The Epiphone Power Players series claims to be a “real” guitar for beginners of all sizes. So how do they stack up next to the full-size models? Today we review the two different models and break down the features.
Epiphone Power Players SG and Les Paul: Little Shop Of Shred!
The new Epiphone Power Players Series is designed for beginner guitarists of any age, and any size. While mini guitars have taken off in popularity, Epiphone has taken that concept much more seriously, and designed a real instrument for beginners at a budget price.
We have a real appreciation for Epiphone here at Electrikjam. I have personally owned quite a few models over the years, and even used them in professional settings. My first “real” guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul, and I have used many models on stage for backup guitars during my career.
Over the past decade, Epiphone has been the “go-to” beginner brand for many guitarists. Epiphone makes faithful replica versions of expensive Gibson guitars at a fraction of the price. Most beginners are not going to shell out thousands of dollars for a Gibson, and the Epiphone versions give you a similar look and feel.
Epiphone also has its own models, like the Casino that have been famously used by tons of artists like The Beatles. Matt Heafy from Trivium has his own signature Epiphone lineup, and he plays those on stage 200 days a year! Gary Clarke Jr is another guitarist that just prefers the feel of an Epiphone.
So when I saw the Epiphone Power Players lineup, I was a little confused. I mean, Epiphone is already one of the best choices for beginners. Not only do most Epiphone guitars fit the price range for a beginner, these guitars are also “short scale” like Gibson.
The Epiphone Power Players lineup takes the concept of a beginner guitar, and makes it even easier to get started playing. The first thing you think of is the shorter scale, and that is definitely a feature to talk about. But there are several other features that makes these guitars perfect for anyone, at any age.
So let’s dive into the features and design choices that make the Epiphone Power Players Series a great choice for tons of beginners!
The Epiphone Power Players Les Paul electric guitar is a trimmed-down version of the legendary Les Paul with a 22.73" scale length and slightly smaller mahogany bottom, making it an excellent choice for younger players. But make no mistake—this is no toy. The Power Player Les Paul is a great travel guitar for more experienced players, too. The bolt-on mahogany neck has a sculpted heel for improved upper fret access, and it's powered by a pair of Epiphone 650R and 700T ceramic humbuckers for rich, full Les Paul tone.
Epiphone Power Players: Features And Specs
The Epiphone Power Players SG and Les Paul guitars are trimmed down versions with a 22.73” scale length and a slightly lighter weight mahogany body. These are just as full-featured as the bigger brothers, everything has just been trimmed down a little to be easier for younger players.
When it comes to iconic guitar designs, the SG and Les Paul definitely fit the bill, so I can see why Epiphone chose these two models for this lineup. Both are going to be the type of guitar that a kid will ask for, since so many famous players use these legendary guitars.
These are both also models that mom or dad might have laying around the house! If you have kids, I am sure you don’t want them having any accidents with your Gibson. So they not only look like the guitars that their heroes might play, but also like the ones their parents might have!
To be honest with you, I was a little surprised at the included features. Both are dual humbucker, with a four knob control layout and three way switch, just like the full sized versions. But really, everything about them just screams “quality guitar” that most mini, and beginner instruments alike definitely lack.
Epiphone Power Players Features:
- Mahogany Body
- Mahogany Neck
- 22.73” Scale Length
- Bolt On Construction
- Trapezoid Inlays
- Slim Taper D Neck Profile
- Indian Laurel Fretboard
- 22 Frets
- Dual Epiphone Humbuckers (Medium Output)
- Three Way Pickup Selector
- Individual Volume And Tone Knobs For Each Pickup
- Cream Binding (Body and Neck)
- Nickel Hardware
- Ice Blue And Lava Red Finishes
- Includes Gig Bag, Strap, And Picks
Epiphone could have easily just shrunk down famous models, dubbed them “Mini”, and called it a day. That’s exactly what I thought these guitars were, when I first saw the ads for them. But I am happy to report that it looks like Epiphone put a lot of thought into the design of these models.
We can start with the neck, since that is the most obvious feature. Both models feature a 22.73” scale length, which doesn’t really feel weird at all until you get further up the neck. This makes playing basic chords super easy, without feeling “crowded” like some mini guitars. The slim taper neck is a little flatter than most Epiphone guitars, making it easy for smaller hands to grip.
The guitars ship with a set of 10’s on them, and I would personally put some heavier strings on the Epiphone Power Players to compensate for the shorter scale. All of the frets were level out of the box, with no sharp ends were found up and down the neck.
The Epiphone Power Players models are both bolt on construction, but the neck heel is unobtrusive and stays out of the way for the players. This allows you to reach the upper frets with ease, but I don’t think many players will be travelling that far up. If they do though, this is a full size 22 fret neck!
I tried running scales up above the 12th fret, and I really didn’t have a problem running those higher octave arpeggios. I have massive hands, so I thought this may be a problem, but the neck is well balanced all the way up to the “dusty end” of the fretboard. One of the bolts on the back of the SG model acts as a strap button, while the Les Paul strap buttons are in the “proper” place.
