- 1. ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar
- 2. PRS SE 245 Les Paul Style Guitar
- 3. Epiphone Les Paul
- 4. Reverend Roundhouse Les Paul Style Guitar
- 5. Schecter Solo-II
- 6. Gretsch Guitars G5220 Electromatic Jet
- 7. D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic
- 8. Sire Larry Carlton L7
- History and Evolution of Les Paul-style Guitars
- The Components of a Les Paul-style Guitar
- Final Word
In the rock music scene, there’s no guitar that’s been as admired and sought after as the Les Paul-style guitar. It’s an iconic symbol of musical skill, and since the 1950s, the Les Paul has been in the hands of legendary musicians, gracing stages and studios alike. Its design has changed over the years, but what hasn’t changed is its essence – it’s a cherished tool for creating unforgettable sounds.
This article is here to help you navigate the best Les Paul-style guitars on the market. We’ll talk about their features, pros, cons, and pricing, helping you pick the right instrument that fits your musical aspirations and budget. So, whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned pro, you’ll walk away with the right Les Paul-style guitar for your budget.
The ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar is a popular and budget-friendly instrument often compared to the Gibson Les Paul due to its classic shape. It is well-liked for its solid build quality, visual appeal, and versatility in terms of sound. This guitar features a mahogany body with a flamed maple top, providing not only a stylish and attractive appearance but also a rich and focused sound with good sustain. A set-in mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard enhances the playing experience, making it comfortable and smooth. The guitar is equipped with ESP LH-150 ceramic humbuckers, known for delivering a powerful and rich tone. It also features coil-tap electronics, allowing players to switch between humbucker and single-coil sounds, making it a highly customizable instrument.
- Mahogany body with a flamed maple top for a rich, focused sound and stylish appearance
- Set-in mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard for comfortable playing experience
- ESP LH-150 ceramic humbuckers deliver a powerful and rich tone
- Coil-tap electronics enable switching between humbucker and single-coil sounds
- Highly customizable, offering options to upgrade pickups and other components
The ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar is valued at roughly $600 USD. A hardshell case specifically designed for EC-style guitars can also be purchased.
The ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar provides a dream-like experience with its thin body and fast neck. The classic rock tones achievable on this guitar are remarkable, especially when played through a Marshall. The worn look of the honeyburst version of the guitar is particularly appealing, adding to the vintage ambience. The coil splitting, although it may initially be difficult to get used to, is a nice feature that provides real versatility.
However, the guitar does have some downfalls. The sound of the pickups could be improved as they don’t meet expectations for some. There have been some issues with sharp and sticking out fret ends, indicating a possible quality control issue. Although this model is a decent guitar with some flaws, it may not meet the standards of higher-end guitars like the EC-1000. Despite this, it can be a good option for those who are willing to upgrade the pickups and fix the fret ends.
The PRS SE 245 is a mid-level electric guitar that is the first of its kind from PRS with a 24.5” scale length. Made in Korea, this guitar offers a more affordable option than PRS’s US-made guitars but does not compromise on its quality or features. It boasts a single-cutaway mahogany body with a maple top and flamed maple veneer that enhances its visual appeal. The guitar is fitted with custom PRS 245 S humbuckers that deliver a versatile sound, suitable for modern rock and heavy metal.
- Versatile sound suitable for modern rock and heavy metal
- High-quality custom PRS 245 S humbuckers
- Durable and visually appealing with a mahogany body, maple top, and flamed maple veneer
- Comfortable feel and playability with a wide-fat neck profile
- Stable stoptail bridge and PRS-branded tuning machines
The PRS SE 245 is categorized as a mid-priced electric guitar that offers value for money by rivaling more expensive options in terms of quality and sound.
From a first-person perspective, the PRS SE 245 is a guitar model that stands out in the music industry with its single-cutaway design, solid mahogany body, and set mahogany neck. The shorter 24.5″ scale length is a departure from most PRS models that typically feature a 25″ scale length. This guitar is equipped with two PRS-designed humbucking pickups that provide a warm, versatile tone.
The comfortable wide-fat neck profile is suitable for all styles and skill levels of players and the use of rosewood for the fretboard enhances the richness of the overall tone. It is available in various finishes including Tobacco Sunburst, Vintage Cherry, and Black, catering to different aesthetic preferences.
