Epiphone Les Paul Standard Review: The Good, Bad & Epic!

The Epiphone Les Paul standard electric guitar is a recreation of an iconic model. It was also authorized by Les Paul Himself! For those who recognize the body shape and always wanted to own a one, now is your chance.

There are a few variations that are available and plenty of colors to choose from. Not only do they play great, but they sound even better! I mean, they are inspired by Gibson, after all.

Features

Let’s take a look at some of the features of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard guitar.

  • Mahogany body and neck.
  • Maple veneer top material.
  • Set neck design.
  • Pau Ferro fingerboard.
  • Les Paul body shape.
  • 24.75 inch scale length with 22 frets.
  • Alnico classic humbuckers.
  • Slim Taper “D” neck profile.
Epiphone Les Paul on a stand in my studio.

Who is this Guitar For?

The Epiphone Les Paul can be used by a wide range of guitarists. This can be anyone from a beginner right through to a touring artist. These guitars are an amazing recreation that allows a player to get into a Les Paul at a more affordable price.

So if you play anything from blues to metal, this guitar will serve you well. Even artists like Matt Heafy of Trivium use these guitars. He even has a signature model that plays and sounds great!

Differences between Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul

Before going into great detail about the guitar, you might be curious how this version compares to the Gibson models. I have created a table to help demonstrate the key points:

CriteriaGibson Les PaulEpiphone Les Paul
Origin and OwnershipAmerican brand established in 1902.Originally independent with Greek roots, acquired by Gibson in 1957.
Price PointPricier, seen as an investment for serious musicians.More affordable, catering to beginners and those on a budget.
Craftsmanship and MaterialsUses high-end materials with hand-finished touches.Uses alternative materials for cost-effectiveness, e.g., veneer top instead of solid maple.
Sound QualityCelebrated for rich, warm tones and sustain. Often described as “full-bodied.”Great sound for its price point. Aiming to replicate Gibson’s sound with subtle differences.
Place of ManufacturePrimarily manufactured in the USA.Manufactured in factories outside the US, such as in China or Indonesia.
Resale ValueHolds value well, can appreciate over time especially for limited editions or vintage models.Decent resale value but might not fetch as high a price as Gibson.
Target AudienceAimed at professional musicians, collectors, and serious enthusiasts.Catered to beginners, intermediate players, or those looking for quality without a hefty price tag.

My First Impressions of the Epiphone Les Paul

The guitar arrived to me from Sweetwater, well packaged. I opened it up and to my delight, the guitar was much nicer than the pictures I’d seen online.

Aesthetically, I was very happy with it. Upon further inspection, I found the hardware to be beautiful and functional.

I also appreciated the setup that was done before they sent it to me. The action was nice and low, just the way I like it. The strings were good quality and easy to press. Then I plugged it in and strummed a few chords. The sound did in fact put a smile on my face!

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Score
Overall
4.1
  • Build Quality
  • Playability
  • Sound
  • Appearance

Sound Performance

Have ever played a Gibson USA-made Les Paul? You will recognize that this Epiphone version is pretty close. It’s a great-sounding guitar with plenty of tones, sustain, and versatility. I played the guitar through two different amps to see where it shined.

First, I used it with a Revv Generator MK3 amplifier and cranked it up. The guitar sounded amazing through this amp with a decent amount of gain. Hard rock and metal riffs were very easy and had a fat, throaty sound that was pleasing to my ear.

Next up was a Marshall JCM 800, set for a tight low end and a more classic tone. Again, I was very impressed with how this guitar responded.

All the frequencies were present. It also provided some awesome classic rock tones by rolling down the volume control. Think Led Zeppelin in this case!

The dynamics of the body and the Alnico Classic Humbucker pick-ups do give you that warm Les Paul sound. Clean tones were also very nice. The pickups are quite warm, so for pristine cleans you have to bump up the treble on the amp. But once there, it sounds perfect.

