Epiphone Les Paul Standard – 2020 Review

Vlad
| Last Updated: December 29, 2020

Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar is one of the most iconic guitars of all time.

So iconic that it’s one of the most expensive guitars available today in mass-production. Being aware of its popularity Gibson decided to provide a more cost-effective model labeled by their Epiphone sub-brand.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Classic Less Paul Mahogany body design
  • Uses the Grover machine heads for reliability
  • Slimtaper D profileneck is installed
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Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar, Ebony

PROS

  • Authentic Design
  • Coil split feature installed
  • Gibson-like pickup quality
  • Affordable Replacement for the original

CONS

  • Case is not included in the offer

Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul PlusTop PRO 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 AAA figured Maple veneer on top

  • Orientation: Available for both right and left hand players

  • Neck Profile: '59 Rounded "C" mahogany type with 43mm wide GraphTech NuBone nut

  • Fretboard: Rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium Jumbo frets

  • Scale Length: 24.75 inches

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

  • Color: Iced Tea and Bourbon Burst

  • Pickup Type: Epiphone ProBucker 2 on the neck and ProBucker 3 on the bridge

  • Weight: 8.5 lbs approx

Pros

Let's take a look at the pros:

Authentic Design

The Epiphone model shares the design with the original Gibson. Equipped with Grover tuning machines and the same Mahogany construction it is enhanced further with the gorgeous premium AAA Maple flame top and cream-colored pickguard. Combined this should generate sustain that could almost match the piano length. 

But, what makes this model truly unique is the neck. It’s hand-set type so that the connection feels as seamless as possible. The original 1959 was considered as one of the best regarding playability and this Epiphone shares the same '59 rounded "C" neck profile as a part of the tribute. 

It is followed by the Rosewood fretboard that offers a smooth run under the fingers and 22 medium jumbo frets which will generate more comfort and a better feel for string bends and vibrato.

Gibson-Like Pickup Quality

Probuckers 2 and 3 found on the neck and the bridge position are considered as good as the Gibson Burstbucker series. It should give you that vintage and airy PAF sound, the main reason while we love Les Paul guitars so much in the first place.

Coil Split Feature Installed

The biggest drawback when you compare Les Paul with other guitars such as Fender is the lack of single coil pickups. Luckily, this model has a solution that will cover most of your needs as it comes with a coil-split option. You can apply this feature by a simple push-pull system found on the pots so you can double the pickup positions.

Affordable Replacement for the Original

If you’re looking for a Gibson replica of the original model, you probably already know that those instruments are extremely expensive and most likely out of your current league. The Epiphone model will capture more than just the essentials of this instrument and might be a much more logical solution for semi-pro players.

Cons

Let's be mindful of its drawbacks too.

Case is Not Included in the Offer

It’s such a pity that since the Epiphone put some nice effort to make this guitar as close as possible to Gibson level they didn’t include a hardshell case as well. Afterall, it’s a Limited Edition we’re talking about. 

Yes, a case can be purchased separately but it would cost you more and there is a chance it will be missing from the stock. For example, it wasn’t available at the moment we were writing this article.

That’s why we find that at least some basic gig bag should be included with these guitars so that you could go out straight away.

What Recent Buyers Report

Guitars like these are the reason why the users start to build their faith in Epiphone guitars. They tend to use it as an example that China-based products don’t have to be the low quality by default and they would gladly recommend this model even to real professional players. It’s one of those guitars they find to be a lifetime keeper and they couldn’t emphasize enough that it comes 6 times cheaper than the Gibson model.

It’s frequently praised even by those users who are Fender Stratocaster fans and find that pickups are doing a tremendous job especially with that coil-splitting option that allows you to split pickups independently in the middle position so, in the end, it’s like you’re having an 8-way pickup selector. It seems to work pretty well with both Hot Rods and Marshall amps.

The only buyers who were disappointed were those who had unrealistic expectations to have an original Gibson sound at this price. On the other hand, those who have compared it in blind tests to the modern Gibsons couldn’t tell any significant difference between those two so they are glad they saved thousands of bucks with this purchase.

Additional Components of the Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul PlusTop PRO

Epiphone Les Paul PlusTop PRO is made of a Mahogany with AAA figured Maple veneer and Cream pickguard on the top and fixed Tune-o-Matic bridge system with Stopbar tailpiece.