A key highlight of this guitar is its high-quality hardware, inclusive of PRS-designed tuners and a PRS-designed stoptail bridge that ensures excellent tuning stability and sustain. It impresses with its excellent build quality, meticulous attention to detail, and overall playability.
The sound of the PRS SE 245 is versatile, providing a range from warm and mellow to punchy and aggressive tones that can accommodate various musical styles and playing techniques. Despite its distinctive sound that some might not prefer, the pickups can be swapped for other options as needed.
Overall, the PRS SE 245 is a reliable and versatile guitar that brings a high-quality musical experience at an affordable cost making it a valuable addition to any musician’s collection.
The Epiphone Les Paul is a renowned electric guitar model famed for its classical design and versatile sound. This instrument offers a more affordable alternative to the Gibson Les Paul while maintaining a commendable level of quality and craftsmanship. The body of the Epiphone Les Paul is predominantly mahogany, a characteristic that bestows upon it a warm and rich tone. The guitar also features a maple top, which enhances the brightness and clarity of the sound, making it popular among many professional musicians and guitarists.
- High level of quality and craftsmanship
- Warm and rich tone due to mahogany body
- Brightness and clarity from maple top
- Versatile sound suitable for a range of musical styles
- Smooth and comfortable playing experience with rosewood fingerboard
- Powerful and thick tone from the two humbucker pickups
The Epiphone Les Paul is a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive Gibson Les Paul. It offers good value for its price, providing a solid foundation for learning the guitar. It’s an excellent choice for those on a budget, without compromising on quality.
The Epiphone Les Paul’s mahogany body contributes to its warm and rich tone, while the maple top adds an element of brightness and clarity. The instrument is versatile, capable of catering to a broad range of musical styles such as rock, blues, jazz, and country. This versatility is further enhanced by the two humbucker pickups, delivering a powerful and thick tone. The guitar also features a three-way pickup selector switch, individual volume, and tone controls for each pickup, offering a wide range of tonal options.
There’s a sense of comfort and smoothness in the playing experience, thanks to the rosewood fingerboard. In terms of aesthetics, a variety of finishes, including classic sunburst, solid colors, and limited edition designs, are available.
However, it’s important to note that some elements of the Epiphone Les Paul may affect its overall performance. The bolt-on neck, for instance, might impact the sustain and resonance of the guitar. Moreover, the tuning pegs might feel slightly flimsy, posing potential durability concerns. While the guitar generally offers a decent tone for its price range, the bolt-on neck might affect the tonal quality. Despite these drawbacks, the Epiphone Les Paul remains a reliable instrument and a great choice for both beginners and seasoned players seeking a high-quality and affordable electric guitar.
The Reverend Roundhouse is a unique blend of classic and modern features, offering players a versatile and reliable instrument. This guitar boasts a korina body with a flamed maple top, combining the warm and balanced sonic characteristics of korina with the brightness and clarity of maple. Equipped with Reverend Alnico 5 humbuckers, the Roundhouse can produce a wide range of sound from classic single-cut tones to a more robust “Tele-On-Steroids” sound.
The guitar’s appointments include a medium oval neck profile, 22 medium-jumbo frets, and a fingerboard with a 12″ radius. High-quality components including locking tuners, a Boneite nut, and boutique-quality pots and caps further enhance the playing experience.
- Versatile tone options with Reverend Alnico 5 humbuckers and a bass contour knob
- High-quality components such as locking tuners, Boneite nut, and boutique-quality pots and caps
- Comfortable playability with a medium oval neck profile, 22 medium-jumbo frets, and a 12″ radius fingerboard
- Beautiful design featuring a korina body with a flamed maple top
The Reverend Roundhouse falls within the mid-tier price range, costing roughly $1400.
As a player, one of the key strengths of the Reverend Roundhouse is its tonal versatility. The combination of Reverend Alnico 5 humbuckers and a bass contour knob offers a range of sound options from classic single-cut tones to heavier, modern sounds. The guitar’s design and construction also play a role in its versatility, with a carved top made of flamed maple adding elegance and a korina body providing warm and balanced sonic characteristics.
