miami so I would pop into the guitar center just about every day and played the Les Paul for 2 years and I played about 400 Les Paul, I would say, before I found this one and I had the money in the bank ready to go and I sat down and played this guitar and as soon as I played it I said, “I’ll take it.” And I just knew it was the right guitar for me. Every Les Paul is different. And I do want to say that Les Pauls tend to have a lot more lemons than Fenders. Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami. I’ve noticed that it’s also true with Martins; there tend to be more lemons with Martins than with Taylor’s. The flip side of that is the Les Paul is a lot more homely and has more of an organic feel and the new Fenders are very consistent, they are very good, they are very well intonated, they perform excellently; but they are going to be a little more sterile, they’re not going to have as much character as a Les Paul. So you’re going to get more character with the Gibson – the shooting of this video is 2016 – you’re going to get more character, but there’s also more room for problems and mistakes and mess ups and lemons, which I’ll talk about in this video as well because I’ve had a lot of experience with that. Between myself and my students and my friends I’ve actually been able to see first-hand some things that came out of the Gibson shop that… Well, Gibson would’ve been embarrassed if they knew what I saw.

So let’s get into this particular guitar. Why do I like this guitar so much? This is called the Trad Pro; later they came out with 2 and 3 and then they started calling them Trad Pro 2 and 3, but back in the day this was just the traditional pro and that there wasn’t a one because this was the first one. It only came in two colors: it came in black and red and later it came out in like this beautiful tobacco sunburst and I was like, “oh man, would’ve known I could’ve got that tobacco.” But I got this right off the shelf, like, one of the first ones that were in production. All that they had up until 2007 in their new Gibson were the 1960s and it was a 1960s model. And obviously they revisit the 60s model a lot if you look at the 1960s style neck or the slim neck which I have on that Blue Indigo 335 that’s a lovely neck, that’s a slim neck. I have another Les Paul right here, that’s Gold Top 89 and that’s also a very different neck, it’s very slim and it’s a C neck. But this neck is a big fat neck, it’s called the 60s neck, actually, I think this is called the 50s neck. The 50s neck is big and chunky.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  It’s a C but it’s a full C; it’s not a D, it doesn’t go all the way to D it’s definitely a C. This is a 12 inch radius neck, but it’s a big full neck so it’s not the slim neck. But I didn’t necessarily get it for the neck the neck was good and I was into big fat necks at the time; I kind of still am, but I have new appreciation for slim necks but the reason I really like this guitar was the tone and what I found with the tone that was so cool was the wood and anyone that picks up this guitar the first thing they say when I hand it to them is this is like just about the heaviest Les Paul they ever handled. I’m going to guess this Les Paul is like 12 pounds.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  And that’s what I wanted; I wanted a big heavy Les Paul heavy like what they make in the 80s and I would play 80s Les Paul and they’d be big and heavy and they sounded big and heavy and I love them. The newer Les Paul stuff that came through the 90s and the early 2000’s a lot of them were lighter and I think they were just on the kick of trying to make lighter guitars. I have a huge appreciation for lightweight guitars, believe me, especially I gig a lot; but at the time of this purchase when I bought it I really wanted a big heavy Les Paul. So I got it. This is 12 pounds and it’s got to be the heaviest Les Paul that anyone has ever heard of. I’ve seen other Trad Pros and they’re not this heavy; this is just a heavy guitar. I don’t know why they made it this heavy. I love the pickups, these are called burstbucker pickups, and they’re also called the zebras. They sound amazing.

I want to get into some tones and sounds. So let me just play for a second before we kick this off here. That’s half tone with the burstbucker. Now you’ve got to realize that the Les Paul allows you to do coil tap so right now these are both two full of humbucker sounds in half tone.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami. Very nice, very rich full I can easily dial in a good tone with this guitar; plenty of highs, plenty of mids, plenty of lows. I’m giving the amp everything that’s it could need to get a full fat sound. From there I could shape the tone with my amp if I have a good amp. Today I’m on an excellent amp; I’m playing a Hughes and Kettner Tube Meister 36 on the clean channel. Later on I’m going to give you the same amp with some Tube Screamer foot pedal sound. Also my speaker, in case you’re curious, I’m using a celestial 30; that’s a 65w speaker.

