Sunday, August 3, 2014

2008 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Silverburst Electric Guitar Review

Hi there!

I am as much of a guitar snob as the next guy and am often quick to sniff at a cheap instrument and buy something more expensive on general principle, but this imported Epiphone is no joke. Today we are looking at an Epiphone limited edition Silverburst Les Paul Custom guitar that was only sold for a brief time in 2008. The quality of this instrument is impressive, especially when comparing it to the guitars that Gibson is crapping out of its American division.

The Custom has always been the top of the Les Paul line-up, and this one is a tribute to the original Silverburst instruments that were made from 1979 to 1985. The vintage Silverburst Les Pauls have been the go-to axe for Adam Jones from Tool, so they have developed a cult following and they are stupidly expensive now.

Les Paul Customs are set apart from the Standard models by more intricate inlays, as well as multi-ply body binding. This Epiphone got these adornments, but not the usual gold-plated hardware (thankfully).

Other than the color, the specs are fairly standard for an imported Les Paul. It has a mahogany body with a carved alder top, which is surprising considering that these usually have maple tops. The 24.75-inch scale set neck is mahogany, which is normal, but differs from the maple necks on the original Silverburst Les Pauls. The whole thing has a coat of thick poly and the silverburst fade is only on the front. The back is glossy black, while the originals were Silverburst back there instead.

The neck has a 1 11/16-inch wide neck, and a fairly fat profile. The rosewood fretboard has trapezoid pearl inlays, and it has an evenly applied cream binding. The headstock carries the 5-ply binding over from the body, and it is equipped with chrome Grover sealed-back tuners. In case you care, there is a diamond mother of pearl inlay on the front of the headstock, and an Epiphone Custom Shop Logo on the back.

The rest of the hardware is standard fare, with a chrome Tune-o-matic bridge with a stopbar tail piece and a multi-ply black pickguard. And the electronics are just about what you would expect on an Epiphone. These Customs come with plain-Jane Alnico humbucker with the usual Les Paul 2 volume / 2 tone knobs set-up.

In the end, this turns out to be an acceptable collection of parts, and Epiphone’s Chinese (or Korean, I am not sure which) factory did a fab job of sticking them together. I am continually astonished that the public continues buying $2500 Gibson Les Pauls with lumpy fretboards and hillbilly smile frets when there are much better alternatives out there for less money.

This Silverburst Les Paul Custom has a nice neck with perfect frets and a pretty low action with no fiddling around or modifications. It has a C profile and its thickness is right in the middle between the 50’s and 60’s neck profiles that are so popular. This translates into a lot smoother playing experience for me, which is worth a bunch because I am a horrible guitarist.

The tone is good enough if you are looking for the classic blues/rock sound, especially with the selector in the middle position. It certainly could benefit from better pickups and wiring, and I think a set of Burstbuckers (maybe out of phase) would be magical in this guitar. If you are going for the full Tool mod, Jones says he uses a Seymour Duncan JB at the bridge, though I have my doubts that he is being truthful, and without an ebony fretboard it just will not sound the same anyway…

As far as weight goes, this one is right in the ballpark for a Les Paul, coming in at around 9 ½ pounds, which is lighter than the Telecaster I am playing right now. Then again, maybe that says more about how ungodly heavy my Telecaster is.

When this run of Epiphone Silverburst Les Paul Customs was originally on sale their street price was around $600 (with no case), which is pricy for an Epiphone Les Paul. But nowadays they go for around $400 to $500, which is a good price for a nice guitar. By the way, Epiphone is now selling a Custom Pro Les Paul in Silverburst, but I have not had a chance to try one out yet. When I do, I will let you know!



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  2. I have just bought one of these, and I must say I am very impressed with the build quality as well as the sound.
    The electrics are a little bit to be desired, but once fixed, it was great.
    Looking forward to playing this guitar for a long time to come

  3. Thx for the extra info on this guitar, I bought one of these back in 2010 because I wanted a Silverburst LP like the Mastodon guitarist.

    As mine never played perfect I'm doing a fret level on it and am upgrading the nut and bridge (just like Phillip McKnight in the YouTube series "Sharpen My Axe").

    What has come to my attention though is that people say these are fakes, Epiphone never listed SilverBurst on their website in 2008 (Wayback machine) and it has all the signs (wide headstock binding). The original bridge doesn't have the Epiphone stamp on the back and the posts are suspect. Pickups are embossed on the back with Epiphone (F and R).

    1. My 2008 Epiphone Silverburst serial number is listed on the Epiphone website so I really don't understand your post because they are listed on the site.

  4. Just bought a used one with Emgs. Waiting on new strings that come in tomorrow but I love the silverburst. Got her for $350

  5. Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it! iqos

  6. My 2008 Epiphone Silverburst Limited Edition Custom Shop is listed on the Epiphone serial number site, so I don't understand why someone would say they are not because that's a false statement and should be deleted

    1. What do you mean "listed on the Epiphone serial number site"? There isn't an Epiphone serial number site. If you're referring to the Guitar Dater Project or Epiphone Serial Decoder, these just decode the serial number format into date ans location. They do not prove that an instrument is genuine.