Most people are very aware of how the Gibson Les Paul is the guitar that defined hard rock and heavy metal in the 1970s. Just about every guitarist grew up idolizing someone who played a Les Paul. It could have been Ace Frehley, Randy Rhoads, and countless others who made this one of the most noticeable guitars in the world.
Many times someone will decide that they would like a guitar like their idols play. The problem with this is most guitars people who have made it big use cost thousands of dollars. In an effort to keep market share many companies have a lower priced import line such as Epiphone by Gibson. Some companies like Kramer and Ibanez just produce a less expensive line in alternate factories but retain the name. ESP guitars make a less expensive line called LTD similar to what Gibson has done with Epiphone.
As a big fan of Kiss I really was inspired by Ace Frehley and wanted a Les Paul. My first guitar was actually a Lotus Les Paul. I think I paid $100 for the guitar, and amplifier and a distortion unit. The Lotus that I bought was a nice guitar but it did not come anywhere close to the quality of an Epiphone. This is partially because of lawsuits as Gibson has sued various companies for making their guitars look too similar. ESP, Ibanez, Lotus, Yamaha, and Vester are some of the better known lawsuits that Gibson had going at some point or another.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard can be purchased at most music stores between $490-$580 new and around $300 used. It is a single cutaway solid mahogany body. The neck is set with what is called a traditional headstock. The fret board is rosewood and features 22 frets for a total guitar scale length of 24 3/4. It has a slim tapered neck for faster and more comfortable playing. This Les Paul was previously available in a wide variety of finishes, but right now it is available in black, cherry sunburst, and tobacco sunburst. All finishes feature cream binding and pick guard the hardware comes in chrome finish and the pickups are Gibson Alnico humbuckers. Gibson does stand behind the guitar with a limited lifetime warranty.
I actually used to own one of these and traded it for an ESP/LTD EC-1000FR. I will say the guitar plays very well and you really can’t tell that much of a difference between it and the lower priced Gibson Les Paul. One of the things I really like about the Epiphone Les Paul is that the neck has the slim taper. I have found Gibson and Epiphone guitars often have a very bulky neck compared to what I like to play. The neck on the Epiphone is not slim like you would find on an Ibanez wizard neck but pretty slim for Les Paul style guitars. I also think the pick ups are pretty good. I would compare the pickups to a mid level Seymour Duncan. They are pretty good and do not sound too muddy like some pickups found on lower priced guitars.
One big negative this guitar gets from start with me is that it is made in China. I don’t find the workmanship on guitars very good that I have come across. There are some pretty good guitars coming out of China, but the quality and consistency is not there. That is one reason for all the inspections when they come over. The people at the Gibson factory still miss things though. I found uneven frets on two of these at a local music shop that had 15 on display. That is a pretty bad job of quality control for my tastes. Gibson used to have their Epiphone line made in Japan and then Korea. I would compare the Japanese Epiphone Les Paul to be just about the quality of the current Gibson version and the Korean was just a step below that. Both of them were much better than the current Chinese Epiphone Les Paul. I would often advise people to look for a used Epiphone before buying a new one. There are also other guitars that you can find in the same price range that are far superior such as the ESP/LTD EC-256 at $400 or an Agile Al-3000 slim. This features a slimmer profile neck like I prefer and much better quality pick ups and gold hardware for under $380.
Overall the Epiphone Les Paul standard is a nice guitar with some pretty good features. I will not say it is overpriced, but I do think you can get more quality and features in a guitar for your money elsewhere. As I mentioned I am not a big fan of Chinese quality on guitars. I have one piece of gear that is made in china and that is a Randall amplifier. I had to return it twice, but when I finally got one that worked it worked great. I use that amp to this day.
Thank you for reading and good luck.