Epiphone Les Paul Standard Review – It Is, What It Is, Almost Perfect
If you have the extra $40 to spend, the Standard is well worth getting ahead of the budget LP-100, as it offers more room to grow as a guitarist. Well worth every penny.
There’s a reason the Epiphone Les Paul Standard remains one of the most popular guitars in the world – it does its job very well. The job? Providing authentic Les Paul sound and style in an affordable way. Let’s see what all the fuss is about.
The Epiphone Les Paul has the instantly recognizable single cutaway design that you’d find on the Gibsons, and – on first glance – it’s usually quite difficult to tell the difference.
Epiphone’s Standard is made from mahogany with a maple top, and comes in four colors – Ebony, Gold, Pelham Blue and Cardinal Red. I’m a big fan of the blue, which is easy on the eye and something a little different. However, traditionalists will prefer the more classic ebony or golden styles. All come with an elevated white pickguard to save that sleek body from scratches.
There’s a lovely slim D-shaped set mahogany neck with Gibson’s 24.75” scale, which is home to a fast rosewood fretboard and 22 medium jumbo frets, with classic trapezoid inlays. Regardless of body color, the headstock is black with a traditional design and Les Paul’s signature (obviously not hand signed, but still…).
It’s a sturdy and fast-playing neck, while the body is reassuringly heavy – although still a comfortable weight to hold for longer periods of time.
For the wallet-friendly price, you can’t expect too much in the shape of premium hardware, but you still get a solid package of Epiphone-designed gear that would challenge guitars twice the price.
The Standard features two Alnico Classic humbuckers at the neck and bridge positions, delivering the warm and clear sound you’d expect from a Les Paul. But they are very capable of handling some heavy overdrive.
There’s a three-way toggle switch at the top to choose between the two pickups or play both together, and four plastic amber control knobs – volume and tone for each of the humbuckers.
The addition of Epiphone’s LockTone Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar ensures great sustain and precise intonation on each string, while the Grover tuners provide excellent tuning stability.
There’s a reason why players like Slash, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page all play with a Les Paul – unrivaled, instantly recognizable tone.
And while this Standard isn’t going to give you the full tonal range of a classic Gibson, it still sounds beautiful. The humbuckers give a warm, clear sound, but one with plenty of bite when the gain is turned up for those classic rock numbers. The mahogany body and maple top also play their part in offering great resonance.
The craftsmanship is good for such a mass produced guitar, although initially it may need a bit of fiddling with out of the box to ensure the intonation and action works for you. But it’s a great performing and reliable piece of kit, and a step up from its entry-level brother, the LP-100.
For under $500 you are not getting a Gibson – no matter how much it looks like one – but you wouldn’t be unhappy jamming, gigging or recording with this fine guitar.
- Classic looks and great body finish
- Affordable price and good value for money
- Full of classic Les Paul tone
- Fun and easy to play
- You may need to spend some time setting it up out of the box
- The strings it comes with aren’t the greatest