REVIEW: Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa

Check out the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Koa in our store!

Here’s a transcript of the review:


Today I’m reviewing for you one of the higher-end Epiphones that we carry at Fret Zealot. This is the custom Koa, the Les Paul Custom model by Epiphone. The custom Koa is one of the higher-end models offered by Epiphone, going past just the base level, beginner instruments.


This custom Koa offers a lot more of the premium features that you see with the higher-end Epiphones, and even the Gibson guitars. I’ll be talking you through some of the differences that you get when you pick up the custom Les Paul KOA by Epiphone.  This guitar is a mahogany body with the Koa top, which is what you see on the front, but the wood, the main wood of the body, is a rich mahogany, which is a really sought after tone wood. It has a mahogany neck as well, and then the ebony fingerboard. Epiphone is not messing around when it comes to the wood selection. This is a combination that’s favored by many Les Paul enthusiasts.  You get a lot of beautiful attention to detail with this guitar. I would call it classy and curated.

Everything about this guitar is just no-nonsense, all classiness. It’s  really good looking. and no really nothing really that doesn’t sit out of place to me. You got the beautiful natural wood – in my opinion you can’t go wrong, especially with like nice piece that you see on the front. There’s multilayer binding across the body and then binding on the neck and the headstock which really frames the instrument. It has gold hardware, which is a sweet combination, and then some of the black pickup rings and the black pickguard, which sort of just looks consistent with the with the ebony neck. The whole thing just really comes together beautifully. It’s got 22 medium jumbo frets with the block pearl inlays, so you’re really getting that Gibson vibe.  It’s got the  slim taper neck, so it’s really nice and playable without being quite a c-shape. I’m finding it is actually a really nice and easier neck to play on. I prefer a slimmer neck, so this is nice to see from the Epiphone or Gibson brands.   It’s a similar neck but it’s slightly tapered in, so if you’re not familiar with the slim taper neck on the Epiphones, this would be a great guitar to check out.  Shout out to the tuners as well, also really nice gold tuners, and these say “Grovers” on them.  Grover tuners are really nice.


I just think the guitar is super sturdy feeling. I could call it “responsive and snappy”.  Even when I’m not plugged in, I think it sounds good, which is a sign of a great-sounding guitar. It’s just resonant, even when I’m not plugged in, so that’s always something that I look out for.  This guitar really rocks. Some of the things that you get with this guitar that you don’t get in the entry-level Epiphones is the full custom Les Paul shape with the curved top. This is not a flat slab, it’s got the curved model top that you get with the Gibson Customs, it’s got the binding. This is the set neck, so there’s no neck screws here.  This is not a bolt-on neck, this is a set-neck design, which is a really nice construction. It gives it a little bit more resonance and sustain, which is contributed to as well by these really nice tuners. That’s helping you with the tuning stability.  I’m finding this guitar to be really sort of substantial-feeling, responsive but also very like resonant, and it’s kind of a beast, but it’s not too heavy. It’s a little bit heavier than what you would expect for an entry-level Epiphone, but it’s not going to break your back.  I think they did a good job of balancing out the weight, I’m finding it really comfortable to play. It looks awesome, sounds great, and you can’t forget the pro-buckers. We got the pro bucker two and three in the bridge in the neck with the gold plate covers. These are modeled after the old Gibson PAF humbuckers which are the patent applied for humbuckers. These Pro buckers by Epiphone are modeled after that sound of that era the PAF humbuckers from the early Gibson years so you’re getting a lot of classic accoutrements, a lot of classy vibes from the construction, the look and the premium features that come with this guitar.


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