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Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
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Playability
77
Sound
69
Build
64
Value
70
Score
70
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Playability
73
Sound
72
Build
73
Value
58
Score
73
FIND IT ON:
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Side to side spec comparison >

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Reasons to Get
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I over Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Release Year
2024 vs 2022
From a more recent year
Neck Joint
Neck-Through vs Set
Stronger neck and easier access to upper frets
Pickups
H vs HH
Hum-free with more right hand freedom and sustain
Nut Width
1.693'' (43mm) vs 1.688'' (42.9mm)
Less likely to mute strings by accident and more space for fingerstyle
Paint Finish
Poly vs Aged
Resistant paint that ages well
Value Score
70 vs 58
Better price/quality relationship

Reasons to Get
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged over Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Country of Manufacturing
United States vs China
Built with higher quality standards
Decorative Top
2-Piece Figured Maple, Hide Glue Fit vs None
Finished with beautiful natural wood patterns
Switch Positions
3 vs 0
More tone options
Volume Knobs
2 vs 1
More volume control
Tone Knobs
2 vs 1
More tone control
Pickups
HH vs H
High output without hum
Nut Width
1.688'' (42.9mm) vs 1.693'' (43mm)
Favors small hands, easier bar chords and other shapes
Paint Finish
Aged vs Poly
Paint has been artificially aged

Other Key Differences
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Bridge Pickup
Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets vs Custombucker Alnico III (Unpotted)
Different Bridge Pickup
Body Wood
Other vs Mahogany
Different Body Wood
Fretboard Wood
Laurel vs Rosewood
Different Fretboard Wood
Headstock
6 vs 3-3
Different Headstock
Nut Material
Ivory Tusq vs Nylon
Different Nut Material

Shared Features
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Neck Wood
Mahogany
Same Neck Wood
Strings
6
Same playing style
Body Type
Solid Body
Feedback free
Number of Frets
22
Same maximum octave
Bridge
Fixed
Good sustain and needs no set-up
Scale Length
24.75'' (628.7mm)
Same string tension and fret separation
Fretboard Radius
12'' (304.8mm)
Same fretboard comfortability
Pickups Power
Passive
Cleaner sound and no battery needed
Neck Profile Type
C
Comfortable neck that works for most people
Type of Frets
Medium Jumbo
You'll feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings

Common Strengths

  • High-Quality Nut
  • Top Pickup Brand
  • Expensive Wood

Common Weaknesses

  • Pickup Alter Switch/Knob
  • Weight Relief
  • Locking Tuners
  • Stays in Tune (Evertune)
  • High-Quality Frets
  • Compound Radius Fretboard
  • Luminescent Sidedots
  • Strap Lock
  • 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • Active/Passive Preamp

Price History Comparison

SET PRICE ALERT
SET PRICE ALERT

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Which One is Better for Beginners?

Both meet 4 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players. If you're looking for your first guitar to learn how to play, you can't go wrong with either of them.

New Player Friendliness

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

New Player Friendliness

Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Tall frets
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Narrow nut
  • Short scale
  • Locking tuners

Nevertheless, when it comes to choosing an instrument, you should pick the one more compatible with your personal style. Still, below we'll try you to give you our results as objectively as it's possible to help you decide.

Sound Quality Comparison

The wood used in an electric guitar or bass is not as important to determine the final tone. However, some people prefer specific wood types, so we'll take a look at those first. Then, we'll take a look at the electronics to determine the versatility and sound quality of each instrument.

Woods Used in Both

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany

Mahogany is a fairly rare wood nowadays. It's used mostly for bodies due to its relatively lightweight. Gibson popularized it with their Les Paul guitars during their golden years, so this wood has a lot of good reputation behind it. The most expensive type comes from South America and it's still used by Gibson even today. Find out more about Mahogany.

