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REVIEW: Gibson Tribute series – Les Paul and SG

Shane tried out the Gibson Tribute Les Paul and SG, available from the Fret Zealot store with the Fret Zealot system installed.

Here’s what he thought:

“We’re going to be diving in and exploring the legacy of tone that goes behind these fantastic instruments.


Both of these guitars feature vintage deluxe tuners and classic Gibson Tune-o-matic bridges. both are 22 frets the same scale length, 24.75”, with medium jumbo frets. They come stock with Gibson strings – 10s and 490 humbuckers. The SG has black humbuckers and Les Paul has silver humbucker covers. They’re modern renditions of classic instruments, they’ve been around since the 1950s and 60s.


They’re tried and true, the Gibson legacy – this is what you’re looking for in a premium instrument. The build quality, construction and Gibson name that they bear – it’s really fun to have these in stock here at Fret Zealot.


The SG is a walnut finish and the Les Paul is a beautiful sunburst finish. As far as modern updates, the Les Paul has great balance and chambering in the body to give you a little weight relief. It has the sustain and tone you love to hear from these instruments. Let’s walk you through the pickup selections of different tones and how they sound through an amplifier, clean and distorted.


Les Paul 


I would say the Les Paul sustains for days. It’s a real tone machine, I was shocked by the diversity of tones you can get out of this instrument. You really hear a major difference between the bridge versus the neck pickup selection. It gives you this crazy range for rock and heavier music, but I enjoyed using it for blues and jazz as well. The way it feels, it bounces and brings me back. I think it goes the job you expect from a tribute guitar, it really is a perfect homage to the era this guitar came from which is the 1950s. It sounds beautiful, the wood quality is incredible. I love the sunburst finish. It’s an awesome guitar all around, and I think it’s super worth venturing for when you’re looking for a premium level guitar.


Gibson SG


One of the biggest distinctions for the SG is the all that goes into the playability of this instrument and the comfort level of your hands moving up and down the neck. It’s unmistakably different especially in the upper range on the fretboard, it has so much good fret access here thanks to the body shape. It’s all neck up until it reaches the body, it’s super comfortable. I haven’t had too many opportunities to play an SG this nice, and I’m inspired on how this can serve you, especially if you’re playing lead riffs or moving up the fretboard and wanting to access the higher frets. I see this as a really nice lead guitarist instrument as well.


It’s interesting to compare the tone – they are both equipped with the same humbuckers.

The SG, in my opinion, has a bit more grittiness and sizzle to it when you’re using gain.

You’re really just hearing the tonality of the design, the wood, the quality materials that went into building these guitars. Both have vintage deluxe tuners which are really nice and will keep your guitar tuned for a long time. It’s got the traditional Gibson headstock design, it’s tilted back to give the guitar that extra bit of resonance. It’s part of the magic that goes into the Gibson tone. Both guitars have Graph Tech nuts so the tuning stability and playability is excellent. Gibson has really stayed with the tried and true design. Both guitars are really living up to that tribute name, they are a tribute to the origin of Gibson and the first time these guitars were coming out on the market, which was the 1950s for the Les Paul and the 1960s for the SG. You can see the development and design that went into each one.


I love the tone and the feel of the Les Paul and I love the sound and the playability of the SG, it’s almost an update in the design focus in terms of what they want to do.


Some words I’d use to describe the Les Paul are comfort, tone, variety, and the deepest legacy.
It’s the older brother of the two.


The SG is spry, snappy, speedy – it’s like the rambunctious younger brother of the Les Paul in terms of the tone. It’s got this zippiness to it and a little bit more of a sports car kind of feel. If you’re stuck in the middle of what to get hopefully that added a little color for you.


In addition to the Gibson legacy guitar, it comes with a really nice gig bag, they kind of went with a designer bag aesthetic with backpack straps and handles, and a thickly padded interior. You can purchase these guitars and any playing needs on our website. We also have courses and LED systems for learning how to play any song you want with our course libraries and songs on the Fret Zealot app.


These really are the tribute to the beautiful legacy that Gibson continues today.”

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