The use of the neck pickup provides a very thick sound, which was nice for leads and solos. It did have a tone that was unique when compared to the bridge pickup. The video below is a good way to hear it for yourself!


PROS

  • Materials and design.
  • Warm Les Paul sound.
  • Comfortable to play.
  • Quality pick-ups and hardware.
  • Different colors to choose from.

CONS

  • A set-up may be required out of the box.
  • Some have reported minor quality issues.

Body Design and Appearance

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Guitar.

The mahogany guitar body on the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is an exact match to the iconic Gibson. A few different colors are available to allow you to get the look you want. They are all equally beautiful and are modeled to look like the guitars made decades ago. Some of these colors include:

  • Aged dark burst.
  • Dark cherry.
  • Smokehouse burst.
  • Ebony.

The body has a Venetian cutaway, allowing easy access to the upper frets of the neck. While the solid body provides some killer sustain when you need it! It’s got the same great detailing and curvature, which makes it comfortable to wear on a strap.

The white binding gives the body a beautiful look and killer definition. And this is found on all the different versions and finishes.

They even got the weight of the guitar right! This is truly what a Les Paul feels like hanging from your shoulder! This can range from 7.5 to 8.5 pounds depending on the one you choose.

My only issue with the guitar is that the polyurethane finish feels kind of like plastic. Some of the other guitars in this price range feel smooth. For whatever reason, this has a cheaper feeling to it. Unlike the nitro finish of a Gibson.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Neck.

Neck

The guitar neck is set in the body. This is also part of the reason the note sustain is so good. It also feels very rigid and well-made as a result of using this design.

Because they used mahogany to make the neck, the resonance of this guitar is on another level. This really adds some crazy tone versatility to the guitar. The nut is made by graph tech, which also plays a small role in this.

The fingerboard has a 24.75 inch scale length, 22 medium jumbo frets, and is made from Pau Ferro. It’s a very comfortable slim C-neck profile with a 12-inch fingerboard radius. Rhythm and lead playing is very easy on a neck design like this.

The Les Paul look is then completed with the Pearloid Trapezoid inlays up and down the neck. As well as the plastic truss rod cover and Kalamazoo headstock.

Hardware

The Les Paul Standard comes with alnico classic humbuckers. They provide rich, warm tones and pristine highs as one would expect from a Les Paul. Great-sounding pickups are part of the magic, after all.

I took the rear cover off the guitar to have a look at the wiring. I found that it was well assembled. There is a loom that protects the wires from the pickups.

The wires are then soldered to the potentiometers. The quality of soldering was good, and everything was tight. The assembly was done well.

The guitar has a standard Les Paul control scheme which includes 2 volume and tone knobs. Also, a pickup selector switch.

This is excellent for setting each pickup the way you want, independent of the other. This makes the range of sounds available from this guitar incredibly versatile. You can find the wiring diagram in the picture below.

Grover Rotomatic tuners are standard and feel pretty smooth with their 18:1 gear ratio. A non-rotating output jack prevents broken wires and is proprietary to Epiphone. The Tune-o-matic bridge and a stop bar complete the list of first-rate hardware.

I did find that the pickups rings have small gaps between the body. So the rings looks uneven in certain places. This is the most noticeable at the top and bottom of the pickup rings. Not terrible, but if you are picky, this might bother you.

Les Paul Standard Wiring.

Playability

The guitar has amazing sustain and resonates as you play. Especially with a high-gain amplifier, which is part of the brilliance behind this design. This is certainly the reason this style of guitar is so popular.

It’s a wonderful experience to play it. Being a set neck design, it’s very noticeable as the guitar is sturdy and has its own vibe.

The action was set to specification and the neck bow was just right. The strings were easy to press, and I didn’t have to fight my way across the fretboard.

The toggle switch and controls take some getting used to if you are new to Les Paul guitars. But they are not in the way, and the guitar is a joy to play.

Durability

As a guitar player, I also look for signs of performance issues. Anything that might make a guitar fail during gigs. Things that are unacceptable and might become a frustration.