Woods Used in the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I

Laurel wood pattern used for guitar building
Laurel

There are many types of Laurel, but East Indian is the most common for guitar building. Its color can vary from dark to light brown with black lines. Many people find its tonality similar to Rosewood, which favors the warmer frequencies. Find out more about Laurel.

Woods Used in the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood

Rosewood is an almost purple-looking wood that is used mainly for fretboards since it's heavy, rare, and expensive. It's sometimes used on acoustic guitar bodies to create stronger warm tones. Find out more about Rosewood.

Winner: Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged.

Pickup Configuration

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has an H configuration while the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged has HH pickups.

A single H pickup gives you the advantage of having a little longer sustain (all other things being equal) because there will be less magnetic fields from other pickups affecting the strings' vibration. However, they also give you the least versatility because you won't have other pickups at different distances from the bridge to create different tones. A single humbucking pickup is used for noiseless high output, which is used mainly for Hard Rock genres.

On the other hand, Double Humbucker (HH) is the choice for people who want a fuller, more round sound with tons of mids and lows. Humbuckers also get rid of the hum noise that plague single-coil pickups. They can work out for almost any genre going from Djent to even Jazz.

Pickups Quality

Both come with very good pickups from at least one of the specialized brands in the market. With pickups like these, you probably won't need an upgrade anytime soon.

Both use Passive pickups. This is what's used for most music genres. They have a regular output and will serve you for both high-gain and clean tones. The alternative (Active pickups) offer a higher output that is mostly used for heavy music.

Winner: Tie.

Versatility Comparison

Some instruments offer you more ways to explore your creativity than others. Below you'll find how both compare when it comes to versatility.

Switch Options

The Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged gives you 3 switch options while the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I gives you 0. This means that the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged gives you more options to find the right pickup combination for the type of sound you want to achieve

Neither of them come with some kind of coil split or pickup mod option. This makes both lacking in terms of versatility.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I doesn't come with pickup switching options.

Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged pickups switch and push knobs diagram
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged's switch options

When evaluating versatility, we also take into consideration bridge and neck joint type, number of frets, switch options, amount of pickups and more.

Winner: Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged.

Final Sound Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 39
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 69
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
Pickups 90
Sustain 75
Versatility 53
Tuning Stability 70
Sound 72

Build Quality Comparison

When it comes to build quality, we like to take into account everything used to build the instrument. This includes materials, hardware and the quality control expected depending on the country where it was built. Let's see how the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I compares to the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged.

Country of Origin

The manufacturing country can tell a lot about the build quality of an instrument. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I is built in China while the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged is made in United States.

China has a bad reputation when it comes to building quality. However, times have changed and now respectable brands use China's cheap labor to build good instruments for a lower price. Don't discount a guitar only because it was built in China, but also expect more quality from countries like Korea.

The United States is considered one of the best electric guitar manufacturers in the world. A guitar made in this country is supposed to have world-class quality control. Nowadays, guitars made in other countries can beat some of the ones made in the US, but most of the time, this country offers the best you can get. Of course, that comes at a price.

Winner: Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged

Nut Material

If you want your guitar to stay in tune and sound good, you need a well cut nut. Nut quality can be inconsistent even when comparing two copies of the same model. The best way to make sure you're nut will be well done is by getting a nut made by an expert company like TUSQ or Micarta.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Ivory Tusq nut. Ivory used to be considered the best material for guitar nuts due to its beauty, durability, and the rich harmonics and sustain you could get from a guitar with it. However, the way to obtain it is simply unethical. Enter TUSQ ivory nuts, which are made synthetically to imitate ivory. Technically, it's better than ivory because it is consistent piece-to-piece, while natural materials can vary a lot, even if they're made from the same.

On the other hand, the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged comes with a Nylon nut. It used to be one of the highest quality materials for nuts (and still is), but it's rare to find nowadays because it's hard to work with. It's a very resistant material with very low friction, so it will keep the guitar in tune and will last for a long time

Winner: Tie.