Another advantage is the Roundhouse’s comfortable playability. This is partly due to its medium oval neck profile, 22 medium-jumbo frets and the 12″ radius of the fingerboard. These features, combined with high-quality components like a Boneite nut and boutique-quality pots and caps, enhance the overall playing experience.
Furthermore, the locking tuners on the Reverend Roundhouse contribute to tuning stability and speed up string changes, while the set neck joint provides more sustain compared to a bolt-on neck.
On the other hand, some may find the 3-way switch a bit limiting compared to a 5-way switch found on some competitors. However, this likely won’t be an issue for many players, given the overall tonal versatility of this guitar.
The Schecter Solo-II is the newest addition to the Solo Series lineup, following the success of the older Solo II models. This guitar stands out thanks to its impeccable construction, features, and feel, which are all top-notch. Designed with a mahogany body, flame maple top, and ebony fretboard, the Solo-II Supreme is built to deliver quality sound and a comfortable playing experience. It’s equipped with features such as Graph Tech Ratio Tuners, mother-of-pearl inlays, and 22 extra jumbo stainless steel frets. These are complemented by a Lundgren Black Heaven Humbucker Set for a versatile and clear sound.
- Constructed with a 3-piece mahogany neck, carbon fiber reinforcement, and a two-way truss rod for stability.
- Features Lundgren Black Heaven Humbucker Set for a versatile and clear sound.
- It comes with a coil tap option allowing for a closer approximation of a single-coil sound.
- It is built better than any USA Les Paul, offering a lot of value for the price.
- Suitable for various genres, including rock, blues, pop, and metal.
The pricing of the Schecter Solo-II Supreme is justified by its upgrades and features. It’s a high-quality instrument that offers great value for its price, making it among the best guitars in its price range. Furthermore, it’s a top-tier import guitar that can rival higher-priced models.
The Schecter Solo-II Supreme is an amazing guitar model. It offers a versatile range of tones and a comfortable playing experience. The combination of its mahogany body and set-in mahogany neck provides a warm and resonant tone. The guitar is equipped with Schecter’s own Diamond SuperRock Custom Alnico pickups, which deliver a powerful and dynamic sound. Adding to its playability is its 24.75″ scale length and the 22-fret ebony fingerboard.
The Solo-II also comes with a Tune-O-Matic bridge and a stop tailpiece, which ensure excellent tuning stability and sustain. The guitar’s sleek and stylish design makes it visually appealing and suitable for various musical genres. It is available in different finishes, including Vintage Sunburst, Black, and Trans Purple Burst.
However, on the downside, it’s worth noting that the guitar does not come with a case. Although it can fit in a universal LP case, it may incur an additional cost for buyers. Additionally, the guitar is only available for right-handed players, and a left-handed version is not available. Despite these small setbacks, the Schecter Solo-II Supreme remains a high-quality guitar that excels in tone, playability, and aesthetics.
The Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT is a versatile and affordable mid-range electric guitar that is rich in features. It is well-constructed with a chambered mahogany body and a maple top, delivering a balanced and resonant tone. The guitar is fitted with two Broad’Tron humbuckers that produce a defined and full-spectrum fidelity sound, capable of catering to a wide range of musical styles including blues and rock ‘n’ roll. With a comfortable U-shaped neck profile and a 24.6″ scale length, playability is made easy. The G5220 Electromatic Jet BT is available in a variety of finishes including Dark Cherry Metallic and Jade Grey Metallic, all of which are enhanced by bound headstocks and bodies, vintage-style purfling, and sealed tuners for an overall classy build.
- Chambered mahogany body with a maple top for a rich and balanced tone
- Two Broad’Tron humbuckers that provide a powerful and defined sound
- Comfortable U-shaped neck profile and a 24.6″ scale length for easy playability
- Variety of finish options, providing aesthetic versatility
- Well-built with bound headstocks and bodies, vintage-style purfling, and sealed tuners
- Versatile instrument capable of handling a variety of musical styles
The Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT offers outstanding value for its price. Its affordability does not compromise the quality of its craftsmanship or the range of tones it can produce, making it a compelling option for guitarists on a budget.
With the Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT, it is undeniable that a range of sounds can be achieved, from clean and twangy to high-gain rock tones. It’s truly a versatile instrument, capable of catering to different musical styles. The Broad’Tron humbucking pickups offer a balanced combination of power and definition, which can be a big plus for those who are into a wide spectrum of music genres.
