Welcome to a new Pro Review on Epiphone’s Les Paul Ultra-III!
If you’re not familiar with how we do Pro Reviews, take a look at our FAQ and Forum Rules notice. Basically, a Pro Review is a cross between a standard review and a blog—a prepared article where posters can contribute, ask questions, and even determine the course of the review. Let’s dive in!
Epiphone, if you don’t know already, is Gibson’s partner company with full and legitimate claim to produce all of Gibson’s models, including the Les Paul. The Epi Les Pauls are not made in the U.S., but they are subject to the same scrutiny, quality control, and pride that Gibson shows its American-made counterparts. The supreme upshot of this arrangement is that shoppers who don’t have bucks to burn get a dead-nuts on Les Paul for a fraction of the price.
But Epiphone is more than just the frugal-man’s Gibson. Epi has established its own groove and momentum with the successful models it has launched in the past. One of those is the Les Paul Ultra series, with its lightweight chambered body, high-tech electronics, progressive design elements, and gorgeous good looks.
The Ultra series has successfully dispelled the notion that one could only get a high-tech Les Paul from Gibson, and at a high cost. Now in its third iteration, the Les Paul Ultra-III is and the most evolved model yet, featuring updated magnetic and acoustic pickup technologies, USB connectivity, routing flexibility, an onboard tuner, and some choice upgrades to boot—all at an amazingly affordable price. The Ultra-III has everything you need for creating an entire gamut of guitar music—electric, acoustic, computer-driven, and anything in between.
You can read about the Ultra II’s features by doing a search. The approach I’ll take is to review version III as if readers are unfamiliar with the II. Some features on the III are the same as on the II, some are upgraded, and some are brand new. But I’ll cover everything in detail so that you don’t need to skip back and forth to read up on, say, the choice of pickups. (Okay, just this once: Epi changed the magnetic pickups in the Ultra III to ProBuckers, which are closer to BurstBuckers than what the Ultra II had.)