Les Paul Classic review by Gibson

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.6 (239 votes)
Gibson: Les Paul Classic
7

Price paid: $ 1600

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
Sound is distinctively Les Paul. There are plenty of imitators, some come close (ala PRS), but ultimately if you want a Les sound, you have to get a Les. I play through a Polytone Mega Brute head and use a Mesa cab. The clean sound gives you about as close a punch to the Gibson L5 as you can get on a solid body. Has sustain like a bell. The low end is incredibly fat without getting muddled at all.

On the other side of the coin, when I want to play some Ozzy or Metallica just to goof off and relive my childhood, it rises to the challenge effortlessly.

Overall Impression — 10
I have played casually since the early 80's. I have no regrets buying this guitar. I owned a Les Paul Custom back in 87'. I wish I never got rid of it.

The Les Paul is a very distinct guitar. I can't imagine too many people buy a Les Paul who didn't go looking for one to begin with. If you go looking for a Les, consider the standard or Classic over the higher priced Custom. The sound identical, they just carry wildly different price tags. Btw, anyone notice that the price on Les Pauls has been going through the roof lately? Better get a used one!

Reliability & Durability — 10
I have not used it too much live and probably never will. I pretty much play for the fun of it. Having said that, there is nothing on this guitar that looks as though it won't outlive me. If there was ever a guitar you would label "Rock Solid" for durability and reliability, it would be any of the Les Pauls. I could probaby tunnel out of stone with this guitar and it would be fine. But then if you're reading this review you know about Les Pauls and are nodding in agreement already.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
"Premium Plus" leaves this 1997 Les with a beautiful AAA flamed top. The "classic" has the slimmer, 60's style neck. I have a fairly low action and I use 10's. The workmanship on this guitar is without flaw. I spent a great deal of time picking this guitar out. I chose this over a PRS (my first choice) due to it's warmer sound and better neck. However I have to say I am partial to the Honeyburst finish. The two PRSs that I liked had some ugly, kiddish looking teal and red finishes. I guess PRS is really trying to target the younger audience with it's finishes. Though you'd never know it by the price tags.

Features — 10
Let's face it, this is a Les. It's not noted for it's technical array of features. If you want coil splitters, tremolo bars, a wild headstock, and inlays that looks like a bird shot out of the sky in mid-flight, then go get yourself something more suited to your tastes. The Les is simply a work of art. They weigh a ton, but the result is an unmatched NATURAL sustain. The advantage of the Les is it's simplicty. The classic has a two relatively hot pickups. No coil splitters or kiddy bars. The guitar is built like a rock. Mine is the Premium Plus and therefore has a AAA flamed top complimented by a Honeyburst finish. The tuners are not chrome or flashy, but they are exceptionally smooth and of high quality. The bridge is again, art through simplicity. No goofy little knobs to adjust the fine tune. No need to when the instrument is built so well.

