Zakk Wylde Signature Les Paul Custom review by Epiphone

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.8 (385 votes)
Epiphone: Zakk Wylde Signature Les Paul Custom
6

Sound — 7
True Zakk buffs will immediately want to ditch the pickups for a set of active EMGs, like what he has on his Gibsons. However, the EMG-HZs are an excellent alternative that also serve to keep the price down. The bridge pickup is fat and crisp, and the neck pickup is smooth and buttery. A wide range of rock, metal, or even bluesy tones are possible with this guitar. Country, funk, and jazz players stay away! The mahogany body and rosewood fretboard contribute to the warm Les Paul sound.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I liked this one. I play primarily rock and metal, so I don't really miss the lack of a single coil pickup. If you want a guitar that is meant to rock morning to night, this is your guitar. Whether or not you want to parade around on stage proclaiming your love for Zakk Wylde is another thing, the Bullseye is tough to miss, and is certainly associated with him. I think the Epiphone is a great buy, with it's combination of features, playability and tone with an affordable price tag of $800 or so. Even if you have to drop another $200 for the set of active EMGs, you have a guitar that is very nearly as good as the Gibson for $3200 less.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Epiphone has stepped up their quality in recent years, and the current crop of Korean-made guitars like this has fared very well in the long term. The craftsmanship is good, the tolerances are tight and the quality of materials is very good for this price range. I see no reason why this guitar shouldn't last for years and years.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
My test model was set up very well, and I saw no flaws in the finish. I took a point off because the frets were not polished as well as they should have been, giving vibrato and bends a somewhat gritty feel. I was able to clean them up with some 0000 steel wool and a bit of elbow grease, but I don't feel I should have to put this kind of time into an $800 guitar. Other than that, playability was excellent. It responded well whether I really dug in for chunky rhythms or finessed it through leads. It's easy to see why the Les Paul has been such an enduring design.