The G5220’s aesthetic appeal is another point of praise, with its bound headstocks and bodies, vintage-style purfling, and Big Block pearloid inlays delivering a classic Gretsch look. Furthermore, the availability of various finishes means customization to one’s personal taste is possible.
In terms of playability, it’s worth noting the comfortable neck profile and the 24.6-inch scale length, which makes playing the G5220 a breeze. However, the guitar’s weight could potentially be a downside for some players, and the absence of a middle pickup might limit tonal options for others. But overall, the Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT presents more strengths than weaknesses. It is a reliable and playable instrument suitable for both beginners and experienced players.
The D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic is a high-quality, solid-body guitar that stands out for its unique and distinctive voice. This single-cutaway instrument combines vintage aesthetics with a range of modern features, and is designed for comfort and sustain. It has a lightweight body, an oversized headstock, locking tuners, and a distinctive design. The Atlantic features Seymour Duncan Seth Lover A4 humbuckers that offer a deep, vivid tone, which can be coil-split for single-coil sounds. Its body is made of alder with a satin finish, and it has a maple neck with an ebony fingerboard.
- Distinctive, unique voice
- Single-cutaway body design
- Seymour Duncan Seth Lover A4 humbuckers
- Coil-split feature for versatile tone
- Comfortable slim-C neck shape
- High-quality construction
- Available in a variety of finishes
The D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic is available for purchase from authorized D’Angelico dealers, priced at roughly $1,599.
The D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic is celebrated for its rich, versatile tone and comfortable playability. The Seymour Duncan Seth Lover A4 pickups are much-admired, with a coil-splitting feature that contributes to the guitar’s wide range of sounds. The comfortable slim-C neck shape and ergonomic body shape make extended playing sessions a joy. The instrument’s construction is of high-quality, ensuring its durability and longevity. The lightweight design and contoured body shape are appreciated for adding to the playability of the instrument.
The Atlantic is available in a few different finishes, providing players with options to suit their personal aesthetics. Its vintage-inspired look, combined with the high-quality hardware and modern features, make it a standout choice among high-end guitars. The guitar is also applauded for its powerful and versatile sound, making it suitable across various genres of music.
The only downside found is the potiknöpfen, which are a bit slippery and can make it a little tricky to adjust the tone controls. Nonetheless, the overall feedback for the D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic is positive, with many finding it to be a standout instrument in its price range.
The Sire Larry Carlton L7 is an electric guitar, created in collaboration with renowned guitarist Larry Carlton. It is a modern interpretation of the traditional Les Paul design, featuring a mahogany body, a maple neck, and a set neck joint for enhanced sustain. Built with top-notch materials, this guitar exhibits high quality and is suitable for genres such as hard rock, jazz, blues, funk, and country. The L7 also boasts of Larry Carlton Modern Humbuckers, delivering a bright and clear tone, and comes in various colors, including gold, white, sunburst, black, and blue.
- Features a semi-hollow body design with a single cutaway for a classic and elegant look.
- Made with a mahogany body and a maple top contributing to its warm and resonant tone.
- Equipped with Sire’s own S7 pickups designed to capture vintage-inspired tones.
- Comfortable playability with a set-in mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard.
- Enhanced access to higher notes with a 24.75″ scale length and a 22-fret design.
- Excellent tuning stability and sustain provided by a Tune-O-Matic bridge and a stop tailpiece.
- High-quality hardware includes Grover locking tuners ensuring precise and reliable tuning.
- Available in a beautiful Vintage Sunburst finish adding to its classic aesthetic.
The Sire Larry Carlton L7 is noted for its affordability, making it a great option for guitarists looking for high-quality instruments within a budget.
From a first-hand perspective, the Sire Larry Carlton L7 is a well-crafted, versatile guitar that embodies the iconic sound of Larry Carlton, making it appealing to guitarists of diverse styles and skill levels. Its semi-hollow body design, coupled with a mahogany body and a maple top, contributes to a warm and resonant tone. The guitar is also equipped with Sire’s own S7 pickups, adding a vintage flavour to its sound.
The neck profile is comfortable, and the frets have rolled edges, adding to the overall playability. With a 12″ fretboard radius, the L7 strikes a good balance between chord playing and soloing. The guitar’s hardware, including Grover locking tuners, ensures enhanced tuning stability and precision.
