“This is a guitar for any level... It’s a wonderful platform” – Epiphone launches the Alex Lifeson Les Paul Custom Axcess

Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Custom Axcess
(Image credit: Epiphone)

Epiphone and Alex Lifeson have joined forces once again for a brand-new Les Paul Custom Axcess, dressing the Rush icon’s latest signature guitar in a Ruby finish and gold hardware. 

That Ruby finish calls to mind the Royal Crimson of Lifeson’s #003 Gibson Les Paul Axcess model, but it’s a little deeper, and with the traditional Custom livery – block inlays, multi-ply body and headstock binding, split diamond MOP headstock inlay – it is, if anything, even more luxurious than its Gibson USA forebear. Zoom in on the pics; that AAAA quilt maple veneer really pops. This is a classy electric guitar.

Okay, unlike the 2021 Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Axcess, there is no piezo, but this is still a Les Paul variant that does not lack for features. The raw materials are traditional. Mahogany body. Mahogany neck. The neck is glued to the body. The fingerboard is ebony. 

Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Custom Axcess

(Image credit: Epiphone)

The core dimensions are traditional, too. The scale length is 24.75”, the fingerboard radius 12”. There are 22 medium jumbo frets and the guitar measures 43mm wide at the nut. 

Interestingly, Epiphone does not list a custom neck profile; this one is ‘rounded’, so think thick, super-comfortable, ‘50s-style. 

Thereafter, well, the Lifeson Les Paul Custom Axcess goes freestyle, with a lot of time spent whittling that neck joint down to open up more of the upper frets (they don’t call it the Axcess for nothing).

There is no weight relief on that mahogany body but this is is a huge belly cut to make this sit nicely against the body when playing it. Think of it as a Les Paul with ergonomics. 

This is also a Les Paul with a Floyd Rose. Okay, not for the purists. But Lifeson was never a purist. He needs performance. And the Floyd Rose 1000 Series is a double-locking vibrato that puts divebombs, whammy bar flutters and all that good stuff on the menu. 

“It sounds great,” says Lifeson. “This is a guitar for any level. It’s a great entry-level guitar. I mean, I use my Epiphone in the studio when I’m recording. It’s a wonderful platform, and with all those features it is very versatile. You can create lots of different tones and sounds.”

Epiphone Alex Lifeson Les Paul Custom Axcess

(Image credit: Epiphone)

Lifeson has gone for an interesting electric guitar pickup combination. As with his previous Epiphone Axcess, Lifeson has a Ceramic Pro humbucker at the neck position, a ProBucker 3 at the bridge. It won’t surprise you to learn that there is coil-splitting on both volume pots, a push-pull on the neck tone pot that offers an out-of-phase sound, plus a standard tone knob for the bridge pickup.

Other features include Grover Rotomatic tuners, a short bell truss rod cover with  Lifeson’s signature, and a gloss finish, and a hardshell guitar case is included in its £1,349 / $1,299 price. 

For more details, head over to Epiphone, and check the video above in which Lifeson introduces the guitar and talks about its development.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.