In the world of guitars, Epiphone has established a solid reputation as Gibson’s entry-level brand. Beginners and performers on a budget may now get their hands on some of Gibson’s most recognisable models, including the Les Paul, SG, and Explorer, thanks to Epiphone guitars. However, choosing the right instrument from the brand’s extensive selection can be challenging. We’ve compiled our top selections for the best Epiphone guitar to aid you in starting your quest.
Instruments have been produced by Epiphone for about 150 years. At first, they gained fame for producing archtop guitars, upright basses, and mandolins. The company’s fortunes were, however, altered by World War II, when conflicts over ownership and the economy caused Epiphone’s reputation to enter its most unfortunate and gloomy phase. Thankfully, Ted McCarty, president of Gibson, was approached by Les Paul, who was a huge fan of Epiphone. The possibility of acquiring Epiphone’s upright bass line evolved into the creation of an entirely new brand of guitars.
Gibson could supply Gibson-style guitars to new dealers who didn’t yet have the name recognition or clientele to carry Gibson guitars, which was one benefit of this new ownership. In essence, these dealers could sell the less expensive instruments up until they proved they were deserving of selling Gibson brand guitars. Modern Epiphone guitars are an amazing value and are more influenced by classic Gibson guitars than ever. They have excellent quality, are utilised by both pros and novices, and are less expensive than Gibson guitars.
Epiphone Les Paul Custom (Alpin White Gold Hardware)
The Gibson Les Paul Custom takes this idea and runs with it, adding split-diamond inlay to the headstock, block inlay to the fretboard, multi-ply binding everywhere, and gold hardware where appropriate. If the Gibson Les Paul is the model of the aspirational guitar, the Gibson Les Paul Custom is the guitar that personifies it.
Picking a “Best Overall” Epiphone might be difficult because all Epiphone guitar models have something to offer a variety of players. I chose the Epiphone Les Paul Custom because, in addition to being a superb guitar for the money, the newest model is distinctive in that it is the closest Epiphone has ever been to the much sought-after Gibson Les Paul Custom.
The Epiphone Les Paul Custom offers all the versatility of a regular Les Paul, but it appears to be wearing its best tuxedo for a big banquet. This guitar is elevated to a whole new level by the use of binding, gold hardware, and that magnificent piece of ebony on the fingerboard. Even though it isn’t a Gibson Les Paul Customs spec replica, it makes a fantastic replacement for roughly 15% of the price.
It may seem unusual to suggest guitars on the grounds that you can modify them to make them better, but that’s part of the appeal in this case. This model is wonderful right out of the box, but if you find that you’re becoming tired of the tone and want something different, a fresh set of pickups might reignite the flame. But it is a query for a different day. With its rolled fingerboard edges, Kalamazoo open-book headstock in the manner of the 1960s, CTS pots, and black “Speed Knobs,” this guitar is incredibly ambitious and offers more than enough guitar for the money.
Once more, Epiphone did a fantastic job of bringing this legend to life; I have no doubt that Les would have been pleased. Because, let’s face it, it has to be ebony to be a Custom, the addition of a real ebony fingerboard is a pleasant change from the standard laurel or rosewood affair found on earlier iterations of this guitar.
The pickups are the standard Epiphone ProBucker humbuckers featured on many of these guitars, although they have gold covers this time. For an incredibly pleasurable playing experience, the Les Paul Custom also includes the Kalamazoo headstock design from the 1960s and rolled neck edges. Therefore, if you’re seeking for a high-class, refined Les Paul, this has to be the one. This is the Best Epiphone Guitar in 2023.
Epiphone Les Paul Standard 60s
Right today, it’s nearly impossible and extremely expensive to obtain an original 1960s Les Paul guitar; even Gibson reissues are prohibitively pricey. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Les Paul Standard 60s is at the top of our list of the greatest Epiphone Les Pauls. At a far more reasonable price, Epiphone is providing a beautiful piece of history, despite making some speculative changes.
This magnificent guitar has all the desired LP tone and definitely outperforms its competition. This guitar has a traditional mahogany body and neck with a maple veneer. It looks authentic and feels authentic thanks to the slim-taper neck shape. A set of ProBucker humbuckers, which do a surprisingly good job of reproducing that legendary PAF tone, provide the rock; Epiphone added CTS potentiometers as a nice touch.
