The 4 Best Lightweight Les Paul Guitars – Reviews 2019

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Photo by Dustin Gaffke / CC BY

The Les Paul is one of the most iconic designs in the history of the electric guitar. The double-cutaway design makes it easy to reach all the frets and has a distinctive aesthetic appeal. Even better, you can get a Les Paul at pretty much every price-point, from affordable entry-level models all the way up to the top-tier professional level.

However, one of the consistent traits of Les Pauls across manufacturers and price points is that they’re a pretty hefty instrument. It’s not uncommon for them to weigh twenty pounds or more. If you’re a small player, have back problems, or just prefer a lighter instrument, that makes Les Pauls a less appealing option.

The notable exception to this are Les Paul guitars from Epiphone. While they’re not all lightweight, they do offer quite a few models that are ten pounds or less. We’ve picked out our favorites here. Check out the full reviews below if you’re looking for a Les Paul that’s on the lighter side.

These are our recommendations for the 4 best lightweight Les Paul guitars on the market:

Epiphone Les Paul ULTRA-III Guitar

We’ll start off with the best lightweight Les Paul guitar money can buy. The Ultra-III from Epiphone is definitely built for professionals, something you can probably guess from the price even before you see or hold it. From the tonewoods to the pickups to aesthetic details like the accents and finish, it’s a solid and versatile guitar that gives you the classic Les Paul tone at a more manageable weight.

The Les Paul Ultra-III (see full specs) is hand-crafted using flame maple for the top, with a chambered mahogany body. We found the neck angle and action very comfortable and natural under our fingers, even without any fine-tuning. From a build standpoint, this is a solid and reliable instrument.

Where the Ultra-III really stands out, though, is with its electronics. It uses a dual pickup system, with both Pro-Bucker humbuckers and an extra Shadow NanoMag system that can capture the string harmonics and give you a more acoustic-like sound. Each channel has independent gain and tone knobs, and you’ll get more output options as well, including the option of USB. All-told, the electronics make this one of the most versatile lightweight Les Pauls on the market.

Epiphone Les Paul Ultra-III Demo

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro Guitar

If you want a lightweight Les Paul that’s suitable for a professional but priced more in the intermediate range, you’re in luck. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard in the Plustop Pro version weighs in at only 9 pounds and still has a look, sound, and feel suitable for use on-stage.

The Les Paul Standard from Epiphone is very similar to their high-end Custom model, with a few key differences. It uses flame maple instead of the carved maple on the Custom, and the mahogany used for the body and neck is a less dense variety. These changes are what lower both the weight and the price of the guitar without sacrificing the iconic sound.

In terms of hardware, this guitar feels just like Epiphone’s professional models. It has the same Tune-O-Matic bridge and ProBucker pickups for a smooth, consistent tone. The action feels comfortable out of the box and the tone is warm and open, exactly what you want in a Les Paul. It’s our top choice for a truly lightweight instrument that still feels solid in your hands.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro

Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT Guitar

Here’s another option that’s comfortably priced in the mid-range. At only 8 pounds, it’s also the lightest option on the list. The combination of value and size makes this a perfect option for advanced students, with professional touches that players at any level can appreciate.

The Les Paul Studio LT uses Zebra-coil humbuckers with ceramic magnets. This gives the instrument a higher output than many Les Pauls, making it a perfect choice for players in harder styles. The nickel hardware includes a Tune-O-Matic bridge for solid action and reliable intonation every time.

We also love the neck on this guitar. It uses a SlimTaper D-profile bolt-on neck design, with a tapered joint that makes it even easier to reach the upper frets. These details are another reason we love this guitar for students, especially younger students, since it’ll be more manageable for small hands without sacrificing tone or range. With these facts in mind, you’re still looking at one of the best lightweight Les Paul guitars for the money.

Epiphone Les Paul Studio LT Guitar Demo

Epiphone Les Paul Special-II Guitar

If your budget has you looking seriously for a bargain, Epiphone still has you covered. The Les Paul Special-II is one of the most-recommended guitars for beginners and hobbyists because it’s a well-built guitar that’s still very affordable. It also weighs in at only 10 pounds. This combination of performance, value, and a light-weight build makes it a perfect choice for younger students.

The Les Paul Special-II uses an all-mahogany construction and humbucking pickups, for that classic Les Paul warmth. The Epiphone 700T/650R pickups that come installed on the guitar are functional, especially for a beginner, though you may want to upgrade them down the line, especially if you’re looking for a lot of output.

Epiphone brings the same care and attention to their entry-level models as they do to their professional guitars, and it shows with instruments like the Les Paul Special-II. There’s great attention to detail in the construction, from the hardware to the finish, which gives you a consistent sound and feel throughout the range.

Finding the Best Lightweight Les Paul Guitar

The very things that make the Les Paul so iconic work against you if you’re looking for a lightweight instrument. They typically use a denser mahogany than you’ll find in many guitars, especially the higher-end versions, and the addition of maple as a top wood also adds to the overall weight. These four guitars tweak this formula slightly to give you the same sound in a package that’s easier to manage.

The most important question you need to ask is why you need a lightweight guitar. If it’s because the player is on the smaller side, something like the Les Paul Studio LT (see full specs) could be a great choice. Not only is it the lightest model on the list, the slim neck will also make it easier to play for smaller hands.

Whichever model you go with, you can count on Epiphone to deliver consistent build quality, so if you want a lightweight guitar for traveling, they’ll all stand up to the rigors of the road. Good luck!

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