Explore the best Les Paul alternatives and get the iconic Gibson sound on a budget, including our Expert picks from Antiquity, Epiphone and more!
The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most iconic instruments in the history of music. First sold in 1952, the guitar takes its name from one of the most influential musicians of the era.
Although variants exist, guitars which bear the Les Paul name are typically designed with a:
- solid mahogany body
- carved maple top
- single cutaway
- mahogany set-in neck
- rosewood fretboard
- two pickups with independent volume and tone controls
- stoptail bridge
Alongside the Telecaster and Stratocaster by Fender, the Les Paul was one of the first electric solidbody guitars to enter mass production. They’ve been used in a staggering array of genres across multiple hit songs and continue to be one of the most popular guitar silhouettes amongst modern musicians.
Gibson maintains exceedingly high standards and Les Paul guitars can often command a high price due to their quality, craftmanship, and tone – which is why we’re looking at some of the best Les Paul alternatives and Gibson-style guitars available today.
We’ll be digging into some of our favourite guitars that are influenced by the original and helping you to get the Les Paul sound on a budget.
Best Les Paul Alternatives
The Experts at PMT have years of experience playing all sorts of different guitars, and we’d like to think we know a thing or two about what makes a Les Paul good.
We’ve picked out 5 brands that are producing Les Paul alternatives that give you a look, feel, and sound that’s close to the original, meaning you can get your hands on the instrument that is perfect for your playing style and budget.
The best Les Paul alternatives are:
- Antiquity LS Guitars
- Epiphone Les Paul Guitars
- ESP Singlecut Guitars
- Schecter Solo Guitars
- PRS Singlecut Guitars
Next, we’ll be looking at each of the models in a little more detail and helping you to find the one that’s right for you.
Antiquity LS Guitars
Antiquity is quickly becoming the go-to brand for the best budget and beginner guitars.
Creating instruments that capture the magic of rock’n’roll’s heyday, we love the attention to detail when it comes to replicating some of our favourite guitar styles – including the Les Paul.
Available in some of the most recognisable finishes you’ll know from guitar heroes past and present, there are a range of different Les Paul-style models depending on how you want to sound.
The LS1 is our pick for the most iconic of sounds – you can check out this video to see how Dagan gets along with the LS1 and GS1 pair:
There’s also the LSC model from Antiquity which takes greater influence from the Les Paul Custom guitars we’ve seen over the years.
If you’re searching for a slightly more stripped-back version of the Les Paul, then Antiquity still has you covered. The Antiquity LSB models are the raw, hard-hitting Les Paul alternative that allow you to really rock.
Each and every Les Paul-style guitar from Antiquity is designed to get the sound and playing experience exactly right too – from the woods used, the components chosen, and the build choices. They’re not just great-looking alternatives, these are true workhorses that will suit beginners or more experienced players who need a back-up axe for playing live.
Check out some more guitars from Antiquity here:
Epiphone Les Paul Guitars
For some guitarists, the name on the headstock means a lot. The Les Paul name and distinguished signature makes the Gibson Les Paul highly sought as they’re associated with years of quality.
For those who want to get the exact look of the Gibson Les Paul but without spending too much money, the Epiphone Les Paul is your best bet.
Epiphone is exclusively licensed by Gibson to create budget models of their extensive guitar range, complete with the esteemed headstock decal and all of the extra touches that make Gibson so unique.
Many of the best Les Paul copies by Epiphone play just as beautifully as you’d expect their Gibson counterparts to perform, and for the price it’s hard to go wrong.
Find the Epiphone Les Paul collection here:
ESP Singlecut Guitars
For those players who appreciate the heavier end of the guitar music spectrum there are some awesome options that allow you to get the best of Les Paul style instruments but with some modern appointments.
ESP creates a plethora of epic singlecut guitars that adhere closely to the traditional LP design. The set-neck and mahogany construction they typically utilise means that the bell-like, low-end heavy sound is retained.
One of the reasons that ESP models are great for metal players is because of the high-output pickups they use. Often fitted with EMGs or Seymour Duncan variations, they’re the ideal partner for high-gain situations, with enough versatility to capture a more conventional clean tone too.
Shop all ESP guitars by clicking below:
Schecter Solo Guitars
Another solid option for those who want a modern take on the Les Paul comes in the shape of the Schecter Solo range.
Depending on the series, these guitars have some different hardware and specification features – but they all share the quintessential single-cutaway profile that makes them one of the best Les Paul alternatives.
They’re available at a range of price points depending on your needs, and you can choose from P90-equipped options, active pickups, or the more common dual-humbucker setup.
With extra-fast necks and a design philosophy that prioritises playability for the modern player, these Les Paul style guitars from Schecter are a great choice.
Find more here:
PRS Singlecut & McCarty Guitars
Our final pick on the list of the best Les Paul alternatives comes from PRS. Whilst these might not necessarily be a budget option, we think they deserve a spot on the list of the top Les Paul copies.
PRS McCarty guitars take their name from Ted McCarty – the president of the Gibson Guitar Corporation between 1950 and 1966. It was under McCarty’s leadership that the Les Paul was originally released, and he’s responsible for inventing some of the most important components of the Les Paul guitar, such as the Tune-o-matic bridge system and the humbucking pickup.
The singlecut options from PRS – and in particular the McCarty models – are therefore built to exacting specs that incorporate designs by Paul Reed Smith under the tutelage of Ted McCarty.
They add a new spin on the Les Paul that McCarty helped to create and launch, but with a refreshing style that is uniquely PRS.
Get yourself familiar with all of the PRS models here:
No matter your budget or your playing style, we’ve got the perfect guitar for you at PMT.
The Les Paul has long been the instrument of choice for the professional musicians of the world, but we’re passionate about getting the right guitar into your hands and know that the Gibson models just aren’t right for everybody.