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5 Best Non-Gibson Brands of Les Paul Guitar

Wesman Todd Shaw started playing the guitar when he was 12 years old. He loves nothing more than to pick one up and pluck some strings.

An Orville Les Paul

An Orville Les Paul

In the 1970s, Gibson guitars relaxed their quality standards and sold some things they should not have. The Japanese took notice and started building Les Paul copies. Economics and ergonomics are very real things, and both played a big role in the development of LP-like guitars. Many aspiring guitarists were looking for cheaper options and, lawsuits aside, several companies began to take advantage of Gibson's relaxed standards. This article will explore the best alternatives to Gibson LPs.

5 Best Non-Gibson LP Guitar Copies

  • Tokai "Love Rock" LP Copy
  • Edwards LP Guitars by ESP
  • Greco LP Custom
  • Burny LP
  • Ibanez LP

For more information on each guitar, please read the reviews below. This article will also provide a brief discussion of the Norlin Era of Gibson Guitars and a brief history of how Gibson became such a popular brand. I have also provided a table with four more examples of LP-inspired guitars that didn't quite make the cut but are still worth checking out.

Keith Richards in 1965 with a Gibson Les Paul

Keith Richards in 1965 with a Gibson Les Paul

A Tokai "Love Rock" Les Paul copy

A Tokai "Love Rock" Les Paul copy

Tokai "Love Rock" Les Paul Copy

Tokai has long been revered for their amazing copies of Telecasters, Stratocasters, and Gibson Les Paul guitars. The people at Tokai, in Japan, are so damned good at making copies of American guitars that there are literally fakes of Tokai guitars. Fakes of copies are out there.

The Tokai Gibson Les Paul copies come with different names. The original Tokai Les Paul copies were called "Les Paul Reborn." These were manufactured from 1978 to 1979. In 1980, Tokai changed the name to "Reborn Old." Somewhere down the line, the name changed again to "Love Rock." Many people refer to these guitars by one specific title, calling them "lawsuit guitars."

These name changes are the direct result of Gibson threatening lawsuits. Whether or not they ever actually filed a lawsuit is something I've not been able to determine. In any event, the Tokai Gakki folks literally went to work for Fender and built Fender guitars in Japan at one time. While those are good guitars, the ones with the Tokai name on them are often thought to be superior.

What you need to look for the most in any Tokai guitar, whether it be a Tele or Strat or Les Paul copy, is where it was made. The ones made in Japan are always superior guitars to the ones made in Korea. Tokai did have guitars made in Korea, but there are also fake Tokai guitars which are also made in Korea. If you're buying an LP copy, make sure it's not a copy of a copy.

The model numbers on Tokai guitars tell you how fine a guitar you are looking at. The higher the number, the better the guitar. So a Tokai Love Rock LS60 is a slightly lower quality instrument than a Tokai Love Rock LS75.

Do some online research about these made-in-Japan Tokai copies of Gibson and Fender guitars, and you will quickly see that many people say their Tokai copy is a better guitar than the Gibson or the Fenders. The cult of Tokai is growing, and these guitars are selling for more and more money in shops and online.

So if these Tokai Love Rock Les Paul copies are so damned good, who's a famous player who plays one? Billy Gibbons, the big bearded Texas guitarist and singer for ZZ Top, is famous for playing an actual Gibson Les Paul he refers to as his "pearly gates" guitar. However, he also plays a Tokai Les Paul copy on a regular basis. It can be incredibly hard to spot such a thing. The guitars are built to be exactly like the Gibson, and so you'd have to be able to read the head-stock of the thing or have Billy Gibbons actually mention it. That being said, it can be widely verified that Billy Gibbons plays this guitar.

What do these guitars cost? Well, there are loads of factors involved. The Korean-made guitars are fairly inexpensive. You can get one used for around $300. The older Japanese models sell for a lot more. Once again, the model # tells you a lot about the guitar's build. The higher the model #, the higher the quality. The Tokai copy has become so successful that I'm seeing some of the most decked out Tokai Les Paul copies selling for over a $1000.

Japanese Tokai Love Rock LS-75 Guitar Review

Tokai LS95 Love Rock vs Gibson Les Paul

An Edwards Les Paul Custom

An Edwards Les Paul Custom

Edwards Les Paul Guitars by ESP

ESP is one of the biggest manufacturers of guitars and basses on the planet. The company is bigger than some may realize, as it encompasses a lot of different brands. ESP is a Japanese company, but they have branches in California, Indonesia, and China as well.

It should go without saying that products made in China and/or Indonesia are mass produced and tend to be of lower quality. Guitars made in the USA and/or Japan are much more hands-on, so the build quality and product materials will be far superior. These are generalizations, but they are true more often than not.

ESP's Edwards brand of instruments are all intermediate level to totally professional level guitars. All guitars that say Edwards on them are nice guitars. But, like Tokai, they come in varying levels of quality. I have not listed ESP Edwards underneath Tokai here to say they are less good than Tokai. I am not doing a better or worse page here in that way.

The Edwards 50s Tribute Les Paul guitars are well known to be exceptionally high-quality Les Paul guitars. Another Edwards model of much esteem is the Edwards Les Paul Custom. For less than what a lot of Gibson Les Paul guitars cost, one can buy an Edwards and, possibly, have a superior instrument.

These Edwards guitars should go for around a $1000 new, but you might be able to buy a great one used for between $500-$700.

Edwards Les Paul vs Gibson Les Paul

A Greco Les Paul Custom

A Greco Les Paul Custom

Greco Les Paul Custom

Greco is yet another Japanese manufacturer of Les Paul copies. Greco, like the others, has made many many different Les Paul copies. Some better, some worse, and some in between.

At one time Greco made Les Paul copies but did so using a Guild-like headstock. When you're making a copy, you may as well go all the way, so Greco started using Gibson's trademark "open book" headstock. Greco Les Paul guitars come in flavors such as EG, EGF, EGC, PC, RR, and JS.

The primary complaint about the Greco Les Paul is that the finish is too thick. Also, Greco makes some guitars in Korea, and those are always thought of as being of lower quality than the ones made in Japan. The cheaper Greco Les Paul guitars come with a poly finish. The more expensive ones come with a nitro finish.

Their necks are also made in a variety of different ways. The Grecos are made to copy the Gibson Les Pauls from particular years. Some years Gibson made thicker necks than other years, and the Greco mirrors correspond to that. The feel of the neck will have an incredible impact on how any particular person feels about a guitar.

Some of the Greco Les Paul guitars have set necks like Gibson guitars. Others have screwed in necks. Also, less expensive ones may have three-piece necks.

