Zakk Wylde Signature Les Paul Custom Plus review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (80 votes)
Epiphone: Zakk Wylde Signature Les Paul Custom Plus
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Price paid: £ 570

Purchased from: Guitar Amp & Keyboard (online)

Sound — 10
This guitar of course has an amazing sound, it's pretty much custom built for modern metal/rock and even alternative! I play; Elliot Minor, Nickelback, Paramore, Evanescence, Zakk Wylde (obviously), Slayer, Disturbed, AC/DC, Kansas, ANY MANY MORE DIFFERENT BANDS! It handles them all really well! It does sound sublime for metal and modern rock/alternative, and it works well for older stuff. The pick-ups are a dream... clear precise and they can give you a warm smooth sound or a screaming bloody slap in the face solo sound! The tone and volume controls are brilliant... they make such a huge difference to the sound! The tone/volume knobs on my other guitars don't come close to this one, so the sound you get from just one pick-up by using the knobs is astounding! The pick-ups are quiet as a mouse, un-till you play.. then they shout. All in a good way, it makes noise when you want it too, no need to turn volume down when your not playing, no buzz, no ringing, nothing... perfect! As I said... the sound can be rich/smooth/warm to high/screaming/face melting, etc... I use either; Marshall MG30FX with a Marshall Foot Pedal or my Line 6 GX Audio interface that's linked to POD Farm v2.0 on my computer (for recording purposes really... see www.youtube.com/mrtjgale for some videos!) It stays in tune, like a dream! The pegs are nice and stiff, which really re-assures you that its holding onto the tone nice and tight... after putting new strings on, I tuned twice and it's fine! AMAZING! This is an extremely versatile guitar, but it is suited to modern stuff really... but don't be put off buying it if you wont be focusing on modern music!

Overall Impression — 10
I can't get over how brilliant this guitar is... if you don't like a sound, tweak the tone/volume and there you have it, a sound that will make Slash cry! Zakk Wylde loves this guitar! I know he uses a Gibson... but he has said that the Epiphone is his number 1 recommendation for those who can't get a Gibson. The only difference between this and a Gibson... is the way/place it was built... Gibson in America, by a team of dedicated workers... and Epiphone in China, with a good manufacturing process! Though please don't let that put you off! The only thing I wish it had, would be different strap buttons! That is all! If it were lost or stolen, I'd cry for a month then buy a new one! My favourite feature (apart from the obvious sound)... is the tuning pegs! They are just so great at what they do it's unreal! REMEMBER! This guitar I'm reviewing is the 2011 version, that includes Zakk Wylde's choice of active EMG pick-ups.. the 81 and 85! They normally have to be bought and fitted later for an extra cost of close to 200. The older versions have imitation EMG HZ passive pick-ups!

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is a beast... it's got good weight to it, if you use the string size (10) then it will more than handle some serious heavy playing live! I have played this at full volume on 2 4x12 Marshall Brit Cabs in a practise room, and it sounded like god farting! It was epic... that is all! The hardware will more than last... the nut especially is the best I have seen so far... however, another little tip for you; shave some of the end of a pencil in the grooves of the nut, so that the grooves in the nut fill with the black graphite stuff... this will aid in reducing the effect of the strings cutting through the plastic. The strap buttons... mmmm, I wouldn't be too confident with these, they're not the 'button' type that I like.. they have that angled style, so pressure will make the strap slide off :( Such a shame! I will be keeping this guitar for many years! I can feel it... it's so reliable!

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is pretty much exactly where I want it... it's low... but not too low to cause any problems. There is no fret buzz... the only time I did get it was in DropC# on the first fret of the low E string, which is not at all surprising! I'd recommend having the pick-ups in the middle/a little low, the pick-ups give off enough volume as it is, and having them too close to the strings can cause problems. The guitar actually came tuned! It still had dust all over it inside a sealed box.. and it was tuned! WOW... all I did was change strings to my favourite Ernie Ball Regular Slinkeys (10's)and put the pick-ups down a little! I'll tell you a little secret... the design on the body is a decal (sticker)... but it's so well done it's 100% impossible to find any kind of seam or edge! It's still sexy as hell!

