It can’t be easy to manufacture a guitar series based on the mythic Gibson Les Paul, considering that there are zillions of copies, some of them very good, and also because there will always be purists who state that no copy will ever come close to the real deal… SR presents its Les Paul interpretation and offers some rare customization options: finish, pickups and hardware.
Conceived and adjusted in France but made in Korea, SR guitars play in a price segment that is slightly higher than Epiphone (the Gibson sub-brand for those who don’t follow…). Are they a waste of time or a real alternative to what is already out there?
I got two SR guitars: the Origin, which recalls an LP Standard, and the Luxe version based on the LP Custom. SR offers you the possibility to choose the looks of your guitar: color of the plastic parts and hardware, pickup models (from the generic pickup manufactured for SR to the Seymour Duncan), tuners… The two models we reviewed are standard products without any extras. Both nice-looking guitars have 22 classic jumbo frets, a massive mahogany body, a typical three-piece mahogany neck with C-profile, effective Groover tuners and typical LP electronics: two humbuckers, three-way toggle switch, two volume and two tone controls. The added value is that the volume knobs are push/pull pots allowing you to split the pickups to get more tone variations — seven altogether.
On the Luxe version (the classy one) you get an ebony fingerboard, a pair of 50’s vintage-type Alnico 2 pickups, a flamed maple top, a triple binding from the bottom to the top (the Origin has only one single binding), and gold hardware. For the Origin, SR chose two Alnico 5 pickups (for a more modern sound, late 70’s we could say) with more output level, a rosewood fingerboard, a simple maple top with Tobacco Burst finish, and chrome hardware. Up to now, everything is coherent and respectful with the tradition. The weight of the guitars is well thought-out, neither too heavy (as some real LPs can be) nor too light. Good job! The only feature I don’t like is the headstock’s design. It looks too Batmanish or like a cheap royal crown (only later did I see the fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the French monarchy, on the headstock of the Luxe version!). But this is a subjective matter and one can easily understand that SR is only trying to distinguish itself from the Kalamazoo boys to avoid any legal trouble.
Now let’s take a closer look…
Just another LP? For whom? Considering its price (€449; and €559 for the Luxe), this guitar is much better than a standard Epiphone, for example.
For a professional musician, the Origin could be ideal as spare instrument. For a first “real” guitar, it might be perfect. It is versatile and easily playable, and the hardware seems to be reliable and well thought-out. I can already see kids breaking their piggybank and spending quite some time with the “setup wizard” on SR’s website to select the pickups, the pickguard color, etc. Especially since the list of available options should become more and more comprehensive as time goes by. At the time of writing, only SR, SP Custom and Seymour Duncan pickups are available. However, the manager of the company mentioned that, depending on feasibility, pickups of other brands could be added to the list. For several years now, Korea seems to have become an important country for guitar manufacturing with increasing quality (just take a look at Kraken, for example). So why not take advantage of the collaboration between a French designer and a serious Asian manufacturer to guarantee a high-quality, affordable product.
So, to wrap it up, SR has become a new candidate for the best LP for the poor with a guitar that has a sturdy design, a really good sound and a very appealing price. And it’s a good thing because the real LPs (for the rich) have become scarce. By the way, do you know how to recognize a rich guy? He’s the one surprised to see poor people spend so much money.
SR also offers other LP variations: the Study (€339; reminds an LP Junior with only one P-90) and the Roots (€389; a sort of LP Studio with massive mahogany body without top and maple fingerboard). The outcome might be interesting.
- The Origin for its price and astonishing responsiveness.
- The concept
- The selection of hardware options
- Many different finishes available
- The Luxe doesn’t even come close to the Origin even though it’s more expensive
- Headstock design
To read the full detailed article with sound files see: SR LP Origin Burst Plaintop Review