Best Cheap Les Paul Style Guitar

Twang Deluxe

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I personally would get a Gretsch Jet and change the pickups to get a Les Paul sound. On the used market they are not much more expensive than Harley Benton. The quality is great and IMHO they have more mojo than a low end Les Paul copy
 

ChicknPickn

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I have one of the Epiphone made in China "Inspired by Gibson" 1959 Les Pauls, and IMHO it's worth every dime of its $800 price. Unless your objection is simply that you don't want something made in China, period - which pretty much locks you out of the entire world of budget guitars - you can forget old ideas that Chinese factories are incapable of making quality instruments.
Yep. They can produce any quality a person is willing to pay for.
 

JukeJointJunkie

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Check out AIO-Wolf Guitars. They were being made in South Korea, may have moved to Vietnam or Indonesia (not sure). I had a Goldtop LP style that was very good. My only gripe was it had a 60s style neck and I prefer a 50s style. https://www.allinoneguitars.com/

I'll also chime in on the PRS SE line. The Bernie Marsden is a fine axe. Here's mine that I bought for $400 (I've since put gold hardware and covered pickups on it)-

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Donny Osmond fan

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Looking for either a complete guitar or kit with a prefinished body to start a project of building a decent quality Les Paul. My only reservations about a kit is im not looking to get into the woodworking and finishing. Im finding guitars like Firefly guitars that seem to get good reviews that are cheaper than a kit. Im basically looking for a good platform thats close in construction and function and appearance to a real Les Paul that takes Gibson Les Paul parts that would make a awesome guitar with upgrading the electronics and pickups. So something with decent woodworking and neck fret and can be setup good but maybe cheaps out on the electronics.

Am looking for mahogany body with Maple cap (preferably not veneer) , dont need flame or quilted maple. Mahogany neck with rosewood or laurel fretboard. And a curved top body. I dont have a problem upgrading tuners, bridges , pickups, pots, switches, jacks, electronics. But just need the wood part of the guitar to be good and preferably looking for a cherry sunburst. I wanted to go the kit approach but that means finishing the wood and dont want to get into that. Unless theres a kit with prefinished wood. But would rather have a set neck than a screw in neck. Any suggestions for a good cheap (under $300) Les Paul style guitar good for modding and upgrading?

Thing is I cant justify spending $$$ on a real Gibson...I want a Les Paul but dont want it as much as I want my Strat or Tele. And then with the Epiphone, I cant see spending $700 or $800 on a guitar made in China. I am curious about the Epiphone Les Paul E1 100 or thats a good modding platform. That would give it the exact Les Paul Styling. Is that an Archtop? Would it make a good guitar with upgraded parts?
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526THz

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I must say, I think my Epi Les Paul Standard (Plus Top Pro) has always been a great guitar for the price (I paid it little less than 400 $/€ 4 or 5 years ago).
I CAN tell the difference from my Gibson Les Paul (a simple 2009 Studio in Alpine White), mostly on the feel of the neck and body (since it's poly vs nitro) but it's a very consistent instrument.
Grover tuners are very good, it's a non-weight relief so it feels solid. The fingerboard is rosewood with good fretwork and the pickups were pretty satisfying. I swapped them to the Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded set (and removed the pickguard) simply because I wanted to mod it a little, but it was legit out of the box.

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bender66

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An inexpensive husk that takes American hardware? Try Stratosphere.

A lot of suggestions above are all gonna be import.
 

The Angle

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My objection is spending alot of money on a guitar and its made in China. Im willing to accept that if its a cheap guitar. I believe those that have had good experiences with the more expensive epiphones...but id rather get something cheap and mod and upgrade to my liking. I would end up doing that anyhow with a more expensive guitar anyhow.

The Harley Benton sounds like a good guitar.
Im looking at this one right here:
https://www.thomannmusic.com/harley_benton_sc_450plus_cb_vintage_series.htm

Is this one good? Laurel Fingerboard and Okoume neck?
If part of what you're after is the experience of getting an inexpensive guitar and making it significantly better, I'm 100 percent on board with that. I've done it several times myself, and it's very gratifying.

OTOH, if the top goal is to get an excellent Les Paul for the least money, that's probably not the way to do it. By the time you've replaced all the hardware and probably done at least some fretwork, you may have more money invested in it than if you'd just bought something like the Epiphone '59 to begin with. The '59 costs $900 but comes with Gibson Burstbucker pickups (not copies), electronics by Switchcraft, CTS, and Mallory, and a hard case. Those features alone would cost $500 to $600 as aftermarket add-ons to a budget body. You may not care about resale value, but if you do eventually sell it, a PartsPaul will never fetch enough to recoup the cost of its components.
 

