Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro – 2021 In-Depth Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

The majority of Epiphone solid body guitars are from the Inspired by Gibson line.

They are currently doing a great job making affordable Les Pauls, so let’s check if they managed to do the same with the model that Les Paul, the original inventor of these guitars insisted to be made in the first place.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Carved Maple wood body to last longer
  • A medium fretboard with 22 frets
  • Limited edition Silverburst finish design
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Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Custom PRO Electric Guitar Silver Burst

PROS

  • Coil split feature installed
  • True to the original design
  • Pickups inspired by Gibson’s Burstbuckers
  • Sound characteristics affected by Ebony fretboard

CONS

  • Heavy weight guitar
  • Quality control flaws

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Specs 

  • Type of Guitar: Electric Guitar

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

  • Number of Strings: 6-string model

  • Tonewood: All Mahogany solid wood body with Custom multi-ply binding

  • Orientation: Right hand players only

  • Neck Profile: Mahogany 60’s Slim Taper type with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Ebony fingerboard with 22 medium Jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

  • Bridge: Epiphone LockTone Tune-O-Matic and Stopbar tailpiece

  • Color: Alpine White and Ebony

  • Pickup Type: Dual HH with Epiphone ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3

  • Weight: 8.8 lbs approx

Pros

Let's find out the main pros of Epiphone Les Paul Custom PRO Electric Guitar:

Sound Characteristics Affected by Ebony Fretboard

Ebony is a standard material for all Les Paul Customs fingerboards. While it seems to be more durable when compared with Walnut or Rosewood, there is another trait related to this material. Despite its color, it’s sonically very bright so your lead parts will simply shine on this guitar. And because it won’t ask for any additional finishing layer it will be more responsive, too.

Also, the nature of the Ebony fretboard creates the initial attack of the tone a bit faster so the sound will be purer. It won’t have many overtones generated that may enrich but mud the tone as well. 

Pickups Inspired by Gibson’s Burstbuckers

Epiphone pickups are made upon the original Gibson Burstbucker models and for this model, they have used Probuckers 2 and 3 on the neck and the bridge position. They should remind you pretty much of that good old PAF pickup sound and give you that sound you would expect from a guitar that carries the Les Paul name.

Coil Split Feature Installed

Epiphone may not have the quality control like Gibson, but it provides you with one feature that many Gibson players would love to have. Coil-split option allows you to use a humbucker as a single-coil pickup by simply pulling the pots out. Once you push the back they will act just like humbuckers. This way you get so much more tonal option at disposal fingertip away.

True to the Original Design

Epiphone pulled out another great deal with this model. For all those that can’t afford the Gibson Custom model, this guitar will resemble all the visuals except the logo on the headstock. Mahogany body, Ebony fretboard with block inlay and beautiful diamond motif beneath the tuners, even the neck playability resembles the real model so much.

Cons

It also has some drawbacks:

Heavy Weight Guitar

Unlike Standard models that have a Maple top, Custom all Mahogany tonewood may sound more full or fat if you prefer. But such design has a weight drawback as Mahogany will make a guitar be significantly heavier.

It may not be a big deal if you are used to Gibson-like guitars, but we can imagine this could be a problem for some users.

Quality Control Flaws

Minor flaws might be present due to poor quality control. The wiring may cause you a small hum or nut that seems to cut some strings too much creating unwanted vibration and ringing. Luckily, the warranty covers such issues.

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers tend to describe this purchase as a bargain, especially for all non-professional players as the build quality seems to be more than anyone would ask for this price. The finish is often described as gorgeous and those who had Epiphone guitars before confirm that the company has improved the overall build quality and made their guitars even better than before.

Soundwise, it has its fanbase definitely as there are players who undoubtedly prefer Custom over Standard, especially if you plan to play with the lower or drop tuning while the coil split option is something they didn’t expect in this price range at all.

However, apart from occasional quality control issues which are alright in this price tier, the only complaint was addressed to instrument loudness. While they don’t mind the tone quality in general, those who had a chance to compare it with other Gibson guitars say that Gibson is a significantly louder instrument, so it seems that the Epiphone pickups aren’t as hot as those found in Gibson. 

Luckily, they say you can fix those issues by upgrading this guitar with third-party pickups and feel that this guitar deserves such intervention at some point.

What Are the Components of the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro? 

