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Les Paul Custom versus Les Paul Standard?

#1 User is offline   simba 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:16 PM

Hey all,

So I've been in the market for a new guitar recently, and I've wanted the Les Paul Custom (Alpine White :P) for a longggggggggg time. But I've been looking closely, and I really like the Les Paul Standard (Ebony) and the price tag: its $429 while the Custom is $699.

I've been trying to figure out the main difference that make the custom worth the extra $170, and I'm coming up short. I've searched a lot of noob forums and people have NO IDEA what they are talking about and I'm tired of it.

From what I can tell:

They both are mahogany and both have Alnico Classic Humbuckers, grover tuning pegs, and rosewood frets. (Comparing guitars on MusiciansFriend's website is so fail because there's hardly any info and a lot of times it says "N/A" and "other". Basically, USELESS.)

The only differences I can tell are purely aesthetic: the Custom having an inlay on the 1st fret, and a nice inlay on the head stock.

I mean, am I missing something? Is there anything else that makes the Custom better besides having a little bit different look?

I've wanted the Custom for a long time but it seems that the Standard is esentially the same guitar, and now I'm really digging the ebony, and I want to go buy it this week.

What do you guys think??

Thanks to any and all thoughtful input :)

PS, I'm also obviously not going to make a decision without playing each, I just want to know the technicalities :)

#2 User is offline   mbrooks0711 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:30 PM

Simba,

First off, excellent post where you 1. Had a question, 2. Did your own research, and 3. Then asked if there was anything you were missing.
Okay, so what you really wanted to know. As far as I know you are right about the differences you have noticed. A bandmate of mine had a white Epi LP Custom and I play a standard. Most of the differences I noticed were purely looks. You're right about the inlay at the first fret and the headstock inlay. Two things you didn't notice though are that the binding on the customs is 5-ply(maybe 3 ply) with White-Black-White. Also the custom has binding around the back of the body as well. And the biggest difference is probably the fact that the custom comes with gold hardware instead of nickel. As a disclaimer, my experience with the custom was limited to playing and trying my bandmate's out. As far as the sound goes, mine and his were a little different, but not enough to say "There's always a difference". They were from different years and factories, so that point was moot. Once I plugged his into my effects and amp, they didn't feel, play, or sound different enough for me to say "oh I wish I had a custom." I would try them both out, but I would definitely keep an eye on the used market where you are located. I mean craigslist, local classifieds, pawn shops, and the used sections at your local guitar stores. You can really save some cash for the same guitar or get a better quality guitar in your price range. I buy almost all of my guitars used. There's my thoughts and opinions, I hope it helps.
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#3 User is offline   simba 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:38 PM

Hey Mr. Brooks,

Thanks :D

Regarding the binding, I did notice that but failed to mention it. So it really does just come down to looks then doesn't it? I mean, if its the same hardware and same wood, it can't be that much different!

Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate it. Yeah, I'll definitely take a look at the used stuff, but I feel the urge to treat myself as I have been playing on a lower end guitar for 3 years, and I really feel I "deserve" a nice, new guitar after all my time put in :D

#4 User is offline   mbrooks0711 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 10:46 PM

You're welcome and I'm not an expert but I've played them both and that's what I noticed. I understand you wanting to get something new man, I was just mentioning it because some people seem to get scared of the word "used". But it's not like a used car where you can lose 10K on a lemon. Most of all get the one you feel plays the best. Some people really do believe that extra binding and the gold plating make a guitar sound hundreds of dollars better, but that's not me.
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#5 User is offline   jerrymac 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:00 PM

View Postsimba, on 15 September 2010 - 10:16 PM, said:

They both are mahogany and both have Alnico Classic Humbuckers, grover tuning pegs, and rosewood frets.

...if its the same hardware and same wood


I believe the Customs have all mahogany bodies, the Standard has Mahogany with a Maple Top like the original Gibsons. But that's not always the case, for example the Custom Plus has a Flamed Maple top. Maple tops usually sound a little brighter than the all Mahogany bodies.

