Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002CZURY” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HTfw9v5qL.jpg” width=”184″]The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is an Epiphone version of the Gibson Les Paul Standard. Originally made in Korea and now manufactured at Gibson’s Epiphone factory in Qingdao, China, it has two-piece flame maple (it’s the flame effect that differentiates the Plus Top from other LP Standard models) top. As you would expect from an Epi Les Paul, attention to detail is acute. Cream bindings, pickguard and pick-up surrounds? Check. Chrome pick-up covers? Check. Green tulip-head tuning pegs? Check.

Also present and correct are the ubiquitous humbuckers, chrome bridge and stopbar tailpiece, and trapezoid fretboard inlays. The set mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, and mahogany body are all authentic Les Paul.

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top is available in Honey Burst, Heritage Cherry Sunburst, Trans Amber, Trans Blue, and Vintage Sunburst. And there’s a left-handed model.

In 2008, Epiphone released the Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top, a special edition which had features specified by Slash himself, such as a long tenon neck and LockTone stopbar.

Reviewing the original Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top back in 2004, Maximum Guitar Magazine’s Nick Bowcott said “Ultimately, what we have here is a well-made, eye-catching instrument that plays like a dream, sounds as good as it looks and wont drain your bank account. If you’re looking for a Les Paul but don’t have the funds, this affordable Epiphone axe is highly recommended.”

If you’re interested in purchasing an one of these great guitars, you can find them here on Amazon.

Epiphone launches Zakk Wylde ZV Custom

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B001UTXIW2″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31lMBx%2BdF6L.jpg” width=”208″]Epiphone has launched its latest signature guitar, the Zakk Wylde ZV Custom. It’s unique body shape combines what Epiphone calls “two of the most distinguishable guitar shapes” into one body by taking the top half of an SG and the bottom of a Flying V and sticking putting them together.

The company describes the guitar as having an “aggressive look like no other” with ‘extreme attitude” and I wouldn’t disagree.

Just like Epiphone’s Zakk Wylde Les Paul signature guitars, the body of the Zakk Wylde ZV Custom is carved from solid mahogany and has a glued-in hard maple neck. Epiphone says this “provides for deep, rich tone with added brightness and sustain that only comes with a set-neck guitar.”

There are two EMG-Z humbuckers, an HZ-4 at the bridge, and an HZ-4A at the neck. A LockTone tune-o-matic bridge locks the bridge on the posts to make changing strings easy, and the string-through body “ensures ultimate string to body vibrations.”

The neck has a SlimTaper profile and the headstock is quipped with black Grover machine heads. The final touch on the neck is the Les Paul Custom-style mother-of-pearl inlays on the fretboard. A pair of new Epiphone strap locks complete the look. The Epiphone Zakk Wylde ZV Custom is available in black and black and white “bullseye” finishes and comes with a specially designed fitted hard case with ZV-inspired artwork and a metal chain handle.

Find an Epiphone Zakk Wylde ZV Custom on Amazon Today

The Anatomy of an Epiphone guitar. Part 1: The Humbucker

The humbucker, or humbucking pick-up, is a feature of most of the electric guitars made by Epiphone and its parent company, Gibson.

The humbucker is a two-coil pick-up with coils of reversed polarity, reverse wound, and connected in series. The name is derived from the fact the design of the pick-up significantly reduces the noise and interference associated with single coil pick-ups used in other guitars, such as Fender’s Stratocaster. In other words, they ‘buck the hum.’

Guitars which are fitted with humbuckers have one at the neck and one at the bridge, along with a three-way switch to choose either pick-up individually, or both together. Humbuckers are often covered with a metal plate; where they are uncovered, the coils and six magnetic pole pieces are clearly visible.

Originally invented by a Gibson employee, Seth Lover, in 1957, the humbucker is strongly associated with Gibson, and in particular the Les Paul, although it’s widely used by other manufacturers. Like every other guitar pick-up, the humbucker works by ‘picking up’ the vibrations of the guitar strings, which then induce an alternating current in its coils. The key difference between it and single coil pick-ups is that it is unaffected by the electromagnetic interference which causes an audible hum from a single coil pick-up.

The reason for this is that the twin coils are reverse wound and reversed in polarity, this means that the electromagnetic interference induces current in opposing directions in each coil and the interference from each coil cancels out that in the other. By contrast, the signal from the vibration of the strings is increased. This is known as common-mode rejection.

The humbucker is known for its fat, warm tone which differs from the clear, bright tone produced by single coil pick-ups.This tone is key to the sound of guitars like the Les Paul and SG, as well as archtop guitars like the Casino and Sheraton. The reason for the tone is that the two coils resonate at different frequencies and therefore, the resonant peak is broader than that of a single coil pick-up.

How To Read Guitar Tab

Learning how to read guitar tab is an essential task for anyone new to the guitar. Most guitar players, unlike say violinists or pianists, are self taught and many have never learned how to read music. For guitarists who are able and happy to learn everything they want to play by ear, that’s not a problem. For the rest of us it makes it very difficult to learn new tunes, or it would if it wasn’t for guitar tab.

