ESP USA vs Gibson LP

Matt J.

Hey there,

I owned a Standard ESP Eclipse and loved it... I sold it sadly but now I am in the market for a new guitar.  I am debating whether to buy a Les Paul or a USA Eclipse.  Does anyone own both and have any comments? I am torn and it's very hard to get my hands on a USA Eclipse.  Also, is the USA Eclipse a lot better than the Standard?  Is it also a lot thicker?  Sorry for all the questions.


Nathan G.

I would suggest if you can go to a store and play both.  You could replace the USA Eclipse with an E-II or LTD and just keep it in your mind the fit and finish should and will be considerably better.  With Gibson I totaly feel your paying partly for it's name.... I do own a newer wider necked Les Paul and love it for certain styles of music. If I had to choose between the Les Paul and my 1980's Horizon Custom I would get rid of the Les Paul on the spot.  I have played the Eclipse and the neck just ruins it for me 42mm nut sucks for large hands.  My old Horizon has a nice 43mm which makes a world of difference.

You are also right on the availability of physically getting your hands on the USA Eclipse.  There are just not ernough premium dealers.

Brad K.

Sorry for the late response, but I think others looking up this info may benefit from my experience.  I own several Gibson Les Pauls, as well as a USA Eclipse.  I have also played many dozens of other Eclipses from Japan, USA and LTD models.    

The ESP USA line has a completely different feel from anything that is made in Japan.  The MIJ Eclipse is a thinner body than the USA.  It also has a more pronounced dish shape to the top, like most of the current Eclipse line.  The MIJ ESP's have an unrivaled feeling of precision that you dont find in too many instruments.  

The USA Eclipse, on the other hand, has a decidedly American quality to it that in almost untangeable.  The USA is thicker, and the top has more of a traditional arch shape than the MIJ dish. It definately has more of Les Paul feel to the guitar.  It has what I believe to be a thicker and fatter tone than a MIJ Eclipse.  

Looking at the USA Eclipse next to a Gibson Les Paul is a very good comparison.  They both have a similar dynamic.  The ESP USA is much closer to the feel and sound of a nice Les Paul than a MIJ Eclipse.  The ESP USA has a bit better overall fit and finish than a Gibson.  The fretwork is outstanding.  The ebony fretboard is flawless.  But that comes at a price.  The ESP USA is already approaching Gibson Custom Shop pricing. And its about 30% more expensive than a Gibson Les Paul Standard.  However, at that price your are getting a truely custom shop instrument that was made one at a time by a team of craftsmen.  The production numbers are still low, and the ESP USA guys really care about each and every instrument. Whereas the Gibson stuff seems to be quite inconsistent from guitar to guitar, and you may have to look a while to find one that suits you.  I believe that the ESP USA is a very good value, especially when compared to other boutique guitars.

The ESP USA has a sculpted heel that is much better than anything Gibson has in their current lineup, including the Les Paul Axxess models.  The sculpted heel allows much improved access to the upper frets while feeling strong and solid.  The USA Eclipse is also a bit smaller than a Les Paul overall,

You cant really compare hardware selections too much, because that is very subjective, and both companies use quality hardware and electronics.  The only thing I will say is that the current Gibson USA models use a cicuit board in their control cavity to wire up the pots and pickups.  And there are lots of complaints and horrible feedback on those.  I havent ripped them out of any of my Gibsons, so take that as you will. 

I have had my ESP USA Eclipse for about a year now, and I really love it.  It gets a lot of play time.  If I had to pick between my favorite Les Paul and this USA Eclipse, I would have to keep the Eclipse.  But fortunately I dont have to do that.  So I will keep both. 

For the record, I have a 2016 USA Eclipse in a one-off Darkburst finish, with Duncan Alnico Pro II's.  My favorite Gibson Les Paul is a 2010 Traditional Plus Top with 57 Classic and Classic+ pickups in Desertburst.  It took me a very long time to find that Les Paul.   I spent years playing dozens of Les Pauls before I found the one that has the feel and tone I was looking for. 

So they are really two very similar guitars, in both looks and tone.  The playing feel, on the other hand, is all ESP.  The ESP USA is a much faster and precise feeling guitar.  Its a pleasure to play.    


Bryan W.

I have a first year run early serial number USA Eclipse that was built for the 2014 first release year.  At that time, I also owned a 2008 Gibson Les Paul Custom in the rare oxblood color.  When I got the Eclipse, I was blown away at how nice it looked and played initially and the quality, fit and finish were truly amazing.  I've had that same guitar for two years now... the Gibson has been sold.  I had to part ways with one of them and DO NOT REGRET my decision.  The LP Custom was a beauty, but couldn't stand up to the USA Eclipse for me.  For the money I payed on that Custom, the quality was well below the standards of what that team in North Hollywood upholds in terms of quality with the American ESP's.  The neck on the LP Custom was getting so gummy which is a sign of poor finishing, all the hardware half already varnished in a period of only a year, and the rest of the body had excessive swirl scratch marks again from half assed finish work.  The ESP has been in my stable for two years now and still looks and plays as it did the day I first pulled it out of the case, and that flame top keeps my staring at it all the time.  

Bryan W.


I’m pretty sure Most eclipses and Les Pauls have the same scale length, but the eclipse body is slightly smaller than a les Paul, but still fits in Les paul cases. Not sure about the thickness tho, but I think the eclipses are thinner than Les Pauls, correct me if I’m wrong

Andrew K.

I bought a used Edwards LPC a couple weeks ago.  It pretty much smokes my E-II eclipse.  


USA model is Definitely thicker 

black one is a ec1000 deluxe  other is esp USA 

not sure if same as Gibson though 

Zakk W.

ESP makes better quality instruments than Gibson, ESP quality did changed, ENORMOUSLY, but it didn’t changed down, it’s now 100,000,000 better, ESP rules my buddy, but now talking serious, look how ESP has grown, look at all their LTD lines, bang for the buck! That Evertune feature is probably the best investment ESP has ever done! Not like Gibson with their stupid “Automatic Tuners”

ESP be like: Let’s use Evertune on our guitars for maximum tuning stability, because we care of our customers getting the best quality on their instruments!


gIbSoN bE lIkE: dA yA wAnT aUtOmAtIc TuNeRs On YoUr GuItAr??? CaUsE wE jUsT cArE aBoUt mOnEy! LeT’s AlSo CoPy ESP’s BeAuTiFuL cOlOrS, Then GIbSoN tries to be better than ESP but it looks pretty bad, while ESP being original, their guitars look sick! 

Zakk W.


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