Gibson 2017 HP vs T
Recently, Gibson announced their 2017 lineup of electric guitars. This largely consisted of a range of Traditional (T) and High Performance (HP) guitars. But, what is the difference between the Gibson T and HP guitars? As the name suggests, the 2017 Gibson Traditional models have a spec that’s been the norm for the last 60 years or so. While each model is different of course, all the T guitars have a regular top nut, classic neck width and manual tuners. To read about all the various Gibson 2017 T models, click the following link.
So, what’s different about the HP models then? Well, Gibson want to push forward with guitar technology but appreciate that not all players want this, hence the choice. On the HP models, they’ve all got an adjustable titanium nut – this allows you to make small tweaks to the action simply by using an Allen key. It also acts as a zero fret so you get the tone of a fretted note on an open string.
You’ve also got upgraded wiring inside the actual guitar that in theory, gives a purer signal, as well as upgraded hardware that with allow the whole guitar to resonate better, thus giving you more tone. Also the chrome knurled UFO tone and volume knobs give the guitar a nice, luxurious touch.
Also, all Gibson 2017 High Performance guitars come fitted with G-Force…
Gibson G-Force – What Is It?
G-Force is Gibson’s self tuning mechanism. The tuning pegs on the headstock are connected to a device that senses the vibrations of the strings and tunes them automatically. Simply push the button, strum, and let G-Force do the work. Whether you want standard, double drop-D, DADGAD, open G or any other tuning, G-Force can get you up to pitch in seconds. While many of you can no doubt already tune a guitar, this does it for you, much quicker. And it really does work; I used a guitar with G-Force in the studio recently and it’s one of the most useful tools a guitar player can have. It’s also really handy if you want to switch tunings in between songs – go from Kashmir to Brown Sugar in a matter of seconds on the same guitar! It’s also worth noting that you can use the tuners manually if you ever wish to do so.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Les Paul Standard
This is the flagship model of the Gibson 2017 High Performance range. Like the T model, the Les Paul Standard HP features Gibson’s new ultra modern weight relief to help lighten the load of the guitar, and it’s got the asymmetrical neck taper that sits comfortably in your left hand. However, when you start looking at the guitar more carefully, you’ll notice the HP Les Paul Standard has a lot on it to differentiate it from the T model. First off, you’ve got a higher output bridge pickup in the form of the Burstbucker Lead Pro +, which gives it the edge for coping with more contemporary high gain rock and metal. You’ve also got a 5 position DIP switch that works alongside the coil tappable pickups. This new revolutionary wiring system gives you a total of 150 different tonal variations. So, whether you want the legendary PAF style bite, or you want a bright, single coil sound, the 2017 Gibson High Performance Les Paul Standard is a guitar that can do absolutely everything.
The Fast Access neck heel makes accessing those higher notes easier and the Soloists neck width lends itself nicely to those playing a lot of lead work or parts that demand some serious technical prowess. As is standard for the HP range, this guitar features the latest version of G-Force, Gibson’s self tuning mechanism. Also what definitely needs mentioning is the look of the guitar – the AAAA flamed maple top gives the guitar one of the best aesthetics that I’ve ever seen.
For the money you pay, the new 2017 HP Les Paul Standard has an awful lot of technology on it that makes playing the guitar more enjoyable. It still sounds like a classic Les Paul when you want it to, but there’s so much more under the hood that renders it one of the most versatile guitars I’ve played. It also comes supplied with goodies and a high quality aluminium case that are worth a look just on their own!
Now to me, the terms High Performance and Traditional sound a bit like they’re contradicting each other. However, what this guitar represents is the marriage of tradition and heritage with modern technology, and it does so wonderfully. The guitar still gives you classic Les Paul sound and feel, just with a slight twist. If you want the late 50s PAF sound, the Burstbuckers 2 and 3+ pickups can give you that, alongside higher gain tones suitable for hard rock and metal. Gibson’s revolutionary DIP switch means that you can get up to 150 different tones, all out of one guitar! The rounded profile of the neck combined with the Soloists width means that you still get the beefiness of the late 50s Les Pauls but with more surface area for you to solo on.