At its simplest, guitar tab is a way of representing which strings to play, where to fret them and in what order. The strings are represented by six horizontal lines, running from low E at the bottom to the high E at the top.


Numbers on the lines represent the fret to be played. So 0 would be an open string and 5 would mean pressing your finger on the fifth fret. Chords are represented by numbers aligned vertically, so the diagram below represents the chord of A.


And in the diagram below, you would strum the chord of A three times.


So far, so good. The one thing that guitar tab doesn’t do is represent the timing of the notes or their length — although some tab writers denote timing using spaces between notes. So when you learn to read guitar tab and want to learn a new song, you should listen to it as you follow the tab to get an idea of timing.

Those are the basics and if that is as far as you ever go when you learn to play guitar tab, then provided you have a reasonably good ear and listen to the track your trying to play, you’ll get along pretty well. However, tab goes much further than that and has conventions for a number of the methods guitar players use to generate different sounds and tones from a guitar. So, for example, there’s notation for bending strings, sliding from one fret to another, hammering on and pulling off, vibrato, and even tapping the fret Eddie Van Halen-style.

Here are some of the notation conventions:

h – hammer on.

So 5h7 would mean play the string fretted at the 5th fret then ‘hammer on’ to the 7th fret.

p – pull-off.

So 7p5 would mean play the string at the 7th fret while also holding the 5th fret and pull-off.


/ – slide up.

So 7/9 means play the note at the 7th fret and slide up to the 9th.

\ – slide down.

The reverse of slide up.

b – bend string up.

So 7b would mean play the string at the 7th fret and bend up.

v – vibrato

Play the string at the fret noted and vibrate by rotating your wrist quickly back and forth.

So part of a solo might look like this:


The above is a basic how to read guitar tab guide, if you’d like to see free video guitar lessons, I recommend checking out RiffNinja.com.

The 10 best songs ever played on an Epiphone guitar

Everyone loves a list, so I thought I’d put one together containing what I think are the ten best songs ever played, either live or on record, on an Epiphone guitar. I’m sure there will be much disagreement, so please feel free to argue in the Comments.

I could have filled the list several times over with Beatles’ songs, but instead limited it to three, one each for Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, all of whom played Epiphone guitars at some time during the Beatles’ career and afterwards. You can read more about the Beatles and their Epiphone guitars in this excellent feature.

Read on for Fretboard’s run-down of the 10 best songs ever played on an Epiphone guitar, and don’t forget to tell us what you think.

10. Champagne Supernova/ Oasis

Noel Gallagher’s famous Union Jack guitar was a specially made Epiphone Sheraton II, and was made available by Epiphone as a signature model called the Supernova, as a tribute to this track from the band’s second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

9. Close to Me/ The Cure

Guitarist Porl Thompson rejoined The Cure in 1983 and played an Epiphone EA-250 between 1983 and 1986. Close to Me, from the album, The Head on the Door, was released as a single in 1985.

8. Last Nite/ The Strokes

The Strokes guitar player Nick Valensi uses an Epiphone Riviera with Gibson P-94 pick-ups as his main guitar. He has several models of the guitar including a red 12-string. Epiphone produced two signature models, the Elitist Nick Valensi Riviera P94 in 2005, and two years later, a standard Nick Valensi Riviera P94. Valensi also plays a Casino and a Dot fitted with P94s.

7. Taxman/ The Beatles

Written by George Harrison with a solo by Paul McCartney. Lennon, Harrison, and McCartney had all acquired Casino’s by the time this track was recorded and McCartney used his for the solo on Taxman.

6. Paint it Black/ The Rolling Stones

Keith Richards’ is known to have played an Epiphone Casino throughout 1966, both live and in the studio. Paint It Black was recorded in March 1966 and released as a single in the US and UK that year, hitting number 1 in both countries. It was also included in the US release of the 1966 album, Aftermath.

5. Boom Boom/ John Lee Hooker

John Lee Hooker. The great bluesman played a Sheraton for long periods of his career, and indeed, Epiphone launched a John Lee Hooker signature model Sheraton shortly before his death. Hooker’s early work, such as Boogie Chillin’ was recorded before the introduction of the Epiphone Sheraton, so I’ve gone for Boom Boom, released in 1961.

4. California Girls/ Beach Boys

In an interview with his brother-in-law, and Beach Boys keyboard player, Billy Hinsche in 1981, published by Guitar One magazine in 2001, Carl Wilson explained that he used an Epiphone acoustic on California Girls and Sloop John B. He also used a Sheraton during live performances with the Beach Boys in the early seventies and had a couple of 12-string acoustics in his collection at the time of the interview.

3. Yesterday/ The Beatles

Paul McCartney played an Epiphone acoustic when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, and still uses one to play Yesterday in live performances.

2. Little Red Rooster/ The Rolling Stones

Brian Jones’ slide guitar was a key element of the Stones version of the Willie Dixon-written, Howlin’ Wolf classic. During a live perfomance of the song on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1965, Jones played it on an Epiphone Casino. He is known to have regularly used the guitar during that period.