However, achieving the smooth, creamy tone typically associated with Les Paul guitars may not be as straightforward as some may prefer. Also, while the set neck joint provides more sustain, it is not as mod-friendly as it may not allow for easy neck swapping.
In terms of build quality, the Sire Larry Carlton L7 scores reasonably well. The attention to detail is visible, with no finish flaws or binding issues. The guitar’s construction feels solid, testament to the dedication and quality control of the Sire Guitars team. In a nutshell, it’s a great choice considering its affordable price.
The Les Paul-style guitar, a favorite among electric guitar enthusiasts, first hit the scene in the 1950s, thanks to Gibson. Guitarist and inventor Les Paul designed it with a solid body, aiming to mimic the sustain and tone of a violin. This design didn’t take long to catch on with musicians, and it’s now one of the most recognized and widely played electric guitars around the world.
When you pick up a Les Paul guitar, you’ll notice its unique features. It’s got a solid mahogany body, a set neck, and dual humbucker pickups. The solid body boosts the guitar’s sustain and resonance, while the set neck design provides extra stability and sustain. The dual humbucker pickups give off a thick and powerful tone, which makes the Les Paul guitar a great fit for rock and blues music.
This iconic guitar hasn’t stayed the same over the years, though. For example, in the 1960s, Gibson rolled out the SG model, which has a thinner and lighter body than the original Les Paul design. Many guitarists, including Angus Young of AC/DC and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, preferred this new design. Gibson hit a rough patch in the 1970s and had to stop making the Les Paul guitar for a while. But in the 1980s, this legendary guitar made a comeback and has been a top pick for guitarists ever since. Today, you’ll find a wide range of Les Paul models, including signature models for famous guitarists like Jimmy Page and Slash.
The Les Paul-style guitar, named after the legendary guitarist and inventor, Les Paul, is an iconic instrument you’ll recognize for its solid body construction, which gives it a unique tone and sustain. Key components of a Les Paul-style guitar include the body, neck, pickups, bridge, and hardware. They all work together to produce the signature sound of this guitar.
The body of a Les Paul guitar is typically made of mahogany, a material that’s known for contributing to a warm and rich tone. The neck, usually made of either mahogany or maple, is attached to the body with a set-in or glued joint, enhancing the guitar’s sustain and stability. The neck also incorporates a fretboard, usually made from rosewood or ebony, and features position markers or inlays that’ll help you navigate across the frets.
A distinct feature of Les Paul guitars is their use of humbucker pickups, which are appreciated for their thick and powerful tone. You’ll find that humming noise is minimized due to the design of these pickups, resulting in a smoother and more balanced sound. The bridge, usually a tune-o-matic or a wraparound bridge, further contributes to the guitar’s sustain and intonation.
Finally, the hardware, a crucial component of the overall playability and sound adjustment, includes the tuners, knobs, and switches. The tuners keep the guitar in tune, while the volume and tone knobs, along with the pickup selector switch, allow you to control the sound output and tonal characteristics.
Renowned guitarists such as Jimmy Page, Slash, and Joe Perry have embraced Les Paul-style guitars, contributing to their iconic status in the world of rock music. Despite the richness of history and evolution, these guitars remain highly sought after by musicians and collectors alike.
When you consider the history, design, and sheer musical prowess of Les Paul-style guitars, it’s clear they’ve got a remarkable staying power in the world of music. There aren’t many other guitar models that can match the unique blend of craftsmanship, tone, sustain, and versatility that Les Paul-style guitars offer.
The Les Paul-style guitar’s popularity undeniably comes from the passion and inventive spirit of its namesake, Les Paul. Even with modifications and reinterpretations over time, these guitars haven’t strayed far from the core attributes that made them a hit in the first place.
If you’re looking to step into this particular rock and roll realm, the guitars we’ve discussed in this piece offer a fantastic range of options. Whether it’s affordability, distinctive tonal output, or even aesthetic appeal, each model brings something unique to the table.
No matter if you’re a beginner just starting your musical journey, an intermediate player looking to upgrade, or a seasoned musician wanting to add another gem to your collection, there’s a Les Paul-style guitar that’s right for you.