The Fast Access neck heel makes accessing those higher notes easier and works really well with the Soloists neck width. As is standard for the HP range, this guitar features the latest version of G-Force, Gibson’s self tuning mechanism. The AAA flame maple top is definitely worth a mention too; that combined with the amazing finishes makes the HP Traditional look just as good as it sounds.
It turns out that past and present do work well together, as is shown by this guitar. It serves as a basic, old school Les Paul as well as doing a whole lot more. It’s very versatile and an absolute joy to play, plus all the technology and extra features on it make it the perfect tool for the studio and the stage.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Les Paul Studio
The stripped down Les Paul now doesn’t look so stripped down. With a Grade-A maple top, you’ve got a guitar that looks amazing and, with Alnico 490R and 498T pickups, it sounds the part too. This model has the same coil tapped pickups as the T version however, on the HP Studio, there’s Gibson’s 5-position DIP switch that works the coil tap function to give you a much wider range of sounds. As such the High Performance model makes for an incredibly versatile guitar. They both share the slim taper neck profile however the HP boasts the Soloists neck width giving a little extra surface area to make lead work more comfortable. This, and the contoured Fast Access neck heel make the 2017 Gibson High Performance Les Paul Studio a very nice guitar to play.
As is standard for the HP range, this guitar features the latest version of G-Force, Gibson’s self tuning mechanism. This makes everyday use of the guitar more practical, regardless of whether you’re practicing, in the studio or on stage, plus the HP Studio comes shipped with the aluminium hardcase amongst other accessories.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Les Paul Tribute
The High Performance Les Paul Tribute has different pickups to its Traditional counterpart. The HP has a 57 Classic in the neck position and the higher output 57 Classic + in the bridge; something that rock and metal players will love. Like the rest of the High Performance range, the Tribute has got the adjustable zero-fret nut so tweaking your action is quick and easy. You’ve also of course, got G-Force on board so tuning is never an issue. The combination of the slim taper neck profile and Soloists width makes for a comfortable fit in your fretting hand, especially for lead work.
It’s pretty amazing how you can get an American made guitar with all of this cutting edge technology for just under £1,000. While the neck shape and profile sits nicely for faster players, the 2017 High Performance Gibson Les Paul Tribute is great for anyone who wants a superb sounding and playing guitar at a reasonable price.
This guitar manages to retain the character of old Les Pauls whilst remaining at the forefront of guitar technology. Want the famous, classic Les Paul sound? No problem, with a 57 Classic and a slightly higher output Super 57 Classic, it’s got the legendary PAF style bite plus a lot more. And whilst that might be enough for some people, it’s the beginning of what the 2017 HP Les Paul Classic has to offer. It’s got push/pull knobs so you can control the coil tap and phase functions, plus Gibson’s amazing DIP switch that gives you access to a massive 150 tonal variations. So whatever style of music you’re into, this guitar can take care of it!
The Fast Access neck heel makes accessing those higher notes easier and the Soloists neck width lends itself nicely to those playing a lot of lead work or parts that demand some serious technical prowess. The High Performance Les Paul Classic also features upgraded aluminium, steel and titanium hardware that helps the guitar resonate a little better and obviously, G-Force is on there too.
Versatile and a pleasure to play, the 2017 HP Les Paul Classic manages to pack a lot into one guitar. The three finishes also look incredible (my favourite is the new Green Ocean Burst) and the guitar comes shipped with some great accessories and an aluminium hardcase.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Les Paul Faded
Coming in at under £1,000 this is Gibson’s most affordable High Performance Les Paul and for the money, it packs in an awful lot into one guitar. It’s got a pair of new 61R & T humbuckers that give out a higher output than the pickups on the T model. As such, it makes for an ideal choice for guitarists that want to be able to get clear, high gain sounds, as well as that famous classic rock crunch. A slim taper neck profile and Soloists width means that lead work is comfortable and the Fast Access contoured heel makes getting those top notes that bit easier. The adjustable titanium zero-fret nut also makes tweaking your action quicker than it’s ever been. All of this, on an all-American built guitar with outstanding sound and playability makes for amazing value for money.