Tokai, Edwards, and Greco Les Paul guitars may be modeled after a 1950s year model, or they may be modeled after a much later date Les Paul. Some will have chambered bodies for weight relief, while others will weigh quite a lot for not being chambered. The big lesson here is there are so many varieties of these brands, if you look hard enough, you will find what you are looking for at a lower price than a comparable Gibson model.

Greco vs Gibson Les Paul comparison

Burny head-stock and logos

Burny head-stock and logos

A Burny Les Paul Custom

A Burny Les Paul Custom

Burny Les Paul

Burny guitars are another Japanese make. Burny and Fernandez are essentially the same company, but Burny makes Gibson copies while Fernandez makes the Fender copies. There are quite a lot of rock, metal, and punk guitarist who use Burny guitars. We're talking about the kinds of persons who could afford any guitar on the planet, but they use a Burny. So there are some very qualified endorsements.

Again, as with all other makes previously discussed here, Burny makes less expensive copies of the Les Paul, but they are still high-end and high-quality copies. If there is binding between the fretboard and the neck on a Burny Les Paul, then the guitar is higher quality.

One painful thing which must be said here is that some of these Burny Les Paul guitars are really Tokai Les Paul guitars. What I mean by this is that the Fernandez and/or Burny guitar company has no factories of its own. Instead, they use other OEM factories. Some Fernandez or Burny guitars were built by Tokai. As with all other makes of Les Paul copies listed on this page, the ones which say "Made In Japan" are going to be vastly superior guitars to ones made in either China or Korea.

The best Tokai guitars are being bought up every day. People have really caught on to the quality offered by Tokai. Some of the high-end Grecos and Edwards guitars are also heating up on the market. Burny high-end Les Paul guitars are not as sought after, so you could get a real deal on one, especially if you happen to land one that was actually built in the Tokai factory. When were Burny Les Paul guitars built by Tokai? The information I've been able to locate indicates this happened in 1978-1979. But this is only some of the Burny guitars.

Another useful factoid is that the earliest Burny Les Paul guitars actually said "Les Paul" on the label. Clearly, that was pushing the limits of their integrity, so they changed the title of the Les Paul to "Super Grade" guitars.

Burny Les Paul Custom Lawsuit 1979-80

An Ibanez Les Paul copy

An Ibanez Les Paul copy

Ibanez Les Paul

In the early 1970s, American guitar manufacturers (particularly Gibson, Fender, and Martin) were experiencing a steady decline in production quality while more Japanese- built guitars were showing up in the American market. By the mid-‘70s, these Japanese guitars consisted of mostly blatant copies of popular American designs and the quality was much better than people wanted to admit. In 1977, Gibson sued the Elger Company (the distributor of Ibanez instruments in the U.S. at the time) and demanded they stop producing copies of their instruments, specifically their headstocks.

An Ibanez Les Paul copy with bolt neck in excellent condition will run you about $500 these days (prices are up, as their reputation is growing). Set neck models run anywhere from $800 and up. These are great clone guitars, even the bolt-neck ones. The "Custom Agent" set-neck models are worth from $1,000-$1,500 (or more for rarer versions/colors) and a set-neck Professional with a vine neck (the "Randy Scruggs" model) will run you $1,500 to $2,500, or even more. There are a few even rarer models that can be worth more than $3,000.

Out of all these Japanese guitar manufacturers who were making absolutely blatant copies of the Gibson Les Paul, it was Ibanez who got sued. You should ask yourself why that would be. I would suggest it was because Ibanez was making a product that was a copy better than the original by Gibson. At least the Ibanez was better than what Gibson was making at the time of the lawsuit.

Ibanez was a guitar manufacturer in transition at the time. They eventually rose as a company to the point at which they had no need for mimicry, and that is where they still are today. Ibanez makes outstanding guitars. But that isn't to say they haven't also been guilty of selling some guitars that weren't worth the asking price. I suppose it is a human condition. There have been some complaints concerning the quality of the pickups found in some of the Ibanez Les Paul copies. But pickups can always be upgraded.

Ibanez Les Paul Custom

More LP-Inspired Guitars and Single Cutaway Alternatives

Brand FeaturesPrice

Epiphone Les Paul-100 Heritage

This guitar is similar to the LPs made in 1957, when PAF humbuckers were introduced to the design. This is a great guitar for the money.


Paul Reed Smith 245STVC SE 245

Are you a Les Paul traditionalist but can’t afford a vintage Gibson? This guitar is great price. The SE 245 from Paul Reed Smith guitars has a shorter scale length, at 24 ½” with a relatively wide neck, making it comfortable for traditional guitarists.


Agile AL2000

Korean-made LP-inspired guitar. These are great guitars for the price. Great looks, solidly built, and cheap!


Yamaha Weddington

If you're looking for a cheap guitar, then the Yamaha Weddington is probably not for you. Nevertherless, these are beautiful guitars. Designed by Rich Lasner of Ibanez RG fame, the Yamaha Weddington has traditional LP specs and Weddington flash.


Who Makes the Best Non-Gibson Les Paul?

I'd venture to say Gibson makes the best Les Paul guitar. But who makes the best non-Gibson Les Paul copy? Well, how long is a rope anyway? I suppose a rope is twice as long as half its length. Something like that.

The purpose of this page wasn't to say "this one is better than that one," but rather, my purpose here was to provide some options. Perhaps someone has a legitimate problem with the business practices of Gibson or Epiphone, but still wants that Les Paul look and sound. Also, the question of what and who is good in copying the Gibson Les Paul is a very legitimate question for a guitarist to have an answer to.

You know how it goes. You pay several thousand dollars for a great Gibson Les Paul, and suddenly the idea of traveling and playing in rowdy bars with the thing is worrisome to you. A lot of guitarists love their best guitars like they are family members. So maybe you are in the market for something you can find used and less expensive which is also good enough to replicate your Gibson on a stage or over at a friend's house.

This article covered more than five models of guitar. We covered five manufacturers who make Les Paul like guitars. The best of Epiphone is really very good, but we didn't talk much about Epiphone here because they are, of course, a part of Gibson.

What about an Orville Les Paul? An Orville Les Paul is as much a Gibson as any guitar that says Gibson on it. Orville guitars are authorized by Gibson, built in Japan using all Gibson materials, and sold in Japan for the Japanese. An Orville is a Gibson. Anyone who says otherwise is confused about the matter. So to be clear, an Orville is a Gibson in every way, and if you find one for sale, you should probably get it, as it will sell for less but have the same quality. The name Gibson seems to have some sort of magic attached to it, but the magic is in the mind, not the guitar.