Features — 8
This solid-body electric is the brainchild of Ozzy/Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde, who has dominated the rock and metal scene for years with his "Alvin Lee on crack" Precision soloing style. His Les Paul is very traditional, with some stylistic touches that make it his own. The mahogany body has the familiar Les Paul shape with an arched top and seven-layer binding top and bottom. You'll either love the bullseye paint job or you'll hate it, and this guitar makes no apologies about it's looks. The hardware is gold throughout (even the truss rod cover - a nice touch), and features the Standard Tune-O-Matic bridge, stop tailpiece and sealed Grover tuners. The scale length is 24.75", just like any Les Paul. Pickups are two EMG-HZ passive humbuckers, and there is one volume and tone knob for each. Pickup switching is done with a three-way Switch. The hard rock maple neck is finished with clear satin rather than the glossy creme on the rest of the guitar, and the rosewood fretboard sports block inlays.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Kurai-sama
    "dude, the only reason people like zak wylde is because he played in black sabbath, and he can do pinch harmonics" 1. He never played in Black Sabbath. For their guitarist's signature Epi, check this out: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/e... s/epiphone/sg_tony_iommi/index.html 2. Pinched harmonics are part of his style. 3. Do some research before disagreeing. 4. Zakk can shred your face off. Thanks.
    Dark Aegis
    dude, the only reason people like zak wylde is because he played in black sabbath, and he can do pinch harmonics
    He didnt play in sabbath
    Kevin DEEGAN
    This guitar rocks, Ive had mine for 10 months now and have played it through a marshall DFX250 and now have a JCM900 4102 DUAL REVERB. The sound from it is awsum even through the dfx it was great, even better through my JCM900 the action on this thing is very good also mind you I do have EMG 25TH ANNIVERSARY PICKUPS on it which does help a lot with the sound. I must say I cant fault this guitar, I know as someone has already said its a signature guitar but who cares as long as it plays well and the sound and action are what you want it doesnt matter that its a signature guitar. Its a lot cheaper than the gibson one and in my opinion just as good with active EMG'S through a good amp
    sneauxman
    dude, the only reason people like zak wylde is because he played in black sabbath, and he can do pinch harmonics
    nksoloman5000
    dude i have 1 of these and its great the effin best sound ever idk if its better then my gibson sg but its good
    jeromeo12
    "The bridge pickup is fat and crisp, and the neck pickup is smooth and buttery." WTF! Are we talking about pickups or food here? I know describing sound objectively is difficult but this is too much. Smooth and buttery means nothing to most people.
    triv fan
    Ive found my epiphone Zakk to be of great value and quality.I ve played substantially more expensive Les Pauls and diddnt find them to be as comfartable even at three times the price . Im now getting the emg 81 85 combo for it but have to say the stockers are pretty close for passives . Durable reliable built to last.Great clean and dirty tones nice paint . overall an 8 on a 10 scale to me. mmmmmetal
    Epiphone-Man
    dudes this guy i know bought the gibson one for $10,000(NZ)and it is the bees knees man rock ure socks off
    nao_guy
    i have a zakk wylde epiphone and a ibson les paul specail and i must say the gibson comletely owns the bullseye in everyway and the bullseye has a terrible sound if not through a great amp
    DDOG1230
    Yngwie #1 wrote: that guitar is pretty good, I almost bought it, but instead I got a Jackson RR3, it's more my style because it has a Floyd Rose. I like to go divebomb crazy!
    DDOG1230
    DDOG1230 wrote:yopu need to be careful with the whammy man , mine fell apart and i had to put it back together, and the 2 guitars that are the best ive ever played, keep in mind i have 4 years on me, are my Jackson vintage 80's Dinky \M/ and the Zakk Epiphone, waiting on the money, i havent played the gibson yet but im waiting to. Yngwie #1 wrote: that guitar is pretty good, I almost bought it, but instead I got a Jackson RR3, it's more my style because it has a Floyd Rose. I like to go divebomb crazy!
    hetmeister
    I have had this guitar for a few months now and it is perfect for just about everything. This guitar also makes you look great which is a good thing.
    wyldes god
    the zakk wylde les paul has everything sound, playability, looks, great with the ladies aswell but diehard zakk fans will replace the passive pickups for actives. great guitar though any type of player will be happy with it
    OzzyOwnz
    The Novice wrote: I've never understood why everyone loves this guitar, I mean, can someone tell me why ?
    every one loves this guitar because... ITS THE BEST --- epiphone that is Zakk Wylde Has even used this in-concert sometimes too oh, and hes a REALLY good guitar player. just listen to zakk wylde crazy train
    JHD
    wooott just bought my first Les Paul today i just thought every one shoud kno cuz im relle happy about it
    Mcassidy42
    My friend bought this for about 650$, it dosn't play to much better than my 450$ Strat, it's a nice guitar though, just a bit to flashy for me.
    Aziraphale
    I really wouldn't recommend putting two 81's in it. 81's are good for tight, badass rhythm playing in the bridge position, but soloing with an 81 in the neck position sounds absolutely horrible. Just listen to Kirk Hammet playing Fade to Black now compared to back in the 80's. Never liked his solos but he had a way better sound before he got two 81's in his guitars.
    Super_Chris
    I have this epiphone and it is AWSUM!!! of course the gibson will blow it out of the water nd so i'd hope for an extra 1200
    The Novice
    I've never understood why everyone loves this guitar, I mean, can someone tell me why ?
    Yngwie #1
    that guitar is pretty good, I almost bought it, but instead I got a Jackson RR3, it's more my style because it has a Floyd Rose. I like to go divebomb crazy!
    emr_steelmech
    Kilimacory wrote: yeah... just wrote a paper on this guitar.. I want it bad!!
    I wish I had that class...
    DaveDaThrasha
    buddy of mine has one of these, and he's had nothin but problems since he got it. maybe its just his but hardware has been comin loose alot, and one of his pickups fried about a week after he got it. put some active EMG's in tho, and now its not a bad sounding guitar.
    OzzyOwnz
    I have it Got it 1 week before your review came out lol its GREAT my friend just got a Gibson SG and he wants to trade for my Epiphone Zakk lol mine was $200$ cheaper than his too
    Ginger-les-tom
    [quotefear no beer : this guitar is obviously not as good as the gibson thats why its about 2 grand cheaper,but in my opinion there is much on the market for the same price that can compete with this guitars brutality,this guitar screams and i love it,until i can afford a gibson there is nothing wrong with this guitar,the EMGs although there passive,sound great still,the unfinished neck is very fast and easy to get around,the weight is perfect for a les paul,heavy but not too heavy][/quote] yeah but come on dude, it may be 2grand cheaper, but the difference you are paying for is only a couple of hundred, 600 at most, trust me, i admit the gibson is better but no 2k better, but if youve got the money get the gibson