LP-ish: Top 10 Single Cutaway Alternatives Even Purists Should Consider

When it comes to 24 ¾" scale, singlecut goodness, "Les" isn’t the only name in the game. From lawsuit-inciting '70s models from Japan to modern boutique builds, there are LP-style guitars of all styles and budgets to consider. Here’s a look a some singlecut solidbodies that are worth wrapping your paws around.

10. Yamaha Weddington

Yamaha Weddington Custom

Designed by Rich Lasner of Ibanez RG fame, the Yamaha Weddington blends traditional LP specs – scale length, body woods and pickup configuration – with just a wee bit of Weddington flare. For starters, while it sports two custom-wound DiMarzio pickups, it has a strat-style 5-way switch and a coil tap instead of traditional 3-way switching. Available in three different trims (when you can find them), there are the Special, with bare-bones mahogany body and adjustable wrap-tail bridge, the Classic, with the addition of tune-o-matic bridge, 3-piece neck and a maple top, and the Custom, with the extra fancy tops and 5-piece neck. All three have a brilliant, sculpted all-access neck joint.

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9. Tom Anderson Bulldog

2013 Tom Anderson Bulldog

Mahogany body? Check. Carved maple top? Check. 24 ¾" scale? Check. Set neck? Hold the phone. Here's where the Bulldog takes a turn for the Tom – the neck is a traditional Anderson bolt-on. LP purists, feel free to bail. For you folks that are still reading, don’t let the bolt-on neck fool you. This guitar still sustains with the best of them, with the added benefit of a little bolt-on 'spank' you’d be hard pressed to pull from a Paul. Not to mention it’s an Anderson, so you know that every detail is considered and can be spec'ed to taste. Bulldog Locker with Floyd Rose, anyone?

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8. Orville Les Pauls

1989-92 Orville By Gibson Les Paul LPS 57C

To help combat the up-and-coming Japanese copies that were a threat to market share, Gibson started Orville in the late '80s to help spread genuine Les Paul love overseas, as well as exporting a few back home to the US. While not technically considered knockoffs since Gibson managed production, Orville and "Orville by Gibson" guitars are often talked about and celebrated among their other MIJ counterparts: Burny, Tokai, Greco and lawsuit-era Ibanez. And for good reason. They’re incredibly well-built Les Pauls, with many of the specs you’d expect from a Gibson, and can often be had for considerably less than a USA model. Orville by Gibson models tend to fetch a slightly higher premium than regular Orvilles due to more vintage-correct specs and higher-end hardware.

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7. Agile AL2000

2016 Agile AL-2500

Lest it feel like we’re leaving out the low-end, here we’ll take a look at a guitar that can be had for under $500 brand spanking new – the Agile AL2000. These Korean-made LP-inspired guitars are an axe to be reckoned with. All the specs you know and love, great looks, solidly built and (the best part) cheap as heck. An absolute no-brainer for beginners looking to up their game or even for seasoned players looking to mod. Many folks report needing to tweak the factory setup, but that’s to be expected in this price range.

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6. ESP LTD EC1000

ESP LTD EC-1000 EverTune

While less value-oriented than its Korean-made singlecut brothers, the ESP LTD EC1000 stands out as a great playing, sweet sounding option. First, they come stock with quality TonePros bridge hardware, brand-name pickups and locking tuners. Many of the upgrades folks would typically make are already done. Second, they look great, with a number of finishes to choose from and flashy appointments. One of the newer additions to the lineup – the EC1000T CTM DMZ – takes a step toward the more traditional, with 22 frets instead of 24, brilliant DiMarzio 36th Anniversary PAF pickups, multi-ply binding and classic black or white finishes.

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5. Paul Reed Smith Singlecut

PRS S2 Singlecut Standard

When we say "singlecut," chances are lots of people think of PRS first. And with good reason. The Maryland firm makes a range of single-cutaway counterparts to their doublecut models including the SC-245, McCarty Singlecut, Mark Tremonti, and the original plain Singlecut model. The original actually spurred the legal reprimand of Gibson in the mid-2000s, prompting PRS to discontinue the body shape for a couple years. PRS Singlecut guitars, however, are now produced in both the Maryland and Korean factories, and like other Paul Reed Smith guitars, are available with a wide range of custom and high-end appointments such as PRS' signature 10 Tops.

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4. Guild Bluesbird

Guild Bluesbird Antique Burst

Whether you’re scoping an earlier Westerly-built Guild or a later Fender-owned model, there’s no denying the elegant charm of the Bluesbird. It boast familiar LP aesthetics and specs, yet with a slightly bigger body – a fact you’ll notice right away if you try to cram it in an aftermarket LP case. The bigger size, combined with a strategically chambered mahogany body, adds a great ‘woody’ flavor to the tone and makes for a guitar that's easy on the back and shoulders.

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3. Heritage H-150/H-140/H-157

Heritage H-150 Old Style

Heritage Guitars of Kalamazoo, MI have an interesting history. The firm was founded in the wake of Gibson's relocation to Nashville by a group of former Gibson employees operating out of a former Gibson-owned building. As such, most of Heritage's guitars follow a familiar format with a number of customizable solid, semi-hollow and hollowbody models. The H-140, H-150 and H-157 carry the mantle of rock-ready single cutaway and can usually be had for a price-point similar to their Nashville-made cousins.

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2. Collings City Limits

Collings CL City Limits

A decidedly more 'refined' LP-style instrument, the Collings City Limits is yet another testament to the craftsmanship of Bill Collings and his team in Austin. Every detail is meticulously executed, from the mortise and tenon neck joint to the headstock overlay and beyond. The Lollar Imperial humbuckers aren’t too shabby either, imparting an articulate, open and airy tone. With two solidbody models available, the CL and CL Deluxe, you can choose your level of tasteful bling and rest assured that either one will sing.

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1. Lawsuit Era Made in Japan (Ibanez, Greco, Burny, Electra etc)

1978 Greco Les Paul Standard

We'd be remiss writing an article about alternative Les Pauls without mentioning the infamous Japanese-made LPs of the mid-to-late '70s. These guitars were made under a number of different brand names and influential enough on the American market that it actually triggered a series of lawsuits on the part of Norlin (Gibson's then parent company) due to copyright infringement. There are many different types of lawsuit era LPs out there, but common brands include Ibanez, Greco, Burny, Aria, Electra, Univox, Hondo and plenty of others. Often Ibanez, Greco and Burny are considered the best of the lot, though there are great examples from other makes as well. Regardless of the brand, a key differentiating factor is whether the guitar is set-neck or bolt-on, set-neck examples being far more well-regarded by players.


Other Worthy Single Cuts

  • Huber Orca
  • Knaggs Kenai and Choptank
  • Hagstrom Swede
  • Vox SSC
  • Tokai Love Rock
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