The 20 Best Les Paul Copies For The Money – No Fakes


When starting playing guitar, many of us were huge fans of Slash, Page, and other guitar giants that played Les Paul-style guitars, whether Gibson or even more expensive one-off handmade ones. Of course, just a few of us could afford the real thing from the beginning. So buying a copy was the first option.

Here I don’t mean Chinese fakes, but rather guitars based on this famous single-cut design. Some are bad, some ok, and some come very close to the Gibson original. The Guitars on this list are really great instruments for the money, and some are much better than expected. 

Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s Electric Guitar 

  • Mahogany Body
  • AA flamed maple top
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Indian Laurel fretboard with Pearloid trapezoids inlays
  • Cream binding
  • 22 Frets
  • ProBucker-2 (neck) and ProBucker-3 (bridge) humbuckers
  • Grover Rotomatic 18:1 tuners

Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s Electric Guitar is a great Les Paul alternative with an AA-grade maple top and mahogany body. The tonewood combination is great for rich and resonant tones, and the looks of the instrument feature the timeless aesthetics with the iced tea finish. 

The guitar has a mahogany neck with a crisp Indian laurel fretboard. Trapezoid inlays are on top of the fingerboard with a 24.75” scale length. The neck profile is slim taper which gives you the classic Les Paul feel. The rest of the hardware is completed with the ABR Tune-0-Matic bridge and lightweight tailpiece for an authentic vintage vibe.

The pickup configuration consists of a pair of ProBucker pickups, offering you a unique tonal character with amazing versatility, dynamic response, and crystal clear note articulation and definition. The pickups deliver the true vintage sound world with Alnico II magnets.

Cort Classic Rock CR300

  • Mahogany back and sides with flamed maple veneer top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Jatoba fretboard with rectangular White Pearl inlays
  • Graph tech nut bone
  • 22 Medium frets
  • EMG RetroActive Fat 55 dual humbuckers
  • Tune-O-Matic and Stop Tailpiece
  • Vintage tuners

Cort Classic Rock CR300 offered a warm and vintage tone with its mahogany body and flamed maple veneer top, as well as the EMG RetroActive Fat 55 dual humbucker configuration. The guitar has a classic single-cutaway design for easier access to the higher frets. The maple top is great for adding some crispiness to the tone making the guitar perfect for classic rock style guitar tones.

The EMG RetroActive pickups deliver the vintage sound and response most guitarists are looking for. As the pickups are high-output pickups, the guitar is ideal for high-gain tones of rock, punk, and metal. The guitar succeeds in providing the original PAF tones and feels, which take you to the sounds of the 50s and 60s.

Harley Benton SC-550 Plus EMG PAF

  • Okoume body
  • AA flamed maple top
  • Nyatoh neck
  • Roasted jatoba fretboard with white Pearloid trapezoids inlays
  • 22 Medium jumbo frets
  • 2 EMG Retro Active FAT 55 Zebra PAF Style Alnico-5 humbuckers pickups
  • WSC LP17 Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • WSC Schaller Style J01 locking tuners

Harley Benton SC-550 Plus EMG PAF is an all-rounder single-cut electric guitar loaded with EMG active pickups. Based on the legendary Les Paul design that shaped the history of rock and roll, the guitar looks amazing with the Paradise Amber Flame finish.

The guitar delivers fluid, singing, articulated tones for lead guitar lines while it provides monstrous sustain and crunch for rhythm guitar parts. The chords in clean tones also sound lush and open. For modern rock players, the guitar is ideal with its incredible sound and features as well as aesthetics.

Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT Electric Guitar

Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT Dark Cherry Metallic
  • Solidbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body
  • 2 Humbucking Pickups - Dark Cherry Metallic
  • Walnut Fingerboard
  • Mahogany Neck
  • Mahogany body
  • Arched Laminated Maple top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Laurel fingerboard with Pearloid Big Blocks inlays
  • 22 Medium jumbo frets
  • Anchored Adjusto-Matic Bridge with Gretsch V-Stoptail
  • Tuners Die-cast
  • Black Top Broad’Tron Humbucker pickups

Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT is a mahogany single-cut electric guitar designed with the classic Les Paul approach. It features a chambered mahogany body and neck for a balanced and clear sound with amazing warmth and resonance. The comfort of the guitar is provided by the black walnut fingerboard, which gives way to smooth playability.

One of the most significant features of this guitar is the stylish “V” stop-tail tailpiece which is added for tuning stability and the classy look. The pickup configuration consists of dual Black Top Broad’Tron pickups, which offer responsive but crispy vintage tones.

Gretsch, as a brand, likes to add its artistic touch to its guitars which is the case with the Gretsch G5220 Electromatic Jet BT Electric Guitar in terms of sound, looks, and playability.

PRS SE Mark Tremonti Electric Guitar

  • Mahogany body
  • Flamed Maple top
  • 3-piece maple neck with a 10” radius
  • Rosewood fingerboard with White Pearloid Old School Birds inlays
  • 22 frets
  • PRS Patented Molded Tremolo
  • PRS Designed Tuners
  • PRS Tremonti “S” Humbucker pickups

With the timeless single-cut shape and unique PRS features such as dual humbuckers, 25” scale length, and flying bird fretboard inlays, PRS SE Mark Tremonti Electric Guitar is the signature guitar of the famous guitarist Mark Tremonti.

The guitar has an amazing Charcoal Burst color on the mahogany body with the flamed maple top. On the 3-piece maple neck with a 10” radius, there is the rosewood fretboard with White Pearloid Old School Birds inlays. The PRS Tremonti “S” Humbucker pickups with independent volume and tone knobs and a 3-way switch are responsible for the sonic performance and versatility.

The guitar’s sound is powerful, smooth, and responsive in high-gain tones. For rhythm and lead lines, the guitar sounds pretty good, and it is a great instrument for rock-solid sound.

Sire Larry Carlton L7 Electric Guitar

  • Mahogany body
  • Solid Hard Maple top
  • Mahogany neck with a 12” radius
  • Ebony Fingerboard with Pearloid Trapezoids inlays
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Sire Modern Tune-O-Matic Bridge with Aluminum Stopbar Tailpiece
  • Sire Premium Locking Tuners
  • Larry Carlton Modern Humbucker pickup

Sire collaborated with the legendary jazz-fusion guitarist Larry Carlton to create the Sire Larry Carlton L7 Electric Guitar. It is a great take on the classic single-cut design with high-end specs such as rolled edge fingerboard, locking tuners, and Larry Carlton humbuckers.

The L7 features a solid mahogany body and neck combination with a great-looking maple top. The neck is comfortable with the classic “C” shape and set neck joint for easier higher fret access and smooth transition on the fretboard made of ebony.

With the rolled edge fingerboard edges and the medium jumbo frets with the 12-inch neck radius, you feel highly comfortable when playing the guitar and feel like you are holding a guitar with a much higher price tag.

ESP LTD EC-256FM

ESP LTD EC-256FM Electric Guitar, Cobalt Blue
  • An affordable and popular guitar with many similarites to some of the most...
  • Features a comfortable Mahogany body and 3 pc. neck, as well as roasted...
  • Also features covered passive pickups, set-neck construction, and 22XJ...
  • At home on blues, classic rock, hard rock, progressive rock, fusion, and...
  • Mahogany body
  • Flamed Maple Top
  • 3-piece Mahogany neck 
  • Roasted jatoba fingerboard with a 13.7” radius
  • Pearloid Flags Fingerboard Inlay
  • 22 Extra Jumbo frets
  • Tune-O-Matic Bridge with Stopbar Tailpiece
  • ESP LH-150N Humbucker and ESP LH-150B Humbucker pickups

ESP LTD EC-256FM comes with the classic Les Paul shape and sonic versatility making the instrument perfect for chameleon-style players. You can play many styles and genres with the guitar thanks to its versatility. 

