Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gibson Les Paul Axcess & Fender Deluxe VM

This past weekend, I had the sublime joy of playing this sweet Les Paul in black off the floor at Russo Music Center. So what sets this Les Paul apart from all of the other models bearing his name? One of the things that makes this electric different from others is the lack of a heel cap in the back. The guitar lays closer to your body because it is flatter in the back. It also allows you to get at the upper frets more easily. According to Gibson:

"While the Axcess sports what looks from the front to be a traditional Les Paul neck joint, the neck heel and portions of the back and neck joint at the upper cutaway have been contoured to provide a “heelless” feel and an unimpeded reach right up to the 22nd fret."

Other specifications and appointments befitting this new model’s pedigree include:
- One-piece mahogany neck with fast, rounded profile
- 24 3/4" scale length with 1 11/16" nut width
- 22-fret rosewood fingerboard
- Kluson tuners
- Single-ply cream binding on body top
- Pearloid trapezoid fingerboard inlays
- Carved maple top with nitrocellulose lacquer finish in Iced Tea Burst or Gun Metal Gray

This Gibson guitar model has a very fluid body shape that reminded me more of my Fender Stratocaster than a Gibson. None of the bulk was there. Fluid sculpted lines that hug your body especially around the ribcage. VERY comfortable playing! The added Floyd Rose tailpiece makes this guitar truly "custom" as the vibrato is factory installed by Gibson as part of the manufacturing process. So how did it sound? Really incredible! It sounded especially good through this Fender Deluxe Vintage Modified amp. The delay on the Fender Deluxe 40 watt amp is unreal.
At 40 watts, it was plenty loud and delivered all of that true Gibson tone with ease. Street price on this amp is $799.99. Relatively lightweight for a 40 watt amp with a 1 x 12 inch speaker, it is easy to carry to gigs and won't embarrass once you get there. PHOTO: Fender Deluxe Vintage Modified Amp in Blonde. Here is what makes this Fender amp unique:

"The Deluxe VM amplifier takes the sought-after Deluxe formula into a new era of “Vintage Modified” performance by combining a real tube amp with a complement of essential effects. The 40-watt tube platform provides a foundation of great tone to build on, and the versatile tube preamp offers a wide range of tone and gain settings—from world-standard Blackface Fender clean to aggressive overdrive with post-gain EQ.

An all-new high-quality DSP platform adds reverb, chorus/vibrato, and delay effects with the convenience and “tweakability” of standard stomp boxes, without the need for extra cables or power supplies."

The effects are often the downfall of most combo amps. They are either too obvious or difficult to control. The adjacent dials on the Deluxe VM allow you to tone them down to your liking.

This is a good match really. The Gibson Axcess truly shines with a tube amp with a bit of bassy warmth like the Fender Deluxe VM. Really it is very similar to my vintage USA made Crate amp only well, WAY better. A combo amp like this gives you a few stomp box effects built in for the road which means you can leave a few more pedals at home. Definitely worth taking for a test drive!

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