Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Plus Bullseye
Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Plus Bullseye

Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Plus Bullseye, LP-Shaped Guitar from Epiphone in the Les Paul series.

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King Loudness 08/31/2011

Epiphone Zakk Wylde Les Paul Custom Plus Bullseye : King Loudness's user review

« For Zakk Wylde fans »

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The Epiphone Les Paul Zakk Wylde edition is meant to be a lower priced alternative to his famed Gibson signature model that sells for several thousand dollars new. It has a lot of the same (or very similar) appointments to his Gibson Custom Shop model. The most notable thing about it is its iconic bullseye white and black finish. This is something that Zakk popularized and it's fairly unique to his brand. Other than the cosmetics, it's basically your standard Les Paul Custom '70s reissue. It has a mahogany body, a maple neck with rosewood fretboard and 22 frets, Grover tuners, tune-o-matic bridge, EMG HZ pickups and a typical Les Paul layout as far as the controls go. They're made in one of Epi's various overseas factories depending on what year you have.


The guitar is really no more or less ergonomic than a standard Les Paul guitar. It's medium to heavy weight and somewhat clunky neck heel may be a turn off for some players who are used to superstrat type guitars. It's got reasonable upper fret access for a Les Paul, but it's still nowhere near the left of something like an Ibanez or Jackson in that department.

Getting a good sound out of this guitar isn't difficult if you play metal styles. The EMG pickups aren't very versatile and the mahogany/maple wood combo really doesn't work for more vintage textures, so if you're doing the high gain thing like Zakk does, you're set. The pickups sound like a reasonable facsimile of EMGs, but they're a tad muddier and more compressed, which is a bit of a drag.


This guitar unfortunately is a bit of a one trick pony as far as its sounds go. The clean and low gain tones are not really a strong point of this guitar. The pickups are too compressed and high output to really allow the subtle dynamics that make a good clean tone to come through on any level. The high gain tones delivered are decent for heavy metal - they're fairly tight and aggressive and work well for palm muted riffs, pinch harmonics or fast alternate picked lead passages. The pickups aren't quite as good sounding as real EMGs or Seymour Duncan Blackouts, but they do a decent enough job I suppose. It's not really versatile, but for the high octane metal thing it does a decent job.


All in all I think the Epi Zakk Wylde is a decent guitar for a younger player or someone looking for a decent Les Paul to play metal on for not a lot of money. If you aren't a fan of the bullseye white and black scheme Zakk has done a few other designs over the years with varying cosmetics. These run about $800 new which isn't too bad a deal for this guitar, but really it's only worth it if you're playing metal or you're a diehard ZW fan.