The guitar features a flamed maple top, binding on the body, neck, and headstock, and set-neck construction for fast and easy access to the highest frets. The thin U-shaped mahogany neck and roasted jatoba fingerboard are highly comfortable, especially for players who like to play fast. The ESP Designed LH-150 humbucking pickups offer rich tones for almost all music genres, while the coil-splitting with the push-pull switch plays a key role in tonal flexibility.

Schecter Solo-II Custom

  • Mahogany body
  • Solid Maple top
  • 3-piece Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with a 12″-16″ compound radius
  • Mother-of-Pearl Blocks inlays
  • TonePros T3BT Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Schecter Locking tuners
  • Schecter USA Pasadena Humbucker and Schecter USA Pasadena Plus Humbucker pickups

The Schecter Solo II Custom electric guitar comes equipped with a maple, set-neck, single-cutaway design, and a great tonewood combo for warm and barking tones as well as long sustain and quick attack.

The ebony fretboard is quite smooth, while the thin C-shaped neck increases the playing comfort significantly. The guitar has a vintage look with a great finish, Mother-of-Pearl Blocks inlays, and TonePros T3BT Tune-O-Matic bridge. 

Schecter USA Pasadena and Schecter USA Pasadena Plus Humbucker pickups are responsible for the sonic performance, and the versatility is increased with the coil-split via a push-pull tone pot to access single-coil sounds. The combination of modern and vintage features makes this guitar a unique choice for most players.

Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SC

Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SC Electric Guitar - Satin Black
  • Solidbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body
  • 2 Humbucking Pickups - Satin Black
  • Ebony Fingerboard
  • Arched Maple Top
  • Mahogany body
  • Arched Maple top
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with a 12″-16″ compound radius
  • Pearloid Ghostfins Fingerboard Inlays
  • Jackson Tune-O-Matic Adjustable Bridge with Anchored Tailpiece
  • Jackson Sealed Die-cast Locking tuners
  • Seymour Duncan® Blackouts AHB-1 pickups

Jackson Pro Series Monarkh SC is a great amped-up hot-rodded metal guitar that shines with its style and tonal character. The guitar sounds great at any volume level, from mighty roars to whispers.

The guitar features a single-cutaway design, mahogany body with an arched maple top, and maple neck along with the 24.75” scale length. Furthermore, the guitar’s playability is great, with a 12”-16” compound radius ebony fingerboard with 22 jumbo frets and Pearloid inlays.

The instrument’s tonal character is great for modern metal as it has a punchy clarity to keep up with the twists and turns of modern metal. Seymour Duncan® Blackouts AHB-1 active humbucking pickups provide great aggression with hot output, which is ideal for heavy high-gain tones.

Duesenberg Starplayer Special

  • USA alder body
  • Solid maple top
  • Bolt-on Maple neck
  • Rosewood fretboard with a 12” radius
  • 22 Jumbo frets
  • Grand Vintage humbucker (neck) and Crunchbucker humbucker (bridge) pickups
  • Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece
  • USA 3-way switch

Duesenberg Starplayer Special blends many different approaches to create an instrument with a high value-for-price ratio. It comes with a USA alder body, solid maple top, bolt-on maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard with a 12” radius.

The looks and playability of the guitar are great with the contoured alder body and comfortable neck shape. The guitar tones are also impressive, with sweet thick tones and long sustain. It provides a distinctive attack and clarity rare for guitar with similar body types. In short, it is a great Les Paul alternative with nice twists in the design.

Reverend Double Agent OG

  • Korina body
  • Roasted Maple neck
  • Roasted Maple fingerboard with a 12” radius
  • 22 Nickel Alloy frets
  • Boneite nut
  • Tune-O-Matic Bridge with Stopbar Tailpiece
  • Pin-Lock tuners
  • 9A5 Single-coil neck and HA5 Humbucker bridge pickup

Reverend Double Agent OG is a great LP alternative with an excellent basic tone provided by the combination of high-quality tonewoods and the pickup configuration with the HA5 humbucker in the bridge position and 9A5 P-90 in the neck position. 

