“If we were told these two Les Pauls were made in completely different factories, we’d believe it”: Gibson Les Paul Modern Figured and Modern Lite review

Two new Les Pauls are added to the Modern strand of Gibson’s expanding USA guitar range with quite a specification and cost difference. Which one to go for?

Gibson Les Paul Modern Lite
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

The lightweight Modern Lite’s more straightforward, rawer voice is classic all-mahogany Gibson that could easily do good service as an affordable spare or alternately tuned slide guitar. The Modern Figured adds considerably more sounds with additional clarity and width, and some nice touches such as that contoured heel.


  • +

    Good builds.

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    And good weights.

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    We like the contoured heel on the Modern Figured.

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    And it's expansive voicing.

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    Lite is lightweight.

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    Cool color options with the Lite and Classic Gibson mahogany tones.


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    Lite feels a little unfinished.

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    Some setup issues, particularly on the Lite.

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    It's a little expensive, too.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

There’s a sharp dividing line between Gibson USA’s models – Original and Modern – that should mean if you’re more vintage-specific, then you go for the former, and if you like a few more sounds and some contemporary upgrades, not to mention colours, you’d go for the latter. Simple…except there’s plenty of crossover in style, not to mention price.

Along with the recent launch of the $/£4k Les Paul Supreme, with a model name that originally appeared a couple of decades ago, two more new additions to the Modern Collection illustrate the diversity further. 

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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.