Les Paul 100 review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 4
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.2 Neat
  • Users' score: 7.9 (2,209 votes)
Epiphone: Les Paul 100
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Price paid: $ 260

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 6
Well, I'm a beginning guitarist. I mostly plan to play punk, post-punk alternative, with a little classic rock and blues in there for good measure. It's got humbuckers (not p-90s), so it isn't a great fit for me, style-wise. But if you are a lefty who wants p-90s, you need to pay more money on a guitar than I am presently able/willing to spend - so here I am with a dual humbucker guitar. I've got a Vox DA5 solid-state modeling amp - which is actually quite a good amp, IMO. In any case, I'm forced to play through to a set of headphones, lest the neighbors lynch me. As a result, the guitar has limited ability to show it's true character. Clean, the guitar is brighter than you would expect for a Gibson LP-type guitar. It doesn't sound cheap, but there isn't a lot of "character" to it. Overall, I think Epiphone (Gibson?) designed this guitar for crunchy blues and metal (pimply 15 year-olds will buy this just to learn the opening licks to G&R's "Sweet Child O' Mine"). I've heard worse humbuckers - including some Alnico ones. Nevertheless, the tone will fall apart if you really ramp up the gain. At that point they scoop terribly. None of this implies the pickups are bad/cheap - but they *are* ceramic humbuckers, with the implied limitations being present. Sustain is okay. Not great. Not terrible. Lots of people have stated it's really fantastic for the price. Well, I've played a Godin LG P-90 with similar tone woods and which also had a bolt-on neck. The Godin had amazing sustain. I plan on checking the bolt tightness on my LP 100's neck.

Overall Impression — 7
It's a good beginner guitar, IMO, if you have smallish hands, fingers. The neck shape & thickness should be acceptable to most hand sizes & shapes. Similarly, the fretboard radius (12 inches) is curved enough for chord playing and should allow for a bit of string bending. And there is a left-handed model. Mostly, I bought it because I couldn't play chords without awful muting problems with the used Godin LG P-90 I had first purchased. That probably had more to due with the neck design on the Godin than the fact that the Godin was a right-handed guitar. In truth, having small hands and fingers, I need to be pretty selective about the necks on my guitar. That means I need to try out a guitar before buying it to verify that I can play the neck. The LP 100 happened to be the first left-handed guitar that I could try that seemed to have a half-way playable neck and didn't sound atrocious (I tried several cheap, lefty Ibanez G-series guitars that were obviously meant for metal - I called them "paper shredders"). So I settled for the LP 100. I would also encourage beginners to consider Agile guitars. They are reputedly a step up in quality from inexpensive Ibanez, Epiphone, and Squier guitars - but at comparable cost. Unfortunately, they must be purchased from their distributor without any opportunity to play them first. Which may not be a big deal if you have more typically-sized hands. Overall, I'm reasonably satisfied with the LP 100 - even if the pickups don't match my preferred musical style. Of course, Epiphone could address that by offering a P-90 option - but I doubt they will.

Reliability & Durability — 4
Well, I am a beginner and not all that experienced with guitars in general. At the same time I am a Mechanical Engineer. I briefly owned a Godin LG P-90 (the neck design wasn't playable for me, so I returned it) wit which I can make some comparisons. I would not trust the LP 100 guitar for live playing. I experienced a wiring problem with it on Day 1. It also has a subjective feeling of fragility in the neck, which I would attribute to more than just its thin cross section. The volume & tone controls, while working smoothly, do not seem very robust to me. Also, while the application of the finish was outstanding, I suspect it will chip/wear with regular use. I wouldn't have any worries gigging with the Godin (originally a $750 guitar), but using the LP 100 for any sort of professional work would be asking for trouble. If you purchase the guitar with the two-year warranty offered by many retailers then I think it will withstand regular practice (say, 1-2 hours a day, a few times per week) for a couple years at the least.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
No playability issues per se. Frets and nut were fine. No blemishes on the wood. Likewise the finish on the guitar was, as far as I could see, flawless. These are beginner guitars, really. As a result, the action was quite low (a guitar tech told me it could be set even lower, though). As I have small hands and short fingers, this was ideal. However, there was a problem with the positioning of the wiring that was causing the neck or treble pickups to intermittently fail (i.e. they would produce no output). This was remedied by a Guitar Center technician in 5 minutes with nothing more than a screwdriver. Apparently, it is a problem quite common to the model.

Features — 7
As the name implies it's a low-cost version of a Gibson Les Paul body. Hard-tail. 24.75 in scale with 22 frets. I happened to purchase one of the last Indonesian-produced guitars. Pretty good feature for the money. Let's start with the availability of a left-handed model (which cost $30 extra). It's a low-cost guitar, so the dual humbucker pickups are ceramic (not Alnico) and the tuners are non-locking. The Tune-o-matic Bridge and separate volume/tone controls for each pickup are nice surprises. Ditto the wood selection (Mahogony body with Maple top and Rosewood fretboard). No accessories.

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