But I was not able to find anything that would appear to cause concern. The neck-through design feels super rigid.

The electronics function and appear to be well assembled. The parts are also of good quality. The potentiometers are made by CTS, which are the cream of the crop.

The tuners are Grover brand and are smooth and sturdy. They held tune very well without compromise. The controls are stable and also function well. Anyone who owns an Epiphone Les Paul likes them. They don’t seem to complain much about reliability.

So I give the Epiphone Les Paul a thumbs up when it comes to durability. Both from what I think about it, and what others have said too.

Cost and Value

There are a few different versions available of this guitar. As a result, the prices are different by a few hundred dollars.

You will find a range from $650.00 to $1000.00 MSRP depending on the design and features. This means getting a Les Paul for yourself has never been better!

Epiphone provides excellent value for the price of these guitars. They are affordable and loaded with quality components and sounds. They are a good purchase that will also hold their value for years to come!

Epiphone Les Paul Price At Sweetwater.

Similar Guitars To Consider

There are a few other guitars that are similar that you might enjoy if this one isn’t quite your style.

PRS SE 245

PRS SE 245 Guitar.

With nearly an identical body style, the PRS SE 245 is a noteworthy alternative to consider. It also comes with a mahogany body with a maple veneer. This finish is beautiful and is not surprising coming from PRS.

The guitar also has some impressive contouring on the lower horn. This adds additional access to the upper frets. On the neck, you will find the bird inlays that are known with PRS guitars. It’s a nice neck to play and just like the Epiphone, you get the same electronics.

This guitar sounds great and is a good alternative if you like this look a bit more. It’s slightly more articulate than the Les Paul and sounds bigger.


ESP LTD EC-256

ESP LTD EC-256 Guitar.

This guitar is a little bit different in terms of the music style and look. The LTD EC-256 is a Les Paul body shape, but is more of a metal and rock machine. This is a very popular guitar that sounds good and is also easy to play.

The neck is a bit thinner. But the body is made of mahogany to provide that thick tone you would expect from an instrument like this. The pickups and hardware are of good quality and the guitar is made well.

Anyone that owns an EC-256 swears by it for the outstanding sound and performance it offers players of any caliber.

When compared to the Epiphone Les Paul, I found the EC-256 to be tighter. The bass response was not as boomy and it was brighter. This makes sense, as the EC-256 is made more for aggressive styles of music.


Final Thoughts on the Epiphone Les Paul

There are many different guitar brands that use this body style. It’s iconic because of its sound, versatility, and feel. Players have loved it for many years!  It’s nice to see another affordable version of a classic like this become available on the market. 

Being so affordable, I was impressed with the level of quality this guitar offers. It sounds brilliant and gets the job done in most genres and play styles.

The bridge pickup was exactly the sound I would expect from this guitar. The rolled edges on the neck and the profile also were highlights for me. They made the playability real nice.

No matter who you are and what level you are at, this guitar will basically do it all for you. Well worth the money and will hold its value. Be sure to also check out the guitars we feel are the best under $500!

FAQs

Is the Les Paul Standard worth it?

Yes, it’s a guitar that is worth considering. The quality was above average and the tones were very close to the Gibson version. I would say that they are worth it for anyone who has ever wanted a Les Paul guitar.

Is Epiphone Les Paul good for beginners?

Absolutely! The Epiphone Les Paul is an excellent choice for beginners. Its more affordable price point makes it accessible for those just starting out, without compromising on quality.

The guitar’s design and playability are user-friendly, allowing new players to comfortably learn and practice. Moreover, its versatile sound range caters to various music genres, making it a great foundational instrument for budding musicians.

Where is the Les Paul Standard made?

The Les Paul Standard is made in China. There are many factories that are set up by manufactures to produce cheaper versions of their guitars.

This is the same with Epiphone who is owned by Gibson. They use a factory in Qingdao, China for this particular model.