This page allows you to compare basic specs and pricing for all of the mainline Gibson Les Paul Models. While we haven't included entries for each color/finish offered, we do have at least one example of each model represented (at least the models we know of), for easy browsing and comparison.
Use the compare buttons to look at pricing and basic specs for each Gibson Les Paul model listed. If you know of a Les Paul that is missing, drop it in the comments section below and we'll add it to our list.
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson Les Paul Junior
Gibson Les Paul Special
Gibson Les Paul Axcess
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Deluxe '70s Goldtop
Gibson Les Paul Standard Slash Signature
Gibson Les Paul Classic
Gibson Les Paul Standard '60s
Gibson Les Paul Standard '50s Electric Guitar
Gibson Les Paul Levels (quality tiers)
To help compare Gibson Les Paul models, we can break them down into roughly three quality tiers.
To be clear, all Gibson Les Pauls are extremely nice guitars, but we can use these three tiers to break things up by price and get an idea for how the different guitars compare to one another.
The Low Tier
In the low tier, you have the following:
- Gibson Les Paul Studio
- Gibson Les Paul Junior
- Gibson Les Paul Special
- Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute
These guitars typically fall under $1500, representing the lowest quality tier of Gibson Les Paul models.
The Medium Tier
In the medium tier our price range is between roughly $1600 and $2500.
- Gibson Les Paul Standard (50s, 60s, and 70s)
- Gibson Les Paul Classic
The High Tier
And then the highest tier, which includes the Custom and Modern series, as well as most signature models.
- Gibson Les Paul Axcess
- Gibson Les Paul Custom
- Gibson Les Paul Modern
- Gibson Les Paul Signature Models
What are the main differences between the models?
Now that we've covered tiers, what are the main differences between the Gibson Les Paul models? Where do they differ on the specs sheet? This is fairly hard to determine as it depends on which two Les Pauls you're comparing.
For example, you might have two Les Pauls with different pickups:
- Les Paul #1: Burstbucker pro pickups
- Les Paul #2: Probucker pickups
Or you might have a different type of bridge hardware:
- Les Paul #1: ABR-1 bridge
- Les Paul #2: Nashville tune-o-matic bridge
These differences are small and less consequential when you're staying within a brand and model lineup, especially like Les Paul. Generally speaking, the more a guitar costs indicates more customization required, like in the Axcess which is modified for a Floyd Rose tremolo system.
But that doesn't mean the low and medium tier options aren't also great guitars. They just aren't as specific as the more expensive Custom and Signature models.
Which one is the best for the money?
For best value we typically recommend the Les Paul Studio. If you're just looking for the best overall - if we pretend money is no object - the Les Paul Custom is hard to pass up.
Why are Les Pauls so expensive?
But why are Gibson Les Pauls priced so high?
Again, it's an issue of customization and specific attention given to each guitar. These guitars have nicer parts, carved bodies, and unique attention, which narrows as you increase in price. You're getting less of a factory produced guitar and more so an instrument that has been crafted by hand, via human touch.
In other words, parts and humbuckers play a role, but it's more than just a spec sheet battle.
Gibson also has a long history of producing some of the most beautiful and sought-after guitars in existence - the Les Paul being the foremost of that discussion - which means they can justify a higher price tag for their instruments.
On a more practical note, they also tend to use higher grade lumber in these guitars.
Are they worth the money?
Are Gibson Les Pauls worth the steep investment?
The old saying usually holds true: You get what you pay for.
Whether it's "worth it" to you is a difficult question to answer. Though I would argue that you should be able to check off the following boxes - before you buy a guitar like a Les Paul:
- You perform and/or record somewhat regularly (even if it's on a small scale)
- You've been playing guitar for longer than five years
- You're committed to the instrument in the long term
In other words, you should be a guitar player by trait. I'm looking for more than a hobby commitment, perhaps even a semi-professional involvement in guitar before you buy something like a Gibson Les Paul.
In that context, they are most definitely worth the expense.
Conclusion & Questions
Do you have any Gibson Les Pauls that our list is missing?
If so, drop us a line in the comments section below.
If it fits and we've missed it, we'll add the guitar to our list. It's possible there are some signature models out there we don't know about, so feel free to sound off in the comments and let us know.
We'll see you there.