Epiphone Les Paul Standard vs Classic: Full Comparison


The Epiphone Les Paul Standard and Classic are fairly similar in terms of price and appearance, but there are several key differences between these electric guitar models. In this article I’ll compare the specifications, tone, feel and cosmetic differences between these guitars in-depth.

Here’s the quick answer.

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard uses ProBucker pickups which sound a bit warmer compared to the Alnico Classic Pro pickups on the Epiphone Les Paul Classic. The Classic has coil split humbuckers, unlike the Standard. However, the Standard has a more premium looking flame maple top.

Comparing Features

Here is a list of the key differences between the Epiphone Standard and Classic Les Paul models.

FeatureStandard ‘50s/ ‘60sClassic
Top WoodCarved Flame MaplePlain Maple
Neck ProfileRounded C (’50s) / Slim Taper (’60s)Slim Taper
PickupsProBucker (Covered)Alnico Classic PRO (Uncovered Zebra)
Coil SplittingNoYes
Phase SwitchingNoYes
Weight-RelievedNoYes
CaseHard ShellNone
Colors-Vintage Sunburst (‘50s)
-Cherry Sunburst (‘50s)
-Metallic Gold (‘50s)
-Bourbon Burst (‘60s)
-Iced Tea (‘60s)
-Ebony (‘60s)
-Ebony
-Honeyburst
-Cherry Sunburst
Left Hand AvailableYesNo
Epiphone Les Paul Standard vs Classic

Standard ’50s

Classic

Images link to Amazon

Pickups and Tone

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard models use Epiphone ProBucker pickups with a cover over them. The Epiphone Les Pro Classic on the other hand uses uncovered Epiphone Classic Pro pickups.

It’s also important to note that the ’50s and ’60s Standard models use different versions of the ProBucker in different positons:

  • ’50s Standard: ProBucker 1 in the neck, ProBucker 2 in the bridge
  • ’60s Standard: ProBucker 2 in the bridge, ProBucker 3 in the neck

The ’60s Standard pickups sound a bit brighter and have a slightly higher output.

Check out my comparison between the Epiphone LP ’50s and ’60s Standard to learn more.

Now, let’s compare the tones of the Standard and Classic.

The ProBuckers in the LP Standard use alnico 2 magnets, whereas the Alnico Classic Pros in the Epiphone LP Classic use alnico V magnets. Hence, the Classic sounds a bit brighter, punchier and hotter compared to the Standard which has a lower output, more mellow vintage tone.

The differences are quite subtle though, and it’s hard to notice them unless you play the guitars back-to-back. I’d consider these pickups to both have a pretty low output and they do a great job at capturing the classic vintage tone of the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Check out this YouTube video where you can hear the difference between ProBuckers and Alnico Classic Pros. The Alnico Classic Pros are played at 10:17 and the ProBuckers at 22:21.

Another very important difference between these two guitars is that the Epiphone Classic has coil split humbuckers and the Standard models don’t. The tone pot can be pushed down/ pulled up to switch between standard and coil split tones.

I personally think this is a great feature for the Classic to have, and it’s actually why it’s my favourite out of the two. I get why the Standard models don’t have coil splitting though, as it wouldn’t be faithful to the Gibson ’50s and ’60s models.

Feel and Playability

The Epiphone Les Paul ’60s Standard and Classic models have the same “Slim Taper” neck profile which is a D-shape and measures approximately 0.82″ thick at the 1st fret and 0.92″ thick at the 12th fret. The ’50s Standard has a chunkier rounded C shaped neck which measures roughly 0.90″ thick at the 1st fret and 1.00″ thick at the 12th fret.

Both the ’60s and ’50s Standard models do not have any weight-relief so are pretty heavy at around 9-10 lbs on average. The Classic on the other hand has a weight-relieved body so weighs around 8-9 lbs on average. This makes the Classic a bit easier to play with for longer periods of time.

Cosmetic and Other Differences

The Epiphone Les Paul Standard definitely has a more premium look compared to the Classic, primarily because the Standard has a lovely carved flame maple top, whereas the Classic just has a flatter, plain maple top.

The colors are slightly different for each guitar, but they all follow the traditional theme. Here are the color choices available for the three guitars:

’50s Standard

  • Vintage Sunburst
  • Cherry Sunburst
  • Metallic Gold

’60s Standard

  • Bourbon Burst
  • Iced Tea
  • Ebony

Classic:

  • Honeyburst
  • Cherry Sunburst
  • Ebony

Here are the other minor differences between the Classic and Standard:

  • The ’50s Standard has Vintage Deluxe Keystone Tuners whereas the ’60s Standard and Classic have Grover Rotomatic tuners
  • The ’50s Standard has gold top hat controls whereas the ’60s Standard and Classic have gold top hat controls with nickel inserts
  • The ’50s and ’60s Standard models have covered pickups (nickel finish) whereas the Classic has uncovered zebra pickups
  • Only the Standard comes in both left and right-handed versions

Although both models technically have a gloss finish, it looks shinier on the Standard models.

Similarities

Here’s a list of key similarities between the Epiphone LP Classic and Standard models.

  • Mahogany body and neck
  • Maple cap
  • Indian laurel fretboard
  • Cream body and neck binding
  • Gloss body and neck finish
  • 12″ fretboard radius
  • 22 medium jumbo frets
  • 1.692″ Graph Tech nut
  • Cream pickguard
  • Gold and nickel top hat controls
  • Cream switch-tip
  • ABR Tune-O-Matic Bridge
  • LockTone stop bar tailpiece
  • 0.010-0.046″ strings
  • Left-handed model available

Which Guitar Should You Choose?

Both these guitars are excellent and I don’t think you can go wrong with either. I really would advise trying both out at your local guitar store to make sure you are making the right decision.

The main questions to ask yourself are…

  • Do you want the iconic LP styling and nicest finish? If so, go for the Standard
  • Do you want coil split humbuckers for extra functionality? If so, go for the Classic
  • Do you prefer a slimmer neck? You’ll be fine with either the ’60s Standard or Classic

Here are some more comparisons you might find useful:

Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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