Differences Between Gibson Les Paul Standard and Studio Models

The Gibson Les Paul, the guitar that has defined rock and roll for over 50 years. First released in 1952, and discontinued in 1960, it wasn't until guitar royalty such as Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomberg started using the guitars in the mid 1960's that interest in Les Paul's resurfaced, leading to the reintroduction of the line in 1968. Since their reintroduction, The Les Paul has maintained massive popularity, with new lines produced each year through to today.

With their massive popularity, Gibson releases numerous models each year, covering different specifications and price points. With so many different models it is difficult to determine exactly what the differences are between each variant.

What is standard on all Gibson Les Paul's?

As a rule, all non custom and limited edition Gibson Les Paul's will include the following features;

  • Single cutaway
  • 2 humbucker pickups
  • 2 tone, 2 volume controls
  • 3-way pickup switch
  • Rosewood fingerboard
  • Lacquer finish
  • Solid body - made of a mahogany back and a carved maple top
  • Set-in mahogany neck
  • Fixed bridge
  • 22 frets
  • 24-3/4" scale length

It is the solid body, set-in neck and twin humbucking pickups that give The Les Paul its distinctive deep, grunty sound.

Les Paul Standard

Les Paul Standard

The Les Paul Standard is the quintessential modern version of the famous Sunburst Les Paul's from 1958 and 1959. First available in 1976, Gibson has tried to incorporate the spirit and look of the famous guitars in from the 50's while including modern improvements that have been made to guitars in the subsequent years. Today's standards use the same appointments as the originals, including the binding over the ends of frets and a AA 'flamed' maple body.

The Les Paul Standard uses BurstBucker Pro pickups, a nearly exact reproduction of the original "Patent Applied For" pickup to replicate the famous 58/59 sound. The standard is available in 7 colours, the famous sunburst, ebony, gold top, honey burst, desert burst, light burst and ice tea.

Les Paul Studio

Les Paul Studio

All the elements of the legendary Les Paul Standard are still there, including that fat and sweet maple-and-mahogany tone through two genuine Gibson humbucking pickups. By eliminating a little of the window dressing – namely, building the guitar without binding around the body top or fingerboard, and applying an elegant gold silkscreened logo in place of an inlay – the Les Paul Studio attempts to produce the same legendary Les Paul sound without the legendary Les Paul price. Soundwise, the biggest difference between the 2 models are the choice of pickup, with the Studio receiving 490R/498T pickups in place of the BurstBucker Pro's. The sound from the 490R/498T combination is generally considered to be a little "brighter" then that produced by the BurstBucker Pro's and it is very much personal opinion as to which sounds better, though with the adjustment of the tone controller, they sound or all intents and purposes the same. The Studio is also only available in 4 colours, all different and less showy than those offered with the Standard.


Which Les Paul you end up choosing, you know that you are going to end up with a quality guitar that with a little bit of TLC will probably outlast both you and your children. The end choice is simple, do you want the full Les Paul experience, with not only the sound but the amazing looking body and "window dressing" or will the Studio, not as flashy but with the same internal electrics and body construction more than satisfy your Slash fantasies?

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