74 comments sorted by best / new / date

    r_linhares9
    mysteryguitar : i love gibson but epiphone is just as good ---> ur an idiot. period.
    stratman1990
    Just want to put my thoughts down on the Epson/Gibbophone argument. I have been playing/working on guitars for about 9 or 10 years now. And in that time it has come to my attention that the gulf between the two is actually enormous. Don't get me wrong Gibson have their ''off'' moments and although the odd Friday afternoon guitar does appear, on the whole they are leaps and bounds above their Epiphone counterparts. I have been doing set-ups for a number of years, and every Epiphone I've dealt with has been a bitter disappointment. To be honest I've always felt they look really good, but the quality lacks. The biggest disappointment was an Epi LP Custom I borrowed from a friend in return for a set up. It looked so nice, but it sounded sh*te and the fret work was dreadful (some weren't pressed in and some were dented, not good on a brand new guitar). The pickups lacked clarity, it was muddy and it had a nasty tendency to feedback even at modest volumes. After a set up it played ok, but not great. The worst thing though, was when I tried to fit a set of straplocks. Took off the old strap buttons and half the wood fell out of the body.....not impressed. It was experiences like these that made me decide I'd never own one myself. Instead I made sacrifices, learned to budget rigidly and bought a real one, a vintage sunburst classic plus. Plays like a dream, sounds incredible, didn't fall apart before it left the factory. Basically, a well set up Gibson LP is guitar heaven, an Epiphone is a sadly under-engineered, tonally lacking piece of ply-wood. A shame, but the truth
    wildyoda2
    mnestor68 wrote: "yeah sorry your right, is there a name for the no pickup cover humbuckers or are they just known as humbuckers" they are called open coil, fender single coil pickups are almost always open coil for example. in the great old days of riff based guitar music (zep, deep purple..etc) there werent many choices either you had a guitar with humbuckersz for instance, or you didnt. if you did it was a gibson. anyway, players, jeff beck for one, jimmy page for another got into removing the covers from the pickups from their gibson guitars...gibson took notices and of course developed a product.
    mnestor68
    "yeah sorry your right, is there a name for the no pickup cover humbuckers or are they just known as humbuckers" they are called open coil, fender single coil pickups are almost always open coil for example. in the great old days of riff based guitar music (zep, deep purple..etc) there werent many choices either you had a guitar with humbuckersz for instance, or you didnt. if you did it was a gibson. anyway, players, jeff beck for one, jimmy page for another got into removing the covers from the pickups from their gibson guitars...gibson took notices and of course developed a product.
    mnestor68
    "pointy shrp neck and ugly fat body" ???? curly you are either a girl or completely gay....but thats great,glad you are playing anyway as for the epi vs. gibby argument...ive owned both..i sooooo wanted to believe that epiphones "are just as good as gibsons"..alas..they arent. i noticed immediately my epi lp standard sounded not even anything like a real les paul. when i looked in the back i was totally disgusted to find out the thing was made mostly of particle board...i had a guitar made out of glue.. dont belive me? look in your epiphone a better deal for $400?? they arent worth $40. if you want a plywood les paul by all means go with epiphone. and as for the actual topic of this post..i agree with most of you, that the classic is a fine, fine guitar i own an ebony classic and a HCSB classic antique...les pauls for life man.
    St.Anger11
    adamshakermaker : tnbepiguitar if you really think that you obviously have never held a Gibson and cant play guitar and must be 12 years old. whats wrong if someones young? that doesnt mean that you dont know how to play guitar..im 12 and i own this guitar and i know how to play guitar..
    St.Anger11
    first of all: this guitar is awesome!.. it has awesome pickups, the awesome fat tone that the les paul offers, a great sustain, and LOL in the pic at the top it isnt a les paul classic, its a les paul standard, this guitar is totally worth it, even thought its expensive. i took away the pickguard and it has a very slashs look, well, i have my style, not trying to be slash btw. i dont find it heavy at all, so.. if you can buy it, buy it!
    kfong03
    dude wtf the picture on the top isn't a classis, it's a standard, look at the pickups, a classic has double-coils, hehe check the gibson site if u dun believe me. neways, i have an epiphone les paul standard and when i compared it to a gibson les paul from a local music store it was pretty much the same, the gibson might have been a fraction more comfortable to play and may look a bit better but all that for the massive difference in price is not worth it...
    will-loves-zep
    Robman2k9 wrote: will-loves-zep wrote: classics have no wood grain visible just plain colours and don't they have two single coil type humbuckers without the chrome casing? i might be wrong but that is not a les paul classic in the picture wood grain is visible, yes there are no pick up covers, but they are full size humbuckers.
