Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Custom, Silverburst Review

Posted by Sherrie Kearney on Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Custom, Silverburst
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I bought this guitar, first and foremost, because I am a huge Tool fan and I love the look of of Adam's Gibson Silverburst. Secondly, I love the look, feel and sound of the Les Paul Studio (although technically this is a Les Paul Custom, but its still a Studio design). Also I very much prefer the tone switch to be in the location it is on LP studios.

That being said, You should know that this guitar is among the higher end Epiphone LPs. I also own another Epi LP Studio, a cheaper model, which I can tell you has much less attention to detail. It's still a good guitar because it has it has great tone at a low cost, but the look of it isnt that sharp. The finish on those guitars isnt as nice as what you get here with the Silverburst. You may have heard horror stories about the frets popping out on those low cost Epi LPs but that has never happened on mine.

But Back to the Silverburst... The look of this guitar is stunning. The paint job and finish is excellent, really slick from bottom to top, front to back. The chrome hardware looks great too and seems to be really good quality... not just a cheap chrome finish on some mystery metal or something. The inlay on the fretboard and headstock are great too, very shimmery and marbley (if those are words).

In terms of hardware; The pickups sound great. Lots of tonal color and good harmonic response. I have noticed I have to crank my amp up a bit to get good feedback, but thats sort of the nature of feedback. The tone switch is well built, as in it stays put and doesnt wobble about. I've seen tone switches that basically unscrew during use to the point where they are at a 30-45 degree angle from their orignial position. This doesnt happen on this guitar. The switch itself does pop a tiny bit when switching between pickups... I dont mind it that much, but its worth saying. The frets are more rounded and stick out from the finger board more than a Gibson would. This can become an issue if you really push hard on the string because you can push the note from in-tune to sharp without really "bending" the string. This isnt an issue unique to this guitar, from what i've seen this is fairly common-place with all Epiphones. It doesnt really become a problem unless you are strangling the neck. The action out of the box is set a bit high; To the point where as you move up on the neck the notes tend to go sharp, which basically destroys any chords you play past the 12th fret. All i had to do was lower the action to resolve this problem. Even with that, i notice no fret buzzing anywhereon the guitar. The tuners work great... they ARE Grover tuners. I have no complaints with there. My biggest complaint with this guitar is the Nut (this was an issue with my other LP Studio too and is a common issue with lots of guitars that havent been customized). It grabs and can make tuning a real pain. This issue has improved somewhat since I bought the guitar, probably because with play and repeated tunings the strings have likely filed the nut a little bit. There are many solutions to this problem however; file the nut down yourself, buy some graphite and rub it in the nut under the strings, or you can actually use the graphite "lead" from pencils, or you can actually replace the nut with a graphite nut. Graphite essentially acts as a lubricant which stops the strings from binding... it has to do with the atomic structure of graphite, it doesnt take lateral tension very well. Idealy, apart from replacing the nut, a combination of these solutions is best.

Now the big question, Tone; I will keep this short and sweet. I like a wide variety of tone in the music I play. Depending on your amp and effects setup you can greatly effect the tone coming from the guitar. This guitar is heavy and has a really thick rich tone. Most LP's do. If you are after that Gibson sound, you've got it here. I've sized this guitar up with Gibson LPs and its up to par for sure. I've played this guitar and a Gibson LP back to back on the same amp with the same effects and settings and I saw no real noticiable change in tone. Tool songs sound perfect on this guitar, as do cleaner, bluesier tones. Lighter tones are certainly attainable on this guitar as well... but just about any tone is possible these days with all the electronic weaponry out there. Another thing I would like to mention is that this guitar has no buzz AT ALL. It's really well built in that respect, everything is grounded. You can play loud and when you stop the strings, its quiet(provided you havent cranked the amp so high you get feedback from nothing). Getting back to that Epi vs Gibson tone arguement though; It's worth saying that my dad owns 3 Gibsons (2 Electric - a LP Recording and a Firebird, and 1 acoustic) and he recently bought an Epiphone Flying V and right now, THAT guitar is his pride and joy.

All in all, If you are looking for a quality Gibson sound at an affordable price, Epiphone is the way to go. More specifically, If you are after an Epi LP; while I have no complaints with tone and no significant complaints in construction of the cheaper Epi LPs... I would definitely recommend going with one from their Les Paul Custom line (which is what the Silverburst falls under). They are about double the cost, but the attention to detail is palpable. If you can put down a few hundred extra, go for it. Get a guitar like this. And narrowing the scope even further, if you are like me and you love Tool, really like LPs, love that silverburst paintjob and are on a limited budget... then look no further, you found your guitar. The only thing I would recommend is to try to buy it below $[...]. I've seen them range from $[...], so do some looking around.

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Product Description:
With the same vaunted visual vibe of the original, this Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul has all the fixin's - 5-ply top, back, and headstock binding; bound rosewood fretboard; split diamond mother-of-pearl headstock inlay; and 4-ply pickguard. Dual humbuckers on an alder top with mahogany back and set neck.

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