What Kind of Neck Does Les Paul Standard Have?

Epiphone Les Paul Standard comes with hand-set Mahogany '59 Rounded "C" neck shape and Rosewood fingerboard with 22 Medium Jumbo frets with Trapezoid inlays and regular 24.75” scale length.

What Pickups Are Put in the Epiphone Les Paul Standard?

It comes with Probucker 2 on the neck and Probucker 3 on the bridge. The 3-way pickup switch is placed on the top right corner and there are four pots for individual volume and tone with a push-pull feature that allows you individual coil splitting.

What Type of Machine Head is on a Les Paul Epiphone Standard?

This guitar has 14:1 Grover machine heads.

What is the Fingerboard Radius of a Standard Les Paul?

The fingerboard Radius of this particular model is 12 inches which is the standard radius for all Les Paul guitars.

What Gauge Strings Come Stock on a Les Paul Standard?

It comes with the regular 10-46 strings, a typical set for Gibson and Epiphone models.

What Types of Music is the Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul PlusTop PRO Best For?

Like all other Les Pauls, this Epiphone is best for rock music. Whether it’s punk rock, modern or vintage-styled rock it will feel at home. It will deliver a dense and full sound that will always stand out in the mix on its own and be the first choice for recording rhythm guitars.

But, while speaking of rock music, the coil-splitting option will make it possible to play a different tone than you would expect from Les Paul so it may be useful for funk music or any other that prefers clean guitar tone as well.

What Ages and Skill Levels is the Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul PlusTop PRO Suitable For?

Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a great guitar for any type of player. Inexperienced players will especially love the shorter scale length as it will generate less string tension. 

It’s perfectly balanced for both newbies and semi-pro players both price and soundwise. It is good enough to be used for live performances or regular touring and it will be suitable gear to practice your skills or develop them further.

But, because of its weight, we find that younger kids may struggle holding it for too long so, perhaps it will be better to find a different instrument for them. 

Where are Epiphone Les Paul Standard Guitars Made?

Since 2004, most Epiphone guitars are made in Qingdao facilities, China, owned by Gibson.

When Did the First Les Paul Standard Come Out?

First Les Paul Standard was made by Gibson in 1958 and its production ended three years later. But, due to the demands, production resumed in 1976.

What Makes the Epiphone Les Paul PlusTop PRO Stand Out From the Competition?

Epiphone Les Paul Standard guitar seems to be ideal to be exactly what most players would like to find these days.

It hits a perfect balance between Gibson-like traits at an Epiphone-like price. It will be very easy to mix it up with Gibson guitars as the build quality is one of the Epiphone has made so far and as it shares the same pickups, the only difference will be in hardware parts and the logo found at the headstock.

And what’s even better, with the coil-splitting option it goes even further and provides you with the sound options not found on Gibson models.

Comparison Overview 

Let’s check how the Epiphone Les Paul Standard stands against other Les Paul models made either by Gibson or Epiphone and let’s check the difference between SG and LP in general:

Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Simply put, all the odds are in Gibson's favor. It is a guitar made for true professional players and it will deliver you a lot in every field. 

But, speaking of the price, bear in mind that you will have to pay 5-6 times more for the Gibson model.

Is it worth it? Unless you’re a true professional player, we strongly believe that the Epiphone model will be a “good enough” replacement. It will deliver the basic portion of the sound with the visually same appearance so it might be a better bang for buck option for such players.

Don’t forget that the sound mostly comes from your fingers first and that should be your main focus.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard vs SG Standard

Here’s a small trivia that could help you understand the differences. 

Back in the 1960s when the fame around Les Paul started to fade, SG was created to build up the hype back, and initially, it was called Les Paul. But, the original designer didn’t like the new design so once he found out about these plans it was changed to SG.

This should tell you that these two guitars have a lot in common soundwise so it will be pretty much a personal choice based on the fact do you prefer Slim Taper or Rounded neck profile.

So, the main difference will be in design - SG doesn’t come with a Maple top, has a double cutaway, and significantly thinner body, and less weight.

But if we compare these two models, there is one trait that goes in favor of Les Paul - push-pull pots allow you to do coil splitting. This will result in a tone that is much prone to adapt to various genres, especially regarding clean guitar sound when it’s needed. 

