Gibson Les Paul VOS 1960 vs Edwards Les Paul LP130
In an effort to decode the mystery between high-priced Gibson Les Paul’s and their lower-priced Japanese siblings manufactured by Edwards, we are comparing a Gibson Les Paul VOS 1960 with a Edward Les Paul LP130.
We recorded four clips with each guitar, playing essentially the same riffs/changes through the exact same amp & volume settings in order to get a truly fair comparison. To that point, example 1 is a riff (same one that I used to demo the Egnater seminar head last February for Premier Guitar), example 2 is a series of distorted chords, example 3 is a brief solo/lick and example 4 features some changes played clean through the neck pickup (all other examples feature the bridge pickup). Each clip is short so you can go back and forth between them for comparison purposes.
Edwards Les Paul
Gibson VOS 1960
A few interesting points to note. First off, the Edwards was considerably lighter in weight and rang much more loudly when strummed acoustically. The body seemed to just resonate much more than the Gibson. To that point, when I bought the Gibson, it was after playing about 30 Les Pauls and this one was the lightest and most resonant of the bunch, so take that into consideration. The Gibson did feel more solid to the touch…..but dare I say it was like the “solid” you feel from late 70’s and early 80’s Les Pauls by comparison…..they’re solid, but they don’t sustain well acoustically. Point for Edwards.
The stock Burstbucker 1 & 2 pickups in the Gibson are clearly hotter than the Seymour Duncan Antiquities that are features in the Edwards, but I think that was certainly a plus for the Edwards (for my tastes), especially when the neck pickup was concerned. When plugged in, the Gibson appears to have more “ass” to the sound (i.e. low-end) which I found surprising, because I’ve found that guitar to sound much brighter and less “thick” than many other Les Pauls, and I have since been interested in finding a LP with more “ass.” I had recently played a Warren Haynes model that had the same pickups as my VOS 1960 and it just sounded so much thicker…..still kicking myself for letting that one go.
From a playability standpoint, the action and set up on the Edwards (out of the box, actually) was fantastic. The fretboard radius on the Edwards appears to be flatter than that of the Gibson. As a result, I’d dare to say that the Edwards played better with lower action than the Gibson could. At first glance, one concern about the Edwards was that the tune-o-matic bridge was set up rather high. However, after close inspection, it appears as if the neck angle on the Edwards is considerably more steep that that of the Gibson VOS. Not sure what that means….just found it interesting. You can see examples regarding this in the pictures which will follow below.
Bottom line is that I would be impressed with the Edwards if it was as $2,000 guitar…..but its a $800 – $1,200 guitar and that’s just fantastic. If anyone was hesitating to give these guitars a try, I don’t see what could possibly be stopping you now. I wonder if they make a non-reverse all mahogany Firebird!
Great review, Pete. The Edwards sounds amazing- almost like a blanket lifted off the Gibby. Wonder if they make a ’56 Goldtop version….
Wanted to mention also that the ‘edwards-2’ sample is linked to the ‘edwards-1’ mp3, easy enough to change in the URL, but you might want to fix the link.
Thanks Steve….I’ve repaired the link for Edwards-2.
What kind of rig are you using. That tone is amazing in both instances…
The rig for all clips was a Custom Audio Amplifiers OD100 Classic Plus through two Custom Audio Amplifiers 1×12’s loaded with Eminence Governors. Amp was on channel two (overdrive channel) with boost off and bright switch on. Thanks for the kind words.
Wow, very impressive… What’s that nice little tune you are playing in the 4th audio clip, did you write that? Very cool set of chords, may inspire something in me to put together something similar. I’m not a copycat or anything, it just sounded really good.
Thanks for digging that. Its a tune of mine called “Bigger Than Before” and you can hear the full version at http://www.petelacis.com/music/tds/04%20-%20Bigger%20than%20Before.mp3
I hear a lot of talk about these Edwards, Where can i purchase one? I realize that maybe there is one now and then on ebay, but i cannot seem to find any other sources for purchaseing an edwards guitar.
I’m 99% certain that these are not for sale directly in the US. The best way to purchase them is via eBay direct from Japan from reputable retailers. Most offer excellent pricing, shipping and return policies.
clip 3 of the gibson is not available.
Thanks for pointing that out. Looks like the url for clip 3 was pointing to clip 2. All have been fixed.
