Gibson Les Paul Studio

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Gibson Les Paul Studio
Gibson Les Paul Studio c.jpg
Manufacturer Gibson USA
Period 1983 — present
Body type Solid (chambered for weight relief), Single or Double Cut
Neck joint Set
Scale 24.75"
Body Mahogany, Maple Top
Neck Mahogany, Maple on some select models
Fretboard Ebony, Rosewood, Baked Maple, Obeche, Granadillo (Platymiscium yucatanum)[disambiguation needed]
Bridge Tune-o-matic
Pickup(s) Dual humbuckers, mini-humbuckers or P-90 single coils
Colors available
Wine Red, Ebony, Platinum, Classic White, Fire Burst, Alpine White

The Gibson Les Paul Studio is an electric guitar made by the Gibson Guitar Corporation; it is a stripped-down version of the traditional model. The Studio was first released in 1983 and is still in production as of 2014.

Features and specifications[edit]

The Les Paul Studio was designed to attract guitar players who desired the full Les Paul performance, but without the cosmetic frills of the traditional model. This allowed the guitar to be produced and sold at a reduced price. At the time (the early 1980s), the cheapest Les Paul model sold for around $1000, and a variety of means were employed to make a more affordable model, by cutting such cosmetic features such as binding on the body and neck as well as ornate inlays. Initially made of alder, Gibson moved back to the usual maple/mahogany combination after the alder body proved to be prone to lacquer problems. A thinner body (by one-eight of an inch) compared to the original Les Paul saved weight and production costs.[1]


The Les Paul Studio features the same electronics as the Custom model. This includes two pickups (one at the bridge position and another at the neck), a volume control unit for each pickup, a tone control unit for each pickup, and a three-way selector switch. A standard 1/4-inch guitar cable jack is located at the bottom rim of the instrument.

The pickups currently installed in this model are the Gibson 490R Alnico magnet humbucker in the neck position and the Gibson 498T Alnico magnet humbucker in the bridge position. The Studio Lite version of the Les Paul was equipped with ceramic magnet humbuckers (496R/500T).

From 2009 to 2012, the "faded" model Studios (these had a slightly faded stain finish, with a thinner "satin" nitrocellulose finish) had BurstBucker Pro pickups installed, similar to the Les Paul Standard.

Models and variations[edit]

1982-1985 models[edit]

All models made from 1982 until 1984, with the exception of Studio Custom and Studio Standard, featured bodies with a carved alder top and set maple necks.

Vintage Mahogany/Studio Faded/LPJ[edit]

2008 Gibson Les Paul Studio Vintage Mahogany, worn brown finish

The Vintage Mahogany model has a carved mahogany body, top and neck, a rosewood fretboard and Alnico V BurstBucker Pro humbucker pickups, the same humbuckers used in the Les Paul Standard model. The model is available in worn brown and worn cherry finishes, featuring a "satin" nitrocellulose finish. It has garnered a 9.5 rating out of 10 at and a 9.4 rating out of 10 at Gibson's website product page.

In 2009, the Vintage Mahogany was renamed the Les Paul Studio Faded. These models (adding worn blue and worn ebony as color choices, as well as "satin" fireburst and yellow) featured the carved maple top of other Les Paul models.

For the 2013 model year, the Studio Faded was replaced with the "LPJ" model. These models feature a maple neck as opposed to mahogany, rosewood fretboard, and 490R/498T pickups, with black covers and no height adjustment screws. The LPJ model was continued for the 2014 model year, with open coil "'61 Zebra" humbuckers and an optional "Min-ETune" system (known as an "LPM" model). For 2015, the LPM (as all 2015 models incorporate the automatic tuning system, the "LPJ" moniker has been dropped) model is the least expensive full-size, carved-top Les Paul model offered by Gibson, and the "satin" finish of earlier years has been replaced by a "full gloss" finish.


During 2000-2002, Gibson released a series of six guitars dubbed "Gothic" models. Guitars other than the Les Paul Studio in this series were the Gibson SG, Flying V, X-plorer and Nikki Sixx Blackbird Bass.


The "Voodoo" series followed which included an SG as well as Les Paul Studio. The series was discontinued in 2005.

