Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard vs Gibson Les Paul Special

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Finding the particular specs of 2 guitars online is quite some work.

In many cases, the manufacturers don’t inform the same features about the instruments that you want to compare and you have to start digging all over the web to find them.

But hey, relax! 

If you are here, it seems like I have already done that job for you.

Here is a brief description of these 2 guitars:

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard is made in China, has a solid mahogany body, a set Slash Custom “C” mahogany neck, indian laurel fingerboard, and HH pickups. The Gibson Les Paul Special is made in USA, has a solid mahogany body, a set Vintage 50s “C” mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, and PP pickups.

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has Vintage Deluxe tuners, Custom Humbucker pickups, and Standard electronics. The Gibson Les Paul Special has Vintage Deluxe tuners, P-90 pickups, and Standard electronics.

For those who want a deeper dive into all the specs that make these 2 guitars different, in this article I will put them side by side so you can see their main differences.

After that, I will show you some sound tests I found, and give you a brief history of each one of them.

I will then talk about their main specs one by one, and link you to some other interesting articles I have written about these specific features.

Finally, I will give you some comments about each of these instruments.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s go!

Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard and Gibson Les Paul Special side by side

SpecEpiphone Slash Les Paul StandardGibson Les Paul Special
Years of productionSince 2021Since 2019
Made inChinaUSA
Body typeSolidSolid
Body shapeLes PaulLes Paul Special
Body materialMahoganyMahogany
Top materialMaple
FinishGloss PolyurethaneGloss Nitrocellulose
Neck materialMahoganyMahogany
Neck shapeSlash Custom “C”Vintage 50s “C”
Headstock shapeEpiphoneGibson
Neck jointSetSet
Fingerboard materialIndian LaurelRosewood
Fingerboard radius12″12″
Number of frets2222
Fret materialNickel SilverNickel Silver
Fret sizeMedium JumboMedium Jumbo
Scale length24.75″24.75″
BridgeLockTone ABR Tune-O-MaticWraparound
TailpieceBridge integratedBridge integrated
NutGraphTech NuBoneGraphTech
TunersVintage DeluxeVintage Deluxe
Pickup configurationHHPP
Neck pickupCustom HumbuckerP-90
Middle pickup
Bridge pickupCustom HumbuckerP-90
ElectronicsStandardStandard
Controls2 x Volume, 2 x Tone2 x Volume, 2 x Tone
Switching3-Way Toggle3-Way Toggle
Weight9 lbs7 – 8 lbs
PlayersSlashBillie Joe Armstrong, Johnny Marr, Carlos Santana, Billy Corgan, Luke Hemmings, Nick Valensi, Lee Ranaldo, Kim Gordon, Ace Frehley, Ronnie Wood
CaseHardshell caseHardshell case
Price$899$1599

What do they sound like?

Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard play demo

Gibson Les Paul Special play demo

Brief descriptions

A brief description of the Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard

“Slash’s Les Paul collection is arguably as celebrated as the Guns N’ Roses axeman himself. The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard is Epi’s version of one of the legendary guitarist’s favorite touring instruments. This solidbody electric guitar is a Les Paul afficionado’s dream, with enough Gibson-inspired features to fill a snakepit and a real-world price tag that’s guaranteed to put a dog-eat-dog sly smile on your face. The Slash Les Paul Standard boasts classic maple-on-mahogany construction, which includes a figured maple veneer top that’s guaranteed to turn heads. This exquisite rock machine features a comfortable Slash-custom “C”-shaped neck and an easy-playing Indian Laurel fingerboard with 22 medium-jumbo frets, along with a set of vintage-voiced Custom ProBucker pickups, high-quality wiring, and Epiphone strap locks. The Epi Slash Les Paul Standard also includes color-coordinated hardware, Slash’s “Scully” signature drawing on the back of the headstock, a signed truss rod cover, and a custom hardshell case.”

Source: Sweetwater.com

A brief description of the Gibson Les Paul Special

“Countless players have found the Gibson Les Paul Special, with its lightweight design and unique tonal response, to be easy to pick up yet impossible to put down. So it is with today’s Les Paul Special; its easy-gigging weight and P-90 chunk ’n’ chime will earn this guitar a special place in any serious guitarist’s collection. A breathable nitrocellulose lacquer finish, handwired electronics, and a vintage ’50s mahogany neck make this single-cut a dead ringer for yesterday’s sought-after classics. Yet modern performance options, which include a factory fret Plek treatment, make today’s Gibson Les Paul Special a force to be reckoned with.”