A Les Paul guitar is like a recipe. It's no different than any cake or pie. If someone gathers the highest quality ingredients and follows the recipe as faithfully and exactly as its originator, then there is no reason their Les Paul will not be every bit as good as Gibson's.

The Norlin Era

Gibson went through some years when their product quality slipped below the previous standard. When Gibson was owned by "Norlin" the quality of Gibson guitars, by almost all accounts, was less than before, and less than the quality of new Gibson guitars.

When and what exactly is the Gibson Norlin era? This is a very complicated question to answer. Ted McCarty left Gibson in 1966, and things started going downhill a bit with the loss of the master luthier Ted McCarty. But this was still before Gibson guitars was owned by "Norlin." We can tentatively define the "Norlin Era" as the period from 1966-1986. During that time period some of the Gibson guitars produced were vastly inferior to previous and subsequent years. Most especially bad were the Gibson acoustic guitars in this era.

None of this is to say a Gibson built between 1966 and 1986 is a bad guitar. What is accepted as true here is that a lot of guitars left the Gibson factories during those years which should not have passed quality control standards. There were still some very fine guitars made during those years.

When the build quality of a legendary brand like Gibson slips, people take notice and fill the void. This is exactly how Tokai, Edwards, and the rest came to be so well known and venerated for making amazing replica Les Paul guitars.

In the early 1950s, Lester William Polsfuss was one of the best guitarists in the United States. But he wasn't just a guitarist, he was also a bit of a craftsman, and he fancied making himself an all solid-body electric guitar. He did so, but it didn't turn out so well. The true professional guitar builders at Gibson got with Les, and the Gibson Les Paul was born.

Before the term rock and roll was used to describe a form of music, Les Paul was playing that music on a Gibson Les Paul. The less expensive and much lighter weight Telecaster was being used all over the nation for country and western music. But the Gibson Les Paul wasn't being purchased much at all.

Oh, some of the great African American blues men were using the Gibson Les Paul in their music, but white Americans weren't into their music. White boys in England were becoming completely transfixed by what white America ignored.

By 1960, the poor selling Gibson Les Paul was changed into a very different guitar, the Gibson SG. But they were still calling it a Les Paul, and continued to do so until they ran out of truss-rod covers with Les Paul's name on them.

Well, those white boys from England, the ones who were seriously into the African American bluesmen. Those boys started playing the original Gibson Les Paul guitars. It was around 1964 when Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones was playing one. Then some young hotshot named Eric Clapton got himself a 1959 Les Paul and blew people's minds with the thing.

By 1970, everyone in the world wanted a Gibson Les Paul. The original heavy and expensive ones. Gibson would start making them again, but so would a lot of other people. Where there is a market for a thing, the invisible hand will move the people towards filling that need, and everyone benefits.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you have any information on Emperador Les Pau guitarsl from the 1970's?

Answer: It's likely made in Japan, and like all the many others from the 1970s, that could mean just about anything. What I'm saying is almost all of these brands made very cheap copies, mid grade copies, and absolutely lights out top notch copies. So any given example could be cheesy beginner level, absolute pro, or somewhere in between.

The easiest thing to do here would be to look at the neck. If the neck is bolted on, then it's not necessarily a bad guitar, but it isn't going to be a fantastic one. If the neck is a set neck, and is glued in, then the likelihood of it being a very good guitar is much much higher.

Even with the set in neck, a lot of times the wiring and pickups were less than desirable on the Japanese copies, but that's just a guess for me here.

I guess if you were thinking about buying an Emperador Les Paul copy, I'd say maybe buy it were it set neck, don't buy it were it a bolt on neck. Pickups and wiring can always be upgraded, as can machine heads, but there's not going to be a lot of good reasons for fixing up an old bolt on neck LP copy.

Question: I have a Les Paul standard 1975 special order, do you think this is a good non-Gibson brand?

Answer: I couldn't imagine it NOT being good. I doubt there has ever been a Gibson Les Paul that wasn't good, and in fact, most of them are great to terrific.

Question: What's your opinion of Hagstrom? The Swede and 25.5" scale Super Swede look well built and I know are used by pro's. Do you have any experience?

Answer: I personally do not have experience with Hagstrom guitars. I have heard very positive things about them, however, from people that I trust a lot.

Question: What about a "no brand" LP copy that a seller claims is made in Japan? Is it common for "no brand" to be visible or discernible?

Answer: There are so many copies of the Gibson Les Paul in existence, that there could be 100 different no brand makes of Les Paul copy. Also, something being made in Japan should proudly state such a thing. If it doesn't, it was probably made in Korea or China.

Question: Are the Heritage series guitars out of the old Gibson Factory in Kalamazoo Michigan considered to be Gibsons?

Answer: In my way of thinking, those basically ARE Les Paul guitars. Yes, I know they are Heritage, but the employees were Gibson employees. And the factory was a Gibson factory. I'm sure you know the story. I consider this article to be about 'lawsuit' guitars, despite the term not being exactly correct in all cases. I wrote about Heritage Les Paul a little on this article

Question: I think you missed Aria Pro II copies? The PE series built in Japan were superior to Gibsons with better tuners, bridges, and hardware in general. They switched a lot of production to Korea but I believe the PE Series is still Japanese made.

Answer: It's a "Five Best" article. This means five brands are discussed, the ones I felt were the best, and which I'd personally had experience with. It would take a very large book to discuss all the Les Paul copies. I continually even hear of brands I'd never before heard of. Then, there are copies of the best copies, which are counterfeits. Japan made instruments are typically top notch in their price brackets, that's for sure.

Question: Is the Gibson Baldwin signature series a real Gibson?

Answer: No, not at all. Gibson Baldwin guitars are beginner's instruments at best. Those are the kinds of guitars you buy a kid so the kid can see if he or she is really going to be interested in guitar or not.

Question: How good are Les Paul D'Agostino models?

Answer: D'Agostino Les Paul guitars are as good as it gets.

Question: Is a Gibson les Paul model # 697532 worth anything?

Answer: Every Gibson Les Paul is worth good money, provided that it is playable, or even repairable. I honestly can't tell you anything from a serial number. It's also important to be aware that there are a lot, and I mean a LOT of counterfeit Les Paul guitars, which say 'Gibson' on their headstocks, all around the world. Those also have serial numbers.

Question: Do you know anything about Rokkomann guitars? Are they reputable? One more thing, are bolt-on Les Paul copies still good?

