Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 60 years, you have probably come in contact with a Les Paul Standard electric guitar.
Built as a direct competitor to the Fender Telecaster, the Les Paul Standard has deep roots in the history of rock n’ roll and in the innovation and evolution of electric guitars. Originally this guitar was made by Gibson, working hand-in-hand with Les Paul himself. The stories about how much influence Mr. Paul had over the design and construction vary, but the end result was truly a thing of beauty.
Over the years the Les Paul design was given over to Epiphone. The history of the oldest guitar-maker in the US is a fascinating tale, but we will save it for another time. The most important takeaway is that Gibson and Epiphone basically merged together, where Gibson crafted the more expensive American-made models, and Epiphone built the same models, but generally overseas and for a lower price.
Now you might be thinking that an Epiphone Les Paul Standard couldn’t hold a flame to the Gibson model.
But, you would be wrong…
Epiphone is one of the oldest, most established, and continuously high-quality manufacturers of electric guitars. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard is in every way a match to its American-made sibling. The only really noticeable difference is in the price.
Where you would probably pay two months’ worth of rent on a Gibson Les Paul, for a fraction of the cost, you could get an Epiphone Les Paul.
The rumors about Epiphone guitars may have held some kernels of truth in the 80s and 90s, but today’s Epiphone guitars are rough, tough and ready to lay down some gorgeous sounds and tones. And, don’t forget that Epiphone got the thumbs up from Les Paul to attach his name to their product.
In what universe would a legendary guitar icon like Les Paul put his name on a sub-par instrument?
If you are still not convinced we invite you to join us as we explore the wonders of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard electric guitar.
There is no mistaking the sight of a Les Paul Standard electric guitar. The shapely curves that are reminiscent to old hollow body guitars, but with a single cutaway where the neck and body meet. The way a Les Paul looks alone tells you just how much this guitar can rock.
Epiphone’s Les Paul Standard follows the exact design specifications the original and has the seal of approval from Les Paul himself. The body is crafted from solid mahogany and has a maple veneer top. It is a heavy piece of musical machinery.
The tone is exceptionally warm and full…
Mahogany is one of the most commonly used woods to make electric guitar bodies. The reason for this is that mahogany is very fine grain wood and has fantastic musical properties. The tone is exceptionally warm and full. It produces incredible sustain and resonance, and it is easy to work with, making it an ideal choice for building guitars of any kind.
The maple veneer top adds brightness, bite, and attack to the overall tone and sound. Maple is rarely used to make solid-body guitars, but when it is incorporated as a top to woods that are hard, dense, and warm, you get an amazing combination of sonic delight.
All decked out in a gorgeous Ebony Gloss finish and a contrasting creamy white raised pickguard, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is visually stunning.
Epiphone’s Les Paul features a 1960s SlimTaper D Profile neck with a 12-inch radius. Made from mahogany, the neck enhances sustain, resonance, and natural warmth of the mahogany body. The neck is glued into the body, which may make replacing the neck a little bit tricky. However, because the neck is made from solid mahogany, the likelihood of warping or splitting is practically zero.
The 12-inch radius allows you to effortless rip power chords up-and-down the neck. Smooth and quick, the mahogany neck is strong and stable and offers you easy action that translates into rapid and defined movements.
Great stability and durability…
The fretboard is made from Pau Ferro wood, which is basically a rosewood from Brazil and Bolivia. It is hard and has great stability and durability. It is quite resistant to wear and tear. Pau Ferro wood offers big, warm tones and rolls off the high-end. The scale length is 24.75-inches and features 22 jumbo frets, along with trapezoid position marker inlays.
The Slim Taper design means that the neck gets thinner the closer you get to the headstock. A Slim Taper D Profile neck is great for fast and heavy playing that jumps around the scales.
One significant area where the Epiphone Les Paul differs from the American-made Gibson Les Paul is the nut. On the Epiphone LP, the nut is made of plastic rather than bone or ivory. This difference doesn’t affect the tone that much, but a plastic nut will wear down quicker than a bone or ivory nut.
Epiphone has put lots of work into sculpting a rock-solid neck that offers quick and easy playing and enhances the overall fullness and warmth of the Les Paul Standard.
Another distinctive feature of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is the stopbar tailpiece and LockTone Tune-O-Matic Bridge. The stopbar tailpiece is where the strings are mounted. Used in tandem with the LockTone Bridge you won’t need to worry about the strings slipping or wiggling out of tune.
The LockTone Tune-O-Matic Bridge makes adjusting the action quick and painless. While the bridge and tailpiece are going to keep this guitar in tune, there is a slinkier feel to the strings. This is because the angle that the strings break over the bridge is very slight.
The intonation won’t lose a beat…
This means that when playing close, the bridge, the strings have more flex, which lets you play hard and heavy without the tone or intonation losing a beat.
This kind of bridge and tailpiece set up helps to generate greater amounts of sustain and resonance from the strings. It also allows for greater ease and range of string bending ability at any of the frets.
The tuners are genuine Grover Machine Heads. These turners are stable, sturdy, and precise. Grover Machine Heads are widely used since they offer excellent string balance and tension. This allows for big bends and heavy strumming without going out of tune.
Epiphone’s Les Paul Standard comes equipped with two humbuckers. The neck pickup is an Epiphone Alnico Classic Humbucker, and the bridge pickup is an Epiphone Alnico Classic Plus Humbucker.
These are hot and heavy pickups that ooze warmth and fidelity, all the while remaining noiseless. Both pickups feature Alnico 5 magnets, which gives you the traditional tone of a classic humbucker but with a higher output level. These pickups also offer more enhanced mid-range and high-end definition and presence than modern humbuckers.
The slight difference between the two pickups is the pole spacing. Simply put, the poles on the neck pickup are closer together than the poles on the bridge pickup.
What does that mean?
It means that the neck pickup will produce a slightly tighter sounding tone than the bridge pickup. You will notice the tonal difference when playing with just the neck or bridge pickup. This design further helps shape the tone variation between Rhythm (neck) and Lead (bridge).
Of course, with these pickups, you will find the three-way toggle switch for the pickups. And each pickup has independent control knobs for volume and tone.
Separate tone and volume controls allow you to really dial in the sound you want and make it easy to shape your tone on the fly.
Humbuckers and Les Paul guitars are like peas in a pod; they just go together. The sound is full, fat, rich, and warm. These pickups can punch, thump, hammer, and bite. Made for rocking, Epiphone humbuckers are the real deal.
As stated earlier, Epiphone sometimes gets an undeserved bad reputation. Pay no mind to the naysayers; the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a spectacular instrument. This guitar is played by loads of famous musicians. You have more than likely heard an Epiphone Les Paul Standard on some of your favorite tracks.
Any Oasis fans out there?
Well, then you have definitely soaked up of the sounds of an Epiphone Les Paul Standard. Because Noel Gallagher has used one on every single one of his albums. Noel has been so impressed with Epiphone, that he even got his own signature Epiphone Les Paul.
This guitar is born to rock, but it has plenty of blues, jazz, and country bred into its DNA as well. One of the most valued aspects of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is its versatility. Pick any musical genre, and you will undoubtedly find an Epiphone Les Paul crushing solos. But, you will also find them cutting rhythmic paths, and generally soaring and delighting musicians and fans alike.
For those who want to own a little bit of history and broaden their guitar-playing styles and sounds, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is hands-down the best guitar, in terms of value, for sound, soul, style, and serenity.
What are you waiting for? The Epiphone Les Paul Standard is calling. Don’t hesitate to answer.