Epiphone Les Paul 100 Guitar – 2020 Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: January 25, 2021

Epiphone has made many Les Pauls in the last couple of decades covering the needs of various players. Yet, there is one underdog that may surprise you with its sound and slimline size, especially when you check its price.

Let’s see what makes Les Paul 100 different from other Epiphone budget models.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Made with a Maple top and Mahogany body
  • Cut to the 1952 Less Paul original shape
  • Epiphone Humbuckers are used in the guitar
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Epiphone Les Paul-100, Ebony

PROS

  • It has that premium look
  • Well-made guitar for beginners
  • Individual volume and tone pickup control
  • Ceramic pickup ideal for a modern sound approach

CONS

  • Poor tuning machines parts
  • Not quite the Les Paul sound
  • Watch out for quality control issues

Epiphone Les Paul 100 Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Guitar

  • Body Size and Type: Single cutaway Les Paul body type

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: Mahogany solid wood body with Maple top and white pickguard

  • Orientation: Available for right hand players only

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany Slim Taper type with 43mm wide nut

  • Fretboard: Rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays and 22 medium Jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Fixed Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar tailpiece

  • Color: Ebony, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Vintage Sunburst

  • Pickup Type: Dual Humbucker setup with 700T (bridge) and 650R (neck)

  • Weight: 7.8 lbs approx

Pros

Below are the main pros:

Well-Made Guitar for Beginners

Some guitars are not made for professionals and yet you can’t find anything bad about them. They aim for a different audience and Les Paul 100 has all the necessary content for newbies.

Tonewood build quality is spot-on, the arched Maple top is a plus that won’t harm anyone and the neck playability leaves you with nothing to complain about. 

It Has That Premium Look

Since newbies can be inspired more by the look than sound, we must emphasize how beautiful this guitar looks, almost like a premium one. Black gloss finish with a white pickguard and gold hardware will look like you have an additional tuxedo on yourself and it can inspire you to practice for another round.

Ceramic Pickup Ideal For a Modern Sound Approach

Ceramic pickups are more prone to loud and grittier sound so it will suit pretty well for heavy distortion sound or any kind of alternative low tunings you may have in mind. It will generate more trebles to your sound and significantly louder sound when compared with the Alnico pickups. So, if metal is your music, you will be glad to have it.

Individual Volume and Tone Pickup Control

The sound of Les Paul 100 will be enhanced further thanks to the individual pot control that you could find on it. It usually comes with the models that are usually priced double. Anyway, thanks to this feature you will be able to fine-tune your sound in the middle switch position where both pickups are used simultaneously. 

Cons

Below are the main cons:

Watch Out for Quality Control Issues

Les Paul 100 is known for having poor quality control so things such as faulty hardware, sharp frets, loose wiring or fret buzzes that may spoil the overall package it can deliver. Just be sure to check it out thoroughly upon the purchase and relax - warranty and minor fixes should cover all those issues.

Poor Tuning Machines Parts

Epiphone had to cut short at some point to make it so affordable. Apart from being faulty on particular pieces, tuning machines are mediocre in general and they should be upgraded at certain points. It’s not a big investment, but it can significantly improve the overall experience you’re having with this guitar.

Not Quite the Les Paul Sound

While it does look like a Les Paul guitar, ceramic pickups don’t have that kind of sonic traits that generate the vintage vibe that got you interested in this guitar in the first place.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most users tend to praise the Epiphone Les Paul 100 as a great value for money instrument and the most frequent phrase that kept on repeating was “quality guitar”. Many are also wondering why is this guitar selling so low as they doubt you could find a better deal at the moment.

Even those who weren’t impressed with the hardware parts quality or how the pickup sounds say that its tonewood and neck craftsmanship could be suitable for a decent project guitar.

It seems to work excellent with heavy distortion effects and the overall feel while playing seems to be positive, especially in terms of tone sustain. The neck will be suitable for players with big hands or all those who had struggled with Fender or Ibanez models. Nevertheless, the overall impression doesn’t exceed the “guitar for beginners” rank except for the fact that they see nothing wrong with performing live with it in some small-to-mid-sized venues.  

Apart from cheap hardware and quality control issues, the only relevant complaint was addressed to the factory setup. Many users had to set it up additionally either by themselves or by going to a local music store.

What Are the Components of the Epiphone Les Paul 100? 

Epiphone Les Paul 100 is made of the Mahogany body with a Maple top and white pickguard. The bridge has a fixed Tune-o-Matic system with a Stopbar tailpiece and the finish on the hardware is nickel while the tonewood and the neck have a Gloss finish.

Speaking of neck, it has a four-bolt recessed joint with tapered heel and it’s made of Mahogany with Rosewood fingerboard of standard 24.75 scale length and 22 Medium Jumbo frets. The radius is set to standard 12”.

What is a Rhythm Treble Switch on an Epiphone Les Paul 100?

Rhythm Treble Switch on Epiphone Les Paul 100 is a typical Les Paul 3 way switch placed in the top right corner of the tonewood.