Rock Guitar Teacher in Miami

Rock Guitar Teacher in Miami

Dyce Kimura Guitar Instructor

So let’s talk about the features of this guitar and some of my modifications. It comes with two humbuckers; these are burstbucker, Maple top mahogany body, maple neck I believe or is it a mahogany neck? Can you comment below if you know for sure? It’s definitely a Rosewood fret board, 22 frets, 12 inch radius neck. Let’s talk about some of the things that I’ve changed since I got this guitar. I took off the face play; I like my Les Paul without a face play I like to just show the whole face. When I got to this guitar it wanted in black.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I also got that PRS behind me in all black. I was on this black kick where I just was like a guitar is really a tool just like a carpenter treats a hammer or a wrench I’ll just get me a black guitar. Since then I’ve changed and I love the honey burst and the triple flame or the 5A flame. By the way, I did a lot of research on Gibson and they didn’t start to do the flame on until mid to late 90s, actually, no, they started doing it in 92 but they really took off in the 90s and when they got to late 90s they were really cranking out the flames. Now of course, the flames is everywhere.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  But the only stuff that used to do flames was rare; I think it was called the Heritage Les Paul, it was a heritage custom and they were the only ones that came with flame — not even that great. Usually they use a great piece of wood, but the consistencies weren’t there; not like what they have now where they’ll take the same block of wood and they’ll actually split it this way and they’ll fold it over so the exact same flame will be rusticated from the top to the bottom of the face.  Here is a blog discussing my mods to my favorite strat.

But anyway, so back to this guitar; you’ve got two humbuckers — now if you hit these coil tap you can change them into singles. I left that feature there and I’m going to explain why in a second. And the reason I say I left it there is because I’ve completely overhauled the electronics of this guitar. And one of the things I hate on the Les Paul is the coil tap feature because I think it just sounds ridiculous; it’s completely unusable. Just roll down your volume if you want to clean up your sound. The coil tap completely fizzles it out; unless you do what I did and what I did is I put a mid boost and an expander.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  This is an EMG mid boost I think just like what David Gilmore was using and also I think Zack Wilds uses the same boost by EMG. It’s the EMG mid boost called the SPC and then the expander is called the XPD, I believe. So I had my tech in in the cavity of the Les Paul. I am going to play it for you so you can hear. Also I have the option to kind of rewire the wiring. This comes stock; it comes as volume for the front and volume for the rear and then tone for the front and tone for the rear and I changed that to be master volume, master tone, mid boost and expander and I kept the coil taps in. So this guitar is such a machine, it can do so many sounds which I’m going to demo in a second.

So here’s my pickup selector that works the same so I can just select either bridge pickup or front pickup or halftone and of those pickups I can either add the expander or add to mid boost or take it off close I can dial in single coil or humbucker blends. So I can do all single in the front and then I can dial in some mid boost. As a matter of fact I’ll just show it to you what it sounds like. So this is your regular humbucker sounds. Here’s the bridge position.Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  That’s just clean on the Hughs and Kettner amp. Nothing in the mid boost or expander. If I put the mid boost up; you can hear it’s getting angrier. I put up the expander. That’s pretty mean, actually, I’m going to roll down the volume because I don’t want to overload the camera.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I use this guitar live a lot, it just comes through the speaker no matter what the house system or no matter what kind of speaker situation this guitar just sizzles right through it. If you look at Eric Clapton’s signature guitar he has similar set up; it’s not called the same as the EMG set up but Fender has their equivalent the Fender Lace Sensor or whatever it is and he basically has a mid boost and an EQ controller which is just like an expander. If you’re at home playing and you can just hand tweak anything you’re doing to whatever song it may not make perfect sense as to why you get those electronics, but if you’re touring and you’re out on the road and you’re in a different stadium every night you can always get your sound if you have active pickups and so that’s why; it’s not just the amp you’re playing, it’s not just the pedals, it’s not just the guitar you have to get your sound to go through those microphones and into the speakers of the house. So depending on the speaker configuration and how much crap your signal is running through in terms of their boards and their processors and their compressors and there EQ and their noise gauge and their filters, their gain settings and their mix it could be a very different story depending on where your venue is. So it just gives you a little bit more control, actually, a lot more control when I play like the Eric Clapton signature guitar. It just sounds like he sounds live, it just sounds just like him and a lot of it has to do with the electronics.

