In the Les Paul domain, only a Gibson matters. Even if a particular model succeeded in outdoing the Gibson in every way, the Gibson will hold true to value & appeal. The Edwards brand name is ESP’s sister label which deals domestically (Japan market). If any of these instruments make their way out of Japan, it means that favoured dealers are bringing these in on private terms. As such, we don’t see any advertisements or outright promos pertaining to the Edwards products. Everything is done exclusively; you either commit your following to the brand name’s limited cyber presence or you are the type who embrace Gibson dearly & its sister company, Epiphone.
Construction/ fit/ finish
The E-LPC here is obviously a Les Paul Custom copy. I dare say it’s a copy because Edwards made no attempts to differentiate its physical attributes from the Gibson version less that brand name & the absence of a split diamond inlay at the headstock. Everything else screams Les Paul Custom from one end of the instrument to the other. As the QC is overseen by the ESP hands, production standards are above average. In fact, it’s so good, being in this price range, it seems unreal. A couple of demerits here, firstly, it’s that excessive lacquer build up at the neck-body joint, particularly obvious on the bass side of the strings. Secondly, the glue for the upper fret inlays are also excessive. In fact, you would see more glue than inlay here but the pearloid finish masks things up fairly well. It would take an extended observation to notice this imperfection & on that note, both issues are really forgettable flaws. You wouldn’t notice them unless you get into sleuth mode in the name of fine observations. Top marks here, definitely.
My first impression of this guitar has to be its weight – a hefty 3.8kg. If you are a Les Paul purist & believe in the magical weight category, this will have some mojo going. The guitar sounds jangly unplugged without being excessively bright. The neck width is a good 2mm wider (at the nut) than the Gibson spec. Also, the rear carve is more of a Fender C-type albeit a lot thicker but not as thick as the Japanese offset Telecaster. So it’s fair warning to you if you think you can get away with a Custom-esque feel for way less money – not quite. It’s good to know the fretboard here is ebony, in line with what Gibson started with historically. As such, the feel is simply smooth with a deserving hardneess without being synthetic.
Tone-wise, I think I expected a little too much from the in-house EH-1G humbuckers. These sound very rounded & lacking definition in some settings, especially under extreme distortion. In clean mode, things remain fat & creamy. That neck pickup can definitely pull off some good jazz tones & I like it a lot more than the bridge counterpart. On hindsight, the humbuckers are very 57-ish, vintage in spirit with a good potential for hard rock & a very rounded top end. I’m still trying to get used to that top hat type control knobs, especially their looks from a playing angle. However, the in house ESP pots work well & are not scratchy.
Is the Edwards E-LPC the definite alternative to a Les Paul Custom? My frank & direct answer – no. Is it then a worthy investment when it comes to emulating the Les Paul Custom? Again, my frank & direct answer – heck, yes! Do not commit yourself to believe that it’s a Les Paul Custom by another name just by how close (very close indeed!) it looks like to the actual guitar. In the true spirit of the Les Paul Custom, the neck carve could have been more accurate. The tone on offer here is also a love / hate affair & it wouldn’t win over fans of modern high gain tones. The E-LPC shows the world that Edwards has good standards in production & listing for good money but people tend to take issue with the fact that they are downright copy cats. Be informed that copy models are not the only thing Edwards does.
Overall rating: 85%
Availability: Davis GMC
- impressive Japanese QC
- smooth tuners/ pots
- quality ebony fretboard
- price + bag included
- vintage type pickups, limited dynamics