    yeah sorry your right, is there a name for the no pickup cover humbuckers or are they just known as humbuckers?
    Tomhigton
    I would love a one of these. I have an epiphone les paul studio. Why would Gibson make Epiphone as good quality as an actual Gibson?
    Mithor
    Well, I havent hold in this guitar but if you think a guitar is too heavy, you should probably quit playing guitar and try something lighter, triangel perhaps! So please stop whining about a too heavy guitar, quit play or get used to it!
    Robman2k9
    will-loves-zep wrote: classics have no wood grain visible just plain colours and don't they have two single coil type humbuckers without the chrome casing? i might be wrong but that is not a les paul classic in the picture
    wood grain is visible, yes there are no pick up covers, but they are full size humbuckers.
    will-loves-zep
    rian chester wrote: HEY EVERYBODY! IS THIS THE ELECTRIC GUITAR of RAY TORO of "MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE"? pls. comment ur answer. if u know.
    no it's not, ray toro uses an epiphone les paul, they suck cock though, gibson's are much better. epiphone is the cheap way to a gibson but why my chemical romance? before you buy a new guitar, buy a new music collection!
    will-loves-zep
    classics have no wood grain visible just plain colours and don't they have two single coil type humbuckers without the chrome casing? i might be wrong but that is not a les paul classic in the picture
    rian chester
    HEY EVERYBODY! IS THIS THE ELECTRIC GUITAR of RAY TORO of "MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE"? pls. comment ur answer. if u know.
    wildyoda2
    Fender single coils aren't "almost always open". In fact Fender doesn't produce a guitar with "open" single coil pick-ups although the cover can be removed. I guess the only difference between now and the "great old days" is...nothing! Now you still only have the choice of single or dual (humbucking) coil pick-ups. Unless you mean "blending" capabilities or the piezo pick-up...both of which have been around for a long time.
    acid eaters
    i right now have a epiphone les paul standard later on i'm planning on getting a gibson les paul custom but i'm surprised by the quality of epiphone for $500 i was really worth it it's a great guiar for the price
    ESP Axes Man
    ugh im so pissed now i had a chance to get one of these for 900 new in a huge sale at a local guitar shop
    Mario-Guitar
    Ponchibego wrote: sg4ever wrote: Yeah, great guitar. But I'd agree on the quality of Epiphone. I mean, My Chemical Romance and Hawthorne Heights use Epiphone. LOL this is a joke right.... you're saying the the quality of the Epiphone sucks because My Chemical Romance blows ass
    i sincerely hope you are joking SG4ever,,, my chemical romance sucks,,, and just because they play shitty guitars in shitty music they are good guitars because they can hold their heads up right??? F*ck that bullSh*t
    Ponchibego
    sg4ever wrote: Yeah, great guitar. But I'd agree on the quality of Epiphone. I mean, My Chemical Romance and Hawthorne Heights use Epiphone.
    LOL this is a joke right.... you're saying the the quality of the Epiphone sucks because My Chemical Romance blows ass
    LpclassicStrat1
    I have been playing guitar for 25 years have played all over the country have had songs played in rotation on the radio opened up for some major acts Counting crowes ..Thirdeye Blind ..Vegas temper..Train...I play a super modded duncan loaded Strat and a seymore duncun modded 1960 Les paul classic while on the road these are my touring tools..and own a lot of high end and low end guitars and amps..One of the many I own is a Epiphone Lp...They are crap compared to the real thing I gave it to my 5 year old to learn on sorry guys these guitars are basically a toy not a true instrument very poorly built great for a beginer but not even close to the real thing ...sorry to say it I own one and it cost me 500 bucks ..there is just no comparison to a real Lp std or a classic or any real Lp..get a clue people Gibson are leaps and bounds ahead of any "Schlepiphone" case closed!!!!! Long Live Gibson and Fender..I love them both!!!!
    pxr5
    Im surprised people moan about the weight and shape so much I find its a nicer more stable platform to play on, and the shape is vital to the sound. "It hurts my leg its so heavy" made me laugh. Get some meat on your bones you skinny git lol
    valyim
    An Epi, out of the box, are not as good as a Gibby. If you put Gibby hardware into your Epi you get a sound that is remarkably close to your Gibby, but I mean, this is an electric guitar. That should happen to some degree. The both have a wonderful, ballsy sound that we all(well, almost all of us) know and love. There exist heavily modded Epis that are as good as Gibbys, but the cost in getting the Epi to that standard is a good bit of work. Not I'm not talking about the sub $500 Epis, those things aren't really in this conversation. A great, well tuned Gibby will edge out the Epi. If it didn't, people wouldn't buy the Gibby (and don't give me that 'people like the name' crap. It's true, if you've played both, and REALLY played both, you know the Gibby is better). In short, Epis and Gibbys are a family, and we all love that same, killer noise, that gorgeous shape, and the ability to put on one hell of a show. We're here arguing whether our axe has two blades, or two blades and a spike, but what matters is we can cut some serious music for other people to enjoy.