Nowadays, “Burst” Les Pauls, which were produced by Gibson between 1958 and 1960, are frequently mentioned. This guitar is as similar to the 1960 model as you can get on a shoestring price. One of the quickest feeling versions of its sort, it has the slender C neck profile that is typical of the last year of bursts. In this pricing bracket, the Bourbon burst adds some much-needed flair over the top of the flamed maple.
Two ProBucker humbucking pickups that call back the PAF are used in the conventional pickups and circuitry. Overall, this is a fantastic Burst-inspired design that gives gamers of all financial levels access to the most sought-after solid-body design.
Epiphone SG Standard 61 Electric Guitar Vintage Cherry
- LockTone ABR Tune-o-matic bridge
- Mahogany body
- Nickel plating and finish
It’s difficult to go wrong with the Epiphone SG Standard if you’re searching for a guitar that can handle all the various tonal changes you’ll need for both modern AND vintage rock tones. These guitars sound extremely incredible and perform much above their price range, even when compared to a contemporary Gibson SG Standard.
The Les Paul frequently eclipses and overshadows the SG Standard, although the SG was once known as the Les Paul. To find out more about the SG’s past, watch this video. The SG Standard has been a mainstay of Rock n Roll for decades, whether it be because to Frank Zappa, Angus Young of AC/DC, Pete Townsend of The Who, or Eric Clapton.
The Epiphone SG Standard is a nod to the Gibson models from the 1960s and offers vintage features at a reasonable cost. The pickups have a somewhat higher output, making them ideal for direct insertion into a Marshall that is close to breaking. The neck is a slim-D, which makes it cosy and simple to play quick solos on.
Even though the pickups, hardware, and several of the tonewoods on this instrument differ from those on the more expensive Gibson SG Standards, I contend that it is still more valuable. The Gibson sounds superior to the Epiphone, but not three times as well. This is the perfect guitar to wreak havoc on while rocking out on stage.
Epiphone ES335 Semi Hollowbody Guitar (Cherry)
When choosing a guitar, versatility may be of the ultimate significance to some players. We think the simple ES-335 is one of the most flexible instruments available, and this gorgeous Epiphone is proof positive. This guitar really sings because to its smooth, very playable neck and warm, articulate mid-range, and we found it difficult to put it down.
The blues may be played on so many various types of guitars, but a semi-hollow body guitar is always a wonderful option. Here, the Epiphone ES-335 transforms into the best blues guitar for a tight budget. When it comes to performing the Blues, ES-335-style guitars have endured the test of time. They were an improvement over entirely hollow-body guitars because they reduced feedback while maintaining a resonant, airy tone. This sounds fantastic when connected to a small, clean amplifier since the humbuckers slightly overdrive the tubes, making them ideal for blues rhythm and lead.
You can purchase a guitar in this design for a reasonable price that maintains many historical features and beauty with the Epiphone ES-335. The cherry red colour is the most striking, giving you the impression that this guitar is a direct import from the Back to the Future films. The open-book design headstock that Epiphone converted to as an homage to classic Gibson guitars binds and highlights the laurel fingerboard.
Epiphone 1959 Les Paul Standard Guitar (Aged Dark Cherry Burst)
The 1959 Les Paul Standard Outfit is the outcome of a partnership between Epiphone and the Gibson Custom Shop, and it is inspired by the 1959 Les Paul Standard, the Holy Grail of vintage guitars. Additionally, it is a pretty unique instrument, it must be noted.
The AAA flame maple on the guitar’s top can catch your eye right away. Even while the cap isn’t nearly as thick as on the original models, it is still a really attractive feature for the money and stands out. The 1959 Les Paul Standard Outfit has an aged gloss finish that gives it a lived-in VOS vibe, despite not being in any way relic’d.
Although the manufacturer has modified this Epiphone Les Paul, some of the best Les Pauls are excellent possibilities for modifying. What can you do to make this better? At the neck and bridge locations, there are a pair of Gibson USA BurstBucker pickups, and premium parts are employed all around. CTS potentiometers and Mallory 150 polyester film capacitors make up the pickups’ control circuit. Built to last, the toggle switch and output jack are produced by Switchcraft.
Despite being one of the priciest Les Pauls in the Epiphone lineup, you get what you pay for, as the phrase goes. The fit and quality are excellent, as we’ve come to expect from Epiphone, and you can keep them that way because the guitar includes a hardshell case, which is always a sign that the maker is pleased of its work.