Epiphone Les Paul Custom 3 Plus

It was way back in 1957 that Gibson originally changed the spec of the Custom from offering P-90 and Alnico pickups to a trio of PAFs.

Whether it was inspired or not by a certain tri-pickup, double-cut guitar made available by a rival company we'll probably never know, but the Custom Shop still offers a 1967 Les Paul Custom and what a work of art it is.

Epiphone's Custom 3 Plus is almost as easy on the eye, boasting a genuinely atmospheric and excellently applied trans-black finish over a flamed maple veneer. There's also a trio of uncovered Alnico Classic humbuckers.

It's simple to see just how cool original black Customs can be when poring over the off-white binding and the none-more-blackness of the remainder of the finish here.

Naturally, all outstanding fixtures and fittings are also black and it's a shame that proceedings are let down by an overly dry fingerboard complete with fret-finishing file marks.

After flinging the Ultra about during our earlier review, the weight of the Custom 3 Plus - 10lbs! - brought us back down to earth with a bump.

It's smack in the middle of shoulder-worrying territory and we suggest as wide a strap as possible is your next purchase following the guitar.

Sounds

This weight adds a great deal to the overall tone and, of the three Les Pauls we have here, this is the one that offers the most traditional performance to our ears.

The bridge pickup is just sharp enough to cut through with the body mahogany, smoothing the edges and adding depth in the classic manner, while the neck is soupy and warm with as much push as you could ever need. Great stuff.

A common misconception regarding tri-pickup Les Pauls is that the central position of the toggle switch solos the central humbucker: it actually combines the outputs of both the middle and bridge pickups.

The tone here is best described as offering the best of both of those worlds and it's also different enough from the middle switch selection of a traditional Les Paul, possessing equal amounts of bite and cream without ever being overpowering.

In fact, if the tone from any Paul's neck pickup is too much for you (as it can be from time to time), this is a compromise to be seriously considered.

MusicRadar Rating

4 / 5 stars
Pros

Great look, performance and range of tones.

Cons

Extremely complex. Rather expensive. Steep learning curve.

Verdict

Not only does its sleek dark look press all the right buttons, but the three Alnico humbuckers provide a good range of tones as well.

Available Controls

2 x Tone 2 x Volume 3-way Pickup Selector

Available Finish

Black

Bridge

Tune-o-matic

Case Included

No

Country of Origin

Korea

Cutaway

Yes

Fingerboard Binding

Single-ply

Fingerboard Material

Rosewood

Guitar Body Material

Alder Mahogany

Hardware

Black Chrome

Inlays

Block Inlays

Jack Location

Rim

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

22

Nut Material

Graphite

Options

The standard three-pickup Black Beauty reissue goes for £650

Pickup Configuration

3 x Humbucker

Pickup Switching

5 Position Blade - Bridge/Bridge and Middle/Middle/Middle and Neck / Neck

Pickup Type

USA Alnico Classic

Pickups

3 x Epiphone USA Alnico Classic Humbuckers

Scale Length (Inches)

24.75

Scale Length (mm)

629

String Spacing

52.5

Tailpiece

Stop-Tail

Top Material

Flamed Maple Veneer

Weight (kg)

3.6

Weight (lb)

8

Width at Nut (mm)

43

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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