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro comes with an All Mahogany body and neck with Gloss finish and multi-ply binding. Unlike other LPs, it uses Ebony for fingerboard material with block inlay on 22 Medium Jumbo frets. 

All hardware parts have a Gold finish except for the pots in black. Bridge is fixed and it’s a standard Epiphone Tune-o-Matic with Stopbar tailpiece while the tuning machines are 18:1 ratio Grover Rotomatic.

It is equipped with dual humbucker configuration Epiphone Probucker 2 and 3 that comes with 4 knobs for individual tone and volume control for both pickups.

What Pots Are in Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

There are four CTS pots on this Epiphone model and they are Black Speed Knobs models that come with white 1-10 numbers painted on top.

How Wide is the Neck on a Les Paul Custom Pro?

This model has a typical Les Paul neck width of 1.68” at the nut position and 2.23 at the 12” fingerboard radius.

What Nut Material is Used on the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

Epiphone used the regular GraphTech NuBone for Nut Material which offers very similar tonal characteristics to TUSQ material.

What is the Fretboard of an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

Fretboard is made of Ebony, just like on every other Gibson or Epiphone Custom model.

What Strings Come on an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

All Epiphone guitars come with the D’Addario .010-.046 string gauge set.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Best For?

The Custom Pro version is intended for all kinds of rock music, just like every other Les Paul. It has that type of sound that is immediately related to the hard rock or classic rock sound. It sounds wonderful for both lead or rhythm parts and its original version has been used on so many iconic albums.

So, thanks to the dual pickup setup it will deliver a lot of energy that will fit many up-beat genres - punk, heavy metal, modern or vintage rock - simply, it will find its place in any contemporary oriented music that relies on the driven guitar sound.

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

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro will suit newbie and semi-pro players the most. Its scale length will allow you to play effortlessly, especially since it’s combined with the Ebony fretboard that should give you a firm and faster response. 

Professional players may find it as an interesting model that could be carried around for quick jam callups, rehearsals, or as a spare instrument on their live shows or tours.

Agewise, as it’s made of all Mahogany it won’t fit all ages so easily as it’s going to be a bit heavy for the younger population.

Where is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Built?

Epiphone guitars are being made in the Epiphone QingDao plant in China.

What is a Les Paul Custom?

Custom is the premium model of the Les Paul guitars and it’s available under both Gibson and Epiphone labels. It was made upon the request to make a more luxurious version of the Les Paul guitars. In general, it comes with the Mahogany top and Ebony fretboard.

When Was Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro First Released?

Custom Pro replaced the Epiphone Les Paul Custom model back in 2012.

What Makes the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Stand Out From the Competition?

It matches all the features of the original Les Paul such as ebony fretboard or Mahogany top and the Epiphone pickups will remind you of that PAF sound you’re looking for in every Les Paul.

But, what makes it stand is that Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro is a guitar that has an excellent bang for the buck ratio. For just a portion of the price that you would need for a Gibson original, you’re getting a sound that will satisfy most players out there so that only those who had played the real thing could tell a difference.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s see how Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro stands against other models and what should you buy first if you have any doubts:

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro vs Standard

The differences found between those two models are about the same you would find between Gibson versions. 

First of all, all available Epiphone Standard models (‘50s, ‘60s, and 1959 models) come with the Maple top while the Custom is all Mahogany made. It shares the neck profile with the 60s Standard model while the other two come with unique profiles.

If you’re a left-handed player, the selection is pretty much solved as Custom Pro and 1959 Standard versions are not available for such orientation type.

And if we take a closer look, you will notice that Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard doesn’t come with ProBuckers. Instead, it provides you with Gibson Burstbuckers, the original pickups that ProBuckers are made upon. 

But, on the other hand, Ebony found on Custom model fretboard will probably outlive any Rosewood and it will feel so much better for playing fast. 

So, if we have to conclude, the 1959 Standard seems to be our best pick. But, it’s also the most expensive one, too.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro vs Black Beauty

Black Beauty is a signature Epiphone Les Paul Custom model from the Artists series made as a replica of Joe Bonamassa’s 1958 model. While it shares the same tonewood and neck, it has a different neck profile, the one found on the Les Paul made in the ‘50s.

But, what makes this guitar unique is that rare and very interesting triple humbucker configuration, original ‘50s tuning machines, and beautiful orange binding all across the guitar, and ivory binding found on the fretboard. Having a Switchcraft output jack will also come in handy as it’s an industry standard that should ensure you many more years of plugging your cables in and out.

