Epiphone Les Paul Standard – A Bargain Priced Classic
Epiphone has been building great guitars for a very, very long time. While sometimes falling in the shadow of big brother Gibson, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is a formidable guitar that delivers great quality, playability, and tone, all at a fraction of the cost of a Gibson Les Paul. There are many people, including myself, that believe that the price differential is completely out of wack. In fact, there a lot of folks who would take the Epiphone over the Gibson regardless of cost.
Below is a video that delivers a very comprehensive review of what the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is and isn’t. He also address the most common issues that seem to arise with this guitar. The good news is these problems are all relatively minor and easily remedied by any competent luthier. For any of you that would rather read along, you’ll find a transcript below the video.
Hi! Stumade64. I’m here today to address a lot of the comments that I’ve been getting from my review of the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top.
First off, thanks for all the nice comments about my playing. I’m kind of a noodler, so you know, as to say, wow, good playing, how long have you been playing, it’s kind of nice to hear.
Gibson Les Paul vs Epiphone Les Paul
So anyway, about this great guitar. A couple things I like about it – the Gibson Les Paul. I’ve owned them. They’re heavy guitars. I’ve always had a saying that says if you buy a Gibson Les Paul, get a number of a good chiropractor to go along with it because your back is going to hurt. If you’ve played it, Gibson Les Paul, for a full two hours set, or if you played at a wedding for four hours, or whatever a gig, your shoulder is killing by the end of the night from all that stinking weight. I’ve used wide straps to try to compensate, wide padded straps to kind of compensate, and it’s just it kills you. I mean the tones there, that’s fine and great, but I had to finally get rid of mine. Other than being a piece of eye candy in the middle of the room to look and go ah and go “Ah, I’ve got a Gibson Les Paul”. I couldn’t play because it just killed me. But this model, it’s solid. It’s lighter than the Gibson Les Paul’s I’ve played. The neck is not as fat. My gold top that I used to have had like a slim taper so that was okay. It’s a little fat, but it is okay to fit my hands. I’m more of a Strat player. I’ve been playing Strats since I was my teens, so that that standard C fits my hands perfectly. This fits it well. I’m comfortable with this. Fatter necks, it fills my hands up too much. I can’t navigate over the fingerboard like I should. So I like that. It fits. If you’re a Strat player, it’s a nice graduation into a double humbucker model without fattening up your hands too much. Grover tuners right out of the box. Something that the seventies guitar players, all classic rock guys, are like switching out their Clusen tuners for Grover’s. So it’s a good tuner. The finish is really nice. I mean sheez! I mean look at that. That’s beautiful. The back, even though I’ve had it for a little bit, it’s not scratched up. There’s some buckle rash, but not too bad. Um yeah, so I really like it. It fits my needs.
How Much Does the Name on the Headstock Matter to You?
I’ve had people come up to me after gigs and say, “Wow, what is that? Is that like a Gibson?” I was like, “No it’s an Epiphone”, and the teenagers walk away from me like, “Oh, it’s not a Gibson.” It’s like, ” Dude! Tone is tone. If it’s a piece, and like a cigar box with strings on it, and it’s awesome tone, that’s fine. And guess what? It’s not so much the instrument, it’s in your fingers that’s given your tone. Yeah, so all that getting your gear to look like Clapton, or Slash, or wherever your guitar hero is, it’s not going to do it. You need to work on these things; you got to use your ear more, listen the album’s, try to emulate what you’re hearing with as far as attack, dynamics is important to get there. Use your ear more than anything. Do a lot of listening. That will get you closer to the type of tone you want to hear in your head, then going out and buying all…
How to Examine Your New Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Anyway, anyhow! Let’s talk about checking your Epiphone after you get it. If you have it shipped to your house, it’ll be in a cardboard box. All there is is styrofoam, little wedges on each side and at the top, no case. It’s not carefully padded. It is like getting a computer keyboard in the mail. It’s just tossed in there, a couple little wedges and you’re done. So it gets banged up in that case. You want to check for certain damage right away. You want to check for if there’s any kind of physical chips in the paint, there’s any cracks in the body. Especially, you want to make sure there’s no cracks here in the neck joint, right up in here, and you want to make sure there’s no cracks up in here, or on the sides anywhere in the headstock. You want to make sure there’s no cracks, and I mean deep cracks, even if it’s a finished crack. I would even debate that. When I got my first one, that’s how I know. I didn’t have the luxury of going to a guitar store and taking two hours to sort through their selection to pick out a guitar. I normally do that. I was in a bind. I needed a guitar right away. I kind of know what to look for. I did a lot of reviews. I said, okay it sounds like a good guitar, so I ordered it. It came in to the mail, to my doorstep, sorry, with a big ol’ crack, right here behind the nut, right there. So, and then there was a couple of chips. The top here, most likely it fell on its head when it was in the box, hit that, compromised the neck. I’m sure, eventually, with tension from the strings, it would start to, you know, make that crack a little bit more defined. I sent it right back. They said no problem. We’ll replace it. This is Musicians Friend. It’s pretty nice. This is the second one they sent back and it’s perfect. I’ve checked everything. There’s no cracks on the neck, especially the neck joint. That’s super important. There’s nothing like finished cracks on the body at all. Hardware is not loose, so that’s really, really important to make sure that everything is perfectly intact in this. If you go through a store, most likely they’ve already inspected that kind of thing. Now that will kind of take away some that uncertainty you have if you order online. But for the record, Musician’s Friend was great with replacing the guitar. So don’t remove any of the protective stuff. If there’s like a something that protects the toggle switch which is like a foam thing. Don’t remove any of that stuff until everything is inspected so that when you return it, you know, and return it like quickly, like within a day or so, don’t wait like a couple weeks or anything like that. So yeah, make sure to inspect it when you get it shipped to you.