Hey Pete, great review. Im quite a beside myself at this time. I cant decide if I should go all out and get a Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty, (most likely a used one on eBay for about 2500 bucks). Or should I get one of the Edwards Les Paul Black Beauty model guitar, (ESP EDWARDS E-LP-92CD). Ive been playing for 10 years know, and in fact are getting ready to go to school for a guitar performance degree and I think its time for a upgrade for me since Ive taken my playing to a professional level. So what do ya think, should I save some green and get the Edwards, or should I go all out and get a Gibson.
I appreciate the efforts man.
I think the Gibson sounds a lot better in every clip. Maybe becuase I like the authentic LP tone. The Edward sounds like a guitar trying to sound like an LP, it does not sound like an LP, the difference is in the details.
Also as a producer let me suggest you’re doing something wrong to cpature the sound, it’s very muddy and boomy, it could be a small room problem, settings on the amp or mic positioning. Thanks again!
i own esp Edwards jimmy page les paul and standard and studio les paul. The is what i did not like in the esp edwards jp les paul. the tuners the pickups and the bridge studs the bridge set on were just threaded into the wood with no anchor to screw into. This is problem because they are small diameter they tend to bend out of position and the thumb wheel come lose and the string height gets out of whack. I Have since changed to tonepros bridge, i had to enlarge the stud holes to accommodate the tone pros bridge studs. this set is a must on this guitar. i changed to grover tuners and burstbucker 1&2 pckups gibson cge pots with switchcraft 3 way and input jack. The esp edwards now can hang with the best of les pauls. if you purchase a edwards les paul IMO you will need some upgrades for it to be a contender for a gibson.
I have an ESP EDWARDS E-LP-92CD with the 2 Duncan P90’s in it and it is just a ridiculous guitar! I have too many guitars lol but that Edwards rocks and it is easier on the back vs. a Gibby. I know it has been a while since you posted but what did you go for?
A question for Pete:
Is it possible that the more low end Gibson sound is caused by different pickups used on Gibson?
Great review, one problem, the Edwards is not a MIJ guitar.
Great point. Didn’t realize that. Thanks for clarifying.
While I agree the best comparison would have been if we had the same pickups in both guitars, I can tell you from playing the two acoustically they feel and sustain was different. I do think the Antiquities are more open and brighter sounding, but the Edwards was just missing some “meat” to it and that translated in the clips, IMO.
Great review, but the clips isn’t available ?
Would love to lissen to the comparison 🙂
/Mattias in Sweden
I am really interested in Edwards lp 310..
Could you make the clips available?
It keeps asking the login Id and Password.
Sorry about that – those clips should work now. Had to lock down some security and over did it.
Sorry about that, had a security issue and over-protected certain directories. Those clips should work now.
Hi – sorry about the clips. I had a security issue and had to lock down some permissions. You should be able to access them now.
ESP’s official response was that the amount of Edwards made in China and Japan depends on demand. When demand is high the Chines ESP factory has to be assisted ESP’s factories in Japan. The demand had been very high for the previous couple of years… Anyway, no one can tell the difference as far as quality of materials and workmanship is concerned. ESP has got Japanese stuff working in its Chinese plant and the plant belongs to ESP. All Edwards are quality controlled, assembled and set up in Japan. Just saying that Edward are made in China is very misleading. Some of them have nothing to do with China at all.
I did an identical comparison, and the Gibson “bich-slapped” the Edwards all the way back to Japan.
Wow i like the Edwards sounds over the Gibson, i don’t know but for what that Gibson cost i didn’t listen that “magic” factor and that is not great for a guitar with a high price, the Edwards sounds better for my ears and cost a lot less. Thanks for the review, i have a Gibson Les Paul Standard and to be honest some friends have MIJ Les Paul that cost less but some sounds better than my guitar (a lot better), i have to change my direction i think!:(.
Words without a sound sample are just words!. Any link to hear that comparison, because here the Edwards actually wins!.
Just to let you know your webpage looks a little bit different in Safari on my laptop with Linux .
Edwards is made in japan. I have never of any edwards that were made elsewhere until your comment.
yes it is! I just got an edwards and it is MIJ.
Thanks for that. I’ve been meaning to update the theme for some time. I’m usually running Safari on a mac so I have no idea how Linux would perceive it. I’ll need to look into some emulators.