Sam Bell reviews the Maybach Lester 57 Gold Rush Aged. Modeled after specific dimensions used between 1957 and 1959 in terms of body and neck profiles, this iconic design paired with the creative guitar work of British Blues-Rock in the 1960s, forever etched the nimbus of this type of guitar into music and guitar history.
There’s a lot of mythology around guitar gear; superstition and nostalgia fuels the gear industry. We are all seekers at one level or another. However, there’s something to be said for a classic guitar. Maybe because amplified music is very young compared to the age of recorded humanity, we all see Les Pauls, Teles and Strats as symbols of "the dream."
The fact is, however, no matter how many innovations are made with guitar, we come back to simplicity and connectedness. The classics work; they work very well. We recognise the symbols, both visually and sonically. However, the companies that made them have had to survive and keep the legacy going. Rightly so, however, this leads to a big dip in quality and consistency. Compromises have to be made. The search for a nice vintage guitar becomes the fuel for the search. This can mean getting your hands on a vintage classic guitar that works and sounds good, which is both rare and incredibly expensive. Thank goodness we have companies like Maybach who are making high-quality offerings and homages to these classic vintage instruments, made with love, care and attention at a relatively competitive price (compared to a custom shop ‘insert brand here’), and you can gig them properly!
Maybach Guitars are a family-owned business established in 2008 and based in Bavaria/Germany. Guitars are built in their workshop in the Czech Republic and set up in Germany. They use only the best tonewoods, parts, hardware and pickups to bring the best tone to players' hands. I first played a Maybach guitar at 42 Gear Street in Germany back in 2021 and was blown away. Fast forward to July 2023, I’m at Guitar Interactive HQ and presented with the opportunity to review 1 of the 3 Maybach guitars that arrived. They were all lovely. But this one took my heart. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at Maybach’s ‘Lester 57 Gold Rush.
This is a homage to the classic 57/59 Les Paul Gold Top. First of all, the guitar looks amazing. The Gold looks gorgeous, everything is pristine, it's special! It also smells amazing, which was something I wasn’t expecting. Picking it up, it’s not heavy by any means (coming in at 3.7 KG). It's not as heavy as some of the guitars that this is modelled on.
The guitar has a played-in feel, it's not ‘reliced’ per say, however, it has some natural ageing. It's almost as if you’re playing the original guitar from someone’s very expensive private collection. Except, it could be yours for a comparatively reasonable price.
Plugging it in, instantly, there’s the sound. It’s the LP sound. The 24 ¾ inch scale length, the ‘Gibson’ string spacing, the sustain, the sweetness. It's right there, at your fingertips. I honestly felt like I couldn’t get a note wrong (I probably did!) but the guitar felt connected. Not too heavy, it didn’t really fight back in any way. It was a dream!
The Woods, the Neck is Mahogany, the Body is Mahogany, the top is Maple, and the Fingerboard is Rosewood. The pickups, the ‘Amber Spirit of 59’ set, give us that Vintage Humbucker vibe, clarity, and warmth. There is plenty of warm bite in the bridge, a slow burn on the neck pickup and when using the middle position, there is plenty of size and cut.
The guitar comes with a stunning hard case and a certificate of authenticity; this particular Lester 57 Gold Rush was Assembled on 25/04/23 and had its final checks on 09/05/23. All are handwritten in a string-closed envelope. Guitar companies try this sometimes to create an air of authenticity but often miss the mark. But Maybach has heart; you can hear it, smell it, feel it, see it. No matter how much I talk about it or someone else talks about it, nobody will get it. Until you actually play it and sense it. Maybe this is a message for all of us trying out gear: forget what I have to say and focus on what feels good to you. Maybach guitars feel good to me. Yes, its expensive, but not as expensive as the real thing and lightyears beyond in terms of quality, feel and playability.
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