Gibson Les Paul Traditional
||Seymour Duncan Seth Lover SH-55 (Neck)
Seymour Duncan Seth Lover SH-55 (Bridge)
Jimmy Page Wiring
Gotoh Locking "Green Key" Tuners
Schaller Strap Locks (Chrome)
The Les Paul Traditional brings us back to basics. It's got the build and the look of an early LP without all the new-fangled fluff. It's exactly what I was looking for: a workhorse. I wanted a tank of a Les Paul that I didn't have to be so careful with, and this is it. Rather than use run-of-the-mill humbuckers though, I saw this as an opportunity to experiment. Enter the P-Rails. These innovative pickups from Seymour Duncan are essentially humbuckers that -- instead of using matching opposing coils -- use a Strat-style rail on one side and a P-90 on the other. Together you get a humbucker, but each side separately is a true single coil pup rather than just "half a humbucker." But to take full advantage of this, I had to go full Frankenstein. The true magic is in the wiring scheme, devised by the venerable Hermetico himself and expertly implemented by Gryphon. This configuration affords four push/pull pots which control the P-90, rail, parallel humbucker, or series humbucker voice of the pickups, as well as in phase vs. out of phase and parallel vs. in series with each other. Couple that with the standard three-way toggle switch, and that leaves us with a staggering total of 24 unique tonal options, and that's before any pedals are in the chain. I've learned that long-distance shows require guitars be as versatile as possible, and it doesn't hurt if they're tough, too. Look for this curious contraption, this golden gladiator, to become my new all-in-one travel axe.
UPDATE: So when I first got this Lester, I had installed a set of Seymour Duncan P-Rails (a hot one at the bridge) and Hermetico's fancy "Full LP Tone 2" wiring scheme. I was lured in by the promise of all that tonal flexibility, despite the fact that those pickups are sort of hideous. Well, after a year and a half with them, I found that I wasn't using the flexibility as much as I expected. And though the P-90 sound was great and the others passable, the main humbucker tone from those things was just too muddy for my taste. So I opted to swap them out for Seth Lovers to get that more P.A.F. tone I'm comfortable with. I still have some flexibility with the Jimmy Page wiring, and though a split Seth doesn't sound as nice as a P-90, the humbucker tone I use 99% of the time blows the P-Rails out of the water. It's woody and raw and perfect.