Source: Sweetwater.com

Body type

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a solid body. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a solid body.

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Chords
Chords

As you probably know, the body type of a guitar is a defining factor for its character and tone. 

If you want to know more about how these kinds of bodies affect these guitars, you can check out this article:

Body shape

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a Les Paul body. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a Les Paul Special body.

The shape of a guitar’s body has serious implications on its playability, but not so much on its tone.

If you want to know everything about the effect of guitar body shapes, and their influence on the instrument, check out this article:

Body material

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a solid mahogany body. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a solid mahogany body.

The kind of material used to build a guitar’s body is something you should really pay attention to.

This is one of the main factors that define the tone of an instrument.

If you want to know how these specifics materials impact the tone of these guitars, you should take a look here:

Top material

Guitarists are often curious about how guitar tops affect tone. 

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There are many factors that contribute to the sound of a guitar, and whether it has a top is an important one. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to make a decision. 

The following article will explain what guitar tops are and why they matter, as well as provide guidance for those who want to learn more about these options.

In short, a guitar’s top has a slight, but perceivable, influence on its tone, however, they are mostly used for aesthetic purposes.

Whether your preferred guitar has one or not, it shouldn’t worry you too much.

However, if you want to know all there is about guitar tops, go here:

Finish

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a gloss polyurethane finish. The Gibson Les Paul Special is painted with a gloss nitrocellulose finish.

Guitar players know that there are many variables in determining the sound of a guitar. Yet, one of the most popular debates is about nitro vs poly. 

Let’s explore this question, so you can make an informed decision for your next purchase.

These 2 finishes are both types of varnish that can be used to protect and beautify a guitar’s wood. They also have slightly different properties that some players argue can influence the tone of your guitar.

Nitro is a type of varnish that is thinner and less durable, while poly is thicker, way more durable, and cheaper.

Poly provides more protection from moisture and scratches, but some people argue it reduces resonance and sustain. Nitro wears off with time but has a more organic feel to the touch and is said to improve sustain and resonance.

Neck material

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a mahogany neck. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a mahogany neck.

The type of wood that a guitar neck is made of will have a significant impact on the tone of your guitar. 

Tonewoods have different densities, hardness, and acoustic qualities. 

The type of wood a guitar neck is built with will determine its final sound. 

In the following article I present you a list of the most common tonewoods used in guitar necks, and the influence they could have on the tone of the instrument:

Neck shape

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a Slash Custom “C” neck. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a Vintage 50s “C” neck.

The shape of a guitar neck has a significant impact on the tone and playability.

Guitar necks come in a variety of shapes, so it’s important to know what each of those shapes offers.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled some general information about each different type of guitar neck shape so you can make an informed decision when choosing your next guitar:

Headstock shape

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has an Epiphone headstock. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a Gibson headstock.

The shape of a guitar’s headstock is not really a big defining factor for its tone.

However, many players argue that differences in mass, especially at the end of the neck can have some implications in tone.

In this article I go deep into that topic and answer the most pressing questions:

Neck joint

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a set neck. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a set neck.

Guitar necks come in a variety of different joints, and each one has its own pros and cons.

Knowing the differences between each joint can help you decide which is best for you.

A guitar’s neck joint is what attaches the guitar’s neck to the body of the instrument. 

There are 3 types of neck joints: bolt-on, set, and neck through. 

Bolt-on necks are attached by screws at the heel of the neck and can be removed easily for repairs or customization. 

Set necks attach to a pocket in the guitar’s body and stay put with glue.

In neck trough instruments, the neck elongates and becomes the central piece of the body, where most of its hardware is mounted. Then, there are wood “wings” glued to its side to complete the body shape.

If you want to know the specifics of each of these joints, check out this article:

Fingerboard material

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard fretboard is made of indian laurel. The Gibson Les Paul Special fretboard is built of rosewood.

The material of a guitar’s fingerboards is as important as the one of the rest of the neck.

In conjunction, both these 2 parts have a deep impact on the final tone of the instrument.

Also, take into consideration that the fretboard is the point of contact for your playing fingers with the guitar, so feel is also a very important factor.

In the following article, I share my thoughts on different fingerboard materials and their impact on the final sound of the instrument:

Fingerboard radius

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a 12″ radius. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a 12″ radius.