The mahogany body on both Epiphone Power Players models is just slightly smaller than the real deal. I held the Les Paul up to a regular Gibson model, and they are extremely close, with the Power Player being maybe 8/10ths of the “normal” size. So these are not the usual 3/4 “mini guitars” where everything is just shrunk.
With that being said, a considerable amount of wood was removed from the thickness of each model. This makes them lightweight for younger guitarists, and easier to hold. Especially considering a young person would probably have the guitar in their lap, and leaning over the guitar to see their fingers on the neck.
The cream binding is a nice touch that also makes the guitar feel more “authentic”. You also get the real deal trapezoid inlays that the Gibson guitars are famous for sporting. Everything about these guitars screams “good quality” and you can tell some real thought went into these models.
The humbuckers are a total surprise here, as I expected them to be “usable”. But both pickups actually sound really great through the Fender Blues Jr and BOSS Katana amplifiers that I played these guitars through. You can get some LEGIT tones out of these guitars!
Each humbucker has its own volume and tone control, just like the big boys. This is wonderful for younger players as they can learn what each knob does, making it easier to dial in a tone that they like. Both pickups are medium output so clean tones sound just as good as overdriven tones.
I mean, let’s be honest here: Some beginner guitars have some really awful, muddy sounding humbuckers. While the Epiphone Power Players are priced a little higher than some beginner guitars, this is obviously where some of the money went. Epiphone went above and beyond to have some decent ‘pups in these guitars.
Probably the most important feature is the hardware. As frequent readers will know, I am a firm believer that you should know just as much about maintenance as actual playing. You should know how to operate, work on, repair, and set up your guitar at a basic level.
The Epiphone Power Players series both come with a simple wrap-around bridge. This means changing strings is a breeze. These are a lot like PRS wrap-around bridges that are “pre-intonated”. That is one less factor in the maintenance of this guitar, so kids can learn how to change strings EASY.
For the most part, the Epiphone Power Players are marketed as guitars for children. But I also see a good possibility for players who may have a disability that makes playing full size guitars impossible. These could also be great for beginners with small hands, that have always been intimidated by a full size guitar.
Likewise, you could also use the Epiphone Power Players for a travel guitar. These are smaller, and easier to haul around than a full size guitar. Not to mention, if you are on a trip, bringing an expensive guitar in case is probably not the wisest option. I played both models, with my big hands, without any problems at all.
The usefulness of the Epiphone Power Players guitars is pretty limitless. Both models are solid right out of the box and they sound great. Add to that the ease of maintenance and I think Epiphone has a winner here.
The included accessories are all good as well. You get a decent gig bag, amp cable, a strap, and some picks to get you started. There is also an assortment of fun Epiphone stickers in the box, along with an Allen key for truss rod adjustments. You have everything you need to get started, minus an amp.
Epiphone Power Players Series: Final Thoughts
If your kiddo has been begging you to play your expensive axes, and you want to get them something worth playing, then the Epiphone Power Players are right up your alley. These are advertised as “Your First Forever Guitar” and I can see where that can be true. Kids that have had toy guitars will appreciate this “real” guitar.
You can probably find a lot of mini, or “kid-sized” guitars out there for a lower price point. I know Ibanez and Squier both make cheaper options. But I think Epiphone made it a point for these to not be as disposable as those other models. Yes, they are small… but the quality of the components is leagues ahead of the competition.
Most companies do not take kid-friendly, beginner guitars very seriously. I think this is a huge misstep, since a low effort guitar can make a child give up guitar out of frustration. Try keeping a crappy beginner guitar in tune, even as a pro, and you will see the frustration. Your first guitar at a young age should be something worth playing, that is also reliable. I think Epiphone nailed this.
If you are not a guitar player yourself, and you are looking to buy a child-friendly guitar for a beginner, then don’t cheap out. The less expensive options may all look the same, but the quality is what sets these Epiphone Power Players apart. These guitars play great, sound great, and have simple reliable features.
So if you have a young one ready to take the plunge into beginner guitar, then this is your best option by a long shot. Music can be a very rewarding hobby that lasts a lifetime. Guitar should have a chance to make a good first impression without spending a fortune, and Epiphone have made that possible.
The Epiphone Power Players SG electric guitar is a trimmed-down version of the legendary SG with a 22.73" scale length and slightly smaller mahogany body, making it an excellent choice for younger players. But make no mistake—this is no toy. The Power Players SG is a great travel guitar for more experienced players, too. The bolt-on mahogany neck has a sculpted heel for improved upper fret access, and it's powered by a pair of Epiphone 650R and 700T ceramic humbuckers for rich, full SG tone. The Power Players SG comes well-accessorized with a gig bag, strap, picks and guitar cable included.
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar and piano for 27 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. He has toured for years with several bands and music projects. He worked in LA as a studio musician and engineer working with bands like IAMSOUND, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, Reflux, and Tripping Daisy. In between giving private lessons, he is recording a solo album for 2022-2023. Christopher plays Schecter guitars, BOSS amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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