Epiphone makes the most popular Les Paul copy in the world. In fact, Gibson actually owns Epiphone and treats the Epiphone Les Paul and SG series as their own economy line.
What’s more, Epiphone Les Pauls look and feel almost identical to a real Gibson Les Paul.
While there are differences in parts and sound quality, the Epiphone Les Paul has long been viewed as a sensible and workable alternative to the full-blown Gibson investment. This has made the Epiphones Les Paul lineup one of the most popular in the history of guitar manufacturing.
3 Best Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitars
Most of the Epiphone Les Pauls are modeled after well-known Gibson versions. The Custom and Standard are typically safe bets, with a lot of different color choices.
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Epiphone’s version of the Custom does a good job of capturing the aesthetics and menacing look of the Gibson version, right down to the gold hardware and split diamond inlay on the headstock.
The primary differences between the Gibson and Epiphone version of the Custom are going to be in the parts used.
Epiphone uses the following stock parts on the Custom:
Bridge and tailpiece
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean you’re getting cheaper, mass-produced hardware that allows Epiphone to bring down the price of their guitar.
Although one important note about the tuning heads:
Those are not stock. They’re actually Grover® Rotomatic® 18:1 tuning machines in the Custom, which gives you some high-end hardware, and an uptick in value.
You get the same brassy, kind of high-end chime on the upper register of the fretboard, along with the percussive, chunky rhythms on the lower notes.
In that respect, even with the cheaper pickups, the Epiphone Les Paul Custom can handle a wide range of sounds and styles without many limitations. It’s certainly a guitar that plays faster, with the SlimTaper neck design and 22 jumbo frets.
If you’re used to other electric guitar designs, it might take you awhile to get used to the weight distribution of a Les Paul. Even in the new lighter models, the body feels much heavier than the neck, like it wants to hang from the strap with the body lower than you might want.
It’s a small problem, and you’ll get used to it after a while.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’50s
The difference between the Epiphone Custom and the Epiphone Standard is primarily one of style.
Tone and voicing
While the ’50s Standard has a lot of the same parts and features as the Custom, it seems to be voiced a little more vintage, without as much aggression as the Custom. You still have the same chimey high-end, but the low-end chords and notes seem to have a little more grunge and edge to them, as opposed to the smoother heaviness of the Custom.
Similarities between the custom and ’50s standard
The profiles of both guitars are very similar, where aesthetics play a bigger role in distinguishing the two.
For example, the ’50s Standard uses Epiphone’s Vintage Deluxe 18:1 tuning heads, which give the headstock a more “old school” look. You also have the gold or sunburst finishes that we typically see on older Les Paul models.
Epiphone Les Paul Modern
There are only a handful of technical differences between the Les Paul Modern and the two other Epiphone LPs we’ve tested.
Differences between the modern and custom
First, Modern has some additional weight relief in the body, which makes it less cumbersome to play standing up. It feels more like a “typical” guitar in regards to how weight is distributed. Though we noticed that it loses some of the “punchiness” in its tone, which is probably a result of said weight relief.
It also uses the same pickup combination as the Les Paul Custom – the ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 – but with coil-tapping enabled, giving you some additional flexibility. We also noticed that the CPS brand is not mentioned in the description of the potentiometers, which leads us to believe they’re provided by a different company, perhaps for the push-pull functionality.
Otherwise, the electronics are pretty much the same.
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