Epiphone Lee Malia Les Paul Custom
This is definitely an oddball Les Paul, but the fancy dress actually works...
...and I'm talking about the Epiphone Lee Malia Les Paul Custom.
Fortunately, this Paul is not just an appearance package. It does have the '59 neck profile, the 84T-LM humbucker in the rear and what's known as a "P-94" single-coil in the front position. The pickups are USA-made, by the way.
Body is walnut with gloss coating, hardware is gold, and the inlay work is in an artisan floral style pattern.
Now for those of you out there that know your Gibson history, this Les Paul is inspired by the Gibson Les Paul Artisan model from the 1970s. There were 2-pickup and 3-pickup versions of it. The Epiphone is kind of a mix between the two models.
The original Gibson Artisan model from the '70s, truth be told, is fugly as hell. It just looks bad. The cut of wood they used for the body back then for the walnut and tobacco finishes had awful grain lines and the headstock treatment just didn't work. Oh, and the triple humbuckers they used were all-gold. Very tacky looking. While the tuxedo look of the Black Beauty looked right (Epiphone makes that too!), the Artisan that Gibson made definitely did not.
This Epiphone Artisan Les Paul however actually looks nice. The "blackback" pickups suit the body very well, the ornate inlay treatment is done much better this time around, the grain in the body looks correct, and this guitar really gets the look right.
In addition, the curvier shape of the Epiphone headstock suits the Artisan so much better than the squared-off Gibson headstock ever did.
This special Paul does truly look like a special edition that's worth flipping over a few extra bucks for. This is what the original Artisan Les Paul should have been in the first place.