The instrument’s sound is amazing, with fat, punchy tones and warm and woody twang in the upper-mid range quack. The trebles are cut in the neck position, while the low-end is muscular and well-sculpted with plenty of high-end sparkles.

The Korina body with the roasted maple neck and fingerboard increases the looks and playability of the guitar. Overall, Reverend Double Agent OG is a great LP alternative if you are after versatility.

Kramer Assault 220

  • Mahogany body with maple top
  • Mahogany neck with Ebony fingerboard with a 14” radius
  • Pearloid Thorns Fingerboard Inlay
  • 24 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Floyd Rose Locking nut
  • Floyd Rose Locking Tremolo bridge
  • Kramer tuners with a 14:1 ratio
  • Alnico V Humbucker pickups

Kramer was one of the best-selling guitar brands in the 80s, working with famous artists such as Eddie Van Halen. The company was silent for a while with its ups and downs but came back with the great Kramer Assault 220 model. 

It has a single-cutaway design, a mahogany body with a maple top, and a mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard. So the guitar is quite light and thin. The pickups are Alnico V Humbuckers which are quite versatile, allowing you to play clean shimmery chords as well as high-gain lead lines. In short, it is a great guitar that sounds good, plays well, and looks nice.

D’Angelico Premier Atlantic

  • Basswood body
  • Maple neck
  • Ovangkol fingerboard with a 14” radius
  • White Pearloid blocks inlays
  • 22 Medium frets
  • D’Angelico bridge with Stopbar tailpiece
  • Grover Stairstep Rotomatics tuners
  • Seymour Duncan Designed HB-102N and HB-102B Humbucker pickups

D’Angelico Premier Atlantic is a powerful single-cutaway electric guitar designed for modern players. The guitar is highly comfortable with its C-shaped neck profile and silky Ovangkol fretboard. The signature headstock design looks quite nice adding elegance to the instrument.

The pickups are Seymour Duncan humbuckers and come with the coil-splitting push-pull tone knobs for added versatility. With its high-quality components, the guitar provides amazing tonal variety. The guitar is crafted for high comfort and with light basswood construction and innovative design.

Guild Bluesbird

GUILD Newark St. Collection 6 String Solid-Body Electric Guitar,...
  • The Bluesbird reflects Guild’s return to yet another historic solid body...
  • Originally released in 1970 as the solid body counterpart to the M-75...
  • Today’s reissue features a carved maple top and maintains many of the...
  • Its lightweight chambered mahogany body allows for improved resonance and...
  • Mahogany body
  • Figured Maple top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Pau Ferro fingerboard with a 10” radius
  • Mother-of-Pearl Blocks inlays
  • TonePros Locking Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Grover Sta-Tite Open Gear tuners
  • Seymour Duncan 59 SH-1 Humbucker and Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Humbucker pickups

The Guild Bluesbird electric guitar is yet another Les Paul alternative with its historic solid body design. It was originally released in the 1970s, but the design changed over the decades. Today the guitar has a carved maple top and aesthetics of the M-75 Bluesbird of the 60s.

The instrument has a chambered mahogany body for enhanced resonance and sustains as well as comfort as it makes the guitar lighter. The scale length is 24 3/4” with a vintage C-shaped neck. Most specs of the instrument are similar to the original model, but the pickups of the updated version today have Seymour Duncan 59 SH-1 Humbucker and Seymour Duncan JB SH-4 Humbucker pickups.

There is the TonePros Locking Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop bar tailpiece for added versatility. The guitar also looks quite nice and has many color options, including et Black and Iced Tea Burst with a flamed maple top.

