lpmenaceFrom time to time – all manufacturers appeal to certain a certain audience – Gibson have long played up to marketing tactics such as this with signature releases and brands such as the Les Paul Vixen – in 2006 they released the Les Paul Menace which from the off is a Les Paul but perhaps not as we know it!

Gibson’s marketing strategy with the Les Paul Menace is no doubt aimed at the rockier element of the guitar community and the guitar features some nifty (if not earth shattering) mods to the usual Les Paul. First things first the LP Menace is fierce – we know that because it’s got some fist stickers on the fretboard and a tatoo-esque Gibson decal and it’s got a jet black paintjob to go with it (which looks great by the way) – looks count and the Menace has got its own personality and fits right into the angsty rock genre . Those looking for a nice pink finish or thier favourite burst color look elsewhere! The menace is a one trick pony but it’s one trick is done with the right level of finesse and we suspect with a good natured sense of humour.

The first thing that differentiates this Gibson from others is the body – sure it’s the familiar Les Paul single cut-away shape but this things grooved! Gibson calls these “tribal body routings”. well they sure are unique looking first off there are four grooves just behind the tailpeice these are matched by two further cuts just behind the 3 way pickup switch – these subtleties are a nice fun design quirk and fit in nicely with the other visuals.

Based on a Mahagonay body with maple top – In comparison to a Les Paul Standard it’s a little thinner and a little lighter – the neck which is a 60′s tapered neck is fun and fast. It’s comfortable to play and it’s lighter body makes adds to it’s charm – Pickup wise the Menace has one 490R “Smoky coil” and one 498T “Smoky Coil” which have clear bobbins enabling the wiring to be viewed which is a neat trick and adds to the visuals – sound wise well as you’d expect from a Gibson – thick warm and with enough bite to please. Let’s face it this is a rock guitar and whilst there are more heavy pickups out there the factory fitted ones should please the vast majority – plug into a half decent amp and you get the typical Les Paul sounds you’d come to expect. The lighter body doesnt dent the usual sustain whilst there is enough grit about the sound to match up to it’s persona.

If we were to nitpick then personally we miss the traditional Gibson and Les Paul logo’s – sure we understand why there not there but they really are part of the furniture for the Les Paul – as for the finish – as beautiful as it looks out of the box this thing will need to be looked after – too many scratches or blemishes would detract from the guitar – so if you buy – look after it!

The menace comes in at around the $1000 mark so is on the low end of the Gibson price scale and represents value for those looking for a Gibson at a good price. There will be many that will weigh up the Epiphone Les Paul against this model (shop around and in some cases there’s not a huge amount in it.) and for those that wait there’s enough character here to please most.

Gibson Guitars

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