ESP LTD Eclipse EC-256FM is the best Les Paul for the money
This guitar is the best bang for the buck when you want a Les Paul style axe that really delivers.
Before starting, the only guitar that actually beats this in value is also from LTD, the EC-10 model. So if absolute rock-bottom price is your main concern, see that guitar first.
The EC-256FM from LTD is without question the best Les Paul style guitar for the money (at least at the time I write this.)
It has the 24.75" scale length that Les Paul players are familiar with. It also has set-neck construction, binding everywhere, Tune-O-Matic style bridge and tailpiece, coil-tap push/pull tone control and chrome hardware.
As for the price, it beats the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top PRO (the closest competitor in specifications) by being over $100 less. And as far as any guitar at or below the LTD's price that offers the same features, I couldn't find one.
Summed up, the EC-256FM has everything LP players want. Looks-wise, it has the flame top, the binding, the fancy inlays and all the chrome. Performance-wise, it has the proper scale length, proper bridge, fast neck and enhanced electronics.
The only thing the EC-256FM doesn't have is a high price tag. And again, if you want cheap, just get the EC-10 model. But for what the 256 has, it's truly a needs-nothing guitar. Just plug in and go.