Fret Material

Most fret wire is made of nickel silver. This material eventually wears down after a lot of use and most instruments end up needing a complete fret replacement. However, some expensive models come with stainless steel frets. This is what you should aim for if you can afford it.

Unfortunately, none of them come with stainless steel frets.

Winner: Tie.

Bridge

The perfect bridge for you will depend on your playstyle because they all have advantages and disadvantages. However, some bridges are more expensive—like Floyd Roses and Evertunes—and thus add more value to a guitar.

Both come with a similar bridge: Fixed. It's a simple bridge that is very beginner-friendly since it doesn't require any set-up. You can swap strings easily. It might also give more sustain since it doesn't have complex moving parts that make the strings lose vibration. However, it doesn't have the same versatility as a tremolo bridge.

Since we need to be objective, the most expensive type of bridge will be the winner of this section. In the end, this doesn't matter if you're not going to use the bridge for its original purpose, so choose the bridge that fits your playing style better.

Winner: Tie.

Tuners

Both come with regular tuners. The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's are Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary while the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged's are Kluson Single Line, Single Ring

Winner: Tie.

Neck Joint

Contrary to popular belief, the difference in sustain and tone that some neck joints give to a guitar is simply unperceivable—if they're all well built. However, some of them do have advantages over the others.

The Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has a Neck-Through neck joint. This neck is a lot more resistant and lets builders give the neck joint a more comfortable shape for soloing at the upper frets. The disadvantage is that they're more expensive and that if you damage your neck, you can't simply replace it like with bolt-on necks.

On the other hand, the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged comes with Set neck joint. This neck is tightly glued to the body. They give you the least versatility because you can't swap them for a neck that fits your hand better if you want to, unlike bolt-on necks. Some people think this gives more resonance and sustain, but there's no real difference if the bolt-on joint is well built.

Winner: Epiphone 1963 Firebird I.

Here is the list of features that were considered when choosing the winner in the Features subcategory:

Strengths & Weaknesses
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
  • Expensive Wood
  • Ivory Tusq Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Neck-Through Build
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • Made in China
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock
Strengths & Weaknesses
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • Nylon Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Locking Tuners
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Push Knob or Extra Switch Option
  • No Weight Relief
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Final Build Quality Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Quality of materials 66
Features 60
Quality Control 65
Build Quality 64
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
Quality of materials 70
Features 50
Quality Control 100
Build Quality 73

Playability Comparison

Let's now compare their playability. Bear in mind that the instrument will feel different depending on your hand size and play style. That's why you should always test before buying. But if you can't or want a second opinion on it, we can still take a look at each of the important measurements of the instrument for you. This way, we can predict how easy a guitar might be to play, or how different it will feel compared to the other.

Remember that, even though the difference might seem small, every inch counts when it comes to feeling of the instrument in your hands. Any variation can completely change how comfortable a guitar feels in your hands.

Nut Width

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Nut Width
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged Nut Width
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged Nut Width

The nut width will affect the separation between strings at the nut. In this comparison, the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I has the wider nut with 43mm (1.693'') vs 42.9mm (1.688''). This is a 0.1mm (0.0050000000000001'') difference

This means that it will be more difficult to do bar chords on the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I, especially closer to the nut. However, it's also easier to play without muting strings accidently. This favors people with big hands.

Scale Length

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged's Scale Length
Both have the same scale length

The scale length is one of the things that influences playability the most. This is the distance between the nut and the bridge and will affect everything from low action allowance, difficulty to perform bends, fret separation, and even tone.

In this case, both have a scale length of 24.75".

This is the scale length that Gibson uses for most of its Les Paul guitars. It's a smaller scale than the typical Stratocaster's 25.5''. Short scale lengths like this make it easier to bend the strings, which is pretty important if you have a fixed bridge. They also have a shorter fret separation, which makes it easier to change position fast at the fretboard.

On the other hand, a shorter scale like this one will make fret buzz more likely, which can affect you if you want to use thicker string gauges.