1. Revolution/ The Beatles

John Lennon famously sanded down and lacquered his Casino during recording of the White Album. His newly blonde Epiphone Casino is prominent on the promo film for this track. The guitar also appears in The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus Film, the Beatles’ Let it Be, and The Beatles’ concert on the rooftop of Apple Records in London. Epiphone later released a couple of John Lennon signature model Casinos, one of which is a replica of the sanded down model.

So there you have it. Fretboard’s pick of the ten best songs ever played on an Epiphone guitar. I’m sure you’ll disagree, so please let me know what you think in the comments.

Wiring diagram for a three-pick-up guitar

If you’re about to tackle the electrics on your guitar, or just want to know how they work, check out Danny’s post which has an Wiring for Stratocaster & Three-Pickup Guitars excellent wiring diagram for a three-pickup guitar.

Jimi Hendrix’s Epiphone

Danny has just posted a great piece on The Guitars of Jimi Hendrix, in which he describes how Hendrix played an Epiphone Wilshire. The Wilshire was a Strat-style guitar made between 1959 and 1970 and which originally featured two P-90 pick-ups and a Tune-o-matic bridge and stop tailpiece. In mid-1962 the P-90s were replaced with mini-humbuckers.

Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top

[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0002CZURY” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HTfw9v5qL.jpg” width=”184″]The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top is one of two guitars, the other by Gibson and costing twice as much, released to celebrate the man who Total Guitar magazine credited with reinventing the Les Paul.

Cast your mind back to 1988 if you can remember that far back. Blues and rock guitarists alike were ignoring the great guitar in favour of Fender Strats and variations on the Strat body shape from the likes of Ibanez and Charvel. Think of the big name guitarists of the time Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Vai, Joe Satriani, SRV, Clapton, and there’s not an LP among them. Then along came the curly-haired, top-hatted, chain-smoking, goofy-grinned genius sporting a Les Paul and playing what would become some of the greatest riffs of the decade on Guns n Roses seminal album, Appetite for Destruction. The Les Paul was back.

Fast forward nearly twenty years to the launch of Guitar Hero III and there he is again. On the front of the box, in the adverts, on the marketing material, playing a Les Paul.

Is it any wonder Gibson released special editions as a tribute?

But what of the Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top itself? Well, it’s as true to the great man as you would expect. Specified by Slash himself and finished in tobacco sunburst, the Les Paul Standard has a special Slash-profile mahogany set long tenon neck, LockTone tun-o-matic bridge and stopbar which has clasps to stop it coming loose while you change strings, and twin Seymour Duncan Alnico Pro II humbuckers.

Click here to see a list of Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard Plus Top guitars currently for sale on Amazon.

Total Guitar magazine in the UK gave it four stars out of five, and Guitar World said “Epiphone’s Custom Shop Slash Signature Les Paul Standard Plus Top lives up to the hype, delivering the Slash sound at a price that average players can afford.”

At around $1200, its several hundred dollars more expensive than a regular Epi Les Paul Standard, but it’s also less than half the price of the Gibson Slash signature. Whether or not you’re a Slash fan, elements like the long tenon neck, LockTone stopbar and Duncan humbuckers make this a great guitar.

The Epiphone Les Paul – How The Very First One Was Built

f there’s a single electric guitar range that’s synonymous with Epiphone , and in particular its Gibson copies, it’s the Les Paul. Epiphone currently lists 19 Les Paul guitars in its line-up, including legends like the Les Paul Custom, Les Paul Studio, and the Les Paul Junior.

While it’s widely assumed that Les Paul designed the original guitar which bore his name for Gibson and that Epiphone later made less expensive versions from factories in Korea and Japan, this only scratches the surface of the real, much more interesting, story.

Paul started building what eventually became the Gibson Les Paul in 1941, using Epiphone parts and facilities in Epiphone’s New York factory. The Log, as Paul nicknamed that first guitar was made by attaching an Epiphone neck, fingerboard and body parts to a 4in by 4in board. Les Paul then took a couple of body halves from an Epiphone and attached them either side of a centre block.

Sometime later, while he was in Chicago, Paul took The Log to the Chicago Musical Instruments Company, which owned Gibson. He was politely, but firmly, shown the door. The words of CMI’s president, MH Berlin, who described The Log as a ‘broomstick with pick-ups’, must have stung, but they didn’t discourage him from designing and building guitars. Eventually he managed to attract Gibson’s interest and in 1952, the first Les Paul solid body electric guitar was produced, and the rest, is history.

The Gibson Les Paul, in its many and various models, has become arguably the most recognised electric guitar shape on the planet. Only Fender’s Stratocaster comes close. Almost every great rock and blues guitar player has owned and played at least one. And even guitarists like Eric Clapton who later became identified with other makes and models, played some of their best riffs on a Les Paul.

And of course, the Les Paul was introduced to a whole new set of fans when it was used as the basis for the controller in the video game, Guitar Hero III.