What Pickups Are Put in the Epiphone Les Paul 100?

It is equipped with ceramic pickups - the 700T is placed on the bridge while the 650 models can be found on the neck along with the 3-way switch selector that is placed on the top right corner. Pickup control is separated so you can dial different values for volume and tone using four pots.

What Gauge Strings Come Stock on a Epiphone Les Paul 100?

Epiphone Les Paul 100 comes with the regular 10-46 strings, a standard pack for all Gibson and Epiphone electric guitars.

What Kind of Music to Play on an Epiphone Les Paul 100?

Epiphone Les Paul 100 will be no different from other Les Pauls which means it will be a great tool for all rock-oriented genres - blues, country, punk, metal, both modern and classic rock. The more you rock, the more it will feel at home.

It will sound nice when you combine it with distortion effects for both rhythm and lead sounds. It will also sound nice with all kinds of overdrive settings as well.

As long as you don’t have any clean guitar tone to be your main sound in the song, Les Paul 100 will perform alright.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Les Paul 100 Suitable For?

This Les Paul model is intended for complete beginners and may be an ideal first guitar selection. Semi-pro players may consider having it as a spare and affordable instrument that could be carried around for all kinds of quick jam meetups.

Skillswise, it should fit everyone. There is no significant difference in neck playability although more experienced players may desire better pickup quality in general. But, that shouldn’t prevent them from pulling out any lick they had in mind.

And as for the age factor, it may fit anyone except for younger teens as it still may be a bit heavy and bulky for them.

Where Are Les Paul 100 Guitars Made?

Epiphone Les Paul 100 is made in Epiphone Plants in Qingdao, China.

What Year Did the Epiphone Les Paul 100 Come Out?

The first Epiphone Les Paul 100 came out back at NAMM in 1993 and it had a carved maple top. 

What Makes the Epiphone Les Paul 100 Stand Out From the Competition?

The price factor is pretty much the unbeatable reason why Les Paul 100 seems to be so good. It may look like a Standard but it’s about half the price and while it costs like a Special it gives you more features.

At this price, other brands usually have trouble with either pickup quality or tonewood material. Les Paul 100 seems to give you a bit of both with all the features balanced correctly for a first guitar that you may keep for so many years and even maybe upgrade at some point and extend its lifespan.

Les Paul 100 Troubleshooting 

Here are some of the most usual troubleshooting you may encounter:

How to Eliminate Buzz From the Epiphone Les Paul 100

If you have a buzz on your guitar while you play it may occur for several reasons, so let’s try to isolate the problem first:

  1. If only a certain string creates a buzz, then the nut isn’t cut well - it needs to be completely replaced. Warranty should cover such issues.

  2. If you hear the buzz on specific notes only, it could mean that frets are not polished even. Some frets might be higher than the others and will cause a buzz when you play a string around that area.  

  3. If you hear the buzz on most strings it could simply mean that string action is too low and it should be raised. Applying a turn on a truss rod. Just remember to raise a bridge as well as strings should be set parallel with the tonewood.

  4. Neck is not straight - due to low-quality control, some necks won’t be set straight so the string may buzz around the area where the neck is bent.

How to Fix an Epiphone Les Paul 100 Poor Ground

Ground issues could be found due to bad wiring. If you need to find bad wiring, loose a nut on your output jack and attack a wire between the nut and the washer. Touch every electronic part of your guitar then and when the buzzing stops, you have found your bad wiring.

Soldering those wires again may solve the problem. 

Also, it wouldn’t harm to check if the location where you’re playing is grounded properly. Sometimes even changing the power outlet could help.

Epiphone L-100 Les Paul Won't Stay in Tune

If your guitar goes out of tune often, there are several reasons to check:

  1. Strings are too old

  2. Strings are new so it may require some time to stretch out

  3. Strings slot on the nut are set too tight

  4. Nut isn’t cut even or got dirty

  5. Tuning machines are faulty

  6. Nut got dry so it requires a nut sauce

Comparison Overview 

Let’s check how the Les Paul 100 stands against some price-related models and also let us compare it with the 

Squier Stratocaster vs Epiphone Les Paul

These guitars are matched regarding price range so it will be based mostly on your favorite genre and playing preference first.

Epiphone guitars are a bit more heavy-oriented models when compared to Squier. If the distortion is your thing, Les Paul is your guitar - it will give you more punch when it’s needed. 

But, if you’re a more vintage-like guy or prefer funk or reggae music Stratocaster will suit you much better as it will excel in clean guitar tone. Also, tremolo may come in handy to express your solo parts better.

If you’re uncertain which way you may go, we would recommend you to stay with Squier first. Its sound could be considered to be closer to the middle ground

Ibanez Gio vs Epiphone Les Paul

Gio is an entry-level lineup made by Ibanez. It aims at the same target and for some players, especially those metal-oriented it provides the best bang for the buck on the market currently. Guys who love shredding may enjoy the tremolo bridge system found on Ibanez guitars as well. We may also add that the visual appearance might be more modern or at least 80’s-oriented as well.

