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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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REVIEW: Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar player pack

Shane tried out the Epiphone Les Paul Special-II Player Pack, available from the Fret Zealot store with the Fret Zealot system installed.

Here’s what he thought:

“This Les Paul is a classic and distinguished look from the Epiphone line. It’s a really great introductory instrument to get you in with the classic Les Paul style vibes.

This one is all black, kind of a no-nonsense look all around. It has a glossy finish which I think looks cool. It has a lot of shine to it.

The body is solid alder all the way through and the neck is hard maple, which adds a bit of stability and the fretboard itself is rosewood. It fits in the dark theme and ties it together quite well. Little bit of black binding on the neck with the dot inlays, and in terms of some of the hardware, chrome hardware on the bridge, and then the two Epiphone pickups – 650T on the neck pickup and the 750 T bridge pickup. These are humbucking pickups, they’ve got a bit more output, a bit more of a substantial sound. Everything that you really need to rock. It’s a tried and true rock tone. Humbucking pickups can really deliver on a lot of different styles, so I found them really versatile.

Then in terms of controls it’s very simple . We’ve got the volume control, single tone control, and a three-way position switch which gives you bridge pickup or the neck pickup, or both together.

The Epiphone Player Pack also comes in Heritage Cherry Sunburst.

On the headstock is the Les Paul Special-II cover plate. If you want to adjust the neck, you can take it off. It comes with the hex key needed to make adjustments. The pack comes with the guitar, neck adjustment tool, the Epiphone Electar 10 watt amp,
gig bag, strap, clip-on tuner, and the guitar cable.

Boom, you’re electrified and ready to rock.  Of course, when you buy this guitar from the Fret Zealot store, it comes with the Fret Zealot LED system. You just hook it up with the app, and you can view your tabs in real time on the instrument, as well as  access thousands of courses so you can learn how to play.

This guitar is an awesome choice for anyone looking for the classic Les Paul shape. It’s a very distinguished look, this one is a classy black color. It also comes in a Vintage Sunburst color. There are two different styles to choose from.  You can hook it up with the app and start playing thousands of song with the Fret Zealot app. This guitar is going to serve you well across a variety of genres. I always associate Les Paul with the classic rock and hard rock that you hear from Les Paul style guitars with humbucking pickups just like this one. If that’s what you’re after this guitar could be the choice for you. You can check it out at fretzealot.com.”

REVIEW: The Yamaha FG800 acoustic guitar is one of the best beginner guitars of 2022

Shane tried out the Yamaha FG800 acoustic guitar, available from the Fret Zealot store with the Fret Zealot system installed. 

Here’s what he thought: 

Yamaha FG800 Review! One of the Best Beginner Guitars of 2022?

“This is a favorite of mine from the Yamaha guitar line, a standard in the industry and an awesome all-around acoustic guitar. 

It comes in a natural finish and it has a nice-looking piece of wood on top with a tortoiseshell pickguard – a classic look, kind of reminds me of some of the Taylor guitar aesthetics. 

On the back of the guitar, you have a nice satin finish that makes for a nice comfortable feel on the neck, for your hand while you’re playing. I like the not-too-glossy smoothness on the back of the neck of the guitar, compared to the glossier finish on the rest of the body. Some special attention was put to the feel of the neck for the guitar-playing hand .

The fretwork along the guitar is really nice and that’s what  sort of defines the Yamaha FG800 to me – just the consistency, the quality throughout the different models. I’ve personally handled hundreds of this exact model and seen that they all play really nicely and Yamaha does a really good job of quality-controlling this instrument to make sure each one plays really well. The action is nice and comfortable, the neck is very easy to play.


 I’m finding this guitar really fun and responsive – it’s got a nice bright sound. I would definitely say this particular guitar is a slightly brighter-sounding guitar. It could be something to do with the strings, but it’s generally a bright tone. 

The headstock is painted with a darker-looking finish to give you a nicer contrast and there’s chrome hardware on the tuners. The tuners have a very solid feeling – I think the guitar stays in tune nicely. What I really enjoy about this guitar is just the consistent playability and how easy it is to pick it up and get on with a new song. 

It has a full-sized guitar body but it doesn’t feel overly big or anything. If you’re concerned about the size of your guitar, I’d say this is a comfortable shape with a nice, full sound coming from the 

Dreadnought-style FG800 guitar body. Yamaha makes it really simple with the FG800 –  just a straight-up, all-around acoustic guitar experience. I’m finding it really comfortable to play, and once again, that Yamaha consistency means I know what I’m going to get when I purchase it. 

MORE: Fret Zealot Acoustic Combo Packs 

That makes it a really fun guitar to play. I’m really enjoying the action and the feel. I imagine myself taking this guitar through its paces at home, learning a lot of different songs and I also imagine being able to take this to a gig where you’re not going to need an amp but it has the enunciation and projection to give you what you need at the coffee shop or small gig if you’re just getting started playing. Personally, if i were to look for a new acoustic guitar in this budget range, this would be one I’m considering because of what you get for the money. I think Yamaha puts as much detail and attention as possible into making this guitar feel and look and sound really great for the price you’re paying, and they’ve done a really good job of that. 

I also enjoy the shape of the neck – it’s a bit of a thinner profile so it doesn’t have as much of that thickness in the neck. Some people have preferences for more material in the neck, or not. I kind of enjoy both – this guitar is kind of giving you more of the slimmed-down neck profile – not super thin, but it definitely helps the playability and the sort of ease of play and for pushing your limits as a guitar player. 

This guitar is going to be very accommodating for trying to learn new songs, or learning for the first time as well. For players who want to have the comfort and the responsiveness of a thinner profile neck, you’re going to have that kind of playing experience with this guitar.”

Fret Zealot + Yamaha FG800 Dreadnought | Natural