So anyway, back to this Les Paul; it’s the same situation for me no matter where and playing with these electronics I sound pretty much unanimous, I can sound consistent with myself and it sounds huge. So I’m doing my best to convey this on this video, but you may or may not appreciate how big and how fat it sounds unless you’re sitting here in the room with me. But this is with all the expander and the mid boost off. Here is it with everything on. Off. On. It just sounds bigger, meaner, angrier, fuller.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  It just sounds huge. So I was varied degrees of all of that all the time life; I don’t use all the mid boost all the time and I don’t use all the expander all the time; I might, for instance, be on a full humbucker and front pickup. When I say full humbucker I mean the coil tap is off, tine knob is all the way up. And I’lljust the mid boost and the expander on. This is without the expander. Notice it’s spankier .  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Then I put on the mid boost. It changes the EQ; it probably gives me more mids but also gives me 3 dB more boost and gain. I love it. So let’s say I want the mid most all the way up and then a little bit highs to sparkle and it’s going to fill out the lows just a little bit. This is with the front pick up. The amp is the on clean. I am using the mid all the way up with is giving me a little bit a gain and 3 dB more of volume plus the expander. I’m just using a little bit of expander maybe about 30% to give me the highs and the lows. It’s not that I need highs and lows it just balances the mid boost that I’ve got there. That’s a great. That’s the front pick up. Of course if I had gain to that you just get more. So if I put some crunch tube screamer on front pick up. Here is with it off. On. Just a little crunch. How about some more gain? I’m just going to bring up the volume just a little bit on this guitar.

So again, just because I’ve revved the volume just to be fair; here’s with it off. Here’s with some gain. Front pick up, humbucker position, here is with a second tube screamer. I’m going to show it to you mid boost — no expander, just mid boost. Notice the harmonics are jumping out of the guitar and I’m on the front pick up.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami. So the mid boost just gives me a bigger, meaner, angrier sound of. Now I’m going to show you with the expander and the mid boost. That sounded huge. So we’re only on the front pick up. Here is with the mid boost and expander off and the two tube screamers on. Here is with the mid boost on, expander on. Sounds amazing. By the way, also keep in mind I’m playing at very low volume; I’m playing at, like, bedroom volume. I’m talking to you on the same microphone that I’m recording this guitar. So I can just context the volume, which is a big deal to me I need to be able to get the sound that I want at the volume that I want. I work in often very volume sensitive situations and so I appreciate this level of electronics, this extra dexterity and flexibility these electronics give me. I can get the expander and the mid boost to give me just the right EQ, just the right amount of gain at just the right volume, which is all very important. On top of that I’m using a couple of drive pedals.

So that’s the front pick up humbucker. I’m going to show you the front pick up clean with a single coil setting.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  That sounds good; no complaints there except in a band situation. In a band situation that’s a very flimsy sound. I never understood why Gibson gives you the single coil; I think it’s ridiculous actually.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  But because I added this aftermarket stuff to it I put the mid boost on the single coil and it actually sounds pretty darn good. So this is with the petals off and the clean and I’ve got my tone all the way up. I’m going to put my volume all the way up. I’m on my single coil in the front and I’m going to just show it to you first clean and then I’m going to add a little bit of mid boost. Mid boost… That’s so loud of a boost; I mean, I have to bring my volume down in here. Now watch me show you mid boost with a little expander. I use the expander a lot like an EQ so I’m basically using the expander just to give me some more highs. Volume all the way up; expander at about 50%. That’s so clear; it so crystal-clear that I can actually roll the volume down now. Actually that sounds like a Strat. That’s pretty cool.

