The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal

Epiphone has always been the affordable option to Gibson for decades now, and every year they seem to get better when it comes to quality. Today, we will look at the top 5 models, spanning all of the price points.


The Gibson Les Paul is an iconic guitar, and the single cut design has been around since the dawn of electric guitar. The Les Paul is the choice of so many guitarists, mostly because of its history and sound. I personally favored them for years!

But there are PLENTY of excellent Gibson Les Paul alternatives around, providing you know what to look for.


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Gibson is usually the company you think of when anyone mentions Les Paul guitars. I feel like Epiphone often gets unfairly overlooked by many guitarists. Epiphone may be less expensive, but many models feature the same specs and features as their expensive Gibson counterparts.

And this applies to its ever-popular range of SG guitars too.

Not everyone can shell out a couple of grand for a Gibson Les Paul in the beginning…or ever. Luckily, Epiphone has got you covered no matter what your price point!

Let’s take a look at the best Epiphone Les Paul choices, starting with the least expensive models. And if you’re more of an SG man, take a look at how the Les Paul compares to the Epiphone SG instead.


#5 Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT

The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal
Epiphone Studio LT

The Les Paul Studio LT is a brand new model for 2020, and it is the most proper Les Paul ever released at this price point! This model has every feature that it’s bigger brothers has, at a fraction of the cost.

  • Rosewood Fretboard
  • 22 Frets
  • Mahogany Body
  • Zebra Humbuckers (ceramic)
  • Lightweight
  • Locktone Bridge hardware
  • 22 Frets
  • 4 Different finish options
  • 2 Volume/ 2 Tone controls

This is obviously a re-design from their beginner models from previous years. But instead of dialing back the features, Epiphone has only added them! This is a ton of bang for your buck!

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#4 Epiphone Les Paul JR

The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal
Epi Les Paul JR

The Les Paul Junior has been around for a long time and is a staple of Rock and Metal. The body is slightly smaller than a traditional Les Paul, and the top is not carved. For some guitarists, the simplicity is key.

Adding to the already simple design is the removal of the neck pickup entirely. This lends the Junior models to being great rhythm guitars for heavy tones.

Simplicity is key, so the features are dialed back:

  • Inspired by Gibson
  • 22 Frets
  • Mahogany Body
  • Indian laurel fretboard
  • Single p90 “Dog Ear” Pickup
  • Vintage inspired tuning machines

If “simple, yet effective” is your motto; This is the Les Paul for you. Many famous guitarists prefer the single pickup simplicity, like Phil X, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Joan Jett.

There is a reason these are favorites for so many guitarists. 2020 is the first year that Epiphone has made these “inspired by Gibson” designs. I think they hit a home run with this new series!

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#3 Epiphone Les Paul Classic

The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal
Les Paul Classic

Also new for 2020, is the “Classic” series. These are satin finish models that are very close to the Gibson specs. All of the new Epiphone guitars for 2020 are exciting to me, but this one takes the cake!

This new addition to the Epiphone line has several different “worn” satin finishes. Some of the colors are limited edition, or they are limited to a specific vendor.

Make no mistake, this is a proper Les Paul. The specs reinforce this:

  • Mahogany Neck and Body
  • 22 Frets
  • 2 Classic Alnico humbuckers
  • Proper Gibson inlays
  • Locktone Bridge
  • Grover Tuners
  • Slim Taper Neck

I got to try these out at the local shop, and I cannot believe this is a “budget” guitar. The cool thing about these different satin finishes, is they will eventually “wear away” the more you play. Like their expensive Gibson counterparts!

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#2 Epiphone Les Paul Muse

The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal
Les Paul Muse

OK. These things are crazy.

Epiphone took the classic Les Paul design, and tweaked it…a lot! The new “Muse” series doesn’t have much in common with a classic Les Paul outside of the shape.

The body woods are completely different, as well as the neck woods. The body itself is chambered to lighten the load of the usually heavy Les Paul. Not to mention, the insanely cool colors that these new models come in.

  • Okoume Body and Neck
  • Belly cut and scarf joint
  • Chambered Body
  • Indian laurel fretboard
  • 2 Alnico Pro Humbuckers
  • Modern “C” neck
  • Locktone Bridge
  • Grover Tuning machines
  • 4 Pearl Finish options

This is the most radical departure from the traditional Les Paul that Epiphone has ever made. I really want to pick one of these up for myself! For the affordable price, I may actually grab two.

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#1 Epiphone Les Paul Modern

The Best Epiphone Les Paul Models: 5 TOP Choices for Rock & Metal
The New MODERN

At the top of our list is the new beautiful Les Paul Modern. At this point, Epiphone is just showing off.

The new Modern models are out of this world, and probably the closest you will get to an actual Gibson model, under the Epiphone name. These are outstanding quality for the money.

Epiphone has experimented with the maple cap of the Les Paul before, but the new finish process is truly something to behold. These guitars look like a much more expensive instrument.

To be honest…the new 2020 Modern offers some specs that even Gibson doesn’t:

  • Mahogany Body
  • AAA Flame Maple wood top
  • Ebony fretboard
  • Ergonomic tapered neck joint
  • 22 medium jumbo frets
  • Graphtech Bone Nut
  • Probucker pickups
  • Locktone ABR bridge
  • Grover locking machine heads
  • Gibson styled inlays

This really IS a “modern” Les Paul. By far, the Modern models outshine everything else in Epiphone’s new catalog. The features like locking tuners, Flame maple cap, and a tapered neck joint cannot even be found on Gibson guitars!

The Les Paul Modern is a shred machine, and a classic redesigned. While Epiphone often gets overlooked, with models like the Modern I think some heads will definitely be turning.

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Christoper Horton

Christopher started playing guitar in 1994 at 14 years old. He has been a part of the Metal community for the last 25 years and has 11 solo albums under his belt. Christopher started his career in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 90's, later securing a major label record deal in the early 2000s under the name IAMSOUND. He worked briefly as a hired gun in Los Angeles before he opened his own studio in 2010 in Savannah, Georgia. Chris has worked with some big names over the years like Tripping Daisy, Kylesa, Baroness, and the legendary Reflux.

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