Why even bother with a beginner guitar?
They’re never any good.
While there is some truth to that, there are exceptions. Some beginning guitars can keep serving you well as you advance to the intermediate level.
They can even make great backup instruments for professional guitarists.
The Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT is one of those rare quality beginning electric guitars.
Even better: it still sells at an entry-level price.
Sure, it costs a bit more than the cheapest guitars, but the quality is also much better. This is an entry-level instrument that you won’t quickly outgrow.
It even has a few surprising features that you would not generally expect to see on a budget electric guitar. Read the rest of this review to find out what those features are and whether this is the right guitar for you.
Table of Contents
Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT Review: Overview And Features
Even after many decades of advancements in the world of electric guitars, guitarists still tend to focus on old school-styled instruments, like the good old Les Paul model. It has had many iterations and every type of musician has played this guitar, from rock to blues to hard rock to even heavy metal.
One of those iterations is the Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT. This particular Les Paul copy was designed to be a budget, entry-level instrument, but there are a few interesting features that set it apart from other similar instruments.
Overall, it’s like a standard cheaper Les Paul guitar, only with a few unexpected additions, especially for its price level. It is available in a few different finishes, all of which give off the vibe of a more expensive guitar.
The Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT is great value for money. That is the main reason we chose it as our favorite entry-level electric guitar for metal music.
- Classic Les Paul body shape
- Mahogany body with carved top
- Mahogany neck with rosewood fingerboard
- 60’s SlimTaper neck with the D profile
- 22 frets
- Bolt-on neck construction with an ergonomic indent for easier access to higher frets
- 700T and 650R Zebra ceramic humbuckers
- Two volume and two tone (treble roll-off) pots
- Tune-o-matic bridge
Design And Construction
Let’s start with its body. The main material is mahogany, pretty much the same thing you find on most Les Paul guitars, whether it’s from Gibson or any other brand. It also has the distinct Les Paul carved top.
The mahogany neck is another expected feature, but it is attached to the body using a bolt-on construction. And to be fair, you can’t expect a set neck formation at this price level. It’s also worth noting that the guitar rocks a standard rosewood fretboard with 22 frets.
Now we come to a somewhat “unconventional” feature. Right on the joint where the neck meets the body, we have an indent on the backside of the guitar. This allows you to access those higher frets easily.
It’s a surprisingly great feature for a Les Paul, and it’s a shame that many of those expensive Gibson models don’t have it. It makes playing a lot more comfortable.
Moving on to the hardware, we have the standard two-humbucker pickup configuration, along with a 3-way selector switch. But compared to cheaper Les Paul models, this one has two volume and two tone pots, instead of just the one volume and one tone pot that you usually see on these kinds of guitars.
The pickups are 700T and 650R Zebra ceramic humbuckers, which are pretty decent, especially for the price. The guitar is equipped with a standard tune-o-matic bridge and a stopbar tailpiece.
Advantages And Disadvantages
- Affordable guitar with features above its price range
- The indent on the back side makes the access to higher frets pretty easy
- The neck feels pretty great
- Zebra pickups sound good for the price
- Individual volume and tone controls for each pickup add more versatility
- Pretty decent build quality
- Comes in a few interesting finishes and color patterns
- A coil-split or coil-tap feature would be a good addition, although you can’t expect more features at this price level
Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT vs Epiphone SG Special VE
Over the years, it has become pretty easy to find a good guitar within a more affordable price range. But it’s still not always easy to find something that will completely suit your needs.
It’s a good idea to compare guitars until you dig up what you’re actually looking for. With this in mind, we thought that we could do a simple comparison between this great Les Paul and another Epiphone guitar: their SG Special VE.
Both of these guitars fall into the affordable price range and both are quite popular with beginners. But they are quite different and the SG Special VE is also generally a bit cheaper.
The first obvious difference is the shape: it is the same double cutaway shape you see with any classic SG guitar. The materials differ as well. The SG body is made of poplar, instead of mahogany. It is much lighter than the LT.
The neck is made of Okoume wood, instead of the standard mahogany that we see on the Les Paul Studio LT. The only similarity in materials is that both guitars have rosewood fingerboards, which is what you would expect in this particular price range.
The headstock designs are pretty much the same, and both guitars feature similar tune-o-matic bridges. All of this is exactly as expected from Les Paul or SG guitars, but the heavy headstock and light body on the SG means that it tends to neck dive.
The SG Special uses the same Zebra-coil humbuckers as the Les Paul Epiphone: Epiphone’s 650R in the neck position and the 700T in the bridge position. The only difference is the “Zebra” color pattern, which isn’t much of an issue.
Although they fall into the “stock pickup” category, they do a pretty decent job for any standard rock, hard rock, or heavy metal setting. They’re also pretty versatile and can take you into some jazz and blues territories as well.
The big difference here is that the SG features only one volume and one tone control, which obviously makes it less versatile.
Another difference we should mention is the neck and body joint. While both guitars feature bolt-on necks, the SG has a plate over it, along with a bolt for a strap. Although the SG has a double-cutaway design, it’s not as nearly as comfortable in the higher fret areas as the Les Paul Studio LT.
The final difference is the finish. The “VE” in the designated name stands for “Vintage Edition.” Aside from this, this SG is like any other Special series guitar, which is Epiphone’s cheapest series.
The “worn” finish is just an aesthetic feature, but it does give it just a little more “refined” feel than the standard glossy finish of Epiphone’s Special series.
Overall, both guitars are ideal for beginners. That said, both can do a good job for a frequently gigging musician. They’re reliable, they stay in tune, and they can sound good with the right equipment.
The only thing that could be a good upgrade is a nice set of pickups. The Les Paul Studio LT is more expensive, but it is also a much better investment overall than the SG Special, or any of Epiphone’s Special series guitars.
Of course, the choice is up to you, and you can’t really go wrong with the SG either. The Les Paul is simply the better deal for the price. It’s not that much more expensive and still falls well within the budget category, but it is better made, sounds better and is more versatile.
If you are interested in the Epiphone SG Special VE, you can find it here on Amazon.
Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT Electric Guitar: Conclusion And Rating
The Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT is a fairly versatile instrument, despite the fact that it falls into the “budget instrument” category.
The thing that surprises us the most is the combination of low price and the somewhat unexpected addition of great features. The guitar really feels great in your hands, especially due to its great neck and the very useful cutout design on the backside that lets you access higher frets more easily.
On top of all this, the guitar’s design gives the impression of a far more expensive instrument, especially due to the carved top. Yes, aesthetics can be very important to guitarists.
While it has the standard Epiphone “stock” pickups, they actually do a pretty decent job for any genre. The guitar’s two volume and two tone controls are a nice touch as well, and you can do all sorts of stuff with this formation.
The pickups might not be a top-notch choice but they are still pretty great. And if you want to upgrade, putting in some Gibson or Seymour Duncan pickups would turn this guitar into an absolute beast. In fact, it could perform as good as any cheaper Gibson Les Paul or an SG.
If you’re a beginning or intermediate guitarist, you can’t go wrong with this instrument. It will make it much less hard to learn the guitar. In fact, we’re pretty certain that this guitar could serve you well even in the later stages of your musical career.
And if you’re an advanced player, this could easily be a spare guitar for live gigs, so it’s definitely worth checking out in this case as well. That said, read Epiphone Les Paul Studio vs Standard, if you need a guitar specifically for gigs. The Les Paul Standard may be a better fit.
It is the versatility and the great value for money that earn this electric guitar a Musicaroo rating of 4.1 out of 5.