Mr. Les Paul and the guitar that bears his name are both well known around the world. You don’t really need to be a guitar player in order to recognize this legendary shape.
With that said, for a model that has been around for many decades, the price of one is still pretty exclusive for most. Gibson, much like Fender, realized that there is a necessity for affordable guitars that feature the same aesthetics as their most popular models. That’s where Epiphone comes into play.
The name they chose for this entry level model is Epiphone Les Paul 100. In all essence, the guitar looks the part, but can it deliver? Dive into our Epiphone Les Paul-100 Review to find out!
Body & Neck
Epiphone Les Paul 100 guitars feature the same legendary Les Paul shape and overall appearance. The wood used for the body of the guitar is Mahogany with a Maple top, which has a pretty decent resonance even though it’s laminate piece.
Speaking of which, lower end electric guitars will most likely be a laminate design of some sort. That is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing the price of the instrument. How much of an impact this factor makes on the sound? It depends on how trained your ear is. For a new player, it won’t matter much either way. More experienced guitarists will probably notice the difference.
You can get this guitar in several finish variants. Most of them are replicating standard Gibson designs which we are all used to by now. The neck is where the Epiphone stands out from the Gibson. It’s a bolt-on Maple neck, while Gibson Les Pauls have set necks.
Some purists will see this as a massive flaw, but objectively a bolt on neck works just fine on a guitar in this price bracket. The fretboard is standard Rosewood with dot inlays. There is no binding, but the neck is pretty comfortable to play.
Hardware & Electronics
Interestingly enough, hardware on this guitar is actually decent. One of the biggest issues you can have with affordable guitars is questionable hardware. With a standard Tune-O-Matic bridge and a decent set of tuners, Epiphone Les Paul 100 performs rather well. After all, it’s a fairly simple set of hardware that doesn’t leave much space for trouble unless you push it to the edge.
Electronics come in form of two humbuckers, which are controlled by two volume and two tone knobs. Additionally, there’s a pickup select switch. Overall, the layout is the same as the one you can find on Gibson’s Les Paul. For an affordable guitar, Les Paul 100 comes with a decent set of passive humbuckers. You get a 700T at the bridge, and a 650R humbucker in the neck position. Believe it or not, these have quite a decent range.
In terms of sound, Epiphone Les Paul 100 surprises on many levels. The type of tone you can squeeze out from what is essentially an entry level guitar is impressive. With a set of rather generic passive humbuckers, there’s a decent amount of output. This allows you to play anything from blues to heavy metal with confidence. One thing that we found lacking when it comes to sound quality, is sustain.
However, that has a lot to do with the tonewood of choice and the bridge. A lot of these guitars aimed at beginners end up customized at some point. This Epiphone is among those that are just fine the way they are. You probably won’t get a better sound at this price level.
Pros & Cons
Epiphone has grown into a brand of their own. As they evolved, so did the quality of their instrument. This is more than apparent when you closely inspect Les Paul 100. The guitar is just built well. Even the finest details are done right. Build quality is there, but so is the performance. You get two relatively capable humbuckers and a set of hardware that does the job it’s meant to do. If you’re looking for a great entry level guitar, you can hardly do better than this.
If there’s something we have to categorize as a flaw, it’s the tuners. They are decent as we mentioned earlier, but they are also the weakest point of the whole guitar. If you like to do bends, you will soon find out that your guitar will drop out of tune quite often. Installing a better set of tuners would definitely make this a rock solid option which could dominate the entry level market.
Video Review Epiphone Les Paul-100
When you’re setting out to buy your first guitar as a novice guitar player, you are going to run into two models right off the bat. One is going to be the Epiphone Les Paul 100, while the other will most likely be a Squire Strat. These two guitars are the most popular general purpose electric guitars in this price range.
In all honesty, Epiphone Les Paul 100 is a way better option, especially if you want to play more aggressive genres of music. If we exclude some genre specific guitars on the market, this Les Paul is by far the best entry level guitar you can get at the moment.
The guitar has its pros and cons, but it’s a solid instrument. As you slowly build your skill and experience, you will want to upgrade certain things, which will improve the performance of this Les Paul. Unlike it’s the case with most other guitars, you won’t have to upgrade the electronics.
The humbuckers that come with the guitar will last you a long while before you end up needing something more powerful or more expressive. If you’re on the fence about this guitar, don’t be. It’s a great choice for a first or even a second guitar. All in all, this is one of the best beginner guitars money can buy. Good stuff!