Gibson Les Paul Custom VS Standard (Comparison)
Our pick: The Gibson Les Paul Standard
Value needs to be understood in the context of quality and price. So while the Les Paul Custom is a fantastic guitar, it runs the price up enough to make a comparison to the much more affordable Les Paul Standard an easy decision. Save the money, and get the Les Paul Standard. You'll be totally happy with it.
The Gibson Les Paul Custom and the Les Paul Standard are two of the most popular and iconic electric guitars on the Gibson roster. But what are the differences between them? What kind of features set them apart from one another?
We'll answer these questions in our Gibson Les Paul Custom VS Standard comparison.
The Les Paul Custom retails at more than $2000 ahead of the Les Paul Standard, but what features and properties are contributing to that cost?
Is the Les Paul Custom's expense justified? Is it enough to make it worth purchasing ahead of the Les Paul Standard?
Use the comparison tool below to look at some basic features and specs, then we'll get into the details of each model below to see which one is more ideal for you.
Gibson Les Paul Custom VS Standard Comparison Tool
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Unfortunately, the Les Paul Custom's spec sheet doesn't really attempt to explain or justify the added cost. Our understanding is that there's a greater level of authenticity and attention to detail, but it's difficult to determine exactly how that manifests in the guitar itself.
Les Paul Custom Details
It's likely that part of the added cost is due to an increased level of work done by hand, particularly the body carving on the Les Paul Custom. Though difficult to see in stock photos, the carving of the Custom is extremely well-done, with a lot of attention to fine details and nuanced curves.
Binding and inlays are also intricately placed and add a tremendous amount of artistic flair to the instrument.
But otherwise, it's hard to find a lot of concrete differences between the Custom and Standard.
Both use Gibson-brand pickups, both have a Mahogany body and maple top, and both utilize a similar control scheme. Which is not meant to diminish the quality of the Les Paul Custom, because it's clearly a fantastic guitar. But if you're comparing it directly to the Les Paul Standard, it's going to be hard to make up that $2000 on a simple feature comparison.
You need to value the nuance and hands-on approach of the Custom to make it worth the added expense.
Les Paul Standard Details
The Les Paul Standard actually has a slightly nicer set of pickups - The Gibson Burstbucker 1 and 2 humbuckers - which are more expensive than the 490 and 498 set on the Les Paul Custom. Otherwise, it's hard to spot the differences between the Standard and Custom unless you're looking at a more specific feature comparison.
The Les Paul Custom has a truss rod cover, while the Standard does not.
Also, on the electronics side, the Standard also leaves out any mention of the pickup selector and output jack, which are both listed as Switchcraft on the Custom.
This probably means the Standard uses cheaper stock electronics.
There are far less of these notable details in the Standard, leaving you with a much shorter spec sheet than you get with the Custom. We'd think of the Standard '50s as a "stripped down" version of the Custom, with less attention to detail but all the same bones and structural integrity of the Custom.
Summary of Comparison
And this begs the question: Which one is better?
In most of the comparisons we do, we like to recommend the cheaper guitars because they tend to provide better value. Especially in this case, where you still get the Gibson brand and all the important specs, the cheaper guitar is probably the better option.
Because most folks who are looking to buy a Les Paul are not thinking about the nuanced feature set the Les Paul Custom provides.
They want the nice tonewood, the nicer pickups, and the Gibson brand.
The Les Paul Standard gives you all that.
If it's between these two, we'd recommend going with the standard and saving yourself a ton of money, because the Custom - while certainly an awesome guitar - doesn't give you enough value to justify the added expense.
For questions, thoughts, or disagreements, feel free to hit up the comments section below and we'll discuss.