Today we are looking at a Les Paul that comes in at under $200 – hang on… are you kidding?! Well, kind of. Technically this is a Les Paul made by Gibson subsidiary Epiphone, but it’s a ukulele – not a guitar. However, if you are on the hunt for a uke that kills on stage, this cute electro-acoustic may be just what you’re looking for…
First and foremost, the body – what else can we say? We’d bet you never thought you’d be able to wow your friends or impress the crowd with a ukulele that looks just like a miniature Les Paul. But now the dream is a reality.
Don’t let the good looks fool you, though. This is a no-nonsense uke, starting out with mahogany construction for just the right tone. The iconic look of a ’59 Les Paul is present, thanks to the AAA flame maple laminate that echoes the real deal. Finish options are cherry or vintage sunburst, and a neat feature of the Les Paul body style is the cutaway – giving you extended reach to all of the 19 medium frets.
A solid mahogany neck tops off the package, with a 19-fret granadillo fretboard (more on that later) and a headstock that is a dead ringer for the ones you see on any Epiphone Les Paul electric guitar. The SlimTaper neck profile is a great contributor to smooth and easy playability.
Rockin’ visual appeal is one thing, but the hardware carries on the vibe. Chrome-plated nickel tuners with a 14:1 gear ratio make tuning the Les Paul uke even and precise, and the U-Rite nut and bridge are solid choices to get those island vibrations to transfer efficiently to the body.
However, it ain’t a Les Paul unless you can plug it in and crank it up, right? Epiphone has you covered here as well, with an under-saddle piezo pickup that runs to an all-metal rim-mounted jack.
A big plus are the two strap buttons that come pre-installed – you can use your favorite rock guitar strap (slung low, of course) with ease. Throw in the included gig bag and an Epiphone Limited Lifetime Warranty and you’re all set.
First off, the tone right out of the box isn’t terrible, but we’d recommend changing to some better-quality strings than the cheap black ones that come pre-strung. That alone can make a huge difference.
A unique feature is the granadillo fretboard, as it’s not a commonly used tonewood. That isn’t a concern though because granadillo is very similar to rosewood, only harder and denser. That helps to provide the frequency range and articulation you can get with true rosewood, but it also adds some extra top-end as well. It’s a great pairing with the mahogany body and neck construction.
The acoustic sound translates well when plugging in, but here is where our biggest issue with the Les Paul comes in – there’s no way to control the output. No volume control, onboard EQ, or any sort of chromatic tuner is available, even as an option. We think that adding that level of flexibility would take this uke from ‘great’ to ‘greater’.
The Epiphone Les Paul Electro-Acoustic Concert Ukulele is, in our eyes, much more than just a novelty instrument that looks cool. Providing a high level of construction, finish and workmanship (along with solid hardware), Epiphone have made a model that is really impressive. A good quality ukulele through and through.
We’re still wondering how it sounds through a cranked Marshall stack though…