Epiphone’s Les Pauls have really been blurring the line where Epiphone ends and Gibson begins. Their Les Paul Custom Pro is one pretty refined version of this legendary guitar, which brings you the type of performance you could easily mistake for a Gibson, at a relatively affordable price. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best bang for the buck axes you can grab for under $1000.
If you’re wondering whether this is just another cosmetically spot on copy of a Les Paul, rest easy. Epiphone took every single component of Custom Pro rather seriously. The body features that legendary shape which needs no introduction, and is made completely out of mahogany. For the top, they have used maple veneer to drive the aesthetic home. The neck is also a mahogany piece that sports the already well-known neck profile. The whole thing is built like a tank. Once you pick it up, it gives off an impression of a very solid instrument. Part of that can be attributed to its hefty weight considering mahogany makes up for the most of this guitar.
Any guitar can have the Les Paul shape, and be made of a decent selection of tonewood. However, what it’s going to sound like has a lot to do with the type of pickups it comes installed with. In the case of Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro, we are talking about a pair of Epiphone ProBucker humbuckers. While you probably haven’t heard about these pickups, they were designed to replicate the tone of the original PAFs. In many ways, at least those which matter the most, Epiphone has succeeded in this endeavor. When it comes to controls, you have the usual – two volume knobs, two tone knobs and a pickup select switch. However, the pickups can be coil tapped, so each volume knob is actually a push-pull type.
Keeping it true to its roots, Epiphone went with a Tune-o-Matic bridge followed by an end piece. On the headstock, they’ve installed a set of their quality die cast tuning machines, and both of these components come gold plated. While they definitely look nice, the performance of the hardware is what it is all about. The bridge does an impressive job at retaining both the tuning and intonation, all while delivering great amounts of organic sustain. Tuners might not be of the locking variety, but they work pretty well. As long as you don’t push the guitar outside of its limits, you shouldn’t really worry too much about touching up the tuning.
The sound of this guitar is pretty surprising considering its price. There’s a lot of output for a passive build, and the all the expression. However, the range it offers is what blew us away the most. With coil tapping supported, you can dial in just about any kind of tone that comes to mind. Naturally, you can get a mind melting blues tone out of this thing, but it handles heavier stuff as well. All in all, this is a relatively neutral powerhouse of a guitar at a great price.
At the end of the day, Epiphone has really crept up to the first decent Gibson Les Paul with this guitar. It is built like a tank, feels great and most importantly, sounds just amazing. Bang for the buck, this Epiphone will give you a lot more than you have bargained for.