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The 6 Best Epiphone Les Paul Reviews

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There’s no reason why you can’t have a Les Paul guitar. While the Gibson models may be too expensive for you, that’s not the case at all if you’re able to get the best Epiphone Les Paul for yourself.

This means you’re now able to get that special thick and rich tone that’s mainly focused on the midrange. This tone combined with the LP’s amazing capacity to sustain its notes that has made a huge historical impact on rock music, heavy metal, the blues, and the modern offshoots of these genres.

The main “problem”, however, is that Epiphone offers a very long list of Les Paul variants. Which one is the best or is most suitable for you and your budget?

To answer that question, we offer a nice list of great Les Paul guitars from Epiphone, plus additional info to help you make that final choice:


Top 6 Epiphone Les Paul Copies: Comparison Chart

Special II
  • Other features: Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece
  • Pickups: 700T /650R Humbucker
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Body wood: Mahogany
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Special-II LE
  • Other features: Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece With lots of accessories
  • Pickups: Dual humbuckers 650R/700T
  • Neck: Hard maple
  • Body wood: Alder
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Special I P90
  • Other features: adjustable wrap-around bridge/tailpiece
  • Pickups: P-90 pickups
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Body wood: Mahogany
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Les Paul 100
  • Other features: Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece
  • Pickups: Dual humbuckers 650R/700T
  • Neck: Okoume
  • Body wood: Mahogany with maple top wood
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Special VE Solid-Body
  • Other features: Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece
  • Pickups: Dual humbuckers 650R/700T
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Body wood: Poplar
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Standard Plus-Top PRO
  • Other features: Cream binding with Tune-o-matic bridge
  • Pickups: ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Body wood: Solid mahogany
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Top Epiphone Les Paul Guitars

#1. Epiphone Les Paul Special II Electric Guitar

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Epiphone produces many variants of the famous Les Paul guitar.

Of them all, this Epiphone Special II is the bestselling Epiphone guitar. Its popularity ought to tell you something about its quality.

Part of the reason why it’s so popular is that has lots of features that match the needs of newbies (aside from the price). At the same time, these features are also terrific for many advanced guitarists.

These features start with the weight, which is very light and great for newbies to handle. Many pros like its weight too, especially for long gigs where the heavier Gibsons can be quite tiring to play for many hours straight.

You also get the same hardware as you’d find in a Gibson. The pickups are the same, and you also get the Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece.

There’s also the standard 500K Ohms potentiometers, the unique heavy-duty 3-way pickup selector toggle switch, and the non-rotating heavy-duty output jack.

What this means for newbies is that you get the Les Paul sound even if you’re a newbie, for a much lower price.

You get that smooth tone the Les Paul is known for, instead of the muddy sound you often get with cheap pickups on low-quality electric guitars. With the Okoume body, you get a nice tone that’s almost like the original Gibson.

For the veterans, this guitar can be their workhorse instrument for gig, so that they won’t have to risk any damage to their more expensive guitars. With the lower weight, you won’t be as tired after a few hours of performing.

Yet you won’t embarrass yourself with its sound either. You still sound like the professional musician that you are.

Highlighted Features
  • Okoume body
  • Dual humbuckers
  • LockTone Tune-o-matic Bridge with stop-bar tailpiece
  • 3-way pickup selector
  • Lightweight
What I Like
  • Light enough for easy handling
  • Has same hardware as more expensive Les Pauls
  • Terrific tone and sustain
  • Good tuning stability
What I Didn’t Like
  • Plastic nut just doesn’t sound as good as a bone nut
  • You may want to replace the strings
  • No accessories (such as no case)

#2. Epiphone Les Paul Electric Guitar Player Pack

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The main problem with buying a Les Paul if you’re a beginner is that the purchase is just the start of the challenges you face. You still need to buy a lot of accessories that will make your life as a guitarist much easier.

This time, you get that accessories package you need. What’s more, you’re sure that they all work with the Les Paul Special-II LE guitar it comes with.

This is very similar to the Les Paul Special-II we’ve already listed. The main difference is that this one has an alder body with a hard maple neck, which affects the sound somewhat.

The sound is still great, but the materials may lead to a different tone. Of course, for many the tones are almost the same because both guitars use the same hardware.

