A Gibson Les Paul is the dream of many guitarists, but most can’t afford one. Cheaper replicas are abundant, but few really capture that Les Paul feel. However, Epiphone’s new Inspired by Gibson series looks very promising, and the LP Custom is especially attractive. This calls for an Epiphone Les Paul Custom review.
The design is based on the 1954 “Tuxedo” Les Paul, considered the golden standard for LP guitars. It seems very true to the format, so let’s take a look at how it delivers.
Epiphone 2020 Les Paul Custom Physical Features
- Body material: Mahogany
- Scale length: 24.75” (628mm)
- Neck: SlimTaper Mahogany
- Fretboard: 12” radius Ebony
- Frets: 22
- Nut width: 1.69” (43 mm)
- Nut material: Graph Tech
- Pickups: 2 Probuckers
- Tuners: Grover Rotomatic 18:1
Like the new Les Paul Standards, the new Les Paul Custom has a more Gibson-like headstock, which makes it look more like a proper Les Paul. The rest is also accurate. Since it has a traditional solid mahogany body, it's pretty heavy and has a very full tone. The ebony fretboard looks luxurious, and together with the hardware, it gives the guitar a snappy and bright sound quality.
It’s got classic Grover tuners and a Locktone ABR bridge, so it stays in tune nicely. All hardware and electronics have a gold finish to give the 2020 Epiphone Les Paul Custom that “tuxedo” look.
There’s a ProBucker-2 humbucker in the neck position and a ProBucker-3 by the bridge. These renowned Epiphone humbuckers closely follow the original Gibson humbucker formula with a few modern twists. They’re very convincing, even to trained ears and Les Paul aficionados.
Their low-conductivity noise-reducing design makes them very transparent and makes the most of the fine tonewood.
As usual, each pickup has its own volume and tone knobs. And a three-position pickup selector lets you use each pickup separately or both together.
There are two color options: Ebony or Alpine White. Both have a luxurious gloss finish. The traditional gold hardware and black pickguard also feature on both versions. It’s a very clean, stylish, and timeless look that’ll impress bandmates and audiences alike.
How the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Plays
It’s got the dimensions and general qualities to give it a pretty convincing Les Paul feel. The neck is wide but not unwieldy and has a profile that makes it very comfortable. The medium radius of the fretboard lends itself well to both open chords and fast runs.
Since there’s no weight relief, it has some mass to it. So, it can take some time to get used to the feeling if you play while standing up for a longer time if you’re not accustomed to this type of guitar.
In terms of string action, it’s also quite balanced. However, you’ll probably want a proper setup to get it just right. The adjustable truss rod makes it pretty easy.
It really sounds like a Les Paul. It’s full and warm with a thick low end but also crystal clear. Whether you play jazz, blues, or hard rock, it’s got that edge that made it a staple across the genres.
It’s transparent and clean-sounding and loves a fat overdrive pedal. And it lends itself well to heavy metal and hot distortion pedals as well. The rich but fairly neutral tone and powerful humbuckers make it a very versatile guitar.
Epiphones are generally budget-friendly, and the 2020 Epiphone Les Paul Custom is no exception. While it’s not their cheapest Les Paul by any means, it’s not very expensive. You can get one for around $800, and it might be the best Les Paul under $1,000.
Epiphone Les Paul Custom VS Les Paul Custom Classic Pro
The Classic Pro is probably the most similar option, so it’s an ideal comparison guitar for an Epiphone Les Paul Custom review.
It has a slightly simpler look with antiquated bindings and plastic tuner heads, and the pickups are open-coil humbuckers. One cool thing about the pickups is that you can split the coils by pulling out the knobs to get a single-coil tone.
Also, the neck has a ’60s-style D profile and a rosewood fingerboard. These are the notable differences, and this older model is a little bit cheaper. Check it out here.
Pros & Cons
Let’s make this 2020 Epiphone Les Paul Custom review a little easier to digest. These are its main strengths and drawbacks.
- Very close replication
- Great pickups
- Stunning looks
- Versatile sound
- Good playability
- Great price
This has to be the most accurate Les Paul produced by Epiphone, along with the new Standard ’50s and ’60s models. It’s a lot better than the cheaper models, and it still only costs about an eighth of what you’d have to fork out for a Gibson reissue.
- Somewhat varying quality
The caveat with budget options like Epiphone is that the quality of the assembly and setup may vary. Therefore, it’s sometimes necessary to bring it in for a professional setup for optimal performance.
Should You Get an Epiphone Les Paul Custom?
The bottom line of this Epiphone Les Paul Custom review is that it’s a great option for those who want a classic Les Paul but aren’t ready to invest in a Gibson. It’s more accurate than the typical Epiphone and really captures that “tuxedo” character, and it plays well. It’s definitely a nice guitar at a good price.
Are you considering other options? Keep browsing my electric guitar reviews for more alternatives.