Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro Guitar – 2021 Review

Craig
| Last Updated: January 19, 2021

If you ever wanted to have an original Les Paul but didn’t have money for it, perhaps you could check the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional as well.

It’s an affordable way to get as close as possible to Gibson’s iconic electric guitar.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Slimtaper D profileneck is installed
  • Uses Less Paul Single-coil pickups
  • Classic Less Paul Mahogany body design
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Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO Electric Guitar Heritage Cherry Sunburst

PROS

  • Great overall build quality
  • Gibson USA pickups on board
  • A price that is hard to turn down
  • Bunch of additional tone features

CONS

  • Mediocre factory strings
  • At least some gig bag would be welcomed

Les Paul Traditional 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 3-ply White Pickguard

Orientation: Right Hand Players Only

Neck Profile: Mahogany 50’s D-profile 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: Heritage Cherry Sunburst and Ocean Blue Burst

Pickup Type: Dual HH with Epiphone Alnico Classic and ProBucker 3 

Weight: 8.8 lbs approx.

Pros

Let’s find out the pros it has to offer.

Great Overall Build Quality

Les Paul Traditional Pro is a premium Epiphone model and you could tell that just by looking at it. Flame maple top, beautiful inlay, and professional tuners - honestly if it didn’t have the Epiphone logo on a headstock, you would easily swap this guitar to the Gibson.

Gibson USA Pickups on Board

Unlike other Epiphones, this one is equipped with the real Gibson USA pickups. They are a recreation of ‘57 Super and Classic Zebra humbuckers.

Perhaps they can’t match the original Gibson Les Paul Goldtop tone, especially in the treble range, but they are an upgrade for Epiphone models and they bring the whole guitar much closer to Gibson standards.

Bunch of Additional Tone Features

This Epiphone is packed with all kinds of tone add-ons that can enhance the overall usage of the instrument. Coil switch available as a volume pot push-pull feature is something that can be usually found at this price range at Epiphone guitars and it leaves us dreaming if Gibson had it on their instruments by default these days.

But, this Les Paul comes with something that’s not so “traditional” but very useful - a phase and boost switch that adds up 15dB that will warm up your sound even further.

A Price That is Hard to Turn Down

When you put down all the aspects of the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro guitar it will be pretty much safe to say that this guitar is one of the most professional Les Pauls Epiphone has ever made. It has an incredible value for the money and thanks to non-US labor, they can put this guitar at a much lower price. Rest assured, while it is coming from China, it has nothing to do with the prejudices that exist about “Chibsons”.

Cons

Here are the primary negatives of this product.

At Least Some Gig Bag Would Be Welcomed

We know that the price is low and that we should expect anything else, but, let’s be honest - for a model that is from the top of Epiphone list, it wouldn’t hurt them to include at least a proper gig bag and save you some trouble browsing for the most appropriate one.

Mediocre Factory Strings

It’s somewhat funny that Epiphone didn’t decide to include premium guitar strings with this guitar. It wouldn’t be such a huge price difference and yet it will make those guitars stand out from others even at the music shop testing.

What Recent Buyers Report

People bought this guitar because they wanted to get that vintage look of the original Les Paul guitars and say that this Epiphone finish got pretty close to such a result. The only drawback from such experience is found at pickup quality which is loud and clear, but not warm enough and the bridge factory setup seems to be set pretty high. Luckily, the former can be upgraded and the latter is taken care of on your own or at any music shop for a really small fee. 

The sound is often described as warm and full, especially when compared to the sound they were getting from Strat or Ibanez guitars. It is also considered as a real upgrade from the starter kit so except for the budget, they don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t start straight with this guitar at first.

Besides occasional quality control remarks, we couldn’t find anything relevant to complain about. The people who were complaining of weight and body size weren’t aware how the original Gibson looks like and that’s why we can’t take into account complaints about missing relief or contour on the tonewood or guitar being heavy as it’s just how Les Paul is supposed to look like.

What Are The Components of the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro? 

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro is made of Mahogany along with a flamed Maple top and cream-white pickguard. The bridge system is LockTone Tune-o-Matic with a nickel finish while the pots have a gold finish.

The neck is 60’s Slim Taper profile with a set-in joint, made also of Mahogany and it has a Pau Ferro fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and trapezoid inlay at 24 3/4-inch scale length and standard 12” fingerboard radius.

This Epiphone is also equipped with two Gibson USA humbuckers with zebra-like (black and white single coils joined together) cover - Super ‘57 placed on a bridge and ‘57 Classic at the bridge.

What Kind of Finish is Put on an Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro?

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro comes with a Gloss finish and the latest models currently are available in Heritage Cherry Sunburst and Ocean Blue colors.

Photo Credit: EphiphoneWiki.org

What Do The Gold Taps Do on an Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro?

Gold Taps have several features besides controlling the tone and volume levels. If you set the switch to the middle position by pulling volume knobs out, your pickups will shift into single-coil performance mode. By pulling the upper tone pot, you will apply the boost switch and the bottom tone pot will engage the phase switch feature, useful for additional tone experimenting, especially regarding clean sound.