What’s really different here is that you buy all the accessories along with the guitar. This saves you a lot of time and trouble, as you won’t have to buy these things separately.

Your accessories include the ever-handy gig bag, along with the strap, the clip-on headstock chromatic tuner and the medium picks. You can even play right out of the box because the package also includes the Epiphone Electar-10 amp.

These aren’t bad, especially if you’re only adding a few dollars more to the cost. Having this package saves you the trouble of doing your homework to get the accessories you might want that will work well with the guitar.

So what if you’re really new to guitars? Buy this, and Epiphone also gives you free downloadable guitar lessons.

Overall, this may be the best Les Paul copy for beginners if you’re looking to play right out of the box.

Highlighted Features
  • Guitar has alder body with hard maple neck
  • You get the dual 650R/700T humbuckers
  • You also get the Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece
  • Your accessories include a 10V practice amp, a strap, medium picks, and a gig bag
  • You’re able to download guitar lessons
What I Like
  • You get an excellent Les Paul guitar with terrific tone and hardware
  • You also get the accessories you need right away
What I Didn’t Like
  • As you get better, you’ll want to upgrade the accessories

#3. Epiphone Les Paul Special I P90 Electric Guitar

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Now these guitars come with ridiculously low prices, which may understandably make you suspicious. But these guitars aren’t toys or truly inferior guitars—this may well be the best guitar in its price range.

Buy this, and then take it to your local pro to make sure you set it up right. After that, you may want to get some nice new strings.

After these steps, you then have an outstanding guitar for the price. In fact, even while you play the guitar (and marvel at its tone), you may still wonder at the back of your mind how Epiphone was able to offer this guitar at such a low price.

Now I may be wrong, but I personally think that Epiphone offers this guitar in much the same way that drug dealers offer “starter drugs” for a low price (or even for free). When you get used to this guitar, you’re going to be hooked on Epiphone Les Pauls for many years to come.

At the back of your mind, you will be wondering: if I can get such a great guitar at this price, then how much better are the other Epiphone Les Pauls for a few dollars more?

Pretty soon, you may end up collecting Epiphone Les Pauls in the same way people collect sneakers. Every time you buy one, you keep telling yourself that you’re getting a bargain.

Even if you do manage to stop yourself from buying too many Epiphone LPs, you’re really getting a great bargain here.

The P90 soap bar pickups are hot and very bright, with a nice versatile tone. You can use this for many types of music, especially hard rock, blues or jazz.

Highlighted Features
  • Mahogany for the body and neck
  • P90R and P90T Soap Bar pickups
  • Adjustable wrap-around bridge/tailpiece
What I Like
  • Extremely affordable
  • Looks terrific
  • Fantastic pickups (some people buy this guitar just for these pickups)
What I Didn’t Like
  • The Special II pickups may be better for metal

#4. Epiphone Les Paul 100 Electric Guitar

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The Les Paul guitar has evolved over the years, and today it’s fair to say that you have dozens of variants to choose from. But the first one was launched in 1952, and if you can find an old guitar from that time, you’d be rich.

However, if you don’t have enough money, you can still get this Les Paul 100 from Epiphone. You get all the basic specs of the original 1952 LP, except that Epiphone managed to change things a bit to really cut down on the price.

You still have carved-top mahogany for the body and neck, and the fretboard is made from dependable rosewood. It’s just that the neck is a bolt-on and not set, which lowers the price.

Also, the body is just a bit thinner here than in the Standard (or even the Studio). That’s not always a bad thing—many people especially newbies, prefer this easier-to-handle feel.

You still get that LP tone you’re hankering for. You still get the 700T and 650R open-coil Humbucker pickups, the 500K Ohms potentiometers, the heavy-duty 3-way pickup selector, and the heavy-duty 3-way pickup selector.

You also get the Tune-o-matic bridge and Stop-bar tailpiece, which you can find in the more expensive Epiphone LPs.

Highlighted Features
  • Carved-top mahogany for the body and neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Made to 1952 specs
  • Thinner body
  • Comes with the usual electronics and hardware
What I Like
  • The sound is still that characteristic Les Paul
  • The lightweight thinner body is comfy for some
  • You get the hardware and electronics found on more expensive LPs
What I Didn’t Like
  • No accessories

#5. Epiphone Les Paul Special VE Solid-Body Electric Guitar

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“VE” here stands for Vintage Edition, and so you get the same ol’ features. It’s just that this time you get the Vintage Worn finish that makes it look like this traveled from the 1960s and magically appeared in the modern era.

