As you all know, I play primarily Fender Stratocasters in my live band. But I have to admit that I do own a Gibson Les Paul Custom but it’s current pricing is just outrageous and I can’t recommend it if you’re on a budget. I had the opportunity to play a Gibson Les Paul Studio just the other day and I was very impressed with the guitar. This is how I feel it compares to my Gibson Les Paul Custom.
The biggest difference between the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Gibson Les Paul Custom is the price. The Les Paul Custom sells online for $3889. That’s a lot of money for your average guitar player and puts this guitar out of reach for many players. The Les Paul Studio on the other hand costs only $999.00 – $1319.00 depending on finish options. That’s much less than a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster which it competes with directly.
The Les Paul Custom and the Les Paul Studio are almost identical in terms of sound. They use the same neck pickup with the only difference in the bridge pickup being that the Custom uses an Alnico V magenet and the Studio uses an Alnico II magnet. I personally couldn’t tell much if any difference in sound between the two guitars but the Alnico V magnets are supposed to be slightly hotter. They both use a mahogany body and neck with a carved maple top so the woods used are identical. They do have different fingerboards with the Custom having a true ebony fretboard and the Studio having a rosewood fretboard.
The biggest difference between the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Gibson Les Paul Custom are all in the finish details. The Custom has a lot of fine finish details that the Studio doesn’t have. The Custom has full body and neck binding which is a plastic finish strip that goes around the entire body, neck and headstock. This gives the Custom a smooth, refined look and makes the neck very comfortable. The Custom also has big block inlays in the ebony neck and the classic Gibson split-diamond headstock inlay. The Custom sports gold plated hardware as opposed to the standard Chrome hardware on the Studio. Gold hardware is available as an option on the Les Paul Studio.
One thing I have to mention about the gold hardware on the Les Paul Custom. It is gold plating and the plating rubs off with regular playing leaving you with a dull nickle finish where the gold plating has rubbed off. This is my main gripe about the gold hardware, so if you want a more rugged hardware, the chrome on the studio is the way to go.
The bottom line is this, if you want a Les Paul in you guitar collection, you just can’t go wrong with the Les Paul Studio. The price is most definitely right and there’s not a huge quality drop-off like there is in the Fender Strat line once you get out of the American Series. The Les Paul Studio is made in America with the sound and design being proven to be rugged and reliable. I highly recommend the Gibson Les Paul Studio if you’re looking for a great Les Paul!
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