Line 6 JTV-59 Variax

Line 6 James Tyler Variax JTV-59 Modeling Electric Guitar; Cherry...
  • 25 guitars in one. State-of-the-art models of 25 immortal instruments with...
  • 12 tunings. Instantly switch between a set of customized alternate and drop...
  • Virtual capo. Place a "virtual capo" anywhere on the neck without missing a...
  • Mahogany body with Maple top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Macassar Ebony fingerboard with a 12” radius
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • Tyler-designed Wraparound Bridge
  • Die-cast Sealed, 16:1 ratio tuners
  • Vintage-voiced Alnico Humbucker pickups
  • LR Baggs Radiance Hex Piezo System

Built to the specs of the great California luthier James Tyler, Line 6 JTV-59 Variax is an amazing guitar with a beautiful custom mahogany body with a flame maple top. The guitar is completed with a set mahogany neck and a rosewood fretboard which offer full and vibrant tones.

The guitar comes equipped with a pair of real custom-wound humbuckers designed by James Tyler. Inside the guitar, there is also the Line 6 modeling tech, allowing the user to reshape the instrument’s sound easily with a dial or two. But even without the modeling tech, the guitar sounds quite impressive.

You can model the guitar to sound like a traditional 6-string solid body guitar or a different one such as 12-string acoustic guitar or a humbucker configuration to a single-coil setup. You can apply alternate tunings, capos, and open tunings as you like, which makes this guitar one of the most versatile Les Paul alternatives ever.

Godin Radiator Electric Guitar

Godin Radiator Electric Guitar - Trans Cream RN
  • Solidbody Electric Guitar with Maple Body
  • 2 Humbucking Pickups - Trans Cream
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Maple Neck
  • Silver Leaf Maple body
  • Silver Leaf Maple neck
  • Rosewood fingerboard with a 12” radius
  • 22 frets
  • Graph Tech TUSQ nut
  • Wraparound Bridge/Tailpiece
  • 18:1 bass, 26:1 treble tuners
  • Custom Godin Humbucker pickups

The Canadian guitar, Godin Radiator, shines with its cost-effective design and playing comfort. The Silver Leaf Maple neck increases the playability significantly, and it feels like the neck is borrowed from a much higher-priced instrument. With the 12” radius and the C-profile, the neck is pretty smooth and a joy to play with.

Furthermore, the fretboard edges are nicely rolled, and the Graph Tech Tusq nut is perfectly cut. With the rosewood fingerboard compared with the maple neck and maple body, the guitar has a good tonewood combination.

Custom Godin Humbucker pickups feature all the punch and power of classic humbuckers, which allows you to play anything from blues to garage rock.

Chapman Guitars ML2J

  • Ash body
  • Maple neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with a 9.45” radius
  • Graph Tech Black TUSQ XL nut
  • 22 Jumbo frets
  • Chapman Stentorian Zerø humbucker pickup
  • Chapman wraparound bridge
  • Chapman Classic Closed tuners with an 18:1 gear ratio

Chapman Guitars ML2J is a great guitar you can only find in Thomann stores. It is a beautiful-looking instrument with deep cherry stain and sports black hardware, while it sounds impressive with the Chapman Stentorian Zerø humbucker. It is an ideal guitar for modern hard rock and metal tones. 

The guitar comes equipped with a mahogany body, ebony fretboard, 22 frets, and a C neck profile. With the basic old-school design, which includes a single humbucker layout and a wraparound tailpiece, the guitar features a great design and value for the price. If you are after a pure classic rock machine for the classic rock tones, this guitar might be the ideal choice.

Dean Guitars Thoroughbred

  • Mahogany body 
  • Quilted maple top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fingerboard with a 12” radius
  • Pearl block fretboard inlays
  • Seymour Duncan TB-5 Custom Zebra and Seymour Duncan APH-1 Custom Zebra humbucker pickups
  • Tune-O-Matic bridge
  • Grover tuners

Dean Guitars Thoroughbred is a special guitar designed by a professional musician for professional musicians, but with a reasonable price tag. It comes with a Satin neck for extra playability and endurance, a mahogany body, 3-piece mahogany neck, 22 jumbo frets on the ebony fretboard and set through-neck construction.