SmartWood series[edit]

The SmartWood series consists chronologically of three models; the Exotic, the Studio and the Swamp Ash models. The SmartWood series is certified environmentally "responsible" by the Rainforest Alliance via their SmartWood program. Gibson is independently audited on an annual basis by the Rainforest Alliance to ensure that only FSC-certified wood is used in the construction of Gibson's SmartWood line of instruments.[citation needed]

SmartWood Exotic[edit]

The SmartWood Exotic line (1996-2002), which was composed of six models. The SmartWood line featured tops made from different woods: Curupay has a deep chocolate-walnut richness; Peroba recalls the orangey hue of the old pine ceiling beam; Banara has a golden, banana-like glow; Ambay Guasu boasts the even lightness of maple; Taperyva Guasu is reminiscent of a sun-bleached rosewood, and Chancharana is a deep, warm-brown russet. The fretboards are all made from "Curupay" harvested from forests certified in accordance with the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The mahogany used in the construction of this model is from similarly certified forests. The SmartWood Exotic had a thinner, belly contoured, body than the Studio (somewat similar to that of the Les Paul Custom Lite), and had "smart wood" written on the truss rod cover.[2]

Studio SmartWood[edit]

The Studio SmartWood (LPEXMUGH1) was constructed from wood certified by the Rainforest Alliance. While the back and the neck are made from the usual mahogany, the carved top is made from Muiricatiara, along with a Preciosa rosewood fingerboard.[3] It was in production from December 2002 until 2008 and had a standard body, no pick-guard, gold hardware, dot-type fret markers, mother of pearl Gibson headstock logo, and a unique metallic green-leaf within the truss rod cover.[4]

Studio Swamp Ash[edit]

Gibson Les Paul Studio Swamp Ash
2002 sa lespaul.png
Manufacturer Gibson USA
Period 2003 — 2011
Body type Solid
Neck joint Set
Body Swamp Ash
Neck Mahogany
Fretboard Ebony or Rosewood
Bridge Tune-o-matic
Pickup(s) Dual Humbucking
Colors available
Natural Satin

The Studio Swamp Ash (LPSANSCH1) was manufactured between 2003 and 2011.[5] Built in Nashville, Tennessee, its body is made of a carved swamp ash top over a multi-piece swamp ash back. The neck is made from mahogany and is "set" into the body. The fretboard may be either ebony or rosewood, depending on production year. It has a standard body, no pick-guard, chrome plated hardware, and dot-type fret markers, a silkscreen Gibson headstock logo and the usual studio truss rod cover.[6]

Gem Series[edit]

1996 Gibson Les Paul Studio Limited Edition Gem Series Topaz

The Gem Series of 1996 had P-90 pickups and special finishes in "gemstone" colors: Amethyst, Sapphire, Topaz, Emerald, and Ruby. The series was discontinued in 1998.

Gibson produced a small number of Les Paul Studio guitars using the leftover paint from the Gem Series. These are rare and highly sought after. However, these are not to be considered original Gems, as they did not include the special P-90 pickups.

Studio Custom[edit]

The Studio Custom was produced in 1984-1985. It was introduced before the design of the Studio was finalized, and mostly had the features of a Standard with a variety of features mixed in from other models. It had a mahogany neck and mahogany body with a maple top, single-ply binding around the neck and three-ply binding around the body, and gold hardware with black pickup rings and pick guard. The 1984 models had two-piece tops, while 1985 models had three-piece tops. The fingerboard was made from rosewood on some models, ebony on others, and had mother of pearl dots for inlays, instead of the usual trapezoids. The neck profile was slim-tapered, like a Standard, and the frets were low, like a "Fretless Wonder" Custom. According to limited information from guitar forums, some of these had the sought-after Tim Shaw pickups.

Studio Standard[edit]

The Studio Standard was produced in 1983[7]-1986 and was very similar to the Studio Custom, including the "dot" inlays, but had a single-ply binding around the body and neck, chrome hardware, and white pickup rings and pick guard. It was also available in different colors, such as Cherry Sunburst and Ferrari Red.

Studio Lite[edit]

In the mid 1990s Gibson produced the Studio Lite and Studio Lite M-III. The Lite models were produced with balsa wood (referred to as "chromyte" in advertisements) portions of the body to reduce the guitar's weight, responding to some players' complaints about the heaviness of a standard Les Paul after several hours of playing. The Studio Lite M-III was produced with a new pickup configuration: two humbuckers with a single coil in the middle. The pickup selector switch gave five single-coil options in the "up" position, and four humbucker combinations in the "down" position, plus an "off" position. The name M-III refers to the Gibson M-III model, which was a Superstrat-style guitar, for which these electronics were originally developed.[citation needed]