Now let me just say something, if I want a Strat sound I’ll pick up a Strat, if I want a Fender I’ll grab a Fender — I have fenders, but sometimes you’re on one guitar and you need it to do this stuff and if that’s the case, it does it pretty darn good. And that the reason that’s interesting is this is in my professional experience nothing sounds quite like a Les Paul, nothing except the Les Paul. Nothing sounds quite like a Telly except the Telly; but a Strat, you can actually replicate it pretty well.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  So if you’re using Strat pickups and similar woods you can get a Stratty sound. I’m talking about my lese Paul, but my PRS 513 that’s the private to custom; it’s the PRS private stock 513 which is just from the costume shop. They don’t usually stock those in the store unless they have like a stock surplus.   Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  That sounds exactly like a Strat and I will do a demo on that in the next video but also a I’ve got another custom Strat back here; it’s a Pavel, that sounds just like a Strat as well and of course my SRV is a Strat that sounds like a Strat. So Strats are replicatable. The best thing if you need a Strat is to play a Strat, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I’m in work situations and I play full-time and I need my guitar to sound a little Stratty just for one little section but for the most part it’s a Les Paul gig that’s when these single coils coupled with the mid boost sounds great. Why not just the single coil without the mid boost? I’m telling you it sounds good when you’re playing it alone in your bedroom but when you go to play with a band it won’t cut through. The mid boost lets me play with a single coil, but I have that tonal intensity to cut through the band. It doesn’t make it dirtier; it just makes it meaner and bolder. So I like it.

That was all talking about the front pick up; now we’re going to talk about the bridge pickup. So the bridge pickup is the same you’re going to have — let’s check it out clean. Everything is off, just the volume is up.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami. We have that mid boost; some serious gain. I’m going to bring up some expander; may be mid boost at 100% and then expander at about 40%. I’ll bring it down to about 30. No gain pedals, nothing, this is just rear humbucker sound of a Les Paul with the mid boost at the expander at about 30%. Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  It gives me a very old vintage bluesy sound; it sounds vintage because it makes the amp sounds kind of like a Fender. Here is with the backing track. You hear that spank? It’s very distinct. It sounds just a little bit nasal, a little bit whiny, very crisp, very pristine highs there. The base is full of presence, but it doesn’t sound overbearing. It doesn’t sound mushy at all. Now I’m going to take off the mid boost and expander and I’m going to put on some crunch. So this is just with no pedals. Super clean; here’s some crunch. Again, notice how quiet of a volume I’m playing at. This is a huge, huge selling point. A lot of work situation I’m in I have to get a great sound at low volume and so do you; a lot of you watching out there you either can’t play loud or you don’t have the equipment to play loud and you want to know how to sound good in the volume state you’re at. By the way, I just want to say this; it’s very easy to get a great sound with unlimited volume.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  It’s actually very easy you just turn everything all the way up and it tends to sound great You get one of those old classic sound like a Plexi or a Marshall 800 or a Fender super reverb from the 60s or an old Tweed or blackface deluxe — anything. Even a 2016 Fendor 20; you just turn it all the way up with maybe a tube screamer and you couldn’t be happier, I mean, it just sounds amazing. The question is how do you make it sound good at a low volume like the one I’m talking to you right now? This is with the pedal; just one tube screamer. Here’s two tube screamers. Pretty good — here is the mid boost. Expander. Now that really shines. That’s sick — absolutely bananas.

