How to Set Up an Epiphone Les Paul

Updated July 11, 2018

The Epiphone Les Paul is the more affordable version of the legendary Gibson Les Paul, most famously played by Slash from Guns N' Roses and Les Paul himself. Epiphone is part of Gibson, so high quality is assured. The Epiphone Les Paul has Alnico Humbucker pickups, a mahogany neck and body, and a rosewood fret board. After you've made your purchase, getting your guitar properly set up is the only thing you need to do before you can start rocking out!

Place your guitar on a flat surface. The body of the Les Paul has two shiny rectangular pickups in the centre. There is one of these pickups by the neck of the guitar. The other pickup is next to the bridge, which stands up off the guitar's body, and looks like a scaled-down bridge. On top of the bridge, there is a saddle for each string. To the left of the bridge is a flat rectangular bar which is called the "stop bar." This has six holes in it, which each string must be threaded through.

Take the thickest string out from pack. This will be the one with the largest number on the packet (typically 42). You will get a good view of the holes in the stop bar if you stand at the body end of the Les Paul and look up toward the neck.

Thread this string through the farthest left of the holes in the stop bar. The string will have a metallic stopper at one end, so thread the other end through. When the string comes through the other side of the stop bar, take that end and pull it up the length of the guitar, stretching it up to the headstock (the top of the neck, with the tuning heads). Make sure that the string rests on its corresponding bridge saddle, and in its notch at the top of the neck.

Connect the string to its tuning post. There is one tuning post for each string, and they correspond to the string's positions on the guitar. The one for the E string, which is the thickest string, is the closest to the neck on the E string's side. Thread the string through the hole in the tuning post.

Tighten the string by turning the tuner in any direction (this becomes the direction for raising the string's pitch when tuning). Repeat the process for each string, working down in thickness. It doesn't matter about tuning for now, just attach the strings. Work left to right through the holes in the stop bar and clockwise through the tuning posts.

Find an E note. There are tuners online, or you can just hit the E key on a piano (use the octave below middle C). This is the pitch your thickest string needs to be. Adjust the tuning head accordingly. You can use your piano or tuner for the remaining notes if you wish, but you can also tune the remaining strings from that one. Do this by fretting the fifth fret on the E string. The note that plays is what you need to match the string underneath to. The notes of the strings are E, A, D, G, B, E. The process is the same for each string except when tuning B. You need to fret the fourth fret on the G string to hear a B.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters
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About the Author

Lee Johnson has written for various publications and websites since 2005, covering science, music and a wide range of topics. He studies physics at the Open University, with a particular interest in quantum physics and cosmology. He's based in the UK and drinks too much tea.