Features — 10
This is the 2011 version of the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Plus (Zakk Wylde Bullseye)...it's a 22 fret guitar, with a pretty thick neck, but surprisingly it really works for shredding and some fast solos! INFO FROM Epiphone WEBSITE: +Pickups: EMG 81/85 (yes the 2011 does come with the famous 81/85's) +Hardware: Gold +Scale: 24.75" +Nut Width: 1.68" +Neck: Glued In / Set / Hard Mapel +FB-Inlay: Ebony-Block +Body Material: Mahogany +Tailpiece: Locktone Stopbar +Finish: Antique Ivory (not the 'YELLOW' that some people think it is, its more a beige/yellow) You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk

54 comments sorted by best / new / date

    AntwanL
    DurpaDurpa wrote: Completely sick of high reviews. Good guitar? Probably. But that leaves a shit load of guitars that are better to all automatically make it into the other .2 out of 10 that is left over.
    Im sick of idiots like you who think a number is a be-all-end-all. A high review means this guitar is a 9.8 in comparison to other comparable guitars. PLUS, this review is based on is preferences and experiences. So someone else can be incredibly disappointed with this guitar and rate it at a 6.0. That doesn't change what the guitar is or what any guitar is.
    TomGale
    Shredin0id wrote: I do think it's nice that Epiphone made a Zakk Wylde finish but I really don't think Epiphones aren worth it. I'd rather wait more for a Gibson and never have to want another guitar again than settle for an Epiphone and feel sad over the fact that it's not a Gibson and that it could be better. For now, I'm happy with my Shecter (and I think it's much better too!)
    Yeah? And for now... I'm happy with my Epiphone, (and I think it's much better too)... ever heard of something called "Personal Preference"?
    K33nbl4d3
    The only difference between this and a Gibson... is the way/place it was built...
    Also the finish. Probably worth mentioning since it makes up around 100 of the price difference...
    Bezza27
    TheResults wrote: Is there any way to mark reviews like this as spam and delete them.... its a love letter to a guitar that he bought online, which was his first mistake; second mistake is it was rated, without a doubt, BEFORE actually writing the review. The sticker graphics take it down to 8, and the fact that hes playing it thru an MG series marshall kinda screams noob all day. It'd be nice if maybe there was more people who work for music stores doing reviews; or even people who spend more than 20 minutes picking their favorite guitarist signature model from a website. Youve gotta play guitars to rate guitars, and its obvious hes only played this one guitar
    Not everyone can afford high end boutique amps, they make do with what they have. Calling someone a noob because of the gear they use is you insulting them because they aren't swimming in riches like you clearly are.
    smokedhamtaro
    almadacr wrote: smokedhamtaro wrote: Sputnik1 wrote: This so called review has advertising and needs to be removed. "You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk" Dude, he was just stating a fact to maybe help others who were looking at getting the guitar. People need to stop being such *****s ^This , i think this review is intended to help others that are on there way to buy this guitar or diden`t decided what they want . The only thing that it should be explained ( and this is a creative criticism ) is regarding the the final note of 9.8 is a little to high for a knock off when i say knock off i`m saying not the same specs as the real deal ( being a decals and built in china it should at least be - 2 points )
    I definitely agree with the decal part, but a lot of the guitars coming out of china these days actually do seem to be getting pretty close to some of the other countries in terms of build quality, of course nothing really seems to beat an american made, and often a japanese made.
    RockRolla
    A review is based on the reviewers opinion,experience,and what they like or dislike about a certain guitar.It is that and only that,if you don't like a review,write your own.Also get a set of straplocks!
    almadacr
    smokedhamtaro wrote: Sputnik1 wrote: This so called review has advertising and needs to be removed. "You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk" Dude, he was just stating a fact to maybe help others who were looking at getting the guitar. People need to stop being such *****s
    ^This , i think this review is intended to help others that are on there way to buy this guitar or diden`t decided what they want . The only thing that it should be explained ( and this is a creative criticism ) is regarding the the final note of 9.8 is a little to high for a knock off when i say knock off i`m saying not the same specs as the real deal ( being a decals and built in china it should at least be - 2 points )
    TomGale
    iceh88 wrote: i only think this deserves a 9.8 if you have real EMG's in it not the HZ series. all this is, is a epi custom with a nice paint job. hell spend the money on a LTD ec-1000, so much better then the Epi model les pauls. I had to do alot of work to my epi les paul to get it where i wanted it to be.
    This does have the real active EMG 81 and 85's.. can't you read!?
    TomGale
    TheResults wrote: Is there any way to mark reviews like this as spam and delete them.... its a love letter to a guitar that he bought online, which was his first mistake; second mistake is it was rated, without a doubt, BEFORE actually writing the review. The sticker graphics take it down to 8, and the fact that hes playing it thru an MG series marshall kinda screams noob all day. It'd be nice if maybe there was more people who work for music stores doing reviews; or even people who spend more than 20 minutes picking their favorite guitarist signature model from a website. Youve gotta play guitars to rate guitars, and its obvious hes only played this one guitar
