#1
I was looking at the Matt Heafy Epiphone Les Paul and I was really intrigued by how good the access was to the upper frets. This is always an area that has put me off Les Pauls in the past so I was wondering if there were any other single cut guitars out there at a similar price (about £600) that also had a thin neck and such good upper fret access.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#2
LTD EC-1000s sound great for you, amazing guitars for the price. Not sure of UK prices but you could definitely find a great condition used one for that kind of money. Much better guitar than any Epiphone too. They are more comparable to Gibsons really like a Studio really but with better features. But of course the LTDs feel much more modern and are very well suited to metal. Depending on the finish, you can choose between EMG 81/60 and SD JBs
#3
I have an EC-1000, it IS a great guitar, I love it, I don't even play my other ones since I got it. BUT it doesn't have the contoured heel that the Matt Heafy Paul has...it has a standard looking Les Paul set neck heel
'93 Gibson LP Studio (498T/490R)-Ebony
'14 Gibson LP Standard (JB/Jazz)-Ocean Water Perimeter
Epi MKH LP Custom-7 (SD Custom Shop JB-7)-Ebony
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#5
I have no problem getting to the upper frets. I did when I first got into LPs after using Teles and Strats but now I have no issue, I think you get used to it.

Slash and Buckethead have no problem.
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#7
Yep (well mine doesn't because its a CTM) but take a look at the back of the Matt Heafy one

'93 Gibson LP Studio (498T/490R)-Ebony
'14 Gibson LP Standard (JB/Jazz)-Ocean Water Perimeter
Epi MKH LP Custom-7 (SD Custom Shop JB-7)-Ebony
+More

Maxon od808|Boss NS-2|Boss CE-5|
Line6 G55|Korg Pitchblack Pro

JVM 210h|1960a(V30/G12t-75)
Last edited by RCA1186 at Jun 25, 2013,
#9
It's a shame you're not in the US, an Agile AL-3200 is really the way to go for what you're looking for.



I've never actually seen one, but you can also keep an eye out for an LTD JK-1. It is extremely similar to the AL-3200, contourwise:

Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#10
Mmmmm.....The EC-401 is certainly in the budget and that looks almost the same as the EC-1000 so that's a possibility. If only it had better access to the upper frets. I don't particularly want to go with an Epiphone because I think things like LTD and PRS are simply better but for upper fret access alone, the Matt Heafy one has to remain in consideration. I've also looked at PRS single cuts but while the Bernie Marsden SE looks great, it has the wide fat neck and traditional neck joint. In fact, the only single cut with the wide thin is the Tremonti Custom but from what I can gather, that's a surprisingly bright guitar and it has a trem, neither of which are features I want. I just can't get an Agile here in the UK and while the JK-1 looks ideal, it has a maple neck-thru so not what I want for the tone I'm after. Why on earth more manufacturers don't do a neck joint similar to the Matt Heafy one I've no idea.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#11
What about an Ibanez ARZ? Other than the lack of fret markers, they seem quite good.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#12
Obviously there's only so much I can do online and eventually I have to play them but some do now seem more likely than others.

PRS - If the Tremonti is as bright or brighter than a Custom 24 I see absolutely no point in getting it as I might as well just get a second Custom 24 and change the tone with different pickups. That being the case, if I am to get a PRS that isn't a Custom 24 it would have to have the fat neck and the best option there seems to be the Bernie Marsden so I'll give that a try.

LTD - Everything I've heard suggests the EC-401 is a really good guitar and I know the neck is ideal for me. Upper fret access doesn't seem to be much better than any other Les Paul style guitar so it really depends on whether it has that deep and rich Les paul tone or not. If it doesn't, I won't be interested as again, I'd be better with a Custom 24 or one of the all mahogany LTD double cuts.

Epiphone - Due to my reservations about the quality of the Epiphones in comparison to PRS or LTD I'd say the Prophecy is out of the running as I can't see it giving me anything I can't get from PRS or LTD. The Matt Heafy model is a different story as the upper fret access on that is astonishing so I think I have to look at that.

Ibanez - A late consideration this but one that certainly seems to have some merits. Two models seem possible; the ART and ARZ. Both will have reasonably slim necks and both have fairly cheap models where the only difference with the more expensive ones are cheap Ibanez pickups but as I'd be changing the pickups anyway, that's not really an issue for me. The ART has the disadvantage of what looks like a conventional neck joint but other than that it seems fine, though again, it would depend on how close its core tone is to a Les Paul. The ARZ has much better upper fret access so the only thing that obviously puts me off this is the lack of fret markers (the main reason I bought the Jackson instead of the Torero) and of course, it would still depend on how close it is to a Les Paul in core tone. Given that these guitars are approximately half the price of the LTD and PRS models I'm looking at, thanks mainly to cheap stock pickups, I'd be able to install my preferred Bare Knuckle pickups and change all of the electrical internals to Bare Knuckle and still have some change. I'm sure the EC-401 is superb but clearly I'd be partly paying for EMG pickups that I'd never actually use.

