The best Epiphone Les Paul guitars give you the chance to own one of Gibson’s most iconic solid-body electric guitars without the prohibitive price tag.
After all, Epiphone is a Gibson subsidiary the American guitar giant purchased in 1957.
Of course, an Epiphone can never match the quality of a Gibson masterpiece.
There are several differences between the two, including tonewood selection and pickup systems.
Unfortunately, these variances translate to differences in depth, tonal quality, and overall clarity.
Nevertheless, an Epiphone Les Paul is the closest you can get to owning a high-end Gibson Les Paul.
If you are a beginner or a guitarist on a budget, an Epiphone Les Paul is perfect.
I used my 15-plus years’ guitar experience testing and reviewing ten of the best Epiphone Les Pauls on the market.
In my search, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s came out on top.
It has high fidelity to classic Les Paul tones, exceptional sustain, faultless build and finish, reliable pickups, and overall great value.
Other Epiphone Les Pauls might appeal to other guitarists.
That is why I also included them in this article.
This article will help you gain a better understanding of which Epiphone Les Paul is perfect for your electric guitar-playing needs and style.
10 Best Epiphone Les Paul
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’50s – Best Overall Epiphone Les Paul Guitar
- Epiphone Les Paul Custom – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar with ProBuckers
- Epiphone Les Paul Special – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar with Single-coil Pickups
- Epiphone Les Paul Modern – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar with Asymmetrical Neck
- Epiphone Les Paul Studio – Best Budget Epiphone Les Paul Guitar
- Epiphone Limited Edition 1959 Les Paul Standard – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar with Gibson BurstBuckers
- Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy – Best Premium Epiphone Les Paul Guitar
- Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar with Koa Top
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s – Best Epiphone Les Paul Guitar for Shredders
- Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul Special-II – Best Value Epiphone Les Paul Guitar
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s is one of the closest you can ever get to enjoying a Gibson Les Paul.
Not only does it look like the legendary 1950s-era LPs, but it also replicates the classic tone of the original.
With its maple top with a high-gloss finish that creates a gem-like glow to the guitar, performing on stage is a must.
This electric guitar features a pair of ProBuckers and high-quality CTS electronics to give it incredible clarity, response, and fat tone.
The sustain is also exceptional while empowering any guitarist to dial in the highest gain with ease.
The electronics complement the mahogany body in delivering a warm and rich tone with a tight bottom and crystalline highs.
Its mahogany set neck with Indian laurel fretboard ensures the guitar’s comfort and exceptional playability, proving that one does not have to spend a fortune to earn a piece of history.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s is perfect for anyone who wants a legendary musical instrument without breaking the bank.
- Classic sound and looks of a 1950s Les Paul
- Exceptional sustain
- Faultless build quality and finish
- Reliable electronics
- Great value
- Pickups require a bit of a learning curve
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom is one of the loveliest LPs one can buy, especially the Ebony version.
Its lustrous black exterior makes a stunning background for its bronze-colored ProBuckers, bridge, and saddle.
The Gibson guitar strings’ silvery silhouette also adds to the charm.
Its solid mahogany body gives the guitar additional resonance and warmth, ensuring people will listen as you slice the first chord.
The ProBuckers are also commendable, drawing inspiration from Gibson’s legendary PAFs of the 1960s.
These humbucking pickups produce overwound and fat tones, exceptional response, and incredible clarity for a fraction of a Gibson LP Custom’s price.
The Grover tuners and LockTone ABR bridge stabilize the guitar’s tuning, ensuring guitarists will have a gig-ready instrument anytime.
While the fretboard looks wide at 1.693 inches, it is surprisingly fast with its Slim Taper design and 12-inch radius.
Learning to shred should be a cinch with this Les Paul copy.
- Fast and comfortable neck
- ProBucker pickups
- Stable tuning
- Solid construction
- Stunning aesthetics
- Some issues with switch response
Here is another Epiphone Les Paul guitar worth considering, especially if you prefer the tangier and brighter sound of a single-coil pickup system.
This Les Paul copy comes with the P-90 PRO single-coil pickup system that delivers a rich midrange and snappy tone, perfect for heavy metal and rock genres.
The jumbo-sized frets atop an Indian laurel fingerboard with a 12-inch radius and 1.693-inch nut width also lend the guitar with surprising playability.
