Gibson LEs Paul Tribute VS Studio: Which one?
We recommend the Gibson Les Paul Tribute
With only minor upgrades in the Les Paul Studio, we're comfortable recommending the Tribute which is $300 cheaper, but still delivers a similar tone and playing feel. It's worth noting that both guitars are extremely good deals, given Gibson's typical price point (it's often much higher).
Are there any significant differences between the Gibson Les Paul Tribute and the Les Paul Studio?
On paper they're extremely similar which makes them hard to compare. If you're stuck between the two of them, we can tell you up front that it's a bit of a coin toss with only minor feature differences separating the two electric guitars.
In this comparison, we'll identify those differences and help you decide which one is right for you in your particular situation.
But first, a little graphical summary:
Gibson Les Paul Tribute VS Studio (comparison tool)
We've built a simple comparison tool and specs table to let you examine the Les Paul Tribute and Studio side-by-side. Note that you can shop these two guitars via the orange Sweetwater buttons. These help support our work at no extra cost to you. If you would like to help us out, that's the best way to do so.
Gibson Les Paul Tribute
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Guitar Specs Tables Side-by-Side
In a basic specs sheet, there's almost no different between these two guitars. We'll get into some more subtle differences via the details sections below.
Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar
Nashville Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar
2 x volume, 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch
2 x volume (push/pull coil-tap), 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch
Gibson Les Paul Tribute Details
The Tribute is a mahogany body with a maple top, identical to the Les Paul Studio. In the Studio Plus you get nicer AA maple for that top piece, but as far as we can tell the Tribute and Studio (the non-plus version) use the exact same body.
Gibson uses maple for the neck of the Tribute while the Studio goes back to mahogany, which is one of the few differences we can identify.
You also get the Nashville Tune-O-Matic bridge along with the 490R and 490T humbuckers, all of which are also in the Studio.
Gibson Les Paul Studio Details
There are three features we notice in the Les Paul Studio that are missing from the Les Paul Tribute.
- Gloss finish
- Push/pull coil-tap in the volume knob
- Mahogany neck
The Tribute has a Satin finish, which - in our opinion - doesn't look quite as nice as the gloss finish. Predictably, you get more of a shine and a more pristine look with the gloss nitrocellulose lacquer used on the Studio.
Combined, these seem to be the primary ways that Gibson cuts $300 off the price of the Tribute.
Summary and Conclusion: Which one?
Unless you care a lot about the gloss finish or the coil-tapping, we'd recommend going with the Les Paul Tribute and saving the money. The mahogany neck doesn't matter much to us.
Yes, the gloss finish looks nicer, but both guitars play and sound extremely similar.
If the feel and tone is the same either way, that doesn't leave you with much reason to spend extra money for what we'd categorize as "bells and whistles." At the same time, it's important to point out that getting a Gibson Les Paul for $1200 or $1500 is an awesome deal.
At the end of the day, we don't mind either of these guitars as they're two of the highest-value options in the Gibson Les Paul lineup.
Questions and Comments
Do you have questions about the Gibson Les Paul Studio or the Les Paul Tribute?
If so, drop them in the comments section below and we'll take a look.