Buying Guide: Gibson Les Pauls

Buying Guide: Gibson Les Pauls

March 28, 2019

The Gibson Les Paul is viewed as one of the two most significant electric guitar models ever made. First discharged in the mid-1950s, the Les Paul has now been created in a large number of variations throughout the years, the center structure has been spun off into a tremendous star grouping of Les Paul sub-models and families. Gibson likewise tends to switch up the specs of explicit models year-to-year, bringing about a marvelously various pool of instruments to filter through in case you're thinking of purchasing a new axe!

Price Range

When making any guitar buy, think about the best value first. It will be a decent method to focus on a littler field of choices. On the used instrument market, Gibsons commonly begin in the $1500aud territory for essential models. In case you're hoping to remain beneath that, an Epiphone Les Paul might be a perfect choice for you! You can get a decent feeling of which Gibson guitar fits into what value section by taking a gander at the choices we've featured beneath.

Neck Profiles

One manner by which various Les Paul models shift is in the state of the neck and how it fits in your grasp. Regularly, Gibson necks fall into two general classifications: Those named as having a '50s-style neck will, in general, be somewhat chunkier, rounder, and more C-formed. Those with a '60s-style neck will be somewhat more slender in what's occasionally called a D-shape profile.

Flame Tops and Finish

Most Les Pauls have a bit of cut maple on the highest point of their mahogany body, and Les Paul devotees will, in general, find higher value in those with a high level of blazing or figuring in the wood. On the off chance that you see a Les Paul named as "Premium" or "In addition to" or "AAA," that indicates a higher grade of flame. For the most part, these guitars convey amazing, polished complections that truly exhibit the stripes. Lower-end alternatives like the Les Paul Studio will, in general, utilize darker complections, which don't uncover any fire on their tops. Different alternatives, similar to the Les Paul Tribute line, utilize "satin" completes, which obscure the wood inside and out.


Standard Les Pauls are commonly founded on the format set in the late '50s and incorporate humbucker pickups. Nowadays, most models use humbuckers enlivened by the first P.A.F. pickups of that vintage period, for example, the '57 Classics or Burstbuckers. These sorts of pickups are known for their enormous, round tones and are a basic fixing in the great Les Paul formula. All things considered, there are a lot of models that utilize various pickups, for example, the more slender smaller than expected humbuckers found on the old Les Paul Deluxe and the more established old school P90s found on various models. Obviously, when you purchase a Les Paul, you can generally swap in new pickups and investigate different alternatives—simply ensure you keep the first to keep your re-sale value high!

Model Family and Type

While the quantity of Les Paul varieties out there is really shocking, there stay some center groupings that have existed during the previous couple of decades. While obviously, inside each of these, there are bounty more varieties and special cases to each standard. As a rule, these groupings give a decent beginning stage to any Les Paul customer. Continue looking for a high-level breakdown of what characterizes every one of these Les Paul sub-species.

Gibson Les Paul Standard

The Les Paul Standard is, as the name infers, the backbone of the lineup and fits into an inheritance returning to the '50s. Present day Standards—regularly ones from the '80s ahead—can shift a great deal the extent that particular parts utilized, yet completely they'll incorporate humbucker pickups and some level of fire on the top. They additionally ordinarily have more slender neck profiles than their vintage progenitors and lighter bodies because of present day weight-alleviation rehearses. The latest Standards additionally regularly incorporate push/pull pots on the tone handles, which can part the loops of the humbuckers, offering a progressively adaptable tonal range.


Gibson Les Paul Studio 1998 - 2011

Returning to the '80s, the essential pitch of the Les Paul Studio is that it gets rid of a portion of the tasteful thrive of the Les Paul Standard to offer an extraordinary guitar at a lower cost. One that you could use in, state, a studio setting. Studios by and large need authoritative on the body and fire tops (however there are exemptions) and utilize 490 arrangement pickups. You'll additionally frequently observe Studio Tributes or Faded arrangement guitars, which are much to a greater degree a deal and for the most part depend on progressively financial "Glossy silk" wrap up.

Les Paul Traditionals

A heavy duty '50s-style model for that original LP experience

Gibson Les Paul Traditional 2008 - 2012

The Les Paul Traditional is similar to the Standard but generally features a heavier, older-school body and chunkier '50s-style neck (though there are some with thinner profiles floating out there). If you know you do well with this sort of setup that really lets you dig into your playing, the Traditional is the option for you. Like the Standard, Les Paul Traditionals typically have some degree of top figuring, and also like the Standard, there have been plenty of limited variations on the core Traditional layout.

Gibson Les Paul Classic

The Les Paul Classic is similar to the Traditional but generally includes a thinner '60s neck profile and different pickups. The Classic moniker has been applied to a few different spin-off models over time, with most using slighter brighter uncovered humbuckers. Some more recent models incorporate P90s instead. Generally, prices on the Classic are a bit lower than Standards.

Gibson Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar 2005 - 2016

The Les Paul Custom goes back to the mid-'50s and is, in a lot of ways, its own thing. It's defined by its dashing aesthetics with ebony fretboards, square inlays, fancy headstock design, and, conventionally, black-on-black styling. In the '50s, Customs were made with all-mahogany bodies, though more recent examples use the same maple-on-mahogany format as the rest of the bunch.

Les Paul Specials and Juniors

Vintage-style bare-bones model with general Les Paul vibes

While a fundamentally different design than the Les Pauls mentioned above, the Les Paul Special and Junior—both of which go back to the '50s—are solid options for people who just want an affordable Les Paul–esque guitar. These models do not have carved maple and instead are built around slab bodies, like a Fender Telecaster. They're also well-known as longtime punk favorites, having been used by players like Billie Joe Armstrong and Joan Jett, both of whom have had signature models.

Custom Shop Les Pauls

Custom Shop Les Pauls sit at the highest point of the stack of current Gibson guitars. While there are some backbone models, similar to the '58 Les Paul Reissue, the guitars you'll discover in the Custom Shop list will have a ton of variety guitar-to-guitar, with huge amounts of craftsman marks, exceptional versions, and constrained runs. Like the normal creation models above, Custom Shop Les Pauls additionally have experienced spec changes as the years progressed, and ordinarily, purchasers of these guitars center around the points of interest of individual postings much as they would a vintage

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