BTW, some older Epi LPs used Alder.
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#6 User is offline   Supersonic 

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:03 PM

Yep, I agree. It's all about the cosmetic differences. The custom is just "fancier" looking I guess. Just take a look at the price difference between a Gibson Les Paul Standard and a Gibson Les Paul Custom.(I know it's not exactly like comparing the Epi LP custom and Epi LP Std, but you get the idea). Is the price difference worth it? I think it all depends on what each player is going for.
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#7 User is offline   Sjael 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:14 AM

View PostHouse Band, on 15 September 2010 - 11:00 PM, said:

I believe the Customs have all mahogany bodies, the Standard has Mahogany with a Maple Top like the original Gibsons. But that's not always the case, for example the Custom Plus has a Flamed Maple top. Maple tops usually sound a little brighter than the all Mahogany bodies.

BTW, some older Epi LPs used Alder.

Nope, Epi LP Customs still have the 'maple' cap, the all-mahogany body is a Gibson-only dealio.

Posted Image

I've heard it said that the Custom is thicker than the standard, although I've never actually played a standard to verify that. My Custom certainly seems very thick, and looking at some photos it almost looks to be equivalent to the thickness of the standard plus the Custom's back binding. It's probably an optical illusion though, so I'd advise you not to take that into consideration. [flapper]

I would also recommend checking out some of the 'alternative' models Epiphone offers, eg. the Standard Pro/FX (Standard with a Floyd Rose,) the Les Paul Ultra II(a Standard but with a chambered body and an acoustic pickup) and the Prophecy line (Customs with some metal-friendly mods.)

If you want a white LP without the Custom price, check out the LP Studio; it's the same guitar as the Standard and Custom again, but minus the binding and fancy inlays. [thumbup]
Posted Image

#8 User is offline   jerrymac 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:55 AM

View PostSjael, on 16 September 2010 - 12:14 AM, said:

Nope, Epi LP Customs still have the 'maple' cap, the all-mahogany body is a Gibson-only dealio.

Posted Image



I'm not certain, that's an older picture 2004. Here's the Custom specs from the current Epi web site:

Posted Image

This is the specs for a Custom Plus:

Posted Image

Notice they specify the Maple top for the Plus but not the Custom. Also, here's the specs from AMS:

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Specifications

  • Pickups: 2 Humbuckers
  • Hardware: Gold
  • Scale: 24.75 inches
  • Nut Width: 1.68 inches
  • Neck Joint: Set
  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood with Block Inlays
  • Binding: Body/Neck/Headstock
  • Body Material: Mahogany
  • Top: Mahogany
  • Hardshell Case: Included

And Musician's Friend

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Electric Guitar Features:

  • All-mahogany body
  • Set mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard with block inlays
  • Bound body, neck, and headstock
  • 2 Alnico Classic humbuckers
  • Gold hardware
  • 2 volume and 2 tone controls
  • 3-way pickup switch
  • Hardshell case

I know they were made with Alder caps at one time, but I get the feeling that newer ones are all mahogany, but info is really sketchy from Epiphone. That's why I qualified my original post with "I believe the Customs have all mahogany bodies..."
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#9 User is offline   audiomitch 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:49 AM

Back in the old days, the rule was that real players play Standards, and a Custom was "All show and no go". That was with Gibsons anyway. Not sure how that works for 21st century Epiphones.

I'm not bashing, I own a Custom.

#10 User is offline   Sjael 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:02 AM

View PostHouse Band, on 16 September 2010 - 12:55 AM, said:

I'm not certain, that's an older picture 2004.
-snip-
I know they were made with Alder caps at one time, but I get the feeling that newer ones are all mahogany, but info is really sketchy from Epiphone. That's why I qualified my original post with "I believe the Customs have all mahogany bodies..."