Although heavy, people will never feel tired or wearisome playing with this guitar because of its exceptional comfort.
The tone and volume controls are effortless to tweak, allowing folks to control their tones with minimal movements.
The mahogany body and neck give the guitar harmonic richness and sustain almost identical to the original Gibson Les Paul Special.
It has premium-quality CTS electronics and GraphTech nut to complement the guitar’s value-packed price.
This solid-body electric guitar is a must-have for anyone who wants a 1950s legend without the prohibitive price tag.
- Rich midrange and snappy tone
- Premium-quality components
- Excellent playability
- Effortless controls
- Great sustain and harmonic richness
- No gig bag
Guitarists who want to experiment with various techniques should consider the Epiphone Les Paul Modern.
This guitar has an asymmetrical neck – a C-shaped treble side and a D-shaped bass side – allowing adventurous guitarists to play with their thumbs behind or over the fretboard with ease.
The contoured heel joint also makes it a breeze to access the guitar’s upper frets, perfect for slashing high notes for electrifying performances.
It has responsive electronics, enabling players to control treble bleed, phase inversion, and coil-splitting on the fly.
The innovation also results in endless sounds, limited only by the player’s creativity and how far he is willing to push the envelope.
The tuners and bridge have modern appointments, too, guaranteeing stable tuning regardless of how you transport or move the guitar.
The ProBucker pickups offer excellent low-end sound with warm and rich tones while allowing players to split the humbuckers into two single coils.
It is unimaginable these improvements cost only a fraction of the original.
- Versatile and fast-playing neck
- Innovative and responsive electronics
- Stable tuning·
- A rich and warm tone with tight low-end
- Limitless sounds
- A few issues with the switches
There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a good-quality electric guitar with stunning looks, reliable construction, and excellent tonal qualities for the price.
One such guitar worth considering is the Epiphone Les Paul Studio.
You get the classic silhouette of one of the world’s most iconic guitars without breaking the bank.
Perfect for cash-strapped guitarists, students, casual players, and anyone aspiring to own a Les Paul, the Studio offers enough pluses to wow the crowd.
The glossy finish to the ebony-black mahogany body is sure to turn heads, while the guitar’s electronics deliver the goods.
The guitar has two Zebra humbuckers that deliver the tone you need, individual tone and volume controls for tweaking the sound, and hardware for enhancing overall sound quality.
The Epiphone Les Paul Studio is the perfect choice for beginner guitarists who cannot commit to a higher-end electric guitar.
- Ideal for beginners
- Good tone and sustain
- Good-quality construction
- Reliable controls and electronics
- Stunning looks
- No gig bag
The Epiphone Limited Edition 1959 Les Paul Standard is one of the best LP copy guitars on the market.
One of its highlights is the Gibson BurstBuckers humbucking pickups, mimicking the classic sound of Gibson’s legendary PAF system.
It requires no modification, ready for the gig straight from the box.
The system delivers an unreal sound for a Les Paul copy and an unbeatable price.
It has a mellow but warm response, perfect for playing the blues or any of the rock classics.
The electric guitar has a Tune-o-Matic bridge and vintage tuners for exceptional tuning stability.
Both the body and neck come in solid mahogany, improving the guitar’s response and sustain.
It also comes with a hardshell case for safeguarding the electric guitar from accidental drops, shocks, and other mishaps.
Although more expensive than other Epiphone Les Pauls, the Limited Edition 1959 Standard is always an excellent choice for advanced guitarists.
- Unreal sound
- High-quality tonewoods
- Gibson pickup system
- Stable tuning
- Excellent sustain and response
- Not as stunning as its original Gibson counterpart
Although the Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy is the most expensive electric guitar on this list, it remains one of the most sought-after Gibson Les Paul copy guitars on the market.
And, why not?
It has a stunning look, incredible craftsmanship, and reliable electronics working together to produce a sound that will have people thinking you are playing a Gibson Les Paul.
The secret is the electric guitar’s multi-voice Fluence humbucking system, giving players three distinct voices with a straightforward push-pull action on the guitar’s controls.
One can play warm sounds with vintage output and dynamics or a more modern, high-octane tone.
The neck with a 12-inch radius and an asymmetrical design gives the guitar exceptional playability, perfect for shredding.