What is the Radius on a Les Paul Traditional Pro?

Les Paul Traditional Pro has a regular 12” fretboard radius, just like any other Les Paul guitar.

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

As this model was made upon the original Les Paul model it means that it was intended for the same music genres. 

It should excel in all kinds of guitar-driven music such as hard rock, punk, blues, country, heavy metal, or any other genre that rely on full guitar rhythm tracks. Vintage music genres and pop music will find a lot of quality in the lead guitar tones of this guitar, too.

But, thanks to its beautiful low-end range it can also cover all kinds of modern rock and metal genres and with proper string setup, it may work in drop tunings as well. 

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

This Epiphone will fit the best semi-pro players who are about to get professional. It might be a bit of overkill for newbies unless they see it as a long term investment and pro players may utilize it as a spare instrument only.

The pickup quality and the string action combined with Gibson 24.75” scale will provide a decent response so there shouldn’t be any limitations regarding skills you can perform on it, except for the missing tremolo bar.

Because of its size specification, we wouldn’t recommend it to the younger population - it might be bulky and heavy for them.

What is an Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro?

Les Paul Traditional Pro is a premium guitar made by Epiphone made in honor of historic Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars and it comes with humbucker pickup recreation based on the 1957 model.

Where is the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro Made?

All Epiphone guitars are being made at Epiphone Plant facilities in Qingdao, China.

Photo Credit: EpiphoneWiki.org

Types of Epiphone Modern Les Paul Guitars

With so many guitars out there, Epiphone has split their complete collection to Original and Modern. As Les Paul Traditional Pro belongs to Modern Les Pauls, let’s see what models are available at the moment and what makes them so different:

Studio

Probably the best bang for buck ratio of all modern Les Pauls.

This Les Paul model is a stripped-down version but in a visual way. It comes without a Gloss finish, without binding, and other tiny cosmetics that make Les Paul so appealing. But, it provides the same quality in fields that are relevant to most players - the sound. It comes with Alnico Classic Pro pickups and, since there is no paint on it at all, a lighter body as well. 

This model is originally intended for studio use because it appears to lack the stage presence. Well, perhaps there is something wrong with us, but we don’t see any reason why Wine Red couldn’t appear as a regular guitar on any stage.

Classic

As its name says, it features the look of the vintage ‘50s Les Pauls with open-coil Zebra Alnico Classic Pro pickups that are equipped with coil splitting feature that enables you to use humbuckers as a single-coil pickup and additional phase switching which may provide you with additional tone versatility in middle switch position. It should represent the Modern version of regular Standard models.

In case you’re interested in a more vintage look, there is a Classic Worn edition that has more color finishes and in general, appears as if it was used for decades.

Muse

Muse is a similar model to Classic except it has a more modern design and chambered body which is significantly lighter than Classic. It’s available in seven color finishes and it provides you with the treble bleed control that will improve your sound in low volume setups.

Modern

This Les Paul comes with a lighter body weight and asymmetrical Slim Taper profile which may be praised by those players who like to play a lot. There is also a contoured heel on the neck joint so you could reach higher notes easier without compensating any sustain or stability aspect. The fretboard is upgraded to Ebony which is well known for being the favorite fret of those who love to play fast. All the pickup options available at Muse model are available on Modern as well.

And just like a Classic model, it has its own subtype that comes with Figured top tonewood called simply Les Paul Modern Figured.

Prophecy

Photo Credit: LeftyFretz.com

This is the most expensive electric guitar Epiphone on the market currently. It comes with AAA figured Maple top and Jumbo frets. It’s also the only Gibson at the moment that delivers 24 frets and it aims for shredders first. 

It is advertised to be intended for people who pay attention to their playing technique first. It is equipped with custom Fishman Fluence pickups that provide you with three different sounds including the single coil sound and it can be swapped by performing anytime a push-pull method on the pots along with phase switching and treble bleed controls. 

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

Unlike many other Epiphones, Les Paul Traditional Pro comes with US-made Gibson pickups that also include coil split. phase and boost switch on push-pull pots. It’s a very handy way to improve your tonal variety and get a lot more from your instrument. And having Gibson instead of Epiphone pickups just emphasizes the importance of this specific model to the Epiphone brand.

Also, when you take a look at the guitar you can’t miss the flamed top, trapezoid inlay, or the gold hardware installed. This guitar will be true eye candy whenever you hit the stage.

Comparison Overview

Let’s check how Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro stands against similar priced instruments from the same and other brands:

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro vs Gibson Les Paul Tribute

There is a price gap between those two instruments, so in case you’re tempting to get a “real Les Paul”, here’s what we think about it.

Photo Credit: (TheGearPage.net)

First of all, you should know that the US made instruments are more expensive because of higher labor wages in general. Both guitars have great hardware and material and Gibson is just a bit better in this segment.

But, if you’re not affected by the brand name, we have a feeling that the Epiphone model may be more versatile than the Gibson. Sure, Gibson has a bit better overall tone, but it’s missing features such as coil split or phase switch, so perhaps you could get more if you buy Epiphone and then invest in upgrades or other equipment first.