That's what I used to think, until I looked at that image, and Hungrycat started plying my mind with his words of maple caps. [tongue]

I can assure you that the top on my Prophecy is 'maple,' but of course it has a quilted maple top. I guess it comes down to whether Epiphone, in the last 6 years, found adequate reason to convert one specific model to full mahogany. I just can't see it being worth the returns. I have noted in the past that no vendor ever gives a material for the cap, though.
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#11 User is offline   simba 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:53 AM

I'd have to agree, Epiphone is very sketchy about what their guitars are made out of. You go to one site, it says one thing, you go to another, it says something else. I really wish everything was clear cut, but maybe they have no idea what kind of wood is being used in the Chinese factories themselves, so they dgaf it, lol.

Now some are saying the custom is heavier yadda yadda yadda meaning denser wood and stuff, so I really don't know. I'll just have to check them out when I visit the store tomorrow.

#12 User is offline   Fantana 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:11 AM

My Custom has a Mahogany body AND a Mahogany cap, I had it verified by my luthier, it's not maple or alder like my LP standard. There is a sound difference between the two (that I can hear anyway!) but I would say it's so slight that to the untrained ear you might not hear it. My Goldtop also has a Mahogany body and top which is strange because my friend's one has a maple cap, yet unplugged sounds completely different to my Custom, must be the quality/density of the wood......

My Custom weights 9.2lbs
My Standard weighs 9lbs
My Goldtop weighs 8.4lbs
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#13 User is offline   Sjael 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:37 AM

View PostFantana, on 16 September 2010 - 04:11 AM, said:

My Custom has a Mahogany body AND a Mahogany cap, I had it verified by my luthier, it's not maple or alder like my LP standard. There is a sound difference between the two (that I can hear anyway!) but I would say it's so slight that to the untrained ear you might not hear it. My Goldtop also has a Mahogany body and top which is strange because my friend's one has a maple cap, yet unplugged sounds completely different to my Custom, must be the quality/density of the wood......

Interesting. :-k

View Postsimba, on 16 September 2010 - 02:53 AM, said:

maybe they have no idea what kind of wood is being used in the Chinese factories themselves, so they dgaf it, lol.

I think this is probably the real answer. [biggrin]
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#14 User is offline   ReneBoedker 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:00 AM

According to the 2010 Epiphone catalogue, both the Custom LP and the Plain/Plus-top LP have mahogany bodies and maple tops.
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#15 User is offline   EpiEric 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:13 AM

One other thing to take into consideration is that the Custom now comes with a hard case included, which is a nice bonus. The Epiphone Les Paul case costs $79.00 by itself at Musician's Friend. And I think the Epiphone cases are pretty nice.

Despite the slight differences in construction (which probably vary even from year to year) I think as far as Epiphones go, the differences between the Les Pauls really come down to cosmetics.

That said, I love my Alpine White Custom and bought it because I wanted the different look of the Custom. I already had a cherry sunburst Gibson Standard and with two kids a Gibson LP Custom is simply out of reach for me right now.

#16 User is offline   Hungrycat 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:15 PM

The 2003 Antique Ivory LPC that I used to have had a maple top, for sure. I think that the black one I own currently is all mahogany. All I know is at one point, they had maple (sometimes alder) caps.

If I were you I'd check out the Prophecy line. They've got ebony fretboards instead of rosewood, and that's a big selling point for me. I'm getting to where I only like rosewood on a Strat. Everything else needs ebony. And speaking of ebony boards, has anybody tried the current line of Korean BC Rich Mockingbirds? Neck-thru, jet black ebony boards AND real mother of pearl inlays?!? Is that to good to be true? (Sorry for the threadjack...)
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#17 User is offline   simba 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:22 PM

I used to like the Prophecy but it's a little on the expensive side (for me personally), and I feel like the equipped EMG's are more attuned to metal/hard rock. The look of it is delicious tho.

As for those Korean ones, I've seen a lot of talk of them recently, but haven't yet really learned about them yet.

RESEARCH COMMENCING!

#18 User is offline   Hungrycat 

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:49 PM

View Postsimba, on 16 September 2010 - 02:22 PM, said:

I used to like the Prophecy but it's a little on the expensive side (for me personally), and I feel like the equipped EMG's are more attuned to metal/hard rock. The look of it is delicious tho.


There are Prophecies that have passive Gibson Dirty Fingers pickups.
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