Answer: I've not heard of Rokkomann. There are more brands of Les Paul copies than I may ever even know of. Bolt-on necks are easier to manufacture, and so, these are usually less expensive than set neck guitars.

Question: Have you an idea about guitars made by WB customs?

Answer: I'm really not certain what you are asking me. I think you might be talking about the Witkowski Les Paul? I have never actually had the chance to put my hands on one. So the only thing I could ever say about those would be whatever I could discover online about them. Maybe I'll see one sometime though. I would hope so. I'm always interested.

Question: Wasn't the Aria Pro II Series a pretty good guitar choice back in the day?

Answer: Yes indeed. The Aria Pro II Les Paul copies could easily be included on this list. It's the perils of writing a 'Top 5' page about anything. Stuff gets left off which could have been there. Yamaha's Les Paul copies from that era are also top-notch.

Question: Can you tell me anything about Columbus guitars?

Answer: Getting absolute facts about lesser known brands, such as Columbus, who produced what we call "lawsuit guitars,' i.e., copies of famous Gibson and Fender originals, is just about impossible using Google. Columbus had originally been produced in Japan, however, it is suspected that at some point, the business moved to Taiwan.

I've read there were also Columbus guitars built in South Korea. I'm not knocking Taiwan, but insofar as guitars go, made in Japan and made in Korea are going to be preferable, with top nods going to the Japanese. At some point in time, it is speculated that Columbus and Jedson guitars were one and the same thing, but it would be more speculation to say in which Asian nation this crossover may have taken place.

Columbus Les Paul copies are widely thought of as very very good. The pickups are generally praised, but the wiring could be a bit dodgy.

In the 1980s Columbus brand guitars were widely available in the United Kingdom. Those are not the ones you would want, as by that time, Columbus had moved production from Japan to places where lesser materials and production techniques were used. 1970s Japanese Columbus Les Paul copies, typically LP Custom copies, in either white or black, should be pretty terrific guitars.

Question: Do you, the writer of this article, know anything about Penco guitars? I have one and was told it was an Ibanez branded Penco for the eastcoast in the USA.

Answer: Penco wasn't owned by Ibanez, rather, both Ibanez and Penco were both owned by Hoshino Gakki. The Penco is absolutely a 'lawsuit' guitar. The single most important and easiest thing here is to know whether the neck is a set neck, or is bolted on. The bolt-on neck guitars aren't horrible, but they're of lesser quality and value. I bring this up because I know Ibanez had some cheaper Les Paul copies with bolt-on necks, and Penco does as well.

Question: You mentioned the Agile 2000s. The 3200s have neck thru bodies, coil tapping, Grovers, Graphtech nuts and bridges, and go for about $500. Don't they deserve a mention?

Answer: No, and the reason for that is simple: when you've got a neck-through build, then the guitar is definitely NOT a Les Paul style guitar anymore. Neck through builds are their own animal, and really shouldn't be considered the same as a bolt-on or set-neck guitars.

It would be confusing for people were one to not go into a lot of detail to explain why a neck through is very different. I'm anything but perfect or great, but when I'm writing about guitars, I'm at least trying to eliminate as much confusion as possible, and so, a neck through just can't be called a Les Paul copy. It's just a different type of guitar.

Neck-through builds can be fantastic. I'm not slighting the guitar you mentioned or neck through guitars at all. It's just that I can't in good faith ever call a neck through guitar a Les Paul copy, and I can't compare it to a Les Paul. It's a different type of guitar altogether.

© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw


Scott on August 26, 2020:

Do you have any thoughts on Vintage by Wilkinson guitars ? Seems like good quality, just wondered had you any experience with them.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 25, 2019:

@Mirek - that may well be, and some days I'm feeling chatty, but other days I'm just not at all, but this is the very best network of websites for writers.

I've got a ton more Les Paul articles to write. I'm having a hard time getting to that place where I think of good things to say.

Mirek on August 25, 2019:

@Wesman Todd Shaw.

According to HubPage, URL links in comments are allowed and will be hyperlinked.

Btw. HubPage is technically the worst comments service I have ever had displeasure to use. Compare to Disqus or Quora etc...

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2019:

@Mirek - forgive me should any good links you post in my comments, or the entire comment be removed due to a link. I'm not the owner, just a poor contributor.

Sometimes I approve people's comments, and they wind up deleted.

I completely agree with all you've said. One thing I'm sure of is this - names are like magic.

Most people wouldn't know a world class guitar from a cheap all plywood model. But what those folks do know is the names of Gibson and Fender.

My late grandfather, when I was a kid, he was always very pleased when he could find German made guitars, fiddles, etc. He always made certain I knew it too.

He didn't care for the Japanese at all, but then again, he was a WWII vet, and had reasons I understood.

Mirek on August 23, 2019:

No, I am not in Germany. The confiscating and destruction story sounds like an ancient era of badly regulated import rules and arbitrary decissions by uneducated customs officers.

Continuing my Hoyer story here are various images of the vintage Les Paul copies from this German brand.

Impecable, aren't they?

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2019:


Are you in Germany? I got a troubling email once from someone who'd went to Japan, bought a top notch Edwards Les Paul copy, and he said when he tried to re-enter Germany with it, it was confiscated as a counterfeit, and ...when they do that, they destroy the thing.

Holy $hit, that gets me angry just thinking about it. Of course something simply can NOT be a counterfeit unless it is claiming to be a Gibson Les Paul, and is not.

There are, of course, countless actual counterfeits out there, and just because someone sent me an email with a story in it, it doesn't mean the story is entirely true.

I'm cool with people commenting things and saying I should have listed this or that. I know going in on any sort of 'Top 5' article about any subject, you're going to wind up leaving out some things which were likely just as good or relevant as the things listed.

Webpages can't be too long, or they'll take forever to load up, and people just X out of a tab that takes forever to load.

So far as guitars I know of well enough to talk about intelligently, the Yamaha LP copies, and the D'Agostino copies are every bit as good as what's here.

I did another page somewhat (but not entirely) similar to this one where I mentioned those.

Mirek on August 23, 2019:

Another two brands manufacturing excellent Les Paul "lookalikes" are:

● The pricey German high quality Duesenberg models Starplayer Special and 59er.

● The

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 23, 2019:

Thanks for the information, Mirek. Only a fool could ever doubt German manufacturing. Those folks decide they're serious about building a thing, and whatever it is, is going to be extremely good.

Were I a wealthier man, then I'd own top notch examples of all brands I listed, some of the ones I've not got on this page, but have talked about elsewhere, and some of these I've received comments and emails about.