But, the overall pickup sound quality of Ibanez is a bit mediocre, so while Epiphone cannot compete with the tone variety it may perhaps provide you a bit more professional sound in general.

Also, Epiphone guitars are significantly heavier than Ibanez and this results in better sustain and fuller low-end range.

Epiphone Les Paul 100 vs Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a complete upgrade of Les Paul 100. Every aspect of this guitar seems to be better. Pickups, hardware, electronics, quality control - everything feels like a level up. This results in higher prices as well. Some Standard models come with the coil split option which will significantly improve your guitar tone variety so it may satisfy all your basic needs for single coil guitars as well.

So, if you have a budget for Les Paul Standard, we strongly advise you to go for it as it may be the guitar that you won’t replace so soon and will feel like a better investment.

Epiphone Les Paul 100 vs Special II

Both of these guitars will suit any newbie pretty well. They share the same neck and pickups, but the top on Special is flat so in theory, Les Paul 100 should resonate a bit better and give you a bit more sustain. We’re not sure if this will be noticeable in this low tier range, to be honest.

But, having four instead of two knobs will mean a lot, especially in the middle pickup position. You can balance the tone nicely between neck and bridge position and get a bit more versatility.

So, while the Special model may be a bit cheaper, we would strongly recommend you to go towards Les Paul 100 instead. It should be considered as a budget version of the Les Paul Standard.

Conclusion 

Epiphone is well known for its affordable guitars and Les Paul 100 is a true showcase that it is possible to get decent quality at such a low price. If you get a proper piece we can only recommend it as one of the best instruments in its tier.

People Also Ask

We hope you have found out all the info about Epiphone Les Paul 100. Stay with us a little bit more as we will answer some of the most frequent questions related to this model in general and you may also find out a bit more about the terms you have heard so many times but never got the real answer.

What is a Project Guitar?

Project guitar is a mass-produced guitar that has been upgraded with third-party parts at any modification level. It’s a middle-way to make your custom guitar by changing the parts you find that would suit you better - pickups, tuning machines, pots, caps, bridge, nut, or electronic.

What is a Humbucker Pickup?

Humbucker is a Gibson invention. It’s a pickup made of two coils that cancel the interference, or how they also say, buck the hum. Coils are set together a bit out of phase so when the phase cancellation occurs the signals from both coils are added and the hum-cancellation effect is generated.

What Year is My Epiphone Les Paul 100?

Take a look on the back side of your headstock and locate a number. The year will be presented in two digits format at the start of the sequence. If you would like to find out more about your instrument, please type the number you’ve found on the site.

How Thick is the Maple Top on an Epiphone Les Paul 100?

While there is no specific tech data found that could tell you the exact thickness, most Les Pauls have a Maple Top that is 0.75” thick. The easiest way to check it precisely is to take out the bridge pickup and measure the first wood layer from the top.

How to Upgrade Epiphone Les Paul 100

Several parts could be upgraded on Epiphone Les Paul 100 if you want -  tuning machines, nut, pickups, or output jack. Pickups will make a huge sound difference while tuning machines and nut may improve guitar intonation a lot. The nut will also help the sound when played at open strings positions.

How to Do an Epiphone Les Paul 100 Neck Replacement

Unfortunately, Epiphone does not sell the spare necks to regular customers. As the whole guitar is cheap, the only possible way. You could take it to any custom shop and see what can be done, but we believe that intervention would cost you more than buying a new Epiphone instrument.

How to Clean the Fretboard on an Epiphone Les Paul 100

You would be surprised, but any old credit card can clean the gunk from the fretboard nicely. If you want to do it professionally, steel wool is the tool for it. If your fretboard starts to feel different beneath your fingertips, applying lemon oil to it will do the trick.

Is the Epiphone Les Paul 100 a Short Scale?

No, Epiphone Les Paul 100 has a standard scale length of 24.75. However, there might be an Epiphone Les Paul Express available upon request order that comes with a short scale if you’re interested. It looks pretty much like a short scale Les Paul Special.

Vlad

I'm a 35-year-old rock-oriented professional musician from Belgrade, Serbia with 20 years of field experience in various areas of the music industry. After graduating from elementary music school I joined my first band Alogia in 2001 which had incredible initial success with the debut album and became one of the greatest Balkan heavy metal acts ever. We have recorded several studio and live albums and played as an opening act for Whitesnake, Apocalyptica, and Paul Di’Anno. Meanwhile, I got a chance to collaborate with Roland Planet shop and get familiar with various music equipment for more than a decade. For the last eight years, I have done live audio mixing for numerous bands and other live and studio events, including some TV audio mixing for national television broadcast as well. Currently, I’m playing keyboards for one of the most authentic Serbian music rock legends - Dr. Nele Karajlić, also known for his work with Zabranjeno Pušenje and No Smoking Orchestra.