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro vs Standard

These two guitars belong to the same class and tier, so why is the Epiphone Les Paul Standard cheaper then?

Well, first, it doesn’t come with a phase and boost switch on the tone pots. Also, it’s equipped with the Epiphone Probuckers instead of Gibson Zebra ‘57. As for material, its Maple top isn’t flame designed and the fretboard is Rosewood instead of Pau Ferro.

So which one should you pick then? Our guess would be Traditional Pro. It has more features that could make your tone versatile, better pickups, and looks much better, especially on the stage. But, we wouldn’t be surprised to find a specific Les Paul Standard piece that sounds better, too.

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro vs Pro II

There is no visual difference between those two as they belong to the same series. But soundwise, Pro II will be a much better instrument as it comes with Gibson ‘57 pickups instead of Epiphone Probuckers.

However, bear in mind that Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro is available only on the used market.

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro vs Les Paul Custom Pro

Les Paul Custom Pro feels a bit more premium than a Traditional Pro. It has gold hardware, a bigger fret, and headstock inlays, and different binding on the tonewood. It’s also made from all Mahogany and the fretboard is made from Ebony so it will have a different and faster tone response. But, 

So what seems to be a better pick? When you pull all the specs down on paper, Traditional Pro is a better guitar, but as the differences are not so huge, you can also pick the one you prefer visually. Both guitars are capable of having a great rock tone and will serve the same purpose.

Photo Credit: EquipBoard.com

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro vs Squier Stratocaster

Squier is a Fender sub-brand that shares the same goals that Gibson had with Epiphone - providing an entry-level guitar under a different name. And just like Epiphone, it seems that things got a little bit out of control because those premium models from both brands are getting very close to the original.

So, what should you pick then? Well, it depends mostly on your playing and listening preferences. If you’re a guy who likes to play wild solos, perhaps you may enjoy having a tremolo bar and significantly slimmer fretboard radius. 

And usually, we would say that Squier may be more versatile, but thanks to these specific phase switch and coil splitting features, Epiphone may stand against Squier models as well, so it will be all matter to your taste as there is no clear winner in this comparison.

Conclusion

If you’re not a full professional, Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro may be that guitar that you will keep for a lifetime. The look is spot on and the rest of the guitar provides you with enough quality that will leave you thinking more about upgrading than selling it.

People Also Ask

Now that we have covered the basics regarding Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro, let’s answer some trivia about terms such as Chibson, what are those push-pull phase switch and coil splitting features all about, and also explain the differences between Epiphone and Gibson in general.

What is Chibson?

Chibson is slang for Chinese fake Gibson guitars that are selling on the market these days as perfect clones. Honestly, they are getting better day by day regarding visual appearance, but the sound is nowhere near either Gibson or Epiphone.

Although they are made in China Chibson shouldn’t be mixed with the Epiphone guitars.

Photo Credit:  Samash.com

Is Gibson Better Than the Epiphone?

Gibson is the owner of the Epiphone company so, in short, yes - Gibson guitars will be considered as premium compared with the Epiphone electric or acoustic guitars. Better hardware, pickups, quality control, and so on.

However, some Epiphone archtop guitars might have the same quality if not even better than Gibson.

What is Coil Splitting?

While often mixed with the term coil tapping, coil splitting allows you to use a humbucker pickup as a single coil thanks to the self-explanatory coil splitting option. It simply splits the humbucker in half and uses only one coil to make a sound.

Bear in mind that this term shouldn’t be mixed with the coil tapping.

What is Coil Tapping?

Coil tapping is a term related to single-coil pickups. Every pickup has a certain number of windings. With coil tapping, you’re making a shortcut from the pickup and use it as if it had fewer windings in total resulting in lower more vintage-like output. 

Photo Credit: ToneTopics.com

Is the Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro Hard to Play?

Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro was made to honor the original Les Paul guitar, so it will replicate the playing feel the original Les Paul had including the neck profile. Les Paul guitars are famous for being comfortable, especially for fast playing so we think you won’t have any struggle playing this guitar.

How to Care For a Les Paul Traditional Pro Guitar

Storing your instrument in the case or gig bag is the best way to keep it away from the dust while the dry cotton cloth should take care of any cleaning. In case of stains, try removing them with a damp cloth first. No special cloth is required and even an old cotton t-shirt could work.

How Much is an Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro?

The Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro comes in the $700 price range. There are some older models available on the used marker, but we would strongly advise you to go for a new one as those push-pull features may come in handy regarding tone variety.

Are Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pros Still Being Made?

Yes, they can still be found in stock and it seems like Epiphone won’t stop producing them at all - it will just add another model to the list, change the finish color and add a different number at the end. Our guess would be to expect Epiphone Les Paul Traditional Pro IV in the near future.

Craig

Hi there, my name is Craig. I took over Gear Savvy in mid-2019 and have had a blast writing content about music ever since. My role here is to steer the ship and ensure readers have the best information available for learning a thing or two. When I’m not working on content, I’m a husband and a dad. I enjoy spending time with my family, playing guitar, or messing around in my woodshop.