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Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional

Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional

There really is a Gibson Les Paul model for everyone. As there are plenty of different combinations of personal preferences however, this means there are a lot of Les Paul models. Let’s take a look at one of the most difficult choices as we face off the Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional.

LP Standard - Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional

The Gibson Les Paul Standard is perhaps the most iconic of all the Les Paul models. Once the Les Paul made it to 1958, it was pretty much fully evolved. The Les Paul started with the trapeze tailpiece, P-90 pickups and Goldtop finish in 1952, to the wraptail in 1954, the Tune-o-matic bridge and stopbar tailpiece in 1956, and added the humbucking pickups in 1957.

It was 1958 that added the famous sunburst finish, and that basic design has been the Les Paul Standard ever since. However, there have been tweaks over the years. And some may, or may not, be to your fancy. The ’50s Les Pauls had a pretty chunky neck profile, but the ’60s necks were considerably slimmer; faster to play about perhaps, but some players preferred something they could really grab a hold of.

Tuners have changed between Kluson Tulip and Grover kidney beans and there have been numerous other changes over the years: nickel hardware, chrome hardware, locking output jacks, weight-relieving holes and chambering, speed knobs, top hat knobs, pickup specs… You name it.

Now, the current Gibson Les Paul Standard has reverted to perhaps more of a historic specification than the Standards of 5 or 10 years ago, but what if you want something a bit more like the originals, but don’t have the budget for a Gibson Custom Shop reissue?

Enter the Gibson Les Paul Traditional.

LP Traditional - Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional

With its ’50s profile neck, Tulip-style tuners, and ’57 classic humbuckers, the Gibson Les Paul Traditional offers a great option for those looking for a guitar that gets you that bit closer to the original late ’50s Les Pauls.

So, what are the similarities and differences between these two great guitars? Let’s look at the Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional!

Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Traditional

The first thing you may notice is the difference in price. Let’s be honest, it’s £200. That may make the decision for a lot of people, it’s certainly enough of a difference to make you think.

However, before you let cost make the decision for you, and I speak from repeated experience here, if you’re buying a Les Paul, you want the one you want. If you take home the one you don’t want, then there’s that chance you’ll just always want the one you wanted, not the one you have.

That said, sometimes after playing a few, you just find one that feels great, sounds great and feels as though it has chosen you, that’s the guitar you want. Guitar buying can be a very subjective process…

But back to the matter in hand. Let’s take a look at the main differences between these two guitars:

Les Paul Standard

Les Paul Traditional

Neck Profile

’60s Asymmetrical’50s Rounded


Burstbucker Pro Humbuckers’57 Classic and Classic Plus Humbuckers


AA Flame Maple
(AAA on Standard Plus)
AA Flame Maple


Grover Kidney ButtonTonePro’s Vintage-style


2x Volume, 2x Tone, Pickup Selector
Push/Pull knobs for coil splitting/phase
2x Volume, 2x Tone, Pickup Selector

Weight Relief

Modern-style9 weight-relief holes

As you can see from the table, the differences are limited to just a few details, but they might turn out to be quite big details for you.

The feel of the neck might be a major one, the pickups and cosmetic differences of the pickups may be another, but the real biggie is probably the electronics.

If you want access to a wide range of sounds from the one guitar, the Les Paul Standard is for you. With the coil-splitting options for those single-coil tones, and the ability to get those out-of-phase sounds with the pull of a tone knob, this guitar is perfect for when you need to get multiple tones from the one guitar.

Gibson Les Paul Standard vs Les Paul Standard Plus

There is another option of course… If you just adore the flame maple top aesthetic, then perhaps the Gibson Les Paul Standard Plus is for you.

With an  AAA flame maple top compared to an AA grade on the regular Standard, you do get more of that glorious flame that makes so many of the classic Les Paul guitars so put-on-front-of-guitar-book-able.

With the same features as the Standard, the Standard Plus gives you all the tone-switching options you need, but makes the package that little bit more pretty to look at.

Standard vs Traditional – making the choice

Both the Gibson Les Paul Standard and the Les Paul Traditional will offer you an incredible guitar experience, whether its your first Gibson or your tenth, or even if it’s simply your first guitar.

These instruments offer all the rock, blues and jazz heritage you could want, both look great and sound great. The additional pickup options on the Standard might completely rule out the Traditional for you, or the chunky neck of the Traditional might rule out the Standard.

Either way, try them both and see which one chooses you.

Gibson Les Paul - online finance at Red Dog Music

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About The Author

Red Dog Music

Dawsons Music is delighted to announce that the Red Dog Music brand is now part of the Dawsons family. This is an exciting opportunity to bring both communities together and create a stronger, wider network of people passionate about music gear. We both share a common heritage to support musicians throughout the UK and Dawsons want to support Red Dog Music customers in their continued musical journey.

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