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darkandrew

Not feeling the funk with a Les Paul style guitar - why?

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I've got a trio of ESP Eclipses but no matter which pickups are in them, they just don't feel right when playing clean, funky rhythm guitar. Instead, I find myself reaching for my cheaper Korean Fender Tele FMT. I can't put my finger on it; they're both mahogany/maple set-neck guitars with twin humbuckers but the Tele just lends itself so much better to that style of playing. The main differences between the Tele and the Eclipses are the scale length (Eclipse, being similar in shape and construction to a Les Paul, is slightly shorter than the Tele) and the body shape - would these really make that much difference?

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I can't play rhythm on a Les Paul, either. I think it's too heavy and too uncomfortable. Too many edges. The LP is essentially a slab body, so I think that has a lot to do with it. I prefer my Strat, as it's contoured and much more comfortable. Get down! And so on.

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Yep, I think it`s the body shape, and the angle of strings across the bridge that make the LP style not so good for funky work. For me it`s all about placement of the strumming hand, and the angle at which the arm/hand approaches the guitar, and the construction of the LP prevents said hand getting to the ideal position.

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It's strange because I usually really like the Eclipses and most of what I play would be considered "rhythm" but I just can't get comfortable on them playing in that particular style. The scale difference is less than an inch, the width at the bridge is less than 3mm different in total (so .5mm per string) and the string gauge difference from 10s to 9s is also very small, also the Eclipse body is contoured and slightly thinner than a traditional Les Paul which should also negate much of the differences in body ergonomics too. I guess it must be a case of one thing not making a lot of difference but when you put them all together at the same time, they all add up and do make a difference.

Edited by darkandrew

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Also the sound of a Les Paul is usually too fat for playing funk rhythm without some judicious sonic sculpting. Of course there will always be exceptions, as I am sure we will learn further down this thread...

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[quote name='JapanAxe' timestamp='1508628424' post='3393476']
Also the sound of a Les Paul is usually too fat for playing funk rhythm without some judicious sonic sculpting. Of course there will always be exceptions, as I am sure we will learn further down this thread...
[/quote]

It's not so much the sound, it's the way the guitar makes you play it.

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[quote name='darkandrew' timestamp='1508628542' post='3393477']
It's not so much the sound, it's the way the guitar makes you play it.
[/quote]

Ah, ok.

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Boon Gould from Level 42 made the Les Paul his home. i was always astonished.

Edited by basslondon

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It may not be that Les Paul style guitars are 'bad' for funk, rather that telecasters are perfect for it.

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On 22/10/2017 at 00:27, JapanAxe said:

Also the sound of a Les Paul is usually too fat for playing funk rhythm without some judicious sonic sculpting. Of course there will always be exceptions, as I am sure we will learn further down this thread...

Of course there is  :)

Robert Parissi using a LP live, but to be fair , i've also seen him use a strat.

 

Edited by fleabag

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On 04/12/2017 at 17:42, Cato said:

It may not be that Les Paul style guitars are 'bad', rather that telecasters are perfect.

Fixed that for you ;)

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On 04/12/2017 at 12:10, basslondon said:

Phil Gould from Level 42 made the Les Paul his home. i was always astonished.

And funnily enough, his successor, Nathan King, plays the same.

From the live clips I've seen of him, he gets a great, clipped sound through Fender Twins but I believe he's gone Kemper.

There are others, like Paul Jackson and the guy from Earth Wind and Fire who used LPs and astonished to see that Chrissie Boy from Madness has been using one for a good few years.

Have you tried it with a compressor or with some form of EQ pedal - the Xotic RC  Booster is very good as a tone shaper.

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On 19/04/2018 at 18:53, Kebabkid said:

And funnily enough, his successor, Nathan King, plays the same.

From the live clips I've seen of him, he gets a great, clipped sound through Fender Twins but I believe he's gone Kemper.

There are others, like Paul Jackson and the guy from Earth Wind and Fire who used LPs and astonished to see that Chrissie Boy from Madness has been using one for a good few years.

Have you tried it with a compressor or with some form of EQ pedal - the Xotic RC  Booster is very good as a tone shaper.

I of course meant Boon Gould.oops!

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You need that really jangly, thin sound for funk in my opinion. Sounds bloody awful on its' own but great in the mix. Teles are the right tool for the job.

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1 hour ago, pintspiller said:

Didn't Hot Chocolate have a guy on a Les Paul?

Harvey Hinsley played an SG, unless it was an SG shaped Les Paul... so, close.

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I always find the sound of Les Pauls doesn't really work well for rhythm playing. The attack and decay of the notes is too slow for that really tight rhythm sound. 

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I use my ESP Eclipse E-II for metal, it is not a comfortable body, mostly better played standing up, but the EMG pickups sounds so bloody good and clean for metal rhythm palm muted playing and solos with lots of distortion, IMO, nothing can beat it for some Metallica riffs...

And then when I want a clean funky articulate sound, what I need is single coils, for that, I have a Fodera Emperor Standard with 3 single coils pups, which is a bit like a Tele with a slightly different bridge and middle pickups position, and a far better built guitar.

Body countours are far more comfortable for a start, the neck is incredible, even though the guitar is still heavy, but tonally it is extremely resonant, defined, articulated, and funky in clean modes, but with distortion, not so much... It will not sound as clean and quick as the ESP with EMG HBs. Ground noise pops out really quick, unless you select multiple pickups, but then loose the bright tone....

It's 2 different worlds. Now, can I play funk on the ESP and metal on the Fodera? Sure, I can.. But it will just not sound as cool.

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I used to love playing a Les Paul, and always found the strat a bit toy like in comparison.  That said, I'm a bit bigger than average so the LP never felt heavy, hard edged and slab like to me like it does to some other folk.

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On 06/12/2017 at 15:56, songofthewind said:

Methinks also the bolted neck joint gives more spank/percussiveness than set neck guitars.

A SG will be more percussive than a LP and chords die out a lot quicker too.

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On 22/10/2017 at 05:04, darkandrew said:

I've got a trio of ESP Eclipses but no matter which pickups are in them, they just don't feel right when playing clean, funky rhythm guitar. Instead, I find myself reaching for my cheaper Korean Fender Tele FMT. I can't put my finger on it; they're both mahogany/maple set-neck guitars with twin humbuckers but the Tele just lends itself so much better to that style of playing. The main differences between the Tele and the Eclipses are the scale length (Eclipse, being similar in shape and construction to a Les Paul, is slightly shorter than the Tele) and the body shape - would these really make that much difference?

The tele tends to be fat and sweet with both pickups on and it carries a nice bite.  Prince used one as a main guitar for this reason.  But the strat gets a look in as well, with Nile Rodgers and pretty much anyone playing in the 4th position (Cory Wong, I'm looking at you).

BUT...don't write the LP off.  I'm not a fan of the LP body shape so I have a couple of Yammie MSG's instead and in one I replaced the stock pickups with jazzier/archtop type PAF by Aaron Armstrong.  So on the neck pickup I can get some mellow stuff and on the bridge pickup I can still get some decent chunk with distortion on. 

For clean LP - Long Train Running, Play That Funky Music,  most of the Brothers Johnson stuff, Brick House, a lot of Bobby Womack stuff, Tower of Power stuff, one of James Brown's guitarists used an LP...even the intro to the Theme from Shaft.

You could even swap out the humbuckers for P90's for a fat sound with more single coil bite and be set up for the solo to Another Brick In The Wall (Gilmour played it on a LP with P90's)
 

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