New for 2018 the Gibson Les Paul Player Plus range has been designed specifically for the avid player who is looking for an instrument that will over deliver on practicality. Stylish, classic Les Paul looks are coupled with a satin finish and rounded neck profile for unparalleled comfort and playability. A Richlite fingerboard and cryogenetically treated frets provides the 2018 Les Paul Player Plus range with incredibly precise tones while keeping your instrument’s perfect playability at all times. The 2018 Les Paul Deluxe Player Plus comes loaded with mini-humbuckers for those classic Les Paul tones while giving extra chime on the high end when needed.
A mini-humbucker is made like a miniature PAF pickup. It has one bar magnet positioned under each coil, with adjustable polepieces made out of a ferrous alloy; the other coil contains a ferrous metal bar that is not adjustable. This corresponds to a Gibson PAF with adjustable poles in one coil and a series of metal slugs in the other coil.
The mini-humbucker was most famously featured on Gibson Les Paul Deluxes (from 1969, and throughout the ‘70s). Noted Deluxe players included Pete Townshend of the Who and Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham (who prefers the Les Paul Axcess these days).
Gibson USA has always been about creating a better guitar, and back in the mid- ’90s started looking into whether there might be comparable alternatives to the conventional fretboard. None of them really panned out except for Richlite, which appeared promising. However, the question of whether to use a different fretboard material wasn’t a question to be taken lightly.
After two decades of research and discussions with guitarists, Gibson determined that Richlite was not only the best alternative to woods like ebony, but was actually superior. Although the downside is that it’s more expensive to make guitars with Richlite fretboards than ebony, there are some very attractive benefits.
Perhaps most importantly, the quality is consistently high—you don’t have to wade through batches of Richlite to find “good” Richlite. Also, many guitar players feel strings bend more smoothly on a Richlite fingerboard, and tonally speaking, virtually no one can tell the difference in a blind test. Another little-known advantage is with white guitars. The pigments in rosewood and ebony can “bleed” during the finishing process, and end up coloring the white finish. Richlite won’t do that; it’s also scratch, heat, and stain-resistant, as well as being non-toxic, non-warping, and made in the USA. Finally, neck bow issues are less likely because you don’t have two different wood species expanding and contracting at different rates, and frets don’t loosen due to wood shrinkage.