Rock Guitar Teacher in Miami Dyce Kimura

We can have even more fun, shall we? Let’s just continue the discussion. Here is a single coil with clean. It’s decent, like I said, it sounds kind of brittle — it sounds good in here; but I don’t think it will cut through the band so if I want to cut I’m going to add some mids. Without the mid boost. With the mid boost. I don’t really think I need any expander; I have all the brightness I need but let’s put some on anyway and see what happens. Now here’s the trick, I just put the expander on and it’s a little too bright but it gives me crispiness, it gives me a presence that I wouldn’t otherwise have.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  How do I now tone that back? Well, I could roll my tone down which is a special mod. Usually when you add these expanders it take away the tone. If you add a mid boost expander it will take away the tone knob. I’m going to some extra pointers here; on the pick up, if you add a tone knob it makes a sound coating over your sound it’s as if you’re pickup had a sweater on it and it kind of muffles and coats your sound. Now if you’ve never heard a guitar without the coating then you me like I did that the sound you’re hearing is the sound of the pickup; it is not the full sound of the pickup it’s the pickup with the coating. So if you want to know what it sounds like without the coating you’ll never know unless you take off the coating. Just like if you want to know what it feels like to not have your sweater on, you can speculate all you want, but you’ll never know once you take off your sweater. Great guitar players that don’t have any coating on their pickups: Wobbly didn’t, Gilmore didn’t, I know Van Halen doesn’t either; he didn’t, right from the beginning and that’s why with Van Halen from his first album in 1978 the highs are so crystal-clear coming through that Marshall that it is sparkling and spanky, crystal-clear crushing highs. How does he get it? Well, it started — he’s obviously dialling it in with the amp, but it started with the pickup the most pristine clear highs in the world. So these highs that your hearing right now, I mean, there is so much pure highs — it’s a crushing.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I could roll down the tone knob a little bit. Now I’m going to just adjust the expander and bring it down a little bit more. I mean, between the tone knob, the master tone knob, the expander, the mid boost and the pickup selector you can get any kind of sound you could fathom any kind of varying the degree of, like, warmth to spank to drive to clean to the fat humbucker, the single coil, the single coil mid boost fat to humbucker then fat then expander huge; I mean, you can get any high of sound variation you could think of and probably even sounds you couldn’t think of. For instance, how about a woman tone? Here’s your woman tone like this– by the way for those of you who don’t know, Eric Clapton invented the woman tone which is the Marshall with everything turned all the way up with a Les Paul and the front pickup with the volume turned all the way up and the tone all the way down. So if I played this Hughs and Kettner amp with the two tube screamers on I’m going to be in the humbucker position — the expander, the mid boost off. For context I’m going to put the toner all the way down and the volume all the way up. Toner all the way down. Now what if I do mid boost all the way up, volume all the way up, expander and toner all the way down?  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Let’s start to bring up the expander and continue to keep the tone down. So that’s just so many possibilities I just showed you right now that if you’re new to this technology it’s probably blowing your mind a little bit. I am a full-time Pro and this is what I do for a living and I need to have a lot of different sounds at my fingertips. If you are breaking into the market and you want to learn how Pros really play and how they really think – we’re using technology this sophisticated. And that’s just my guitar; that’s not even everything I got on the floor and the board. I usually use more than one amp simultaneously to blend tones and blend speaker and blend tubes. There are so many things that you can do. But anyway, I’m excited to share these ideas with you. If you have any questions I want you to comment. I’m not done with showing you everything that’s been done with this guitar; all I’ve talked about so far is the pickup and the electronics.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Also by the way, I changed these knobs; I got rid of those top hats knobs and I put on these are speed knobs. Why did I do that? Well, the top hat cracked after about 7 or 8 years of aggressive playing and when they cracked I put on some speed knobs. They just to give me faster access and I just prefer them.   Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  The other thing I did is the original trap pro 1; it’s a push-pull system where you push it down and then you pull it up. Live, I find that to be very inconvenient just because I would totally have to break my rhythms and wrap my fingers around the knob and try to pull it up without pulling it off in the heat of the moment without looking while I’m addressing the crowd, the microphones in my face I’m looking at my charts. It’s just really distracting so I changed it to just a push-push, which you can just push it and he goes down you push it it goes up. Gibson has since changed their electronics to also be push-push so they did the same thing. By the way, I added a mid boost in the Trad Pro 3 they had a mid boost as well so they had push-push with the mid boost. I don’t know if it’s as good as my mid boost because I’m using an active EMG but they make something by Gibson which is pretty decent. Maybe if you don’t want to get as crazy as I did with doing these modifications you could go get a Trad Pro 3 and you’re done. Other things that I did, I do this for all my guitars, but I changed this right away. I think it comes with the plastic and I changed it to metal. This is stainless steel, kind of a chrome look; it doesn’t really match my nickel plated grovers but this is what they come in. An also you can’t see from the outside, but I changed the inside of this.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I changed it with a locking washer behind to the jack and that lets me grab — it just locks the washer in place and it never comes loose it’s got teeth on it. And the reason I really want that is you’ve probably experienced where the washer comes loose and you sit there and you twist it with your finger over and over and over and it eventually breaks because when you twist it on the outside you twist it on the inside too and what is exactly twisted? The wires are twisted and the wires twist until they can’t twist anymore and then you can tighten the screw. Well, every time you do that you kind of twist that a little too far and you stress the soldering point just a little bit and you do that over the course weeks and months you’ll eventually snap that solder and then your guitar won’t make any sound and then you’ll take it into a tech and they’ll re-solder it and then you go through the whole thing all over again unless at some point you buy a locking washer and you never have to worry about it again which I have no idea why by the way these high-end guitars, like, a lot of mine that I have they don’t come with locking washers.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I don’t know why they wouldn’t add this part; it’s like, literally 20 cents to add this part, but what I do as a pro if I get a new guitar is first thing I do I’ll usually change the washer immediately.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I’ll probably change that whole part to make it more stronger, more durable with like a switch craft input. \This is a lot stronger input with a little heavy-duty cabling on the inside to give me a better gain transfer. And part of that has to do with the reason that I’m using the mid boost expander that I’m giving a fatter frequency into the cable and I need it to transfer all of my frequency over as opposed to just your regular burstbucker sounds and they don’t really expect you to do something too over-the-top. So if you do it over the top electronics like what I’m doing or if you end up doing over the top like string gauge and like Stephen Ray Vaughn like I used to do then all the electronic seem to be modified to handle that level of frequency. Strings, I’m using GHS boomer 10-46.

