Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul Standard: What is it?
We have seen Slash signature Les Pauls from Epiphone before. Models such as the Slash AFD Les Paul Special II remain a hugely popular beginner electric guitar (opens in new tab), most commonly seen packaged with a compact little practice amp (opens in new tab) as part of a comprehensive starter pack.
Back in 2008, there was the Epiphone Slash Signature Les Paul Standard Plus Top (opens in new tab), a solidbody singlecut with a spec to rival Gibson’s US-built Les Pauls (opens in new tab). Okay, it had a figured maple veneer instead of a cap, but it judiciously appropriated design features from classic LP designs to sell it in terms of tone and feel.
This 2021 Slash Collection (opens in new tab) looks to continue on in this fashion and is the most in-depth signature guitar tie-in between the Guns N’ Roses guitarist and the Gibson-owned brand.
The four Les Pauls and two J-45 acoustic guitars that comprise the US Gibson Slash Collection are reprised here, with the same aesthetic flourishes such as Slash’s ‘Skully’ logo on the rear of the headstock, the matched hardware and open-coil humbuckers, and similar finish options.
The Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul is offered in a deep red Vermillion Burst and dark green Anaconda Burst, a Goldtop ‘Victoria’ model, an Appetite Burst model, which most closely resembles the ‘original’ Les Paul copies Slash used on Guns N’ Roses’ debut album, Appetite For Destruction, and November Burst, the former of which we have in for review.
Like the Goldtop, it is equipped with Gold Top Hat control knobs with dial pointers, while both Anaconda and Vermillion Bursts have black Speed Knobs, and the Appetite Burst has Gold Top Hat control knobs with metal inserts.
They all look the part and come with a pink fur-lined signature case. Unlike the Gibson models, there is no blank truss rod cover, but you could pick up a blank spare if you wanted to keep the signature flourishes to a minimum.
As with its US-built counterpart, one of the biggest attractions to the Slash Collection Les Pauls is that they are simply that; variations on the Les Paul theme that don’t stray too far from the template. After all, that sound and feel are what Slash was after in the first place.
Epiphone’s Slash Collection Les Paul is reassuringly hefty, solid mahogany topped with a maple cap that’s veneered with AAA flame maple. The lacquer brings out all the details in that top and is meticulously applied as we have come to expect from Epiphone in recent years.
The glued-in mahogany neck is carved into a custom C shape – a signature profile that’s reprised on the J-45 acoustics – and topped with an Indian laurel fingerboard that’s inlaid with pearloid parallelogram inlays. With the fingerboard’s 12” radius and the 24.75” scale, the dimensions will be very familiar to anyone who has played an electric guitar comprised of Gibson DNA.
Epiphone has not scrimped on the hardware and components. We’ve got a Graph Tech nut and LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and Stop Bar tailpiece. The jack is framed nicely by a cream plastic square plate matching the cream gold stamped ‘Rhythm/Treble’ washer around the pickup selector switch. In the case you’ll find some Epiphone strap locks. Under the hood, you’ll find CTS pots and Orange Drop capacitors.
The controls are as you would expect, with volume and tone controls for each pickup, with Epiphone deploying a pair of Custom ProBucker Alnico 2 humbuckers to replicate the Custom BurstBuckers that were in turn wound to replicate the pickups on Slash’s touring Les Pauls. Think PAF but more carnivorous, with a little more heat. Is that what we’ll get here?
Performance and verdict
You'll be glad you got the thicker strap when you shoulder this Les Paul. Slash doesn’t go in for all that weight-relief business; he’ll take them just as they come, and this feels like a substantial instrument. Slash also plays his hard and favours a set of 11-48 gauge strings. This allied to the generous C profile of the neck might intimidate some players, but just size down on the strings for a slinkier feel and we’d wager that the neck profile will grow more comfortable over time.
Those looking for a vintage-inspired feel and a spiky, rock-friendly sound will find a lot to like here. Does it cover the signature Slash tones?
• Epiphone 50s Les Paul Standard (opens in new tab)
Epiphone gets the details right on this 50s Les Paul Standard. The tones sound authentically vintage. The feel and weight are right. And all this at a price that is impossible to argue with.
• Gibson Les Paul Tribute (opens in new tab)
If the Tribute’s main goal is to offer players a taste of Gibson’s greatest legacy and access to sounds at the heart of many a classic recording – at a fraction of the cost – then it’s undoubtedly a resounding success.
Sure, select that bridge humbucker and through it through an overdriven Marshall guitar amp (opens in new tab) and you’ve got that heady sound of late-‘80s sleaze, so decadent that with the right break up and EQ you’ve got an almost cocked wah sound to it, with just the right amount of aggression without overpowering things. Roll the volume back and it cleans up nicely. Roll it back until it’s just gone clean and put it through an analogue chorus pedal and that Paradise City intro starts to come alive.
For the siren wail of Sweet Child O’ Mine – an essential tone for wedding band players, and an interesting one for everyone else to fool around with – your neck pickup is your friend. It’s just as well because many players will be buying into this collection for easy access to those tones.
But we’d argue that the best thing about these is not Slash’s name on the headstock; it’s Les Paul’s. What the Slash name guarantees you is the imprimatur of the connoisseur. How you choose to use yours, what style you’d play, that is up to you. The pickups might have a little more animalism than many stock LPs but it has a typically dynamic voice that works well in any company.
MusicRadar verdict: With a choice of finishes, superb spec and a tone that’ll welcome you to the jungle, the Epiphone Slash Les Paul is a no-brainer for GNR super-fans and a very attractive proposition for anyone searching for serious but affordable Les Paul.
Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul Standard: The web says
“The neck pickup rings like a bell with the tone rolled back for that famous intro, outputting all the nuanced interaction and harmonics between the strings as we go. Pushing the tone back up to full with some overdrive gives us a near perfect bluesy-rock lead sound.”
Total Guitar (opens in new tab)
Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul Standard: Hands-on demos
Epiphone Slash Collection Les Paul Standard: Specifications
- BODY: Mahogany with AAA flame maple top
- NECK: Mahogany
- SCALE: 24.75”
- FINGERBOARD: Indian laurel
- FRETS: 22
- PICKUPS: Gibson Custom Burstbuckers
- CONTROLS: 2x volume, 2x tone, three-way toggle
- HARDWARE: Chrome
- LEFT-HANDED: No
- FINISH: Appetite Burst (pictured), November Burst, Vermillion Burst, Anaconda Burst, Victoria (goldtop)
- CONTACT: Epiphone (opens in new tab)