The sonic performance is provided by Seymour Duncan TB5 and APH-1 pickups in a zebra parchment finish, which sound not only good but also look good. Finally, the Tune-O-Matic bridge with the tailpiece increases the sustain and offers great versatility.

Danelectro 57

  • Spruce body
  • Hardboard top
  • Maple neck
  • Pau Ferro fingerboard with a 14” radius
  • 21 frets
  • Intonaable Saddle Bridge
  • Gotoh tuners
  • Lipstick Single-coil pickups

Danelectro 57 is another LP alternative guitar made in South Korea. It features newly voiced Vintage 50s pickups, which deliver amazing tonal flexibility and quality. On the aesthetic side, these models have a semi-hollow body with a center block. The older models feature a wooden frame, poplar or pine, top front and back with Masonite. So this means that the guitar is a composite-solid wood combination.

The guitar consists of a spruce body, hardboard top, maple neck, and pau Ferro fretboard with a 14” radius. The maple neck also has a classic Bottle headstock which looks amazing with the Pau Ferro fretboard.

So with these choices of tonewoods, the guitar becomes highly lightweight, a little under 6 lbs. This puts the guitar in a unique place in the modern market. The single-cutaway design with alnico 6 Vintage 50s single-coil lipstick pickups in the neck and bridge positions along with a 3-way toggle pickup selector as well as volume and tone knobs for each pickup are the rest of the specs of the instrument.

Soundwise, the guitar has the vintage U2 vibe and classic Dano-style sound. It is better for low-gain and clean tones as it may suffer from feedback issues with its inner center block and spruce frame.

Hagstrom Ultra Max

  • Mahogany body
  • Flame veneer maple top
  • Mahogany neck
  • Resinator Fretboard with a 15” radius
  • Period block fretboard inlays
  • Hagstrom design machine heads
  • Hagstrom Sustain Block tailpiece bridge
  • Custom 60 AlNiCo-5 humbuckers pickups

Hagstrom Ultra Max features an attractive blend of guitar standards. It is slightly slimmer than a regular LP-style guitar but without feeling small. It is similar to LTD EC models on the market. However, with this one, the neck is more like you would find on a Fender guitar 25.5” scale length. That is why it is a great choice of the guitar if you want to down-tune your guitar. 

The versatility is also quite high, thanks to the coil-split design with the twin humbuckers. The pickup configuration consists of Custom 60 Alnico 5 models, which give amazing punch and attack to the guitar without getting too brittle or harsh. The bridge pickup delivers great tonal quality with punchy and clear sound and impressive string separation. 

The design makes you think the Sustain Block plays a crucial role and is more than just a marketing strategy. With most guitars, the coil-split tech does not work well as promised, but this one is a great exception. It provides you with amazing tonal flexibility and allows you to play many in different pickup combinations.

Coming to the looks, the guitar looks quite great with its finish. The satin finish allows for a cross between modern and sleek Silverbrust as well as the nice-looking green hue of the Silverburst finish.

Conclusion

The market is filled with LP-style guitars. Almost every small or large company in the world has its own take on this classic design. Some try to get as close as possible to the original. Others aim for a more modern look and feel. Some are in between. 

Depending on your preferences, there are more than enough guitars to choose from. And with some of them, you’ll get a lot of guitar for the money. As a matter of fact, this is true for most of the guitars on this list. Yes, they are made in Asia most of them, but the built quality is very high, and in years to come it will only get better. So if you don’t have the money for a Gibson, don’t worry there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.

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Last update on 2024-06-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Jacob

I have been playing guitar since 2004. As long as I can remember I always had a huge passion for rock music and I extremely enjoy playing it. Helping people on their rock journey is what drives me to keep on playing. Read More About Me

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