Gone are the days when a Gibson Les Paul was only just two ‘buckers, controlled by two Vols and two Tones. On the 2017 range of High Performance Gibson Les Pauls, there’s a whole new world of tone at your fingertips, making a modern Les Paul one of the most versatile electric guitars ever made. As always, Gibson gives you plenty of choice.
5 controls, numerous tones
Even at its most complex on HP guitars, Gibson’s tone-switching layout remains simple. 2 volume knobs – but they are both push-pull and 2 tone knobs – but again, both push-pull.
On selected HP models, there is also the added DIP switch (5 on/off sliders) within the body’s rear cavity that offers huge further flexibility.
DIP switches 1 and 3 further modify your neck pickup.
DIP switches 2 and 4 further modify your bridge pickup.
DIP switch 5 further controls all output.
The modified options? Let’s go!
For the 4 rotary volume and tone controls – in the usual place! - down is traditional humbucker, and up is modified. We assume you’re familiar with how the sweeping volume and tone controls work on a Gibson in a traditional manner, so let’s look at each modified option in turn.
Neck Volume knob : Pull up to Tap or Split the neck humbucker.
Tap or Split is determined by DIP Switch 1 location.
DIP 1 off = neck tap.
DIP 1 on = neck split.
Bridge Volume knob : Pull up to Tap or Split the bridge humbucker.
Tap or Split is determined by DIP Switch 2 location.
DIP 2 off = bridge tap.
DIP 2 on = bridge split.
What Do You Hear? Tap vs Split Explained
Tap = Accesses the pickup coils through a filter. Effectively accents a particular frequency range for a “tuned tap”.
Result = Fatter, P-90 style voice with balanced output. Also offers lower noise and hum than true single-coil.
Split = Isolates one coil in the humbucker pair. Effectively changes a humbucker into a single-coil pickup.
Result = Brighter single-coil sound with lower output than humbucking.
NOTE: The pickups are Reverse Wind/Reverse Polarity to retain hum-canceling operation when both pickups are combined.
Neck Tone knob: Pull up for Out of Phase pickups.
Out of phase = r everses the electronic phase of the Neck pickup to be opposite of Bridge pickup. Result = when both pickups are combined, a thinner, hollow-type tone with a distinctive mid-range character.
Bridge Tone knob: Pull up for Outer Coils/Down for Inner Coils
This determines which coil is active during coil-splitting and tapping.
Results = The Outer coil of the bridge pickup has a brighter and thinner tone than the inner coil. The Outer coil of theneck pickup will have a deeper and warmer tone than the inner coil. When both pickups are combined, the inner coils will have a distinctive mid-range character while the outer coils offer more balanced highs and lows.
Further DIP Switch Functions
DIP Switch 3 is Neck Volume High Pass Filter (Treble Bleed)
DIP 3 off = out of circuit.
DIP 3 on = in circuit.
DIP switch 3 further controls your neck pickup. As a volume control is turned down, high frequencies tend to be attenuated. The resulting sound is darker as the volume is lowered due to the interaction of the coil inductance and the volume pot. The High Pass (Treble Bleed) circuit effectively offsets these losses by passing higher frequencies as the volume is lowered.
Result = a cleaner, “crisper” sound at lower volumes
DIP Switch 4 = Bridge Volume High Pass Filter (Treble Bleed)
DIP 4 off = out of circuit.
DIP 4 on = in circuit.
DIP switch 4 further controls your bridge pickup, as above.
Result = a cleaner, “crisper” sound at lower volumes.
DIP Switch 5 = Transient Suppression
5 off = out of circuit.
5 on = in circuit.
DIP switch 5 is a further option for recording. “Transients” = A sudden, loud spike from the initial attack phase of sound, pick attack or “noise” for example. Result = Turning switch 5 on suppresses harsh transient noise or spikes which A/D convertors can sometimes pass when recording directly into the high impedance input of a DAW interface or digital mixer. It is virtually transparent when turned on so, bottom line, if you use any digital equipment, flip it on.
Take control of your tone
As you can see, these options massively expand the tonal palette of your Gibson Les Paul. From traditional thick humbucking tone, to fat P-90-style single-coils to pure single-coils to out-of-phase and recording options, it’s all here. And that’s without considering the characteristics of the pickups on each different model, or using the volume/tones in the usual rotary way.
“Chasing sound” was one of Les Paul’s favorite phrases to describe his quest for tone, and Les would surely love what a 2017 Gibson Les Paul can do. Right now, you can be the leader in that chase. Here’s what’s featured on the 2017 Les Pauls.
4 push-pull volume /tones + DIP switch featured on:
2017 Gibson Les Paul Classic HP ● 2017 Gibson Les Paul Standard HP ● 2017 Gibson Les Paul Traditional HP
2 push-pull volume /tones + DIP switch featured on:
2017 Gibson Les Paul Studio
Push-pull knobs (but NO DIP switch) featured on:
2017 Gibson Les Paul Standard T (push-pull on all 4 volume/control knobs offer coil tapping on both pickups, a pure bypass, and phase reverse) ● 2017 Gibson Les Paul Studio T (push-pull tone controls for coil tap)
Traditional volume and tone controls featured on: 2017 Gibson Les Paul Faded HP, Tribute HP and all T models (except noted above)