    I've had 16 guitars... I have been playing for 2+ years... I'm not an "advanced" player, but I know a good guitar... if you have played a guitar before... then buying online is NOT a bad thing... Marshall MG30FX is an amp I like... 'noobs' often have the misconception that amps work like a top 10 list... Each to their own mate! I spent about 6 months contemplating this and many other guitars to buy. So don't tell me that this is a bad review! Things like sticker graphics would not bring down a rating, in my opinion, wood grain finish guitars suck ass! So would I rate one a (2)... no, because it depends on how well done the finish is.
    Woffelz
    TomGale wrote: TheResults wrote: Is there any way to mark reviews like this as spam and delete them.... its a love letter to a guitar that he bought online, which was his first mistake; second mistake is it was rated, without a doubt, BEFORE actually writing the review. The sticker graphics take it down to 8, and the fact that hes playing it thru an MG series marshall kinda screams noob all day. It'd be nice if maybe there was more people who work for music stores doing reviews; or even people who spend more than 20 minutes picking their favorite guitarist signature model from a website. Youve gotta play guitars to rate guitars, and its obvious hes only played this one guitar I've had 16 guitars... I have been playing for 2+ years... I'm not an "advanced" player, but I know a good guitar... if you have played a guitar before... then buying online is NOT a bad thing... Marshall MG30FX is an amp I like... 'noobs' often have the misconception that amps work like a top 10 list... Each to their own mate! I spent about 6 months contemplating this and many other guitars to buy. So don't tell me that this is a bad review! Things like sticker graphics would not bring down a rating, in my opinion, wood grain finish guitars suck ass! So would I rate one a (2)... no, because it depends on how well done the finish is.
    TomGale wrote: Made of money? Shredin0id wrote: I do think it's nice that Epiphone made a Zakk Wylde finish but I really don't think Epiphones aren worth it. I'd rather wait more for a Gibson and never have to want another guitar again than settle for an Epiphone and feel sad over the fact that it's not a Gibson and that it could be better. For now, I'm happy with my Shecter (and I think it's much better too!) Yeah? And for now... I'm happy with my Epiphone, (and I think it's much better too)... ever heard of something called "Personal Preference"?
    Stop flaming him. Why does his opinion hurt you? Because you're a spoilt rich fanboy of this guitar?
    Kortez3000
    DurpaDurpa wrote: Completely sick of high reviews. Good guitar? Probably. But that leaves a shit load of guitars that are better to all automatically make it into the other .2 out of 10 that is left over.
    Agreed, I hate perfect score reviews. They hardly ever give any actual criticism just praise.
    smokedhamtaro
    Sputnik1 wrote: This so called review has advertising and needs to be removed. "You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk"
    Dude, he was just stating a fact to maybe help others who were looking at getting the guitar. People need to stop being such *****s
    guitarmanzoso
    The only difference between this and the actual gibson model is the headstock and a few wiring tweets!! and for practically 1/4th the cost!! Epiphone has really impressed me by finally making a Les Paul with an EBONY fingerboard!! I cant wait to play this thing!!
    smokedhamtaro
    KingSquall802 wrote: playing a nickelback song on a zakk wylde les paul? WTF.
    Lol, dude i play fricken paramore on a jackson rr3.
    Kingkilla
    AMEN to all who said the same! Ya don't like it, get a Gibson model...but for what this is, and what the PRO same as Zakk one COSTS...cut the tater some slack!!
    RockRolla wrote: A review is based on the reviewers opinion,experience,and what they like or dislike about a certain guitar.It is that and only that,if you don't like a review,write your own.Also get a set of straplocks!
    TheResults
    Is there any way to mark reviews like this as spam and delete them.... its a love letter to a guitar that he bought online, which was his first mistake; second mistake is it was rated, without a doubt, BEFORE actually writing the review. The sticker graphics take it down to 8, and the fact that hes playing it thru an MG series marshall kinda screams noob all day. It'd be nice if maybe there was more people who work for music stores doing reviews; or even people who spend more than 20 minutes picking their favorite guitarist signature model from a website. Youve gotta play guitars to rate guitars, and its obvious hes only played this one guitar
    ridleyredraider
    It's hilarious to see everyone so angry that he appears to have money to buy guitars...some people just need to get jobs!
    Lucifarion
