Is the Epiphone Les Paul capable of a rich, deep, clean sound similar to Carlos Santana’s tone on Samba Pa Ti?


Yes. Like its Gibson namesake, the Epiphone version of the Les Paul is known for its warm, rich tone and it sounds great clean or with just a touch of overdrive. In other words, the types of sounds Santana is known for. A guitar player on a budget can get that same kind of smooth, buttery tone with something like an Epiphone Les Paul PlusTop PRO. However, I will add a few cautions here.

First, there are many guitars we could say this about. Since the early ‘80s, Santana has played PRS guitars, and something like a PRS SE Custom 22 could get the job done as well. Really, anything with a mahogany body and neck and moderate-output humbuckers will get you in the neighborhood of Santana sound. Use the neck pickup, and experiment with rolling back the tone control.

Second, it’s a fool’s errand to chase legendary tone on a budget, and not much easier with limitless cash at your disposal. Back when Santana recorded Abraxas he was playing Gibson guitars, sometimes with P-90 pickups and sometimes not. So, what guitar did he use on Samba Pa Ti? Does it really matter?

It’s the same with any guitar hero. We could argue and speculate endlessly about the gear they used on a certain song or album, and then spend a huge amount of time and money trying to replicate it ourselves. This is the path to madness. For the sake of discussion, it is entertaining. But, for the sake of putting together a guitar setup that sounds great and doesn’t kill your budget, it isn’t really helpful.

I think it is far more important to understand the characteristics of the sound you want and get your tone “in the neighborhood.” In this case, an Epiphone can certainly help you with that.

Updated on March 23, 2018

Original Article:

Epiphone Les Paul Standard vs Studio vs Custom Guitar Review
By Guitar Gopher