In the past, Les Paul's revolutionary pickup configurations and iconic aesthetic are what made them loved by many. On the other hand, unique tones and loudness were a huge part of the Marshall amp's popularity.
Today, if you lined up the planet's greatest guitarists and asked them to describe what guitar heaven looks like, a good portion of them would tell you it's made up of walls of Marshall stacks and free Les Pauls for everyone.
Over the years, Marshalls and Les Paul have occasionally defined what the epitome of amp and guitar epicness looks like. Perhaps, their successes can be attributed to the fact that both are products of constant fine-tuning to meet the preferences of all types of guitarists.
Reggae, jazz, rock, RnB, metal—you name it, there’s a Marshall amp for whatever genre you choose. Equally, Les Paul guitars have graced the stage with artists from many genres.
So, yeah, it should come as no surprise that a combination of the two often gives birth to glorious performances. However, there are so many types of Marshall amps. Which are the best Marshall amps for a Les Paul?
Below, we attempt to answer this question. Dive in and let's find out together.
When it comes to amps, the term “best” is often quite subjective. It all depends on what sounds good to you, what music you intend to use the amp for, and which amp can help you accomplish your goals easiest.
So then, when choosing an amp for a Les Paul, the process is quite similar to when you’re choosing an amp for any other type of guitar. When looking for an amp, consider wattage, size, the genre of music, type of amp, price, effects, and portability.
Even then, some amps are more equipped to compliment the characteristics of a Les Paul. Using the knowledge of the characteristics of a Les Paul, you can narrow the options down further. For instance, Les Paul guitars are typically versatile, so an amp that’s able to bring out a variety of tonal options well would be ideal.
Now that we know what to look for, let's get to the list. We will identify a series of amps in the Marshall collection and then go for the best pick within each range.
With a respectable collection of amps that would go well with a Les Paul guitar, Marshall's Dual Super Lead series amps are without a doubt a good option to consider.
The amps have a long history as a favorite amongst Marshall fans, with the first release dating back to 1997. These days, the DSL amps are designed with a good portion of features and the iconic Marshall tube amp tones. Between the amps in the DSL collection, there’s probably an amp for any type of environment you wish to play. With a DSL, you could use your Les Paul anywhere, be it the studio, bedroom, or live gigs.
Marshall DSL 40 (Image credits: Marshall)
More specifically, the DSL 40 would be a great pairing option with a Les Paul. Marshalls DSL40 CR is a 12'' speaker configuration tube combo amp. At 40 watts, you have plenty of headroom to work with, allowing you to showcase those crisp, clean Les Paul tones. Like most Marshalls, it also comes with smooth clipped distortion that can serve as a bonus when paired with a Les Paul.
Finishing off, it has 2 channels (ultra gain and classic gain) each with a dedicated reverb. With this, you could adjust your settings to compliment your Les Paul’s tones.
If you’re looking to emulate those classic, vintage, iconic tones that made guitar music what it is today, then a Marshall vintage reissue would work well with a Les Paul. Depending on what genre of music you intend to use your Les Paul for, there are various vintage reissue amps you could use with a Les Paul.
Marshall Silver Jubilee (Image credits: Marshall)
If anyone knows what kind of amp would work best with a Les Paul, it’s Guns and Roses lead guitarist, Slash. Over the years, he has used a Les Paul for most of his performances, even having a signature Les Paul. While he’s used a wide range of amps, he’s been known to pair his Les Paul with a Silver Jubilee a couple of times—and for good reason.
A key part of what makes Les Pauls iconic is their balance when it comes to switching between clean and dirty tones. The Silver Jubilee does a pretty good job at complimenting this characteristic with its 2 split channels.
Typically a gigging amp, it comes equipped with a power scaling option of up to 50 watts, meaning you could use it for different-sized venues. Its boosted equalization and various dialing options serve to add the various tonal options you could use paired with a Les Paul.
In addition, its iconic silver vinyl aesthetic serves as a good match for a Gibson Les Paul look, ensuring you not only sound amazing playing but also look cool.
Marshall’s Studio series is a compilation of all of Marshall's iconic sounding amps into portable packages that can be accessed by all types of guitarists.
Marshall SV20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Sporting the classic black and gold Marshall aesthetic, the Marshall SV20 is a valve technology amp that emulates the iconic Plexi sound. Coupled with the capabilities of a Les Paul, this combination is nothing but tonal bliss.
Described by some as a “big sounding low watt amp,” this amp packs enough punch for a small venue event. At 9 kg, the amp is pretty portable, making it an ideal amp to have around the house without compromising on tone.
The Origin series is a collection that tries to emulate the classic contemporary guitar sounds. The amps have innovative Powerstem technology that allows for amazing power scaling options. The amps are great for a range of environments and are extremely good when used with pedals.
Marshall Origin 20C (Image credits: Marshall)
Made for guitarists that express themselves through innovation, Marshall’s Origin 20C is another great pairing for a Les Paul guitar. It comes equipped with the latest power scaling technology, allowing you to choose between high, medium, and low. This then makes the Origin20C flexible to different environments, from small venue live gigging to bedroom practice sessions. It also has a 2-way footswitch with which you can increase the gain to add a warm and organic crunch.
This is a good budget-friendly choice that, when paired with your Les Paul, will inspire your creativity—simple and effective!
When it comes to amps, the term “best” is often quite subjective. It all depends on what sounds good to you, what music you intend to use the amp for, and which amp can help you accomplish your goals easiest. For this reason, always try out an amp before purchasing it. All in all, we’d recommend the DSL40 as a good option to start your Les Paul journey.
Les Paul guitars are generally pretty versatile and have been used by artists from various genres. More popularly, they’re used for blues, jazz, rock, pop, and metal.
Les Paul guitars have graced the performance stage with many artists including Slash, Pete Townsend, Billy Gibbons, Duane Allman, and Randy Rhoads, amongst many others.
Typically, Les Paul guitars get their sound from their iconic tonewood mahogany bodies and necks. Other factors such as the settings you dial-in can also impact what your Les Paul sounds like.
It’s a fact that the string tension on Les Paul guitars is usually lower compared to strats of similar gauge. Because of this, one could argue that indeed Les Paul is easier to play.