Let’s talk about other changes and modifications. So far I changed the mid boost, the expander, the way the electronics are wired, I changed the top hat knob, I took of the plastic pick guard, I changed the input to stainless steel with a washer and then I changed this nut. It comes with like an acrylic polymer nut which is kind of a fancy way of saying a plastic nut. I changed it to real bone, real animal bone; I think it’s cow bone and that’s the best for tone is to use the bone nut.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I don’t like the acrylic polymer or the graphite nut or the roller nut or the brass nut; I like the bone nut. The answer is in the tone and if you’re wondering why you’re on the fence – and you could google this for days and it comes up with all kind of different crap, but all you need to do is look at the really high-end Fenders and look at the kind of nut they’re putting in their bone. Fancier isn’t better, folks, the more bells and whistles and gadgets there is a trade-off you’re going to lose something so they try to keep making improvements on the nut. By the way, that’s one of my pet peeves is Gibson does not know how to cut nuts. They do horrible jobs and I’ve seen some horrible, horrible jobs done by my students. Fortunately I have a really good tech, his name is Mitch and he does a great job. He’s local here in Fort Lauderdale but he can cut a nut properly. He fixed a lot of my guitars that are actually wacked out from my prior situation. The thing is, Gibson in 2005 from what I’ve heard learned an researched and my buddy Mitch has taught me a lot about it basically they fired their high end techs that could cut nuts and custom that could really set up a guitar an eyeball something correctly with the ruler and set it up. Instead they do everything now with this laser thing and they really hyped it up like it’s something that you should pay more money for it because it’s amazing, it’s sophisticated but nobody really knows what it is.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Apparently it just digitally does everything for you but maybe that’s what is said in the magazine but the reality is that these guitars were coming off the shelf with these whacked out nuts. Not every guitar was whacked out, but a lot or even most of them were and it’s really, really disheartening at this point to see a flagship company like Gibson ruin their reputation over something like this; hopefully, they had a great reason, but Gibson has been going downhill since 2005.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Also, they closed down the Nashville shop. The last Nashville’s were in 1989 which is why my gold top Les Paul is a 1989, it’s one of the last Nashville’s that were made. That is a Memphis custom and that’s just marketing, folks, calling it a Memphis custom is not better than calling it a Nashville. The Nashville plant is superior to the Memphis just like the Kalamazoo plant is superior to the Nashville, but they closed down the Kalamazoo plant and that became the Heritage guitar which is another – sorry, is its heritage or prestige? I believe its heritage; just comment if you know if I’m wrong but I believe they are called heritage. So heritage took over the old Gibson plant and they make quality guitars at a lower cost. Obviously they have a smaller market… And then the Nashville Gibsons became the big craze and then they closed down the Nashville plant and they made the Gibson Memphis custom shop which despite the name, don’t let the name fool you, is not as good as the Nashville’s. So the blue one is a Memphis custom. This was also made in Memphis; not the custom shop but just made in Memphis. So the made in Memphis’s are usually as good, but they may need a little extra work like I’ve got some extra stuff done this to now I feel this is as good as any Gibson. So I changed the nut to bone. I also had to get it properly intonated.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  A Gibson right off the shelf is not properly intonated and it is definitely not properly intonated if you bought it off eBay or something. The only way you can know if your guitar is properly intonated is if you know who the tech is that set your guitar up if you’re getting it used. If you buy a guitar from a pro like myself, which by the way I’m not selling any, but if I were to sell you a guitar it is set up and it is ready to rock because it has been dialled in by me personally an my people.