Lastly, remember that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge. You can use a thicker gauge for more tension and a lighter one for less tension.

Neck Profile

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Neck Profile
Epiphone 1963 Firebird I's neck profile
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged Neck Profile
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged's neck profile

No single neck shape is better than others. However, most people tend to prefer a thinner necks because it doesn't get in their way when playing fast and most hand sizes can adapt to it pretty well. However, some people still prefer thicker necks for a better grip, especially if they have big hands.

Both the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged have a C-shaped neck. This is what you'll find in most modern guitars. Most people feel like the thickness of a C neck is simply the less intrusive one for playing fast, while at the same time allowing you to grab the neck easily for resting if you want to.

Fretboard Radius

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Fingerboard Radius
Both Guitars Have The Same Fretboard Radius

Most guitar fretboards are not flat; they usually have a curve or arc across their width. A curved fretboard will make it easier to perform chords without muting strings, while a flatter one will make it easier to play single notes, which is good for bending and soloing in general. The best fretboards have a compound radius that varies across the fingerboard, but they're not common since they take a lot more work to build.

Both the Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and the Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged have the same fretboard radius of 12". This is the radius used in most Gibson guitars. It gives you a good balance for playing chords without muting, but also good comfortability for playing single notes and bending.

Hand Size Comfortability

Everyone has a different hand size, and that's why it's recommended to try a guitar before buying, even if others tell you that it's comfortable to play. However, we can know whether a guitar favors small or large hands just by knowing its exact measurements.

After taking into account the scale length, nut width, neck profile and fretboard radius, we can conclude that both in this comparison favor small hands .

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I:
Big Hands
Small Hands
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged:
Big Hands
Small Hands

Fret Size

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I and Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged Frets Size
Both have a similar Medium Jumbo fret size

Both have a Medium Jumbo fret size. These are slightly shorter than full Jumbo frets, so you'll still feel the fretboard when pressing down the strings. However, they interfere less with your fretting hand than medium-size frets. This is a good size if you like easy-to-press frets, but would still like to feel a bit of the fretboard when playing.

Final Playability Scores

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 80
Playability 77
Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
Bending & Vibrato Ease 85
Chord Playability 65
Solo Playability 70
Playability 73

Specs Side-by-Side

Epiphone 1963 Firebird I vs Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
General Epiphone 1963 Firebird I Gibson Custom 1959 Les Paul Standard Ultra Light Aged
Brand: Epiphone Gibson Custom
Year: 2024 2022
Configuration: H HH
Strings: 6 6
Made in: China United States
Series: 1963 Firebird I Murphy Lab
Colors: Green, Pink, Silver Yellow Burst, Red Burst
Left-Handed Version: No No
Body
Type: Solid Body Solid Body
Body Material: 9-ply Mahogany/Walnut Neck-Through 1-Piece Lightweight Mahogany
Bridge: Wraparound Lightning Bar ABR-1
Neck
Neck Joint: Neck-Through Set
Tuners: Kluson "Banjo-style" Planetary Kluson Single Line, Single Ring
Fretboard: Indian Laurel Indian Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany Mahogany
Decoration: Mother of Pearl dot Cellulose Nitrate Trapezoid
Scale Size: 24.75" 24.75"
Shape: 1963 Firebird 50s Rounded Medium C
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver 22 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver
Fretboard Radius: 12" 12"
Nut: Ivory Tusq Nylon
Nut Width: 43mm (1.693'') 42.9mm (1.688'')
Electronics
Bridge Pickup: Gibson USA Firebird Mini Humbucker with Alnico 5 Magnets (Humbucker / Passive) Custombucker Alnico III (Unpotted) (Humbucker / Passive)
Middle Pickup:
Neck Pickup: Custombucker Alnico III (Unpotted) (Humbucker / Passive)
Switch: 0 Way 3 Way
Knobs: Bell Bell
Pickup Mods: None None
Volume Controls: 1 2
Tone Controls: 1 2