Then I'd worry myself into an early grave over my world class guitar collection's safety.

Mirek on August 23, 2019:

Between ca 1978 - ??? I came across some fabulous Les Paul clones made by Hoyer, a German brand. The electronics and hardware were Schaller. You could say Hoyer out-Gibson Gibson. The quality was so high that Gibson allegedly offered Hoyer manufacturing deal for European market (similar to Orville in Japan). Hoyer declined, as far as I know. Hoyer deserves to be mentioned as one of the very best made Les Paul clones ever.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on July 05, 2019:

@Tebco - sure sounds like it. Myself, anytime you can get an Epiphone like that, it's going to be a steal. A couple years ago I went to a music store and demoed just about every Gibson and Epiphone Les Paul they had.

The current Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro is fantastic. It would be really hard for me to decide between that one and the Gibson Les Paul studio faded models.

Tebco on July 05, 2019:

A guitar often overlooked it seems is the Epiphone 1961 tribute plus model, great value comes with a hard case, straplocks, Grover locking tuners and all the electrics are as per USA models, Gibson '57 p/ups, Switchcraft p/up selector and the (push-pull) pots, wiring and caps all the same as on an American Les Paul, mine plays fantastic, quite a bargain I'd say. don't know if the top is a veneer but it has a thick maple cap and long tenen neck joint

Singemonkey on July 01, 2019:

This is a bit of an odd piece. While a number of the guitars you mention are usually far better than the average Gibson, Ibanez bolt-ons are junk. Plywood tops. Faux-humbuckers.

Also, Tokai has made its cheaper models in China for years now. Korea is ages ago. Anyone familiar with Tokai knows that. Buying a Japanese Tokai though is a very safe bet. None of the quality issues of Gibson - it's the same family-owned factory since the '40s with long-term, highly skilled workers. The premium Japanese guitars can only be compared to Gibson custom shop while costing about 1/3rd. From that perspective, the plaintop premium model (currently the LS186 I believe as of 2019) is probably the best bang for buck LP in the world. Essentially equivalent to a plaintop R8 in specs for a fraction of the price).

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 24, 2019:

No thanks to the Chibson, Jeff Wagner. Get a good Epiphone Pro instead.

Jeff Wagner on June 24, 2019:

What about Chibson

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on April 13, 2019:

@Daniel Walker - you can't, Daniel. All you can do is comment, and use someone's name hoping they see the reply.

And thanks for any and all help. There's so many brands of Les Paul copy in this world, I could live three lives and not get familiar with the half of them.

Daniel Walker 707 on April 13, 2019:

Stacy, I can't seem to find a way to respond to individual comments but I think the cougar copy isn't worth much. Maybe a $100 at most :P

Day Sane on February 10, 2019:

I have a 75 Conrad LP, my friend picked it out for me 30 years ago because it was so similar to his Ibanez. I love this guitar to this day. Does anyone have any information concerning Conrad LP's.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 10, 2019:

Thanks Brock. No, I can't fit an entire encyclopedia on one page. A webpage on a subject can never be completely extensive, so one must limit a subject to something like 'top 5,' and hope they can still make it concise enough.

Brock on February 09, 2019:

I have a coxx lp custom copy ive had epiphone ive had the real thing ive had a les paul signature hollow body this one i have now is probably the best sounding guitar ive ever owned except for a tiger stripe maple univox lp copy which was absolutely the prettiest guitar ive ever seen much less played i think if you search further you might find a whole lot of lp copies worth having out there just saying thanks for the space to comment

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on December 10, 2018:

Yes Sir, Ed - it's all good with comments, so long as they are concerning the content.

Ed Canupp on December 09, 2018:

Hey Lee, if you desire weight and money savings at the same time an Agile 3200 series make get to a happy spot.

I would not want to be the one to step on any toes here, but almost all brands from Starshine Chibson to Gibson are getting to be a hit or miss proposition at various times with various "models" - I think the entire purpose of the article was to inform about known possibilities of a less expensive options to the original manufacturer in Kalamazoo Michigan in the 1950's and 60's.

Lee Jones on December 08, 2018:

You might as well own any of these rather than a new Gibson. I bought a Tribute 2018 Les Paul, and it is a piece of junk. I made sure to get one that didn't have that ridiculous "Weight Relief" thing. I don't know if the mahogany they use is crap, or if they scooped out half of the wood and told us they didn't, but the thing feels like a damn toothpick. I had a 79 Les Paul Custom, now THAT was a guitar. This pos I have now , toothpick with strings, and the sound is just not there.

Ed Canupp on November 05, 2018:

I too am a "clean" player and my pedals are seldom used at all.

I play an Agile 3200 (stock) Les Paul of recent manufacture (2017) and a rather obscure relatively unheard of MV-X Reville Les Paul (First Edition) REVV (I have a nice collection of this particular model of sub $225.00 guitars) with all new electrics and bone nut, a Gretsch G5422T (stock), a no name Tele Style "Parts-caster" I assembled from various sources, and a similarly constructed MIM Stratocaster using hand wound pickups and a seven way switching electric group from a man I deal with in the UK. I also play a bone stock Squier Stratocaster on occasion. Playability and Tone. Genres of play are Blues, Jazz, Country, Worship and Americana Ballad. Compose Jazz, Country, Worship and Bluesy Ballads. The remainder of my modest collection (all sub top tier variants) are single purpose or just goofy playtime. My amps are all serious business and all Fender, I will shell out the buckaroos for an Amp, but I think I am finished purchasing my amps too. I'm at that sweet spot we all strive for, I finally have my tone(s).

Simon Adams on November 04, 2018:

I agree playing a guitar is a very personal thing and the guitar is only one part of the relationship.

I have a 80s El Maya Les Paul and a Mex Strat and depending on my mood i decide which one I will play as they both have their own character and voices. The sound and tone are the most important thing.

I try to run as clean as possible through my Amp so that that the character doesn't get lost any guitar ca sounds good with enough distortion but the guitar gets lost

The name on the headstock has no value its the way the guitar feels and makes you feel that matters thats why I play

Ed Canupp on November 04, 2018:

Todd you are precisely on target with all of your observations. The instrument has to be playable, trustworthy, and reliable (not necessarily the same thing - but often confused as one and the same (another discussion for a later date)) and of course it needs to instill confidence and in some cases (I would think more often than not) it will bring a placebo effect.

Please forgive me for drifting off topic.

I would caution any reader to what I call the "hit or miss" syndrome with copy cat reproductions bring and while I have only limited experience with several of the aforementioned budget "copies" (several of which are no longer what I would call "budget minded" investments, most Tokia MIJ guitars are bringing (or being offered for) ) Gibson prices.

