Epiphone Elitist Les Paul

Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard Plus review
Faded Cherry
Seymour Duncan SH-5 Custom & Jazz Pickups

Epiphone Elitist Les PaulAs soon as i got this guitar, i thought I was playing a US-made Gibson. Awesome woods, Grover tuners and the stock pickup’s weren’t bad either. When I dropped in the Seymour Duncan pickups, this guitar sounds like it’s Gibson counter parts that cost hundreds more. I like it so much, I bought another in ebony.

The mahogany body on the Elitist models is very similar in weight to a Gibson Les Paul which is one of the biggest factors in it’s tone. The polyurethane finish is tinted, but you can still see the grain through the finish and see the wood is a prime species. The maple top is equally as impressive as the grain shows a slight flame and the faded cherry finish was applied very well. Even the binding was done with the same level of attention of a much more expensive guitar.

It’s unfortunate that Epiphone will be discontinuing the Japanese built Elite series for 2009 as these were some of the highest quality guitars they have produced since I’ve been playing. Unfortunately, the market isn’t there for an Epiphone in the $900+ price range that is dominated by Fender and ESP, that recently has seen Gibson introducing similar models as competition.

– by Aaron Chabak 11/22/2009

July 31st, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I tried one at local music store and loved it! Are these all made in USA? Can you tell the place of mfg and year by the s/n?I am about to buy epiphone elitist LP but as per per pics in classifieds has sticker or label on back of the headstock Thanks Terry

August 1st, 2009 at 5:02 pm

All of the Elitist series guitars were built in Japan from 2003 until early 2008 to the best of my knowledge. All of the electronics (pickups, pots and switches) were US parts, the same as used by Gibson USA in their models but under different part numbers. They all feature an Elitist logo on the back of the headstock near the neck joint and the unique headstock shape sets them apart from the far inferior standard Epiphone models. The serial numbers should also be stamped into the wood, not painted or stuck on. Example here. I’ve yet to find a tool that allows someone to look up the manufacture date of an Epiphone Elitist model so please let me know if you uncover one.

August 1st, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Thanks Buddy for all the info. It is very much appreciated.I just purchased Epiphone Elitist today 750 CAD. Yes it has the stamped logo as in the pic your provided.The s/n is F400601 .It is in beautiful condition > I plan to keep it all stock and free from any mods if possible.I have adjusted the action and now just need to adjust the p/u. The neck p/u is really too low and the bridge p/u is very high which makes for a huge gap in volume difference between the rythm & treble selector switch.

December 2nd, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Damn! I been playing telecasters but sometimes i sneak in guitar center and try out the epi les pauls. sometimes i get to try a gibson. i never liked the necks on the epiphones and they were shit compared with the few gibsons i tried. but then i got to try an elitist. this is like playing the real thing! i bought one and im soooo cool with it. if you get a chance to try one then do.

Rocky Mtn Rocker
January 14th, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I’ll tell what I have owned numerous gibsons in my 30 yrs of playing. Unfortunately there quality is so hit and miss these days. I found the elite les paul by chance and I am tickled.this guitar plays so well I am trying to find more.Try to find more that is the quest for those that own them do not part from them easily.Japanese workmanship is phenomenal. Brought it into my local guitar guy they were mesmerized by the quality I even pulled a gibson off the wall for a comparison AAAAA+

February 9th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The only difference between an epiphone LP elitist/standard and a Gibson LP is the build quality. If you use your epiphone intensively for 1 year you will notice that you will need to change tuners cos it just wouldnt stay in tune. And also the value of an Epiphone LP depreciates in 6 months from $600 to $250-$300 while a gibson keeps its value almost the same (depreciates to about $ 1700…) thats all. Gibson is obviously made from better materials, and sometimes even if its in made in america it can come out of the factory faulty or cracked or etc.. its your luck really. depends on how dense the wood is ! Don’t order online… walkin to the nearest music shop that sells Gibsons and try ’em out .

August 5th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Looking for an Les Paul Epiphone Elitist guitar. Anyone have any ideas. Hard to find.

Paul Allison
August 27th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I have seen a used Elitist at a music store in Tucker Georgia. It plays amazingly! They want big bucks for it but it is a monster.

January 12th, 2011 at 10:49 am

I own an Elite L-00, and have just purchased a 2005 Elitist Les paul in faded cherryburst. These are great guitars, I’ve been playing for 40 years and owned many top models, so I say this with experience. They are getting hard to find now & collectors are scooping them up. Prices are now rising as the economy improves.

February 9th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I’ve owned one for a few years. I put in Burst Buckers and green Kluson tuners…for me it’s perfect. I love it. It also is a ‘lemon drop’ color that I love.

Elitist collector
October 23rd, 2011 at 2:45 pm

@ dan…You must not be familiar with “Elite/Elitists” Les Pauls. The price does not depreciate on them and never has. Matter of fact the price keeps going up on them. Gibsons are not made from better materials. Do some research.

November 18th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I just got a brand new, unsold 2005 Epi Elitist Les Paul Plus in Vintage Sunburst! It was found and purchased at the Gibson Factory Showcase store. The flamed top is absolutely remarkable. The manager of the showroom stated it is possibly and likely the last unsold EELP in the country. Either way, it is a remarkable instrument. It also came with the original Epi Elitist hardshell case and other goodies. And a GREAT price was negotiated for it. It ROCKS!

Paul in Calgary
December 4th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I came across this Elitist s/n information. Check this link and scroll almost to the bottom. Hope this helps.

October 16th, 2012 at 8:26 am

Just swapped my Chinese Les Paul Custom 2007 + cash for a 2002 Elite Custom Wine Red in mint condition in fact I don,t think its ever been played what a guitar i now play this one more than my Gibson standard enough said….

April 16th, 2013 at 9:56 am

Just a follow up relating to my purchase of a 2002 Elite Les Paul Custom (wine red) last year what a great guitar no wonder Gibson stopped production in 2008, who would pay all that money for a Gibson when you can get a Elite for a 3rd of the price with the same sound and quality, in fact I would say the Elites are better guitars. If you see one of these instruments on e-bay or in store go for it you won,t be disappointed….

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