This does have a poplar body, which makes the tone and feel just a bit different from the mahogany body models. It’s a bit lighter in weight, so that’s better for newbies and for vets who tend to play gigs for long hours.

Still, the 650R and 700T humbuckers are present, and you still get the 3-way pickup selector and the knobs for the master tone and volume. The reliable tune-o-matic bridge and a stop-bar tailpiece are also here as well.

Highlighted Features
  • Poplar body
  • Usual Special features, including the dual humbuckers
  • Great vintage look
What I Like
  • The poplar body makes it feel lighter
  • You do get the standard hardware and electronics
  • It makes you feel like you’re playing during the 1960s
  • Works very well for newbies
What I Didn’t Like
  • You’ll want to change the strings
  • Isn’t as good for jazz as it is for rock

#6. Epiphone Les Paul STANDARD PLUS-TOP PRO

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The Les Paul Standard model is basically like the Gibsons, but just made cheaper. This may be an oversimplification, but it’s hard to get away from this impression.

You get the solid mahogany body, and the neck is made from mahogany as well. You also get the maple top that you won’t find in the LP Specials.

What really sets this apart from the others (and from the more affordable Epiphone LPs) is that this time you get the ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups. These pickups are even better than the P-90 pickups, and they’re also superior to the 700T and 650R.

This basically sounds like the “real” Les Paul guitars made by Gibson. If you’re a newbie who hasn’t developed an ear yet, then you’ll swear that the sound is exactly the same.

It’ll make you wonder why Gibson made this in the first place, as it rivals the sound and build quality of Gibson guitars priced 3 times as much!

Highlighted Features
  • Mahogany body and neck, with maple top
  • ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups
  • Cream binding on the body and neck
  • Tune-o-matic bridge
What I Like
  • Slim neck offers comfy play for newbies
  • Uses premium woods like mahogany and maple for top wood
  • Feels and sounds like a Gibson standard
What I Didn’t Like
  • Doesn’t come with accessories (not even a case)

History of Epiphone Les Paul Brand

Les Paul was a real musician who developed the guitar that bears his name, and he collaborated with the Gibson guitar company to help launch the Les Paul guitar model in 1952.

However, Les Paul had been using Epiphone guitars ever since the 1930s. Epiphone and Gibson actually had a rivalry going until Gibson bought the Epiphone company in 1957.

Since then, Gibson assigned the Epiphone brand to manufacture more affordable models of the famous Gibson Les Paul guitars. These guitars used more affordable woods and were made in Asian countries to lower the production costs.

Still, the Epiphone guitars were made to Gibson specifications, and the Les Paul qualities are still evident. To this day, these Epiphone Les Pauls offer some of the best value for money guitars in the entire guitar industry.

It’s not that Epiphone is the only brand that makes Les Paul copies, as you have other options like the Lawsuit Les Paul guitars from companies like Ibanez. However, Gibson owns the Epiphone brand, so you’re getting officially recognized copies!

How to Choose an Epiphone Les Paul

There are several methods you can use to get the Epiphone you want. One of these methods is simply to just get the most expensive Les Paul from Epiphone—you’re sure to get great value for your money no matter what.

You may even want to go with the higher end-options, which actually cost just about the same as the cheapest Gibson LPs.

If you don’t have a large budget, Epiphone offers a rather affordable line of variants with basic guitars like the Les Paul SL and the Les Paul Special II. These are fantastic options for newbies, as these guitars offer reliability with a great tone as attested to by many Epiphone Les Paul reviews.

The guitar you’ll get in this price range are generally lightweight and offers a comfy neck to play with. These are terrific characteristics for beginners who can learn to play the electric guitar more easily.

If you want the Classic LP sound, then look for the variants that come with the “Standard” designation. Look for the “Pro” Standard models for even better electronics, while the “Plus” designation refers to the flashy finishes.

For shredders, the best Les Paul copy under 1000 models offer higher-gain pickups than what you’d normally find in an average Les Paul. In some of the Best Les Paul guitar models, you may also find a locking tremolo arm that lets shredders dive bomb to the utmost.

