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Oscar Schmidt OE20 – Underrated LP Alternative

4.6 out of 5 stars
Oscar Schmidt OE20 – Underrated LP Alternative
Body And Neck:4.7 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.3 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.4 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.7 out of 5 stars
Value:5 out of 5 stars

Most beginners and players wanting an affordable Les Paul will usually head for Epiphone – Gibson’s budget baby brother. However, by looking around, they will also see the OE20 from Oscar Schmidt. While the Washburn subsidiary doesn’t provide you with a big name, they do offer a worthy Les Paul which proves to be one of the best models you can find under two hundred bucks. Let’s check it out!

Body And Neck

The OE20 doesn’t really try to offer anything new on the classic Les Paul style – and that’s a good thing for those wanting an authentic LP experience. This guitar shows off the tried-and-tested design, including a single-cutaway solid body, a 24.75” scale length and a raised pickguard. The body of the OE20 is made with mahogany and comes finished in several paintjobs including an elegant glossy black, a luxurious gold, and a newer translucent Purple Burst, which comes with a flamed maple top.

The neck of this guitar is also inspired by other Les Pauls, with a maple construction that’s set into the body instead of bolted on as you’d find with Strat style models or cheaper LPs. This neck features a very playable profile with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets and trapezoid block inlays. On other Les Paul copies, the headstock is usually an area that gives away its budget price, however the OE20’s headstock keeps up appearances, with attractive binding and an abalone inlay. All in all, for a cheap Asian-made guitar, there are few complaints about the workmanship, although it would benefit from a good setup on arrival.


While the OE20 impressed in the looks and playability department, there’s enough in terms of hardware to keep you interested – providing you aren’t expecting a pro set of Seymour Duncans! It’s fitted with two unbranded stock humbuckers at the bridge and neck positions, which are controlled by two volume and two tone controls (one for each humbucker), and a three-way pickup selector toggle switch.

The headstock features a set of simple sealed chrome die-cast tuners, which do the job and feel decent to use, while the bridge sticks with tradition by using a fixed tune-o-matic design with a stopbar tailpiece for added sustain.


You’d be forgiven for having low expectations considering the wallet-friendly price, but the OE20 is in our chart of the best electric guitars under $300 for a reason! While it lacks a little complexity, the general tone is more than acceptable with crisp and articulate clean tones and plenty of punch when overdriven. For this reason, it’s very versatile for everything from country to classic rock and beyond.


Oscar Schmidt’s OE20 isn’t perfect, but considering it barely reaches $200, we didn’t expect it to be this good. It plays very well, it holds its own in the looks department, and the tone will impress experienced players as much as it will beginners. With Les Pauls this impressive at this budget price, why pay any more?

For more info about the Oscar Schmidt OE20, click here.
For more best electric guitars under $200, click here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jeff K says

    I just bought one this morning. Very playable, nice tone and a beautiful finish for the money. Nice acoustic sound with effect and surprisingly great distorted sound for metal. Definitely satisfied.

  2. Al says

    This guitar is an amazing value. Although I have rewired it and changed out the ceramic magnets for alnicos and did some personal cosmetic changes it sounded, looked and played very good as received. One of the best unknown guitars you’ll ever find.

  3. Musicman98 says

    I just picked up one of these axes, but made out of tiger eye maple with a bound rosewood fretboard, and I am fully in love with it already! I’ve only been playing for a year and a half (self taught) and this guitar is my third currently. I also own a Washburn acoustic/electric and a Squire Affinity Telecaster, but this one has turned out to be the best of the three. The action was a little high for me out of the box, but easily remedied with the Tune O Matic bridge and a slight truss rod adjustment. Overall, beautiful, good guality, and lower priced guitar for anyone starting out.

  4. Tf Richards says

    been looking for a lp style guitar and being that a gibson is beyond my price range and i’m left handed options are a bit limited. These are legit though? I’ve seen the brand never really looked too far into them. You all would recommend?

    • Bj says

      Yes Sir, I’m also Lefty, and my Tobacco Sunburt fits my need quite well. Of course every player is different, as is their ear, so you’re going to want to tweak the guitar to your tastes. Right out of the box it’s very adequate, and with some inexpensive modifications, it great. Enjoy!!!

  5. Roy Lay says

    I had one of these, and sold it because I’d accumulated too many guitars. Now, I’m buying another, as I miss it. I had an Eppiphone LP that I didn’t like as well, and a SGR S1+ that I bought for $300 used, and it was just as good a guitar. For the money, you can’t beat these. Other than the cheap knobs, they are a great LP alternative at a great price. I really liked the pickups.

  6. Dan Glisson says

    I recently purchased this guitar, the rosewood fret board is no longer available and has been replaced with God only knows what. The inlay is a cheap plastic, and the strings grind on it when you bend. The pots are cheapo productions, and the 3 way toggle was broken off before it was shipped. ( I assume so because I didn’t find the broken piece.) The nut isn’t cut well, and the strings it comes with are not to what I would prefer, but they are OK quality. The finish I must say is impressive. I have yet to plug it in, I simply want to get the toggle fixed first and get some lemon oil on the frets.

  7. Pat Wallace says

    For the price it is hard to complain… The finish is mind blowing for a guitar under 200 bucks! It took a bit to get it all set it up. But after I feel it’s better then the Epiphone lp’s which are more expensive and definitely not as good looking. I will be upgrading pickups, and pots. The sound out of box was good, but I like a little more crunch… all in all very satisfied with the Oscar Schmidt OE20B.

  8. Doug in VA says

    Nut slots from a factory are left a bit high on purpose… a player may NOT want them lower, so if you DO, get them lowered. A setup guy will do it in 10 minutes and ask for $15-20. 1 time! Under $200 (mine was $175 new and delivered!) it’s a good gold-top light LP copy and made to Washburn requirements. You want a good Epiphone, then buy a $500 Epiphone. But well under $200, you have to do a bit of work!

  9. Doug in VA says

    They can be ordered and delivered , double boxed, for $175. Think it over: a new and physically faultless LP copy with 3 piece mahogany type body and scarf-joint neck (stronger than 1 piece) and decent humbuckers weakened by the small pots and ‘473J’ capacitors on the tone pots. Yes, the frets need to be polished slick and maybe an end or 3 is ready to smooth with a 3-corner file. Easy and fast for a setup guy, even if he is a good amateur like me (I learned from a pro classical guitar luthier and builder of Lindy’s custom electrics on the website) and 2 other Richmond real pros. This is a lot of value and with good 500K pots and better capacitors, this is almost ready for gigging, if you can play. Replace the nut with NuBone or real bone cut and smoothed well. This is the best LP new I have seen and it is well under $200 delivered! This is offshore Washburn and shows it.

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