    Hobo279
    My classic actually has a chambered body, which makes it practically as light as any Strat, And, quite honestly, i can't hear that much of a sustain difference between it and the solid bodied models...So if any of you really hate your classic because of how much it weighs, then i suggest getting one with a chambered body, they rock, AND they won't break your back!
    Affee
    I ****ing LOVE this guitar! The ceramic pickups are a bit noisy though, I thought I'd escaped that when buying humbuckers, but whatever. I'm buying a Matshall amp now, cuz right now I own a shitty 15w Randall. But this guitar is completely awesome, so if you got the money, I got two words for you. BUY IT!
    Affee
    wildyoda2 wrote: Fender single coils aren't "almost always open". In fact Fender doesn't produce a guitar with "open" single coil pick-ups although the cover can be removed. I guess the only difference between now and the "great old days" is...nothing! Now you still only have the choice of single or dual (humbucking) coil pick-ups. Unless you mean "blending" capabilities or the piezo pick-up...both of which have been around for a long time.
    You know that the covered humbuckers also is dual? It's the whole humbucker point! xD To "buck" the noise you get from a singlecoil. But the 500T and 496R stock pickups on this guitar is pretty hot so it's noisy too. Btw. If you like the look of a covered humbucker, you can buy them separetily(or how it's written o_o)
    Affee
    John the Giant wrote: If I order it from music123.com, does it have to come with pickgaurd installed? or can i tell them not to apply it?
    Gibson has already made holes in it and installed the pickguard at the factory i think. I didn't like the pickguard, so I took it off, but then you have two small holes in your guitar. But the crowd doesn't see them when you're on a stage, so no problem.
    John the Giant
    If I order it from music123.com, does it have to come with pickgaurd installed? or can i tell them not to apply it?
    curly guitarist
    its an easy choice if you want to look like a guy whose name is paul or gary to name a few get a les paul but if you want somethin that looks ****in class and sounds great and is easily handled get an sg the only les paul player that i have ever liked is jimmy page (aka god but he likes the devil so i dont know how that works) who dosent count cos he couldve made an encore strat copy sound good
    adamshakermaker
    ^ I cant make up my mind over the SG and the LP, I love the look of the LP but the SG is the best to play, I had a 61 RI and it was awesome!
    curly guitarist
    i personally hate the les paul for its pointy sharp sided neck and its ugly fat body the sg is the best gibson i ow a flying v 2 strats and i thing i built myself which is a combo of the v and the sg ...kinda like zakk wyldes but with 1 humbucker 2 single coils a whammy bar 1volume and 2 tone controls and it better than the les paul
    turbopunk2000
    punkerkid!79! wrote: UG team, u are a piddly wimp who cant hold a les paul for more than one song eh? GO TO THE GYM AND DO SHOULDER PRESS! lol i cant believe ten pounds bruised you....btw if the guitar is 'muffled sounding' thats probably cos u gotta turn the tone knob and if by some chance you were refering to the thick tone of a humbucker well thats life... enjoy that cheap ibanez
    it depends on which model les paul you get. The les paul custom is alot heavier than the classic
    Jesse Barnes
    i dont have the money for a gibson yet, im 14, but i have an epiphone les paul copy, some people say that they are the same as the real thing ( gibson les paul) but some people say that the real thing is way better, i think it would be too becasue of the quality of its bulid, but dose a epiphone make a cheap sound comapred to a Gibson
    sg4ever
    Yeah, great guitar. But I'd agree on the quality of Epiphone. I mean, My Chemical Romance and Hawthorne Heights use Epiphone.
    alex57910
    heh heh, this baby has the 500T and 496R doesnt it? How would these pickups go in an epi classic
    punkerkid!79!
    mate,r_linhares9, there is a significant difference between epiphone and gibson. the neck and pickups to mention a few (is there any thing more important to a guitarist?)
    jcs5234
    "Everyone who picks up a Les Paul and plays it either falls in love or goes into denial" personally, i love the sound but i hate the weight. i prefer the es-335 and the sg.
    punkerkid!79!
    UG team, u are a piddly wimp who cant hold a les paul for more than one song eh? GO TO THE GYM AND DO SHOULDER PRESS! lol i cant believe ten pounds bruised you....btw if the guitar is 'muffled sounding' thats probably cos u gotta turn the tone knob and if by some chance you were refering to the thick tone of a humbucker well thats life... enjoy that cheap ibanez