Gibson 2017 High Performance SG Standard
The twin horned Gibson SG has always been one of my favourite guitars so I can get quite precious about it. However, the updates seen on the 2017 High Performance SG Standard are amazing. It’s got the same pickups as the T model however, like on the rest of the HP range, Gibson have improved the wiring within the guitar so you’ll get a slightly ‘truer’ signal. I love the body shape as you can get right up high on the neck really easily. With the new Fast Access contoured neck heel, this is now even easier and more comfortable, plus the Soloists neck width combined with the slim taper neck profile helps make technical lead work a piece of cake.
In keeping with the rest of the 2017 High Performance range, the HP SG Standard has got the adjustable zero fret titanium nut and of course, G-Force. Incredibly well built, practical for the modern player and with a pair of amazing pickups capable of dealing out all the classic Gibson tones you’d want, this HP SG Standard is one of my many highlights of the 2017 Gibson range.
This is a really cool model as it allows you to have retro-looking guitar with completely modern and practical playability. It’s got the same Alnico 490R & T pickups as its Traditional counterpart so it’s got the big, beefy Gibson sound you would expect. Where it differs is the extra features; titanium nut, upgraded wiring and hardware, Soloists neck Width and G-Force to make it more practical for modern players.
With upgraded wiring and a new pair of higher output pickups, the High Performance SG Faded gives out a more powerful signal than the T model so whether you’re using it for jazz, pop, metal, rock, you’re definitely going to be heard. Plus coming in at under £1,000, it’s one of the most affordable models within the whole 2017 Gibson HP range. All the usual performance and luxury appointments are there; upgraded hardware, including the easy to adjust titanium nut, Soloists neck width and Fast Access neck heel to make playing lead work feel more comfortable, and G-Force. The finish on these is great too; the faded colours give the guitar a really nice, old school, rock and roll look.
When the Firebird first came out in 1963, it was pretty revolutionary. This High Performance Firebird is similarly so. It’s got the same 495 mini humbuckers as the Traditional model but with upgraded wiring for a purer signal. You’ve also got upgraded hardware, plus the zero fret adjustable titanium nut which makes changing your action much quicker. The Soloists neck width gives you more surface area for your fretting hand, making lead work that bit more comfortable. Of course, like the rest of the 2017 Gibson High Performance range, the Firebird has got G-Force, Gibson’s self tuning mechanism to make your life easier.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Firebird Studio
The stripped down Firebird, though it’s still got all the wizardry that the rest of the HPs have. The Soloists neck width keeps even the trickiest of licks comfortable for your fretting hand, and the improved hardware will actually help the guitar resonate a little better. Tuning is now made a doddle with G-Force, Gibson’s self tuning mechanism and underneath it all, you;ve got the upgraded wiring. This is probably one of my favourite guitars within the Gibson 2017 High Performance range, particularly in the Pelham Blue finish.
Gibson 2017 High Performance Explorer
This is probably one of the best guitars for playing hard rock/metal. Obviously, you’ve got the amazing look of the guitar, which, with the upgraded HP hardware, looks even better. You’ve also got upgraded wiring inside, plus the neck will have lead players at their most comfortable. The Soloists neck width gives you a little extra surface area and it really does make all the difference. For the price, and given that you get a hardcase included, you’re getting a lot of guitar for the money.
The most futuristic looking guitar on the market has now got the most futuristic features. The pickups on this model have got a slightly higher output (Dirty Fingers + on the HP) than the T model; this makes it a great choice for any rock player that wants to make a statement with their sound as well as their look. The Soloists neck width means lead and technical work is more comfortable for the fretting hand and the other usual appointments are all there – upgraded wiring inside, improved hardware etc. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about tuning again with G-Force.