Sunday, August 26, 2018

2008 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Guitar Review

Howdy!

Today we are looking at an Epiphone limited edition Silverburst Les Paul Custom guitar that was only sold for a brief time in 2008, though they must have made o ton of them because I see them pretty often. It is a fine looking instrument and is well built, but the electronics have not held up too well over the years.

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 nut, 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. I would be curious to see their Custom Shop…

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 a good collection of parts, and Epiphone’s Chinese (factory did a fab job of sticking them together. I am continually astonished that the public continues real-deal Gibson Les Pauls with terrible necks and 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 do not have much talent.

Unfortunately, the years have not been kind to the electronics on this one, as one of the pickups has dies and the other has a whacky tone that is super muddy. It certainly could benefit from new 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 a maple neck and ebony fretboard it just will not sound the same anyway…

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 $300 to $400, which is a good price for a nice guitar. But, make sure you plug it in before you buy…

Mahalo!

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