    For all the retards that are claiming that the Zakk Wylde Gibsons' are better then Epiphones'. 1. Both use CNC machines, neither is hand crafted... and both use the same specs. 2. Both have EMG's so wiring will be exactly the same, there is no difference. (I've even checked US and Epi ZW Les Pauls, both are just regular EMG electronics) 3. The materials used... well this is were things really turn in the favour of Epiphone. Gibson has been banned from using far east, and African woods... this includes ebony. Epiphone on the other hand are built in the far east and are under no such ban, and fully take advantage of this. :. Conclusion, when you buy a Gibson USA all you are doing is paying for a headstock shape and a name these days. Having been a player, a tech, and a guitar sales person for over 15yrs. I can say that Gibsons' quality has fallen to the way side in the last few years (Bad frets, poor paint and general build quality, overly harsh pick-ups, crap set-ups.) I've spent far too much time fixing their issues. Oddly enough other then upgrades I've not had to really fix anything on most Epiphone guitars. I personally own 2 Gibsons, 4 Epiphones (including a ZW Bullseye), 3 Schecters, 2 ESPs, 2 LTDs, a couple of US Fenders.... need I go on? If you want a true over-all review of this ZW Les Paul I'd give it a 7.5 and this is compared to higher end guitars, by someone who has experience and a true '60's Marshall Head and Cab. I guess it comes down to this Gibsons' are like Ferraris' if you have something to prove you'll go for a name.... if you're looking for a decent guitar play a bunch (but don't pay attention to the name on the headstock), then make a decision. I think people would be surprised to find how many times they'd choose the Epiphone or LTD/ ESP over Gibson.
    TST2469
    I really like the look of this guitar and ive herd the sound is amazing!
    Prisoner5
    Jesus Fuck...16 guitars in a little over 2 years? And one of them with active EMGs? It is nice to be made of money isn't it? Now if only money could buy better musical taste...
    Louthesnakeman
    K33nbl4d3 wrote: The only difference between this and a Gibson... is the way/place it was built... Also the finish. Probably worth mentioning since it makes up around 100 of the price difference...
    and the grade of wood, the way of building, the quality of the wiring, the quality of the neck, the weight etc. etc....
    themelodicdeathshow
    I think he meant to say mass produced by epiphone for noobs who want to be like Zakk Wylde. Not custom built lol...
    jacks2axe
    you can put EMGs on crap and they sound good, buy a really cheap guitar and spend the money on the pickups instead if that is what you're after, they don't discriminate between woods, they sound the same on every guitar they're in.
    Sputnik1
    This so called review has advertising and needs to be removed. "You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk"
    rockingrugger
    i think everyone else who bought the older models are rather pissed off... Myself? I bought a fake one that seems to be an epiphone b stock with the headstock changed.. obviously it didnt come with real emgs, so i changed them, and now it's rather brilliant
    filipe26
    It probably is a great guitar, and i think that if you're for the active pup's all the way, then it's much more worth it to buy the 2011 epi model. I never tried active's, but people say that they interact less with the woods, so if you don't plan to swap pickups there'd be no reason to pay that amount of money for a gibson.
    DurpaDurpa
    Completely sick of high reviews. Good guitar? Probably. But that leaves a shit load of guitars that are better to all automatically make it into the other .2 out of 10 that is left over.
    iceh88
    i only think this deserves a 9.8 if you have real EMG's in it not the HZ series. all this is, is a epi custom with a nice paint job. hell spend the money on a LTD ec-1000, so much better then the Epi model les pauls. I had to do alot of work to my epi les paul to get it where i wanted it to be.
    Beralto
    i prefer the epi lp custom over any ec1000. the ec1000 have 25'5 scale and 24 frets. it makes a real change in the tone and the way you play. besides, with really few upgrades in the epiphone you have a better guitar for less money. one of my guitars is a korean epi les paul custom plus with emgs, locking tuners, bone knut and roller bridge and i do prefer it over any ltd (i have played many). and the upgrades just cost me like 50€ plus the emgs zw set now i just buy this guitar because of zakk is leaving gibson and i only can say good things about epiphone (standard and custom models). i'm playing it through a mesa boogie single rectifier, a marshall 1987x and a marshall valvestate vs100. i play in drop C#, because of my band, with daddario 12-60.
    ktrogm
    iceh88 wrote: i only think this deserves a 9.8 if you have real EMG's in it not the HZ series. all this is, is a epi custom with a nice paint job. hell spend the money on a LTD ec-1000, so much better then the Epi model les pauls. I had to do alot of work to my epi les paul to get it where i wanted it to be.
    and it's a decal not a paint job, did you even read the review before you started flaming? fail
    blazer84
    So let me gts his straight...this dude LOVEs this guitar right? All those years of playing experience are coming out in his well informed and un-bias review. I wonder if he designed the effin' thing with the way he's praising it. No More Tears Zakk was some sweet playing in my opinion, and even if he's still one of the premiere players (no idea since I don't listen to BLS) I would rather play a Harmony from the Sears catalogue than play someone else's signature guitar (especially one that is so recognizable). Then again, I don't spend countless hours learning other people's solos either...
    TheResults
    Tom, if youre going to post your opinion openly on a website with such heavy traffic, dont get offended/ defensive when others share their opinions as well. Active discussion and the sharing of ideas is what music is all about; you posted we responded, welcome to ultimate guitar :