Finally, you may want to go with the signature models, which have been designed and made with the features that certain famous guitarists want in their guitars. So, if you want to play like Slash or Joe Bonamassa, look for the guitars they helped design.

What is the difference between Epiphone Les Paul and Gibson Les Paul?

Here are some of the more notable differences between the 2:

The Price

It’s fair to say that Epiphone Les Paul guitars are basically more affordable versions of the Gibson models. Though it’s true that the most expensive Epiphone Les Pauls are costlier than the cheapest Gibson Les Pauls, it’s also a fact that you may have to pay twice as much for the Gibson counterpart of the Epiphone Les Paul.

The Wood

Gibson generally uses traditional tonewoods like mahogany for the body, while Epiphone may instead use alternatives like basswood and alder. Epiphone may also use thinner plys as well.


Gibson tends to use premium metals for their hardware, and they like to experiment with new materials. You may find titanium saddles, or bridges made with either aluminum or a special “zamak” alloy.

Gibson usually uses composites similar to Corian, along with their metal “zero-fret” nuts. Epiphone, however, generally uses plastic nuts that don’t fit as well as the typical Gibson nut.

Gibson also puts in better stock pickups, though this isn’t really a big deal. It’s easy enough to swap out the pickups for something better.

Overall Difference

Yes, it’s true that in general the Gibson variants of the Les Paul are better than their Epiphone counterparts. But in terms of bang for the back, many fans contend that the Epiphone guitars offer better value.

Think of it in terms of math. With the Epiphone, you may get 90% of the quality of the Gibson Les Paul, but pay only 50% (or less).

Tips for Using and Maintaining Epiphone Les Paul

If you want the best electric guitar, it’s hard to argue against the Les Paul. But you do need to set it up right first.

The first two things you want to change in your Epi Les Paul are the strings and the pickups.

Some of the standard strings don’t stay in tune for long, but that’s not because of the tuners. Sometimes you just need to replace the strings.

Pickups in the Epiphone models are also often not as good as what you get in the Gibson. The good news is that it’s not really all that hard to swap them out for newer and better pickups.

If you’re a newbie, it’s probably best to take it to a pro to set it up properly (even before you change things up). The pro will have the knowledge and the tools to set it up right.

As for basic maintenance, you need to just take care of it like you would any other guitar. Clean it regularly, and keep it in its case if you’re not using it.

How to Replace Neck on Epiphone Les Paul

This can be rather complicated for newbies, as it’s not going to be as easy to replace the neck on an Epiphone LP as you would on bolt-on guitars.

Instead, the best way to do this is to take it to a real “luthier”. This is the kind of expert you need to do these types of repairs, instead of just the local guitarist working at your local Mom and Pop store.


Why are Les Paul guitars so famous?

There are several long and complicated answers to this question, but it all boils down to this fact: guys such as Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards love the Les Paul.

Who’s going to argue against those guitar gods? You can’t, especially when later generation guitarists like Slash also became LP fans.

How do you tell the types of Epiphone Les Pauls apart?

There are 4 general types:

  • This is the bare bones guitar. No dot inlays and no binding, but you do find the best Epiphone Les Paul models under $500.
  • Now the setup includes the binding, along with the trap inlays and great finishes.
  • These Epiphone Les Paul custom models come with headstock binding, and in general they give you a much “cooler” vibe.
  • This is the top Epiphone Les Paul models, with features that may rival even the Gibson Les Paul Standard guitars.

What can the guitar setup expert do that you can’t?

The tech can do an action and truss rod adjustment, which most newbies don’t know how to do. Also, the tech can deal with any high fret issues.


Final Verdict

We can’t tell you which Epiphone Les Paul is the best. This is highly subjective, and besides you still have your specific budget issues.

However, we can say with a lot of confidence that if you stick to our list of Epiphone Les Paul guitars, you’ll find a variant that will match your specific set of requirements.

If you do have a bit of leeway in your budget, then you really should go with the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus-Top PRO. It’s better in just about every way than the affordable but good Les Paul type guitars that Epiphone makes.

In the end, the Les Paul is a classic design for a reason. With the best Epiphone Les Paul guitars, you get almost the same quality as the Gibson models without breaking the bank with Gibson prices.

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