Completing the guitar are high-end appointments, including a GraphTech nut and Grover Rotomatics.
- Endless sustain with a classic Les Paul tone
- Excellent playability
- Versatile humbucking system
- Fast-playing neck
- High-end appointments
- A few issues about fret finishing
If you need a show-stopping electric guitar, I recommend getting the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa.
This guitar is one of the most elegant and stunning Les Pauls on the market, complete with a high-gloss finish and a koa top with an earthy grain pattern.
Not only does this electric guitar pleasant to the eyes, but the sound it produces is like heaven to the ears.
Its mahogany body delivers a rich and warm sound, making listeners sway to each strum or turn any room into a dance floor.
Like many modern Epiphone creations, the Custom Koa already features the high-quality, high-performance ProBucker system.
It gives the guitar full and clear tones with an exceptional response.
The guitar is also excellent for aspiring shredders, allowing them to be as creative as their favorite artists without requiring a fortune.
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa is perfect for modern guitarists who want excellent resonance, warm sound, and a look that turns heads.
- Classic vintage look
- Rich and warm sound
- ProBucker pickups
- Effortless playability
- No gig bag
Aspiring guitar shredders working with a limited budget should get the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘60s.
This 22-fret electric guitar has a SlimTaper mahogany neck, complete with an Indian laurel fingerboard and 1.692-inch nut width for effortless playing.
Not only that.
The neck design also gives players exceptional access to the 24.75-inch-long fingerboard, allowing them to blitz end-to-end like the masters of guitar-shredding.
The tone is fat, rich, and warm, perfect for rock, blues, grunge, and metal songs.
The premium-quality tonewood delivers endless sustain while the ProBuckers work their PAF-like magic.
The smokehouse burst gives this Les Paul a magnetic personality, an electric ax snake charmer on stage.
The best part?
It does not cost you a fortune to own one of the most enduring electric guitars of all time.
- Warm, rich, and fat tone
- Endless sustain, high resonance, and high-gain
- Fast and comfortable playing
- Stunning aesthetics
- Great value
The Epiphone Slash “AFD” Les Paul Special II is a purpose-built electric guitar following the specs of Guns ‘N Roses guitarist Slash.
It comes complete with everything an aspiring rock star needs to learn and master the art of playing electric guitars without costing a fortune.
The package includes the Slash AFD Les Paul Special II, a Snakepit-15 guitar amp, guitar picks, a built-in tuner, cable, guitar strap, and eMedia online lessons.
The guitar has a fast-playing neck, complete with a 1.68-inch nut width and 22 medium-jumbo frets on a warm and soft rosewood fingerboard.
The guitar’s mahogany body and flamed maple veneer top add incredible sustain, richness, and warmth to the tone.
A pair of Zebra humbuckers deliver high-output, high-gain with incredible clarity, enabling novice players to blitz through the learning process.
- Complete kit for beginners
- Fast-playing neck
- Excellent sustain and tone
- Exceptional value
- Tone can be too bright if not tuned properly
Why Choose Epiphone Les Paul Guitars?
Most people consider price as the principal motivation for choosing an Epiphone Les Paul.
However, you might also want to consider other factors.
As mentioned, budgetary concerns are at the top of the mind of anyone thinking about buying an Epiphone Les Paul solid-body electric guitar.
However, I also know some veteran guitarists and professional artists with an Epiphone LP as a backup to their original Gibson Les Paul.
I understand their line of thinking.
I would rather practice and jam with my band and friends with an Epiphone Les Paul than use my $4,000-plus Gibson Les Paul for such a purpose.
Hence, it is not uncommon to see professional artists having at least two Les Pauls in their arsenal – one Gibson and one Epiphone.
The Gibson LP is for professional use, while the Epiphone variant is for casual applications.
Gibson Guitar Produced Outside the US
While Gibson bought Epiphone in 1957, the latter predates the former by nearly three decades (1873 vs 1902).
Epiphone might be an American guitar brand, but it has its roots in 19th-century Smyrna, Greece.
However, the brand only began producing guitars in 1928, starting with archtop guitars, which Gibson pioneered.
In the early years as a Gibson subsidiary, Epiphone produced its guitars alongside Gibson’s manufacturing facility in Kalamazoo, MI.
