Gibson Les Paul Studio vs Standard: The Differences

The Gibson Les Paul Studio and Standard models are two of the most popular in the range, but why is the Standard roughly $1100 more expensive? Is it worth the money or are you better off saving your cash and getting a Studio instead?

In this article I’ll compare the Les Paul Standard and Studio in terms of their tones, specifications and appearances so you can decide which is the best option for you.

Studio vs Standard

The Gibson Les Paul Studio has weight-relief and coil tapping unlike the Gibson Les Paul Standard. The Standard model comes with either P90 or humbucker pickup whilst the Studio only comes with humbucker pickups. The Standard model also has binding and a higher grade maple top compared to the Studio.

The Les Paul Standard costs approximately $1100 more than the Studio in the USA and £900 more in the UK.

Here is a table showing all the key differences between the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Standard models.

FeatureGibson Les Paul StudioGibson Les Paul Standard ‘50s/ ‘60s
Top WoodMapleAA Maple
Pickup ConfigurationH-HH-H/ P90-P90
Pickups490R/ 498T‘50s Standard Burstbuckers/ Burstbucker 61R/ 61T
Coil TapYesNo
Neck ShapeSlim TaperVintage ‘50s/ Slim Taper
Hardware FinishChromeNickel
BridgeNashville Tune-O-MaticABR-1 Tune-O-Matic
Tuning MachineKluson StyleVintage Deluxe/ Grover Rotomatic
Pickup SelectorNot MountedMounted
Control ColorBlackAmber or Gold
Control StyleSpeed KnobsTop Hats
CaseSoft ShellHard Shell
Average Price (USA)$1600$2700
Average Price (UK)£1300£2200
Color OptionsWine Red
Tangerine Burst
Smokehouse Burst
Heritage Cherry Sunburst
Tobacco Burst
Gold Top
Iced Tea
Bourbon Burst
Differences between the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Standard (’50s and 60s) models

Check out my comparison of the ’50s and ’60s Gibson Les Paul Standard models to learn more.

Tone Differences

The Gibson Les Paul Studio has two humbucker pickups (490R/ 498T). The Les Paul Standard comes in three main variants each with different pickups:

  • ’60s Standard: two humbuckers (Burstbucker 61R/ 61T)
  • ’50s Standard: two humbuckers (’50s Standard Burstbuckers)
  • ’50s Standard: two P90 pickups

The ’50s Standard with two P90s sounds brighter and thinner compared to the humbucker versions of all the guitars. Since you’re probably just interested in the humbucker versions, let’s discuss them in more detail.

The Alnico V magnets in the ’60s Les Paul Standard have a higher output compared to the Alnico II magnets in the ’50s Standard. The ’60s Standard pickups also sound brighter and have more clarity compared to the ’50s Standard which sound warmer and more mellow.

The ’60s Les Paul Standard and Studio models sound very similar and can be very difficult to tell apart despite having different pickups. However, the Studio does sound a bit brighter and crisper compared to both Standard models which sound warmer and fuller.

The only other thing we need to discuss is that the Studio also has a coil-tap function which allows you to achieve single-coil type tones when pulling up the tone pot. This adds some extra functionality which is not seen on either the ’50s or ’60s Standard models.

Here is a YouTube video comparing the tones of a ’50s Standard and Studio.

Feel and Comfort

One of the main differences between the Standard and Studio models is that the Studio has a weight-relieved body whilst the Standard does not have any weight-relief. This means the Standard models typically weigh a couple of pounds heavier than the Studio models.

Check out my comparison between weight-relieved and solid Les Pauls to learn more.

Hence, the Studio is more comfortable to play with for longer periods particularly when stood up as it puts less pressure on the shoulder.

The ’60s Standard and Studio models both have a Slim Taper neck shape which is thinner than the Vintage ’50s profile seen on the ’50s Standard model.

You’ll find the same 10-gauge strings, 24.75″ scale, 12″ fretboard radius and medium jumbo frets on both the Studio and Standard models.

Hardware Differences

Both models have a tune-o-matic bridge, however the design is different. The Les Paul Studio has a Nashville tune-o-matic bridge is heavier and wider and allow for more intonation adjustment compared to the more historically accurate ABR-1 bridge found on the Les Paul Standard models.

The Gibson Les Paul ’50s Standard has Vintage Deluxe tuners and the ’60s Standard has Grover Rotomatic tuners which are a similar style to those found on the Studio model.

Grover tuners feel more precise and sturdy compared to Vintage Deluxe tuners and are heavier and absorb more of the string vibration compared to Vintage Deluxe tuners which are more resonant.

Cosmetic Differences

The Gibson Les Paul Standard has a more premium finish compared to the Studio. The Standard model has an AA maple top which means it has a more prominent flame maple grain. The Standard model also has cream binding to give it a more expensive look compared to the Studio.

The color options are also different for each model:

  • Studio: Wine Red, Tangerine Burst, Smokehouse Burst, Ebony
  • ’50s Standard: Gold Top, Tobacco Burst, Heritage Cherry Sunburst
  • ’60s Standard: Iced Tea, Unburst, Bourbon Burst

Other cosmetic differences include:

  • The Standard models have a mounted pickup selector whilst the Studio has an un-mounted selector.
  • The Studio model has speed knobs whereas the Standard models have more traditional top hat controls.
  • The Standard model has the iconic cream pickguard whereas the Studio has a more modern black pickguard.
  • Standard models have nickel finished hardware whilst the Studio has chrome finished hardware.

Here are images of both guitars to illustrate the differences (both images link to the products on Amazon).

Gibson Les Paul Studio

Gibson Les Paul Standard

Images link to Amazon

Considering other LP models? Check out my complete guide to the Les Paul guitar range to learn more.

The Similarities

Despite there being many differences between the two models, there are many similarities between the Les Paul Standard and Studio. Both models have a mahogany neck and body with a maple top and have a gloss finish. They also have a 24.75″ scale length, 22 medium jumbo frets, acrylic trapezoid inlays and a left-handed version available.

Here is a table showing all the shared features of the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Standard models.

Body WoodMahogany
Neck WoodMahogany
Fretboard WoodRosewood
Scale Length24.75”
Fretboard Radius12”
Nut Width1.69”
Fret Number22
Fret SizeMedium Jumbo
Nut MaterialGraph Tech
InlaysAcrylic Trapezoid
String Gauge10
Left-Handed AvailableYes
Similarities between the Gibson Les Paul Studio and Standard models

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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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