Epiphone Joe Bonamassa Black Beauty Les Paul Custom review

This three-pickup Custom might just be one of the coolest Les Pauls ever

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Joe Bonamassa
(Image: © Future)

Guitar World Verdict

Joe Bonamassa's Epiphone Black Beauty is more than just a looker, with its three-pickup format offering a huge range of tones – it has a feel that is authentic in terms of period and worthy of the name on the headstock.


  • +

    Very tidy build.

  • +

    Vintage-specific neck.

  • +

    Fulsome PAF-alike sounds and unique mixed-position voice.


  • -

    More expensive than the standard twin-pickup model, but we don’t feel short-changed.

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Epiphone’s latest Joe Bonamassa tie-up, based on his three-pickup Les Paul Custom circa 1958, certainly comes across as a very complete package. It has vintage credentials, a great backstory, comes with a very tidy case and, oh, looks great! But it’s far from style over substance and is another reminder of the ever-increasing quality of the Asian-built electric guitar

The original Custom recipe is replicated here. This guitar is all mahogany with an ebony fingerboard. While it’s actually slightly lighter than Joe’s original, it’s chunky and weighty; there’s no weight relief and it’s well in line with numerous modern single-cuts we’ve tested. 

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.