So there it is; I'm pretty sure that the Bernie Marsden will sound the closest to a Les Paul so that's my starting point and if I can live with the neck, I'll get that. With all of the others, it's really about which one is closest to that Les Paul tone I'm after and I'll probably buy whichever one is most deep, rich and resonating. If none of them are significantly closer than a Custom 24 and I don't like the wide fat neck, I'll just get another Custom 24. Simples
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#13
"Les Paul tone" is going to come a lot more from a good set of PAFs than from a particular neck joint or neck wood.

You're absolutely not going to be nailing any studio tones anyway, regardless of anything.


I cant' believe i forgot about the Ibanez ARZ. Good suggestion. Biggest discrepency there is that it's not a 24.75" scale guitar, so it will feel different than guitars that use the traditional LP scale.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Last edited by Offworld92 at Jun 26, 2013,
#14
I suppose by 'Les Paul tone' I'm thinking of the kind of tone I associate with Gary Moore and Slash etc. with maybe a bit more compression than that. Essentially I want it to be quite dark, thick and warm as that's how I've found any Les Pauls I've ever tried. I've always assumed that a lot of that tone comes partly from the set neck construction and mostly from the sheer volume of mahogany that is in a Les Paul. That would suggest that I need a thick mahogany body as a starting point and ideally a mahogany neck but I realise it will always be compromised to a degree by me also wanting a slim neck and decent upper fret access, therefore reducing the amount of mahogany I have to play with. Any difference in 'feel' doesn't bother me in the slightest; it's just the Les Paul tone I'm after and of course, I appreciate that the pickups will be important which is why I will certainly be changing them. A lot of the guitars I'm looking at are running actives, which will be entirely unsuitable for the tone I want. At the moment I'm thinking either a set of Bare Knuckle Mules or possibly Bare Knuckle Abraxas pickups (essentially a hotter Mule) but I'll speak to Tim at BKP about that when the time comes.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#15
A neck joint and a body wood is going to make little difference compared to a good PAF and a roaring Marshall behind you.

Your HT60 may bottleneck you. I absolutely would not drop BKP money on pups into an HT. Nothing wrong with a pair of Duncan '59s, really. Might also want to look into the new Custom/'59 Hybrid too. I say this as someone who has owned a Mule and a '59. The Mule was better, no doubt, but $100 better? Nope. And IMO no one has any business spending an extra $100 on a pup when their amp isn't up to snuff in the first place.

I refuse to go into woods or start a discussion about them... we've been down that road around here way too many times. I will not say that wood makes no difference. But I will say that different pups and use of your tone knob is a much more drastic difference than anything physical on/in the guitar.


I'd also like to stress that a huge, huge, huge part of their sound is the way they play. "Tone" is not in the fingers by any means, but style and inflection is, and style makes a huge difference.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#17
The Chapman ML-2 is a nice design and I like the concept as I would be putting my own pickups into it but that makes it very similar to the Ibanez ARZ except that the Ibanez is close to being £150 cheaper!

As for pickups, I would respectfully disagree. Over the years I've owned a number of Bare Knuckle pickups (Cold Sweat set, A-Bomb bridge, Holydiver bridge, Miracle Man bridge, Emerald neck, Trilogy Suites and Sinners. I've also owned a range of amps in the form of a Marshall DSL, Hughes & Kettner Switchblade and Blackstar HT60 and the Bare Knuckles have improved every guitar they've been in through every amp. The difference between my Jackson with Bare Knuckles compared to the Seymour Duncans that came in it stock. Would I notice more of a difference if I was using a £2000 amp? I don't doubt I would and I'd agree that if i was using a Marshall MG they'd be a waste of money but in the amps I've used, they've always worked really well and I doubt I'll ever use anything else.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#18
Quote by Doadman
The Chapman ML-2 is a nice design and I like the concept as I would be putting my own pickups into it but that makes it very similar to the Ibanez ARZ except that the Ibanez is close to being £150 cheaper!


From my knowledge the Ibanez doesn't have a contoured neck heel, nor does it have grover tuners or a tusq nut (from seeing the specs) and the EMG equipped one comes in at the same price as the Chapman.

Not that i'm advocating either company - simply stating that if you're after a les paul with a nice neck contour the Chapman is an option. As is the Charvel Desolation DS series (A lot of S*** spoken about them but mine is excellent.)

EDIT: The ARZ does indeed have a contoured heel - my bad!
Last edited by Bassface7 at Jun 26, 2013,
#19
That Charvel looks awesome. In many ways it's a mahogany, single cut version of the Jackson Soloist I'm selling! With all that mahogany, does it seem similar to a Les Paul tonally to you?
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1