So, if it’s not out of your budget, this could be the Epiphone guitar that you may keep for a long while. It’s a complete upgrade of the standard Custom Pro model. And it’s not that much more expensive as it comes with the additional hardshell case.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Vs Gibson Les Paul Custom

Those two guitars belong to the same model so they have a lot of aspects in common such as tonewood or fingerboard material. But, the Gibson model is seven times more expensive, so you should bet that those pickups justify the price. Also, the hard shell case is included with the initial Gibson purchase.

However, when compared, you will get an impression that the difference between those two is not so huge and that Epiphone may be a more reasonable buy. We will agree with you. Unless you’re a real professional, there is no real reason to buy a Gibson model unless you’re a true Les Paul fan. 

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro vs Gibson Studio

Les Paul Studio is Gibson's attempt to provide you with a more affordable instrument that is stripped down with all of the glossy finish found on the Standard model. It’s still more expensive, but, unlike with Gibson Custom, this time we’re not so prone to advise you with Epiphone guitar. 

First of all, if you need a left-handed guitar, Gibson has such a model and then, if you’re serious about your music and playing frequently. Gibson Les Paul Studio might be an excellent long-term investment. 

The only significant thing that you will be missing is the all Mahogany tonewood that comes with the Epiphone model, but on the other hand, weight relief is different so the whole guitar will feel much lighter while being much more feedback resistant.

Conclusion 

For all musicians on a budget, Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro should satisfy a part of the craving for the original Les Paul sound. It wasn’t intended to replace real Gibson at all, but it will be more than enough to get your music career rolling. 

People Also Ask

Let us cover some trivia regarding Epiphone company history in general and provide you with a bit more technical information regarding Les Paul Customs push-pull knobs, nut types, string action and cover some general guitar maintenance basics. We will also show you how to use the serial number to find a bit more about your guitar:

Is Epiphone Owned by Gibson?

Yes, Epiphone was bought by Gibson in 1958 and it has been making guitars ever since in the solid body, archtop, and acoustic guitar department at much more affordable prices and without premium quality parts and materials. They also have several original models such as the legendary Epiphone Casino.

Are All Knobs Push Pull on an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

No, only three knobs will have this feature. Volume knobs will control the pickup output in single-coil mode and the tone knob will enable phase reversal available in the middle switch position only once it’s pulled without any additional effect in case it’s being dialed.

Does Bone Nut Make Any Difference?

Bone nuts may look like a fad at first glance, but it does make a difference. Because of its structure, it won’t make any hold on strings so the position of the open string will resonate even better when compared with the plastic nut. The same could be applied to synthetic bone material as well.

Are Epiphone Les Pauls Any Good?

It’s based upon your expectations and how realistic you are. If you think it will sound exactly like Gibson models, you will be disappointed. But, if you’re a bit more realistic you will find that it sounds much better than the price could tell you at first.

How to Date Epiphone Les Paul

On the back of the Epiphone Les Paul headstock, there is a serial number that can tell you at what year your guitar was built. Usually, the first two numbers represent the manufacturing years. But, if you would like to find out more, we recommend you visiting this website.

How to Set Fretboard Height on an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Applying clockwise and counterclockwise turns on a truss rod nut will change the string height. But, please remember to set the bridge height as well as the strings should go fully parallel when compared to the body. Lowering the height will allow you to have a better string response.

Is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro Hard to Play?

Not at all. As a matter of fact, Epiphone has just like a Gibson a shorter scale length when compared to other models that will provide you with less string tension. This makes it ideal for newbies as they will be able to play the strings with less effort.

How to Care for a Les Paul Custom Pro Guitar

If you have in mind a bit longer playing session, it is recommended to wipe the strings before and after you’re done with playing. Occasionally it would be nice if you could put some lemon oil on your frets as well, ideally every time you’re about to change the strings.

How Much is the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro?

New Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro costs around $450. Luckily, you can find them on the used market even cheaper as Epiphones don’t have a huge resale value. But as the build quality might be an issue, perhaps it’s better to buy a brand new model instead and have a warranty.

Who Makes Les Paul Custom Pro?

Les Paul Custom Pro has been made by Epiphone since 2012. While it looks similar, especially regarding visual appearance, it should not be mixed with the more expensive and soundwise better Les Paul Custom model made by Gibson.

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.