Today, many Epiphone guitars, including Les Pauls, come from its factories in Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, and the Czech Republic.
First, labor and raw materials are less expensive in these places, allowing Epiphone to lower its Les Paul guitar prices without sacrificing tonal attributes and quality construction.
After all, Epiphone must still adhere to the standards Gibson set for the whole organization.
Second, raw materials are not subject to strict regulations, empowering the brand to produce more good-quality guitars without undermining guitar build and violating laws.
Hence, you can think of an Epiphone Les Paul as a Gibson-branded solid-body guitar made outside the US.
Comparing Epiphone LPs with Gibson LPs, you can expect the former’s craftsmanship to be less refined than the latter.
Although both guitars might use similar tonewoods, they might differ in their construction.
For example, Gibson uses solid tonewoods for this electric guitar body and neck.
On the other hand, Epiphone uses a thinner tonewood of the same variety and adds veneer or other wood materials to thicken and strengthen the structure.
Not everything looks bleak, however.
It would be best to look at the Epiphone Les Paul guitar’s price to evaluate its build quality.
High-quality raw materials are never cheap, even in countries with more accommodating legislation and regulations.
Nevertheless, one can always expect the Epiphone Les Paul’s craftsmanship to be spot-on.
After all, Gibson does not want any of its subsidiaries to bring down the brand with mediocre-quality guitars.
If you are a meticulous, perfectionist guitarist, an Epiphone might not be for you.
However, the Epiphone LP is an excellent choice if you can look beyond the guitar’s aesthetics and focus more on its playability and tonal characteristics at your preferred budget.
While an Epiphone Les Paul is not a Gibson Les Paul, it still sounds exceptional for a budget electric guitar.
Here is a tip.
All novice players and many intermediate guitarists cannot differentiate between an Epiphone and Gibson Les Paul’s sound characteristics.
I even know some seasoned guitarists who cannot distinguish between a Gibson Les Paul and its Epiphone equivalent only by listening to the instruments.
Give the guitar to a professional artist or a guitar teacher, and you might have a different answer.
In general, Epiphone Les Pauls produce a round and slightly heavy sound on the lower registers.
However, tonal clarity is less pronounced on the higher registers.
It is worth pointing out that guitar body construction, material choice, and integrated electronics can impact an electric guitar’s sound quality.
How good are Epiphone Les Pauls?
It is not easy to distance the Epiphone Les Paul from the original Gibson creation.
After all, they are in the same umbrella organization.
However, I do not think it is wise to compare an Epiphone to a Gibson, despite the latter being the parent company of the former.
Hence, if you ask whether Epiphone Les Pauls are good or not, my answer will be yes.
Will it be as good as a Gibson Les Paul?
If we were to evaluate Epiphone Les Pauls as if Gibson Les Pauls did not exist, we could consider these electric guitars worthy of a spot on any concert stage.
Early Epiphone LPs had good-quality pickup systems, but often not enough to wow the crowd.
Today, the company uses some of the most advanced electronics to match or, at least, narrow the gap to the pickup systems in Gibson LPs.
Epiphone also introduced improvements in tonewood and hardware selection, bringing it closer to the original LP and increasing the gap from other Les Paul copy guitar brands.
The current lineup has a rich, pleasant, and deep LP Studio sound, enough to convert Gibson LP loyalists into Epiphone Les Paul acolytes.
These artists include Trivium’s Matt Heafy, Kiss’s Tommy Thayer, and blues artist Jared James Nichols.
What is the difference between the Epiphone Les Paul models?
Epiphone designs its Les Paul models following the design specifications of the original Gibson Les Paul, albeit with slightly different materials.
For example, Epiphone uses a thin sheet of solid maple combined with veneer instead of a solid maple top.
The electronics vary, too.
While the original Gibson LP uses high-end Burstbucker pickups and other systems, Epiphone Les Pauls integrate lesser-known but good-quality electronics.
In this review, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s bested nine other Epiphone Les Pauls.
It has an exceptional sustain, excellent build and finish, high fidelity to classic Les Paul tones, reliable electronics, and an unbeatable value.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard ‘50s is available at popular online music stores, such as Sweetwater, Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend, and Reverb.
You might also want to try Amazon, eBay, and other leading e-commerce sites.