Epiphone Les Paul Studio vs Standard

The main difference between those models lies mostly in visual appearance so the finish, fret markers, hardware, pick guard don’t have that “more polished” look that might be needed if you’re about to perform live.

But sound wise, you will get a typical Les Paul so it might be a better solution for the musicians on a short budget.

Epiphone Les Paul Classic vs Standard

Just like with Studio vs Standard, the sound won't be so different. But, apart from minor differences in tuner and volume pots, Epiphone Les Paul Classic has a more thick neck and it comes with Alnico pickups so it might offer different playability, so, in general, it might be more a personal preference than a real winner here. Players with bigger hands may enjoy playing LP Classic more.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard vs Traditional Pro

Once again, there is a difference in neck size and a bit higher price for LP Standard. LP Traditional Pro has a 12” radius from the neck up to the body and is a bit heavier so it’s a bit closer to the authentic Les Paul sound. Tuners are vintage-styled, the neck has a Satin finish

But, the true difference lies in the pickups - LP Standard comes with Alnico pickups while LP Traditional has Super '57 and '57 Classic Zebra uncovered pickups instead with push-pull pots that allow you to do coil splitting. These pickups work pretty much like Gibson’s original pickups so it might be worth considering if your budget allows the price difference.

Epiphone Les Paul Custom vs Standard

Custom models are always considered as a step-up from Standard models. They provide you with better details and finish and slightly better quality control. But along with those cosmetic changes, the price goes a bit up as well.

But, this time, the real price difference is in the sound. Custom is equipped with the advanced ProBucker pickups. Those pickups generate more gain and a much more vintage tone that is similar to the original humbucker LP tone. It also allows you to use coil-splitting so every humbucker can be used as single-coil pickup and phase switching which should eliminate the feedback issues.

So, if you have the money for an upgrade, Epiphone Les Paul Custom is a worthy investment.

Conclusion 

Epiphone might be a perfect replacement for all the players on the budget looking to get a bite of that old Gibson classic sound. It will provide you with the exact visual specs at a very friendly price while the sound won’t disappoint you at all.

People Also Ask

Now that we have solved all the aspects of this Epiphone model, let’s check some useful trivia, like how to use your serial number to tell a date, and just scratch the most relevant guitar question of all time about what model is easier to play:

Who Made Les Paul?

Back in 1951, Gibson president Ted McCarty and guitarist Les Paul started working on a model that would look different at first glance from their main rival Fender. Because of his significant contributions to designing this guitar was named after its inventor eventually and made a debut in 1952.

What is a Les Paul Standard?

Les Paul Standard is a guitar model that is usually considered to be one of the best ever made. There are many other Les Paul models, but this is the one that all people would have this specific model in mind when you say, Les Paul. 

Is a Les Paul or Strat Easier to Play?

There is no such thing as a perfect guitar. All come with certain pros and cons and based on the music you’re playing, the answer might be completely different. But, talking about physical aspects, Les Paul has a shorter scale, so the strings will have less tension than a Strat.

How to Care for an Epiphone Les Paul Guitar

A dry cloth will be enough to take care of all dust from your finish. Be careful with the liquid around your body as it may damage the electronics. Also, keep your instrument in case whenever it’s not in use as the dust may easily go beneath the pots and harm your sound.

What Year is My Epiphone Les Paul?

On the back of the headstock, there is a number with one or two letters as a prefix. The easiest way to find out all about your particular model is to visit the site and input the number you’ve found.

How Much is a New Epiphone Les Paul Standard?

Based if we’re speaking about the regular ‘50s or ‘60s series or that particular 1959 model, Epiphone Les Paul Standard comes at the price of $600 for the ‘50s and ‘60s models or $800 for the 1959 Standard. 

How Much is Left-Handed Epiphone Les Paul Standard?

As left handed players are a minority in the guitar world, it may take some extra effort to find available left-handed Epiphone Les Paul Standard, but, if you find one, it will be about the same price as the regular right-handed model. All those models should be found around the $500-$750 range.

Is the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Hard to Play?

If you have played any Gibson or Epiphone before, you won’t have problems playing this model. But, for those coming from Fender, Ibanez, or other brands you might take some time to get into the different neck sizes and frets, though.

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.