Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top Review - Is It Worth the Money?

By R. S. Rasnick

Like the Fender Stratocaster, the Gibson Les Paul has become a guitar icon, cherished by players in such various styles as rock, metal, blues, jazz, and country. From Slash to Jimmy Page, the fans of the Les Paul are everywhere.

For us simple mortals, there's commonly only one downside to owning a Gibson Les Paul. They don't come cheap!

The common street price of a new Les Paul is well over $2,000, which is hardly pocket change. What's a Les Paul lover to do?

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus is a favorite and less pricey option.

Even though it reads "Epiphone" on the headstock, the guitar sounds, feels, plays, and looks like a "real" Gibson Les Paul, just several hundred dollars cheaper. This made-in-Korea Les Paul model even carries Les Paul's signature on the headstock. But how does it compare to an American-made Gibson Les Paul?

We surveyed a transparent Blue Les Paul Standard Plus Top, and I have to say the guitar has one of the most beautiful tops I've viewed in this cost range. The figuring is utterly beautiful, and is marvelously complimented by its creme-colored binding and chrome hardware.

Suffice it to say, that that the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is one really appealing instrument.

When I first played the Epiphone, I couldn't help but compare it to my own Gibson Les Paul Standard. I have to say that I was really impressed with the Epiphone. The neck was fast easy to play, reminding me somewhat of a 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard. It was faster in many ways than my own Les Paul, which was a nice surprise.

The rosewood fretboard felt terrific and the frets were well-polished and smooth on the whole, but not quite as faultless as my Gibson Les Paul. Still, the fretwork is really well done, especially given the guitar's price.

When I get a new instrument, I usually swap out the stock pickups for custom Dimarzio or Seymour Duncans, just so I can get the exact tone I want. Frankly, I'd probably do the same with this Epiphone; still, that does not mean that these pickups are not "keepers." The Epiphone includes alnico classic pickups that certainly project a classic Les Paul sound. The bridge pickup has just the right amount of "bite" and the neck pickup is smooth, perfect for lead or rhythm sounds.

I'm personally partial to Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz Pickups, so I would likely add those to the Epiphone, but this isn't actually a necessity.

The stock Epiphone pickups sound very nice as they are, and they just might suit your needs as is. I did find some "squealing" at high volumes, but it wasn't that much of an annoyance.

You have to look long and hard to see where Epiphone cuts corners on this guitar. What's not easily apparent is that the top is a flamed veneer glued to non-flamed maple. Likewise, the body and neck are made of laminated mahogany.

The veneer body, however, in reality allows these Korean-made Epiphones to weigh less than the made-in-USA Gibson guitars, a welcome change. The bottom line is that the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus is a superb guitar for the money and far less expensive than its Gibson big brother. - 31840

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