Please allow me to explain my "hit or miss syndrome" comment, in most cases I believe it to be true that there are a limited number of "factories" in Asia and Pacific Rim manufacturing guitars to start with. I also believe that is so without being able to substantiate my claim that many of these "factories" just like their Brand Name counterparts create multiple grades of guitars, multiple levels of QC, and a universe of almost limitless varieties of component combinations - possibly sometimes simply based on what they can get their hands on.

I will not point fingers at any name brand copies; however, more often than not "the bargain basement" guitar is going to need some attention, well beyond a very detailed setup.

Initially I was spending so much of my time working on my "copies" that I was beginning to actually become frustrated which led to more purchases just so I had a go - to guitar to play, when I awoke each day. When I enter my bedroom converted to studio - even today, I have a choice: work on guitars, place guitars up for adoption, or play. If I have been inspired with something I want to create musically, then the other options have to pushed aside. With that said the "misses" (not to be confused with my darling wife) have to be mentally blocked from view and I have to apply forced immersion of myself into the role of musician while leaving guitarist practice or (play alone with a song of someone else's creation) aside, as well as part time luthier, like a dirty shop apron hung on the back of my Studio door. (you may not see it - but you know it is there)

Your point well taken: Not only can a quality vintage proven brand name guitar inspire one to the point of great feats of playing and creating, it can also free oneself from the distractions of all sorts of uncertainties bouncing around inside the "other" side of our brains. I for one believe a creative person, a talented eye hand and ear coordination gifted person can not only learn to play well but also has talents possibly undiscovered as well - such as at minimum being an armature luthier.

I totally get the placebo effect, and agree.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on November 03, 2018:

Hey Ed. No doubt about it, if someone can play, they can play. In the past year Joe Satriani did a video where he was playing one of his well known things on one the cheapest Strat copies available.

Agile makes great guitars, no doubt about that.

As for myself, I always knew I could play extremely well, but it takes a very huge amount of daily work, or practice, for me to do so, and even then, I'm still missing something. I don't seem to have any real instinct for improvisation. I could master anyone's song, if I only put the time in to do so. It wouldn't ever be my song though.

Not sure if I'm making sense, and I've drifted off the topic.

I want to say that if something inspires someone, then that thing and the inspiration it brings CAN make a difference.

Think of the placebo effect. If someone feels that owning a certain instrument will bring them to another level, then it is entirely possible that it could do that - because the power of belief is certainly something.

Then there is the whole thing about how a well made guitar is much easier to play than a cheap one, and playing an easy to play guitar will certainly cause one to play better.

Ed Canupp on November 03, 2018:

Many decades ago I played a Gibson SG Special "dots" in a childhood band, as a rythym guitar player with P90's installed. Skip forward 45 years (about four years ago) when I was finding out if I was really, I mean really going to become a real guitarist and stick with the program, I bought cheap, really cheap LP style guitars. Then I bought Epiphone's, and from there progressed to Agile 3100 and 3200 ( neck through ) series of LP copies. Aside from the weight of the 3200's I have been extremely pleased with my copies. Still to this day there is not a Gibson guitar in my stable, I play on average about 4 hours a day on a combination of the Agiles, low cost Stratocasters and Teles and a hollow body Electromatic Gretsch. Every one of them low costs copies of their brand name counter parts. I guess if you can play - you can play, and it does not bring any magic to your craft from the brand name. I personally would rather have an inexpensive guitar and a set of awesome amps to get my tone(s) on.

Simon Adams 64 on July 29, 2018:

Dear Jerry

There is no dispute that a Good Gibson quality is superb and the sound only gets better as they age

My 79 El Maya has that same magical tone and well worn after 39 years of fun so is great to play [I bought it new]

I was in a Showroom last week and honestly if quality of finish is what you were looking at the Epiphones were a lot better than the Gibsons at more than twice the price

I think the point is that these guitars were as good if not better than the Gibsons of the time which in the 70s was questionable and if that is what you are looking for not just the name on the head stock I think by far its the best Bang for Buck you can get

JERRY D SEBASTIAN on July 29, 2018:

I own 2017 Gibson LP Traditional. Honestly, the quality of this non-copy is absolutely magnificent. The cherry sunburst finish is beautiful and playability upon delivery was superb. I got mine from Wildwood Guitars, online purchase. Ive been playing since I was 12, and Im now 58. I love copies, but I just wanted to refute the notion that Gibson produces poor quality.

Edie on July 22, 2018:

I owned a Cimar Les Paul Black in the seventies. Great looking and made guitar. But the sound was not good. So I desoldered the pickup cover and found that was there only one coil instead of two (humbacker).

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on April 14, 2018:

Oh I believe you completely, Ash. People who paid full price for Gibson are often kinda hostile about it all though. Well, I love Gibson, but Gibson is in financial trouble, and seems to need some new management.

I hope to own something like what you've got someday.

Ash on April 14, 2018:

I purchased an Edwards ‘59 LP ‘Burst’ replica (2011 model) here in Aus for $550 in as new condition off

My expectations weren’t real high. But what I got blew me away! Looks = 10 the finish is amazing. I stare at it in awe sometimes cos it so beautifully presented. Sound = 10 the SD pickups through my Marshall are a match made in heaven. Playability = 9 lovely to play but not quite as slick as my Jackson. The neck is as it was on a ‘59 instrument. Totally playable, but didn’t have shredding in mind.

My wife even feels threatened but this guitar - such is it’s appeal.

One of the greats despite its modest price tag.

Vince mullin on February 20, 2018:

Do yourselves a favor and look at "vintage" brand guitars. Uk product I believe. I sold them in my store and Gibson. I felt it hurt Gibson at $799 list for a standard .i only stopped because it became less convienient than some others. Ie. epiphone. These blow them totally embarrassingly out of the water. These were the nicest LP's I've seen. Pride in craftsmanship was my first thought as a luthier. Very nice.

Alain Brisebois on February 17, 2018:

I play a mid 70's Cimar Les Paul with the Super 70's Maxon pickups in it, and after a small fret job, I wouldn't change this guitar for anything. It got that beafy growl and plays like butter on its rather low action skiny neck. No fight, no strugle to play anything. The tone .... Deep and dirty .

Rob Smith on December 14, 2017:

I have an early 1970s Hohner Les Paul that sounds amazing of such quality for its time.

