Looking for more info on one of the most popular guitars on the market? Then this Gibson Les Paul Studio review is for you.
The Studio has been one of Gibson’s most popular guitars since Les Paul’s name first graced Gibson’s headstock in 1954. Over the years, Gibson has released countless Les Pauls. Some have stood the test of time, while other models have fallen by the wayside. So, in the lineage of Gibson Les Paul’s, where does that leave the Studio?
The Gibson Les Paul Studio is an excellent axe that allows guitarists to tap into the legendary tone and playability of an LP without completely breaking the bank. The Studio is well made, well-appointed, and it can help you take your tone and guitar playing to the next level.
Today, we will cover the nitty-gritty details of the Les Paul Studio and what separates it from the scores of other LPs on the market. From materials and workmanship to electronics and hardware, we’re covering all the details below.
So strap up, and prepare for a masterclass on all things Les Paul Studio.
Les Paul Studio Overview
The Les Paul name has been synonymous with rock ‘n roll and the Gibson name since the early 50s. The Gibson LP is so ubiquitous, most young guitarists associate the name with the guitar and are surprised to find out that Les was a virtuous guitarist in his own right.
LPs are well known for their craftsmanship, sustain, and unmistakable tone. They’re also well known for their high price tags. With the Studio though, guitarists can get that legendary made in America tone that the Gibson Les Paul is synonymous with, at a price that most guitarists can afford.
The Studio doesn’t have all the bells, whistles, and polish of the pricier models, but the LP Studio has it where it counts. The components and build quality are virtually identical to the high-end models, and it’s made in the same factory. But, thanks to the cosmetic corners that Gibson cuts on the Studio, the price is much more manageable.
Young guitarists interested in their first “real” instrument, LP fans on a budget, and anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and tone will quickly fall in love with these guitars.
Now that we’ve established the basics let’s dive into the meat and potatoes. How does the Studio look, play, and sound? Is this the guitar you’ve always dreamed of, or should you continue your search? Read on, and we’ll help you decide if the Gibson Les Paul Studio is the right guitar for you.
Build Quality & Finish
One of the primary reasons people look to Gibson is its reputation for craftsmanship and quality. Chances are, those features are critical to you too. Otherwise, you’d be shopping for a new Epiphone instead.
Like everything Gibson makes, this is an area where they do not disappoint. The Les Paul Studio is produced in the same Nashville factory as all of their solid body electrics, except for the Custom Shop models produced in a different Nashville factory.
The Studio offers a Mahogany body that’s chambered in key areas to reduce its weight, which is a significant advantage. Not only is Mahogany one of the heavier tonewoods, but Les Paul’s are also among the beefiest guitars on the market. Anyone who’s ever lugged an LP around a stage all night can tell you it’s a recipe for a shoulder ache.
Despite it being less weighty than a typical Les Paul, the weight relief doesn’t seem to affect the tone or sustain of the guitar. And we love it!
The set Mahogany neck is set off by a rosewood fretboard, and the carved top is made from Maple.
So far, the Studio specs out like virtually all of Gibson’s higher-priced models. Granted, the Studio forgoes many of the niceties of the top-dollar Les Paul’s to hit a certain price point. So, no binding, no figured top, no abalone, and fewer bells and whistles. But, the bones are as good as it gets.
Playability is perhaps the most crucial consideration when shopping for a guitar, and especially when you’re evaluating different models from the Gibson family of brands. After all, if playability was equal across all their guitars, you could purchase one of the better Epiphone’s and spend the $1,000 you’ll save elsewhere.
Playability is why you spend the extra money to get a Gibson. But, it’s something the company has struggled with in recent years, especially regarding the Les Paul Studio. In the early part of this decade, there were some glaring inconsistencies with Gibson’s more affordable guitars. Thankfully, it looks like those are issues of the past.
Spend a few minutes with one of the new Studios, and you’ll notice that all of the finish work is top-quality. The frets are meticulously crowned and leveled, the sides of the neck are comfortable, and the nut is expertly cut. These small details help make these Gibson Les Paul Studios among the best playing Studios we’ve ever tried.
My only beef with LP’s is the thick necks you’ll find on some models, so I was thrilled to see that the latest Studio forgoes the chunky vintage C for a slightly more modern slim C shape. Les Paul’s are known for a full C neck profile which feels a bit like you’re holding onto a baseball bat. The neck is Gibson through and through; it just feels less like it was machined on the same factory floor as the Louisville Slugger.
We’ve established that the Studio is well-made, looks great, and plays like a dream. None of that is worth a thing if it doesn’t sound like the real deal. You’ll want to decide for yourself, but we expect you’ll be exceptionally pleased by the massive rock tones you’ll be able to coax from this dutiful axe.
Combining a mahogany body and neck with set-neck construction offers a solid foundation for excellent tone, and two Gibson humbuckers build from that to deliver the quintessential Gibson sound. The Studio is equipped with a 490R in the neck position and 490T in the bridge.
Gibson’s been using these pickups in most of their more affordable models for the last decade or more. They offer similar output to the coveted ‘57 Classic pickups, with a slightly different sound profile geared more toward classic rock.
These pickups don’t offer the same warmth or response as Gibson’s pricier pickups, so they don’t lend themselves as well to sparkling cleans, jazzy passages, or fingerpicking the way the ‘57s do. But, for the straight-ahead rock and metal tones you’re likely after, these pickups deliver beyond expectations. The punch and clarity the hits you when you crank up the distortion is the reason why we all love rock music. And that’s why rocking out on a Gibson Les Paul makes the hair on your arms stand up.
The latest Studios also includes a critical feature that Gibson has overlooked for years: coil-tapping. Gibson has added a push/pull volume pot for coil-tapping, which allows you to access a myriad of different tones that you can’t reach with a 3-way pickup switch. From Strat-like tones to mood atmospherics, today’s Les Paul Studio offers more versatile tones than ever before.
All things considered, the Gibson Les Paul Studio is the ideal guitar if you’re looking to tap into Gibson’s legendary tone, construction, and playability without spending north of $2,000 on a new guitar.
Gibson certainly tightens the belt to make the Studio more affordable, so you’ll have to do without many cosmetic niceties and the premium pickups of more expensive Les Pauls. But, if you can live without some of the flash, the Gibson Les Paul Studio will reward you with tone for days and time-tested good looks that are fit for any stage you stand on.
Check out the Les Paul Studio today.