The Gibson Les Paul might just be one of the best recognized guitars on the planet, and definitely one that many aspire to some day own. Unfortunately, the price point of a Gibson is pretty prohibitive for many, and not only that, because it’s a guitar aimed at more serious players, they don’t come bundled with anything else you need to get started – unless, of course, you opt for the Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack.
This set features a real Les Paul guitar, as well as a bunch of other great accessories, including an amplifier, meaning you’ll have everything you need to start playing right out of the box.
We actually named the Epiphone Les Paul Player pack our best budget option in our roundup of the best electric guitar starter sets, and in this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we’ll be covering this awesome kit in much more depth.
If you’re a Les Paul fan and you’d love to learn on one of these fantastic guitars, you’ll definitely want to keep on reading.
Who Is This For?
The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack is marketed towards beginner level players who want to learn on a quality guitar from a well known brand. The kit comes with everything you need to get started, including an amplifier, so it’s ideal for those who want to dive right into playing without having to worry about buying individual components.
Appearance / Features / Controls
This pack comes with an Epiphone Les Paul Special II, which is easily one of the most popular beginner guitars on the market. Unlike the mid tier and above Les Paul models, it had an okoume body, which is a tonewood that’s native to Africa and known for its warm sound, and is widely regarded as an affordable substitute for mahogany.
The body was slab style, and because there was no maple cap, weight was kept to a minimum – perfect for newer players. It had the classic single cutaway shape, though, making it instantly recognizable as a Les Paul
In another departure from classic Les Paul specs, it had a bolt on okoume neck. This is definitely a cost cutting measure, but in the beginner segment, the benefits of a set neck are rarely realized anyway. Interestingly, it had a genuine rosewood fretboard, which is something we don’t even see on Epiphone Les Paul Standard models – this was a nice touch.
The fretwork was very good for a beginner guitar. The frets were well polished, and there weren’t any sharps, so you won’t have to worry about cutting yourself while playing, which believe it or not, is a genuine concern with some of the cheaper entry level beginner kits on the market.
The pickups on the included Les Paul Special II were, unsurprisingly, fairly basic. However, these simple open coil humbuckers, still served up a good range of classic Les Paul tone, and will serve any beginner player well.
As for hardware, we were quite impressed. Everything was good quality, including the tuners, which held pitch well, and didn’t make life difficult at all when fine tuning.
The rest of the bundle was all fairly standard, and included a 10 watt Epiphone Electar amplifier, a clip on tuner, a strap, and a cable.
Performance / Sound
We found that the Les Paul Special II offered superb comfort and playability, especially for newer players. It was incredibly lightweight, which made it much easier to hold for prolonged periods than a standard LP.
The okoume body gave the guitar a great warm tone that while not quite as rich as a full thickness mahogany LP, still sounded great.
We thought that the humbucking pickups were great for blues and rock. They served up plenty of grit, and weren’t muddy like we so often find on guitars at this price point. When playing clean at high volume, we did notice that the high output from the ceramic magnets made the tone a little brash, but this only became apparent when the amp was dimed.
The bundled amp, the Epiphone Electar 10, was a pretty basic unit, but it was more than adequate to get started with. Despite its simplicity, it still had an overdrive channel and a separate clean channel, as well as a master volume control, and 2 band EQ. While we always like to see 3 band, it’s understandable that an amp like this doesn’t necessarily need such fine control over sound shaping.
For quiet practice, it had a headphone out jack – a must on any beginner amp, and it even featured an aux in port, which allowed us to play backing tracks via a smartphone. Playing along with backing tracks is a great way to improve playing skills, so once again, this is a feature we love to see on beginner bundles.
Other Bundles to Consider
There’s no denying that the Epiphone Les Paul Player pack is a fantastic bundle, but there’s still no harm in considering alternative options. If you’re thinking you’d like to check out some other sets, we’ve highlighted a couple of our favorites below.
The Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster HSS bundle is a fantastic set that really delivers on all fronts. It comes with a great guitar – Squier Stratocaster which we think is one of the most forgiving beginner guitars on the market, plus a solid amp, and a bundle of quality accessories. It even comes with 3 months free access to what we think is one of the best online guitar instruction programs available today – Fender Play.
As far as overall quality goes, this Yamaha Gigmaker Electric Guitar Pack is one of the best on the market. Everything in the box is well put together, and the included Yamaha Pacifica PAC012 guitar looks and feels amazing, too. It has a HSS pickup layout, which will allow you to get many of the same tones as the Les Paul Special, plus some single coil sounds, too. Overall a great option at a great price.
Final Thoughts on the Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack
The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack is one of the most affordable paths of entry into the Les Paul family. Everything in this bundle is well thought out, and it’s all very well made, too. The guitar looks and sounds great, and is a phenomenal learning platform for anybody, but especially for those who idolize famous Les Paul players like Slash, Jimmy Page, or Joe Perry.
It’s an extremely affordable set, and would make the perfect gift for anybody looking to get started on their own guitar journey.