How to Upgrade an Epiphone Les Paul Custom

Written by jackson michael
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How to Upgrade an Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Gibson purchased the Epiphone brand in 1957. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The Epiphone Les Paul Custom, assembled in China by Gibson, stands as a quality guitar at a much lower price point than a Gibson Les Paul Custom. The Epiphone version earns high marks from professional players and hobbyists alike who claim the guitar differs only moderately from the Gibson model. Several simple and relatively inexpensive upgrades can narrow the gap between the two even more. The Epiphone Les Paul Custom makes a great choice for entry-level guitarists and seasoned pros alike.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Set the guitar up. Fine-tune your action, which is the height of the stings above the fretboard, and correct any intonation issues to ensure the proper note is sounded by each fret. Complete the set-up to maximise the guitar's playability.

  2. 2

    Swap the pickups. Pickups greatly affect an electric guitar's tone. Several companies, such as Seymour Duncan and EMG, are dedicated to designing high-quality pickups that outperform the stock pickups in the Epiphone Les Paul Custom. Professional players commonly perform this upgrade on guitars.

  3. 3

    Split the pickups. The Epiphone Les Paul Custom employs two humbucker pickups. Humbuckers basically are two single-coil pickups wrapped together. By replacing the original wire with four conductor wires, the pickups can be split to act as single-coil pickups as well.

  4. 4

    Replace the pots. Tone can get muddy when the guitar's volume knob is adjusted. Replacing the stock potentiometers with 500K audio taper pots keeps the high-end frequencies alive at lower volumes. New tone pots allow for a better blend from bass to treble.

  5. 5

    Install strap locks. Having your guitar strap slide off its peg as you strike a rock star pose can be embarrassing. Strap locks keep the strap in place and help you avoid dropping your axe mid-solo.

Tips and warnings

  • Hire professional luthiers to perform wiring and set-up work, if necessary.

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