Skyhook

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Looking for either a complete guitar or kit with a prefinished body to start a project of building a decent quality Les Paul. My only reservations about a kit is im not looking to get into the woodworking and finishing. Im finding guitars like Firefly guitars that seem to get good reviews that are cheaper than a kit. Im basically looking for a good platform thats close in construction and function and appearance to a real Les Paul that takes Gibson Les Paul parts that would make a awesome guitar with upgrading the electronics and pickups. So something with decent woodworking and neck fret and can be setup good but maybe cheaps out on the electronics.

Am looking for mahogany body with Maple cap (preferably not veneer) , dont need flame or quilted maple. Mahogany neck with rosewood or laurel fretboard. And a curved top body. I dont have a problem upgrading tuners, bridges , pickups, pots, switches, jacks, electronics. But just need the wood part of the guitar to be good and preferably looking for a cherry sunburst. I wanted to go the kit approach but that means finishing the wood and dont want to get into that. Unless theres a kit with prefinished wood. But would rather have a set neck than a screw in neck. Any suggestions for a good cheap (under $300) Les Paul style guitar good for modding and upgrading?

Thing is I cant justify spending $$$ on a real Gibson...I want a Les Paul but dont want it as much as I want my Strat or Tele. And then with the Epiphone, I cant see spending $700 or $800 on a guitar made in China. I am curious about the Epiphone Les Paul E1 100 or thats a good modding platform. That would give it the exact Les Paul Styling. Is that an Archtop? Would it make a good guitar with upgraded parts?
As suggested earlier, the Harley Benton SC series is dirt cheap.
However... about the closest you can get to the real thing would be an
Epiphone so I'd suggest snagging a pre-owned Epi LP.
Don't pay more than 300-400 for it though.
 

Fender_Player90

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Now the Harley Benton. Are Gibson parts interchangeable? Like if I want to put the Gibson Bridge and Tailpiece on there or Pickups? Does it come with full size pots?

I know mods cost and stuff but you can do them over time. The Epiphone 1959 is a hell of a model but as with anything else Id probably decide I want to change something even though its good to go right out of the box.
 

NoTeleBob

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Tossing a few things into the mix:

First, have you played an LP for any length of time? Standing up if you need to gig? You might not like it. Don't get me wrong, I have one and I love it. But it's not for everyone.

Also, you might prefer the Jr style, with no cap, if you're coming from the Fender world. I have one of each and the thinner style has some upsides like better upper fret access for shorter fingers, less weight, and the ability to be pushed around a bit as you play. Full LP's sit on your leg and don't move or hang in front and don't move. But they don't move. It's a feature and a flaw at the same time, but it's a different playing style for sure.

I know you said you don't want to spend $700-$800 for a Chinese Epiphone. As mentioned, some of them are very good. BUT, you could pick up a used Gibson Studio in that price range. Since you don't care about fancy tops, that would meet your specs in a Gibson. All done and ready to go.

You can also find a lot of set neck Epi's used, in excellent condition, for a lot less than $700. Most of them need setup. In fact, most of the new ones need setup. Maybe a little fret leveling. But I'm assuming if you're buying a kit you're OK with that work. Most of them play great after serious setup.

If you just want to have fun with mods, look used, no matter what you buy. It reduces the economic loss when it's time to sell.

On the kit side... a set neck kit can be tricky. Probably not best for your first build. There's no room for error. Well, maybe a little error, Gibson has a lot of bridge height adjustment, but you get the idea. But Left / Right error - if it's not a perfect pocket fit - is a non-fixable issue if the kit is drilled already for the bridge/stop.
 

NoTeleBob

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I would like to hear others opinions on the Harmony LP style guitar made in the 70's. Someone locally has a nice condition one on CL for a tempting enough price to make me curious.

FWIW, Harmony was a discount store brand at that point. The vintage mojo of their acoustics was already gone. But some of them are nice. Just play it first and evaluate if you can make it great with the level of setup you are comfortable with doing.
 

Tarkus60

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I am not a Les Paul guy, but I wanted one. So i bought the harley benton gold top with P90's. Fantastic guitar for the price.
I have played a gibson studio, a few Epiphones and a Sire larry carlton Les paul.
I put the HB right up there. Best $216.00 I have ever spent.
Next up would be the sire if you can find one. Sire on the left HB on the right.
 

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schmee

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There are a lot of people out there who really like certain Epi LP's. Unfortunately I don't know what exact model. But it seems it's the flame top types with solid non weight relieved body. So probably a Deluxe type. Many of them look just as good quality as a Gibson too.
There's a P90 type Epi that is loved also.
 




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