Andy Knight on October 28, 2017:

I own a 89 Japanese made black Burny custom, its a fantastic guitar. I still had to mod it to get the best out of it though. I also own a Chinese made 2014 Burny Goldtop which i equally love with P90's made by Sanford magnetics, mighty sounding pickups. I own two other Japanese guitars made by Yamaha and Aria, both great. The standard of quality of Japanese products is still high today, what ever they put their minds to manufacturer they take pride in and genuinely excel at. Their culture, pride and love of craftsmanship still prevalent today helps to keep high standards i believe. I do own a 1996 Fender std Strat which i love, its sadly only Gibson that haven't been able to keep up its prestigious name. The times we live in hasn't helped with the economy of the world. In the west we expect a reasonable wage and especially if we're highly skilled craftsman. Gibson it seems, haven't been able to afford them, you've got to love what you do for it to show

David Westhoff on September 10, 2017:

I bought an Orville LPS last rocks!! Killer guitar I play it more than my Gibsons, 10 lbs pickups are dark though..gonna plop in some EMG 77's

bk - Farmington Hills, Michigan on September 08, 2017:

Good article, in the last 3 years sold all my Fenders, kept my one Gibson custom shop, but other than that I play vintage Tokai guitars period now. I started building guitars for myself and others in the late 90's, small guitar shop out of home.

Would of never built one of them if I would of found Vintage Tokai's before three years ago. Never I tell everyone I know, looking for a real good guitar, at a fraction of the price....Tokai Vintage.

Everyone who has played mine is just blown away by the tone, my number one is a 85; bass player played it and said "It sounds like it has a built in reverb", holy crap.

Pat madden on July 25, 2017:

I currently have an agile 2800 LP that I am quite pleased with --good sound and performance heard nothing but good about them from other sources what's your opinion of them??

Robert Howard on June 15, 2017:

Conflicting info- first you say you don't know if there ever was a lawsuit then you say Ibanez was sued by Gibson. There never was a lawsuit. Gibson sent Ibanez a "cease and desist" letter, that was the end of it.

Pete Vardous on June 10, 2017:

My Orville by Gibson is and plays better then my Gibson Les Paul classic!!!

J Carrick on June 03, 2017:

Re-Cougar guitar.

Teisco was founded by Atswo Kaneko and Doryu Matsuda. The company also produced the popular Ibanez badge in the 1960s. Kawai Teisco made their own house brands Kawai, Teisco, Del Rey and Teisco Del Rey. Badged guitars produced by the Kawai Teisco factories include Apollo, Aquarius, Arbiter, Atlas, Audition, Avar, Ayar, Barth, Beltone, Black Jack, Cameo, Cipher, Concert, Cougar, Crown, Daimaru, Decca, Diasonic, Domino, Duke, Emperador, Heit Deluxe, Holiday, Imperial, Inter-Mark Cipher, Jedson, Kay, Kent, Kimberly, Kingsley, Kingston, Keefy, Lindell, Marquis, May Queen, Minister, Noble, Prestige, Randall, Recco, Regina, Rexina, Sakai, Satellite, Schaffer, Sekova, Silvertone, Sorrento, Sterling, Swinger, Tele Star, Top Twenty, Victoria, and Winston. Possible badged guitars made by the company include: Astrotone, Demian, G-Holiday, Lafayette, Master, Orange, Tamaki and Trump.

Probably not worth a huge amount, but I couldn't tell you for sure.

stacy on June 02, 2017:

i have a les paul copy with cougar written down the middle of headstock.any ideas of the worth or age

Simon Adams 1964 on May 30, 2017:

The aricle is very interesting as it seems to be a dark area regarding the Law Suit Guitar Era. I wondered if you could give me some background on my El Maya Les Paul fixed neck Sun Burst finish guitar which i bought new in 1979 I paid 200 ponds at the time which was a fortune then now i have no interest in the value but would love to get some history on it. It sounds great and has a great action. hoping you can answer

Kev moore on April 26, 2017:

I have two Gibson Les Paul guitars and they are fantastic instructions. I have a Japanese Burny RLC 115 one of the newer Burny's from around 2002. The Burny didn't cost as much as the Gibsons. The Burny is a much better guitar and I know the 1980 were even better. The only one Gibson went after was Ibanez the rest just jumped ship. There was also not close to good Les Paul Copies. You can find all,you want on EBay.

Tristan P on February 06, 2017:

not sure if this has been mentioned, but Lester polfuss (Les Paul) didn't create the Les Paul with Gibson. In fact, he actually did it in the Epiphone factory (at the time, epiphone was one of Gibsons biggest competitors)

Lem on December 24, 2016:

Im not sure why the Ibanez "Lawsuit" guitar have the rep they do. I had a Norlin era Custom and and a new Ibanez lawsuit Les Paul in 1975, The Ibanez was nowhere near the quality of the "bad" LP Custom. Not even close. History has been good to Ibanez, for sure. I'm all for sticking it to Gibson for their WalMARTization of guitar commerce, but if you want to do so by buying an Ibanez lawsuit, play it first. JMO.

J Carrick on October 16, 2016:

It always amazes me how anyone gets suckered by a brand name. Orville v Orville by Gibson for instance. OBG's were fitted with US pick ups and wiring harnesses, but the Japanese kits in the standard Orvilles weren't too bad! That said, most players I know mod their Instruments in some way. My 92 Orville LPS is a beast, Slash Alnicos, Jonezy wiring kit, Grover pegs, bone nut and a custom floating bridge! Guys who don't know, will say 'oh, you have a Les Paul fake then?' Then you explain what it is they're looking at, and that's followed by 'yeah but it's not a real Gibson' Then you explain, again...and that's followed by 'so, it's like an Epiphone Les Paul then?' So you try again...and again until you finally snap and just hand them the guitar and say 'just try it out, tell me what you think?' Every time I've done this, I get one or all of these responses. 'Man, this has got some weight to it, great action, WOW, this thing sounds amazing, as good if not better than a US Gibson, where can I get one and would you sell it to me? So if you've never played one and you get the opportunity to buy one, do it. You won't regret it!

Suzie from Carson City on October 05, 2016:

You are 100% correct about writing on the Top 5 or 10 all means delete the nonsense & personal chit chat! We must keep the Google gods happy....or so they say!

Bye bye!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 05, 2016:

To be perfectly honest about it, I think the best thing to do is 'top five' or 'top ten' sort of articles. So with the baseball autobiographies I was doing I realize that doesn't work. I should have been doing them like 'top five best right handed pitchers' That kind of thing.

Also, these comments may self destruct in the next couple days. LOL. Because you're supposed to moderate them to where only on topic comments are on a page - cuz Google says so. yadda yadda yadda.