Another change that I made to this guitar is I took off these locking heads; they would come with these ridiculous locking heads and I changed these to just stock old vintage grovers. See they are thick and meaty and allow me to put the full string on. So you can see I can put the whole string on. There’s a lot of metal on these so that’s effects sustained vibration transfer and resonance.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Notice too that I put as much as a string on as I possibly can that just gives me a very steep acute angle from the string to give me a good resonance in the string vibrations transfer into the nut and into the tuning heads which also gives me tuning stability and sustained. So if you’re wondering why your guitar isn’t in tune or can’t stay in tune or doesn’t stay in sustained and you’re using that locking tuner crap, you might want to ditch that and buy yourself some vintage style groupers for $60 and a slap them in there.

So just to recap what I’d done: I added the mid boost, I add the expander, changed the knobs top hat to speeding knob, change all the electronics and the way it’s wired to master volume, master tone, mid boost, expander. I took off the faceplate; I changed did this to a switch craft input jack to the locking washer, plus a changed the nut too bone nut, changed the tuners to the grovers. I also added for the strap a locking strap and I got this strap and this is just awesome, its memory foam.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  This strap I believe it’s pretty pricey I think it’s like — I got mine as a special offer, but I think it’s going to be over $100 but it’s amazing. Why did I need to spend so much to get an amazing quality fit memory foam leather strap?  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Because this is the heaviest guitar I own. It’s so heavy that it was killing my shoulder with these little thin straps and if you’re going to play guitar this heavy you’re going to need to have a seriously heavy-duty strap. I’m using Jim Dunlop locking strap locks; nowadays I use all showers, but these are the original strap locks I have since 2008 so I didn’t bother changing them.

Now I just want to talk about the guitar weight. Back in the day I usually valued the heaviness of the Les Paul, the actual share weight of the guitar and how it affects the tone and there’s something to it but I also found that there is value in a chambered guitar.  So now they’re coming out with Les Paul like their current line up in 2016 a lot of them you can get them varied degrees of “chamberedness” and that makes the guitar lighter; like ZZ Top if you read up on the guys Les Pauls and the ways that they tweak them they actually carved them out and they chamber them deliberately. But that really changes the woofiness character, so when I got a fully chambered humbucky guitar and played it with some distortion a study to realize that it sounded like ZZ Top. So what ZZ Top is using is heavily chambered, they are very very thin. The guy is old obviously, he’s playing a super lightweight Les Paul because it’s — they will actually take the glue off and take the top completely off the guitar and then hand carve every bit of wood they can out of the guitar and then glue it back together. I know Billy Gibbons played that with sevens. He used to play eights on the string gauge, but he went down to sevens. I think he’s winning the race to the bottom at this point, but in his defense his tone is still pretty good so whatever to each his own.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  But anyway, chambered is a very cool concept, it’s got me interested in maybe getting like a Fender F whole series guitar telecaster in the future. The chambered effect is what makes guitars lighter. So it could be the wood and the density of the wood, but you could have dense wood but on top of that you could have it chambered and now actually gets it lighter and it changes the tone.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  So the chambered guitars have more propensity for feedback because it’s through the chamber that feedback is created but it also gives you a warmer sound, it can give you an eerier sound. It’s hard to describe but it gives you this kind of woofy, eerier kind of softer, fuzzier kind of sound which can be very desirable and very nice. So this is not chambered and it’s very heavy. I’m very happy with this guitar; I wouldn’t sell it.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  For a while I considered selling it because I got really into the flame kick and then I did the mods on this guitar and then I realized that this is an absolute keeper and I should not get rid of it at all.