The radius of the fingerboard is a measure of how curved the neck of the guitar actually is when looking at it from bridge to nut.

This curvature is really a defining factor for how the instrument plays, and some players are very strict about it.

If you want to know more about how it’s measured and the effect it has on the playability of a guitar, you should look at the following article:

Frets

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has 22 medium jumbo nickel silver frets. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with 22 medium jumbo nickel silver frets.

The frets on a guitar have a deep impact on its playability.

Many players don’t consider this as important as other features, but more experienced ones will be very picky about this.

Bigger frets make a guitar easier to play, however, they hinder the overall intonation of the instrument.

Also, there are different fret materials to consider.

In these articles, I dive deep into how important are frets for a guitar.

Scale length

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a 24.75″ scale length. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a 24.75″ scale length.

The scale length of a guitar refers to the longitude of the vibrating part of the string.

This is measured from the nut to the bridge, and for intonation purposes, the middle point is always the 12th fret.

Different scale lengths have varying influences over things such as string tension, and of course, fret gap size.

If you want to know more about this, I invite you to read the post below:

Bridge

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a LockTone ABR Tune-O-Matic bridge. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a Wraparound bridge.

A guitar’s bridge is one of the 2 points of contact the strings have with the body and neck.

It is a central part for the transmission of vibrations through the instrument, and also defines many important factors for playability such as string spacing and action.

Some bridges also have extra functionalities.

To know everything there is about this part of the guitar, please go here:

Tailpiece

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a bridge integrated tailpiece. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a bridge integrated tailpiece.

Tailpieces are often forgotten when thinking about guitar parts, however, they have been there for centuries, and there are many different designs with alternate features.

Whether your guitar has a standalone one or a bridge that works like one too, you might be interested in broadening your knowledge about tailpieces here:

Nut

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has a graphtech nubone nut. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with a graphtech nut.

The nut of a guitar is a small but very important part of the instrument.

It helps define string spacing, action, and is the source of many of the tuning issues cheaper instruments suffer from.

There are many kinds and materials of nuts out there, and if you want to know how they can impact your instrument of choice, you should go to this article:

Tuners

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has Vintage Deluxe tuners. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with Vintage Deluxe tuners.

Guitar tuners don’t have a direct effect on how a guitar sounds.

However, their quality will be a defining factor in your playing experience. 

It’s fundamental that your instrument has good quality machine heads to keep it in tune.

In the following article, I dive deep into the most common questions players ask about tuners, and their functionality:

Pickups

Guitar pickups are one of the main components of any electric guitar. 

But do guitar pickups make a difference in sound? This can be a difficult question with many different answers.

The most important thing to note is that it is not just the type of pickup that determines a guitar’s sound, but also how and where you place the pickup on the guitar.

In this guide, we will discuss the different types of pickups and how they affect your sound

We will outline how pickups work and what are the central factors that determine how they influence the tone of your instrument.

Finally, we will help you compare different models and make an informed decision about which pickup is right for you.

Electronics

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard has standard electronics, 2 x volume, 2 x tone controls, and a 3-way toggle switch. The Gibson Les Paul Special is built with standard electronics, 2 x volume, 2 x tone controls, and a 3-way toggle switch.

The electronics of an electric guitar are what gives the instrument its name. However, because they are hidden inside the cavities into its body, they are often forgotten.

Controls, switches, capacitors and resistances, all make for the circuitry of a guitar, and all have effects on the final tone and sounds it can offer to the player.

If you want to know the main things about this topic, I recommend you follow this link:

Weight

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard weighs 9 lbs, and the Gibson Les Paul Special weighs 7 – 8 lbs.

Guitar weight is an important factor when it comes to finding the right guitar for you. 

A heavier guitar will give you more sustain, but a lighter guitar will be more resonant, and easier to play and carry around. 

However, there’s no single answer to whether a lighter or heavier guitar will sound better than the other. 

There are also many factors that could determine what weight of guitar would be best for you.

Here, I explore some of these considerations and what I think are the main points to take into account:

Final comments

The Epiphone Slash Les Paul Standard is a collaboration between Slash and Epiphone on an affordable Les Paul crafted to his specs. With custom pickups, neck, and a hardshell case, this is a great value for the money.

The Gibson Les Paul Special is a reissue of the legendary Les Paul Special, this time with Gibsons’ growling P-90 pickups, and the tonal versatility a 2 pickup guitar facilitates, at a rather affordable price point for an American guitar.

Which one do you think you like better?