I know one thing for sure, Paula, were I getting involved with DEBATING people here I'd get kicked off the site. I stay hell and gone from those topical forums and articles which seem to invite a debate or controversy. I get too angry and frustrated, and completely unproductive for getting involved in arguing politics, religion, and philosophy or economics.

Suzie from Carson City on October 05, 2016: kidding? You made pay out monthly for a year w/o being here? That simply proves your hubs are totally amazing...which I always told you anyway. I can't believe you didn't yield a lot more from your baseball hubs!....

.I haven't written in months. Stuck in a rut, writer's block.......Actually I'm quite pissed at HP. Anger chokes up my muse & she freezes, just like the Ice Queen. When I'm angry, I'm meaner than a Mama bear protecting her babies. .LOL. I don't know Wes, I try to warn people not to piss me off, so I just don't know what to say about the people that piss me off anyway, except, "May they rest in peace." I'm so glad you're back here where you need to be! I missed you. You're my only boy toy.....I swear! LOL

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 05, 2016:

Rick - I probably know less than you do. I used a few different search engines when you first posted the comment, and found next to nothing.

On one of the major LP oriented forums there was a thread with a picture, but the picture wasn't especially distinct, and revealed no clues. There was also precious little to read.

Once a body has held a guitar in his hands and played around on it a bit, he can get a very good idea how good it is, especially if he's been exposed to all the other usual suspect manufacturers.

Is it possible the History brand is a kit guitar? I don't know. I wish I did know.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 05, 2016:

Staffan - I wish that I could. I've never, so far as I know, seen a Ganson guitar in my life.

To me that's a wonderful thing. Because in this increasingly global marketplace there are makes and models without end I've never seen. What it means is there's always more guitars and guitar manufacturers for me to learn about. And eventually I'll see a Ganson for myself.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 05, 2016:

Paula, I bet I made an entire fifteen cents for the two months I wrote about baseball every day. And I'm a very po boy. So I dropped that. Watch as much of it as I can though. Love baseball.

I read Guitar Gopher sometimes because he absolutely knows what he's talking about, and his opinions about things are 100 percent genuine and informed. And obviously, I'm interested in the subject.

Only once did I ever want to write a thing about a thing - and found he had already done it. So I didn't try to outdo him or anything like that. The subject is so huge we shouldn't ever have a competition problem. He's an actual musician whereas I'm more an encyclopedic person who can play, but is essentially a recluse.

But eventually I'm going to have to branch out again into other topics. I'm not by any means making much money, but I got paid every month here for over a year without ever logging on. So I also kinda feel like I owe the website network some good work.

Suzie from Carson City on October 05, 2016:

Wes...I see you have wandered away from Baseball for a while & gone on to guitars. While I sure do love baseball and GEE-tar music, you are an absolute encyclopedia of guitars.....I admit to knowing not much at all.

You are really kicking out hubs like crazy, amigo. Good for you. looks like you've taken a very serious HP attitude. Making piles of money I'll bet.

Do you & Guitar Gopher exchange discussions?? Keep smiling and strumming! Effer

Staffan on August 30, 2016:


Nice articel. I bougth a used Ganson LP in the erley 90 in Sweden. Can you say something about Ganson?

mark snelling on August 12, 2016:

There was never ACTUALLY a lawsuit against Ibanez, merely the threat of one.

Rick on August 11, 2016:

What do you know about the "History" brand of Les Pauls?

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on August 02, 2016:

Thanks Paul - I took the stance that everyone knows already that Epiphone and Gibson have (almost) always had a business relationship; but that the rest of the article was new information.

Or at least the hope was there was information compiled here which would be useful.

Paul on August 02, 2016:

You seem to have forgotten about the Epiphone Elite/Elitist range but although not exactly a copy as Epiphone are owned by Gibson, still great guitars at half the price of a real one.

Paul Syson on July 31, 2016:

I have a 1989 Les Paul Standard I bought new for £625 from Peter Cooks in 1989, I tried every Les Paul he had in stock this was the first I tried and after trying the rest bought the first lol I also tried a Fernandez Les Paul which was good but was £390 and would have needed some Gibson or SD pickups to really get there and it came without a case and the Gibson came with a wonderful Gibson Protector case, weighing it up the Ginno seemed better value and I have not regretted my decision since even though after a few years the bridge Bill Lawrence PU died replace with and SD custom and since replaced with a Gibson PU... however my first decent guitar was an Ibanez SG from the lawsuit era that I bought in Germany for £35 back in 1971 it was a great guitar and regret to this day selling it, back then a mate had a 60's Gibson SG with P90's I tried that out and hated it and much prefered my Ibanez go figure .

Joe on June 08, 2016:

I have one that I bought 20 years ago, I love the guitar. You are right though, they are extremely hard to gather information on. I'd be curious as to what you could find.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 08, 2016:

Absolutely, Joe. I wanted to put Hohner in this article, but couldn't find enough information as easily as I would have liked.

But there is always another article to do.

Joe on June 08, 2016:

Hohner Professional made some pretty sweet Les Paul copies. The cherry burst L59 is a great guitar!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 07, 2016:

The Vega LPs are made in Japan. Some of them are set neck guitars, and those are probably higher quality than the ones with bolt on necks.

They are pretty comparable to the ones listed in the article, and it would not surprise me to find out they were made in a Tokai factory. on June 02, 2016:

I have a VEGA version. It sounds ok but the neck seems to bend or wiggle. Can you tell me anything about this guitar?

ScottM58 on June 01, 2016:

Tokai is no joke I can definitely say that.I've never played their Les Paul copy but I have played an early 80s Strat copy by them and I have to say

it blew my Squire Strat from the same period away - and I LOVED tyhat Squire.The Tokai shocked me at how much it felt like a 50s Strat.Anyone whose ever had the pleasure of playing one can tell you how substantial they feel in your hands.So well crafted and balanced and comfortable,and of course they sing like birds. I would LOVE to try a Tokai Paul.

ghgf on June 01, 2016:

good job..

Kevin on June 01, 2016:

Orville by Gibson are better than just the plain Orville

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 01, 2016:

Do you think I should change the title to something like Best Japanese Les Paul Copies? I think I might.

Dean on May 31, 2016:

What about Heritage? Probably the best non Gibson Les Pauls. Norlin technically was Gibson from '66-'86 and produced some subpar guitars, but many great ones. My '81 Les Paul Custom is easily the best Les Paul I have ever played.

Vinnie V on May 31, 2016:

D'Agostino Les Paul. One of the BEST lespauls I have ever played.