So what I want to hear is just jammed for you little bit; maybe play some blues. I’m going to play this just with varying different single coil and humbucker and mid boost and woman tone – you know what you’re going to get. We’re going to have some fun. Check it out. Obviously check out some of my other videos to see some more in-depth playing, but I want to give you some background of what I do with the Les Paul. One very important thing I want to discuss, so a Les Paul is like the equivalent of a Mack truck and I kind of alluded to this early in the video but there’s only certain things that a Les Paul can do. A Les Paul it’s like a serious tool; nothing quite sounds like a Les Paul. If you want a big fat sound like a Les Paul you should just get a Les Paul. I’m not kidding it’s very hard to replicate this level of fatness into the mix in you’re playing with any other instrument. If you want a different kind of sound like a Stratty sound you get a Strat. If you want a Telly kind of sound you should get a Telly.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.  I really think there’s pretty much three sounds: Les Paul, Telly and Strat everything else is like a variation or a knock off or an attempt to be in those three.

I’ll give it to you in another way. So in cars, like, let’s say you have a new Mercedes or a new Jaguar — a very exquisite car. Let’s say it’s like 100,000 dollars car and it does a specific job whether it show class or speed or muscle or show power or prestige or style or whatever you want it to show it does a specific job. When you roll up in a brand-new shiny 100,000 dollars Mercedes it has a certain message on the road to your audience the people that are watching you drive, it coveysa certain  message on the road. If you roll up in let’s say equally expensive another 100,000 dollars vehicle, but let’s say it’s a Mack truck or a dump truck that is the same price but conveys a completely different message.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.   If you go on a date with 100,000 dollars Mercedes or you going to date with 100,000 dollars dump truck both are equally expensive but may not be equally impressive.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  But the dump truck isn’t a negative; if you need a dump truck for work you have to have a dump truck you cannot show up for work situation where a dump truck is needed and show up with a Mercedes and say “hey will this do?” Absolutely not, it will not do — if you need to have a dump truck you have to have a dump truck if you need to have a Mercedes you have to have a Mercedes, if you need a motorcycle to do the job then you need a motorcycle. If you need to have a Les Paul then it’s a Les Paul you really can’t say “oh I need something kind of like a Les Paul so I’m wondering what I’m going to get?” There should be any question that you need a Les Paul, that’s it. And so this guitar does one specific job; it’s designed to sound like a Les Paul which is kind of like a Mack truck and you have to understand that a lot of people make the mistake about a guitar because they don’t look at it for what it is, they look at it what they want it to be or what they are hoping they could get like a all-in-one or do a little bit of this and a little bit of that but imagine you did that to the car dealership, I mean, how ridiculous is that you say, “well I wanted to pop wheelies like I came on a motorcycle and I want to have the horsepower and the torque of a dump truck and the hauling power of a dump truck but want the class of a Mercedes.” The guy will look at you like I don’t know what to do with this guy. A lot of people do that to guitar salesmen and guitars in general. The PRS 513 that’s like their best answer for those types of customers; it can do it all. But even the PRS cannot give you the fat Les Paul sound like the Les Paul can.  Dyce is in high demand as a rock guitar teacher in Miami.  Even though I think you do two humbuckers in parallel positions stacked on top of each other; it’s just not as big and fat narrowly as this guy. So if you want big and fat narrowly you have to have a Les Paul and that’s end of story. If you want to have open bell chimey sounds you’ve got to get a Strat and if you want to get some serious twangs and some big bottom heads and some nice chunky mids you’ve got to get a Telly if you know how to work it. But I want to leave you with that so that you’re clear on what that means.  Dyce is the best rock guitar teacher in Miami.

  Anyway, feel free to subscribe. Hit me up for a Skype lesson if you want. I will see you in the next video. Thanks for sticking with me.