Epiphone Les Paul Issues – Few and Easily Fixed
Let’s talk about tuning issues and other issues that I keep reading about reviews and people’s reluctance to buy this guitar. Tuning. I hear constant things about tuning on this. They say I play it, it goes out of tune all the time. I turn it back up, still playing out a tune. I’m going to swap out the tuners because they’re crap. No, don’t do it. What happens, and this complaints about this from the Gibson side too that’s coming out of their shop with Les Paul’s, it’s the nut. A a lot of times, they are not cutting this slot properly and it’s not a clean slot, so it is hanging up the string at the slot. A real simple method for that, if you like to work on guitars anyway and you have nut files, all you do is you take a couple swipes, depending on what gauge you’re using, like if this was like say like a 46 gauge, you’re going to use your 46 gauge nut file and just make one or two passes. That’s all you need. You don’t want to gouge the nut deeper unless you want, you know, unless you have some reason why you want that thing deeper. I strongly recommend that you take it to some guitar shop or luthier that knows what they’re doing. It’s no big deal. It’s a couple passes. It shouldn’t cost you too much. But if it’s not the nut, I would suggest using pencil graphite lead and all you got to do is just run your pencil in, and like, right over the slot. You take the string out of the nut, run it over the slot so you get some graphite inside of the slot, put the string back in the little debris of pencil lead and then wipe off, like it would be kind of blackened on the nut, so you’ll want to make sure you wipe that off. Tune it up to proper tuning and try and see if that works. Otherwise, get the nut slots cleaned out. I did the nut slot thing myself because I built guitars also. It was no big deal. One swipe through all six strings, put it back on, and I’ve had no turning issues.
Another issue you want to make sure is too is that you have the string stretched out properly. Don’t put a brand-new set of strings on, tune it up, and go, oh, it’s all still of a tune. You got a play it for a good hour or so solidly and then see if there’s still tuning issues at the end of that period of time. If that’s the case, then you know it’s something within the nut slot and it might just affect one string. Usually, if it’s just one string then you know it’s probably just that one spot that’s being taken care of. So really make sure you get that issue take care of. Grover tuners are solid. There’s no reason why you need to swap out the tuners. These are great tuners. You’re wasting your money by spending, you know, the 50, 60 bucks on replacing tuners for this because most likely, you put the money out and you’re still going to have the nut issue.
String buzz. I’m hearing low string low E string buzz. There’s no string buzz on this. You know why? Because this sucker is not cranked down a lot of times. If this end of the bridge is lowered too much it, doesn’t allow much free play for the string to ring, so it starts to rattle. So it’s mostly a set up issue. Also, if you get high action where it’s like it’s hard to play because the strings really far from the fret, don’t worry about it. It’s going to be a setup issue. Most likely, it’s this height, possibly a truss rod adjustment. That is probably going to get tweaked a little bit just from shipping. Things get rattled loose, can get knocked around in a cardboard box. So a lot of these issues that you’re reading on the Internet about, oh it’s out of tune, oh you know string rattles, and oh, I got like there’s like a retainer here that keeps the saddles down, so you take the strings off, the saddles don’t fall out. The saddles fall out, they’re going to move within that screw, and your intonation is off. Take it to a shop get it set up properly. Don’t worry about it once it’s set up all these issues will be addressed and you’ll have one fine guitar.
What’s the difference between a plain top and a plus top. There’s absolutely no difference. The only difference is, see this nice flamey pattern on here, that’s what makes it the plus top. If you get the plain, it’s just a plain straight grain maple top. That’s the only difference. Everything else is exactly the same. It’s only cosmetics. It’s not going to sound any better. It may just look pretty visually, but that’s it. So it’s just basically what do you like? Do you want something just fine plain, or something just a little bit fancier. So, that’s all it is for the plane versus plus top.
Anyhow, so what are you going to get from this whole video? Basically, if you want to change out the pickups, go for it. Ask yourself, what type of music do you like to play first? What kind of amplifier are you going to run this guitar through mostly? Is it too dark, is it too light? Do you like to drive the amp from pedals or a boost, or do you want to drive it from the guitar? That will kind of help steer you. Go into a guitar place, try out different ones. Each one feels a little bit different, might be a little bit different in tone. Don’t disregard the electronics that are already in there first. Try that out. See if that suits you. This is by far, not some piece of junk guitar. I totally enjoy this guitar. I’ve owned so many guitars over the years, at least, you know, three dozen different guitars from Fender Custom shops, to Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson Flying V’s, which I still own. And they didn’t have anything like these when I was starting on a guitar. It was those piece-of-crap SEARS guitars made out of plywood, but that’s all I had. My parents didn’t know any different. I had nobody to bounce ideas off of. You guys got the Internet. That is awesome. You’ve got a YouTube, thank goodness. If they had YouTube when I was 14, that would have been awesome. Yeah, so you have all that to your disposal to figure out what you want to do with your tone.
So, hope this kind of helped. I do have a video coming up soon that is going to showcase the new pots that I’ve installed since the video that I put up for the review for that Epiphone Les Paul Standard. So hey, have fun with your guitar. I’ll try to get to comments as quick as I can as I see them. There may be a couple days lag, don’t have to keep reposting it. I will get to it eventually. Haters, you know, don’t even bother making a comment. Really gonna dog me on my stupid haircut or if I’m a doctor? Really? Okay. Anyway, have fun and rock on dude. Oh, this is hang loose, huh.