Price paid: £ 400
Purchased from: Epiphone Custom Shop
Features: This Guitar is essentially an old-style prototype that was developed by Epiphone before they did the Rush signature Les Paul, just to make sure that they could get a guitar like this to work properly. Don't, however, be fooled into thinking that this means poor quality by any means; if anything it's been used as a test to see how good Epiphone can make a guitar before releasing a signature model.
22 frets on the fretboard which is on a satin finished neck which feels very nice to play and gives no resistance to fast playing that I can notice. It has a laminated top, floyd rose special edition bridge and bridge and neck dirty-finger humbuckers. Also featured is a coil-splitter feature whereby you can pull the volume dials slightly up from the body and the humbuckers switch to being single coil pickups; this really helps for people trying to go for a much more classic style than usual. Tuners are obviously locking with the floyd rose system installed, but it is of quite a good quality in comparison to other floyd rose systems I have used. All the required alan keys and bits required to adjust the guitar come with it, and there is even an alan key holder fixed to the back of the neck; presumably a feature added by the technicians when they were originally developing it for easy adjustment. A nice range of features on the whole. // 9
Sound: I play style from jazz and blues to classical and funk, but my heart lies in Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. This guitar manages a very impressive clean sound when the gain is turned down, and has some nice breakup on the notes when the volume dial on the guitar is turned down while there is still some overdrive happing. When the gain is turned up this guitar really shows it's true talent; you see most guitars with floyd rose systems on sound slightly thinner than guitars without them, but because of the sheer amount of wood in this guitar, all the tone's still there. It's still a Les Paul.
I currently use a Bogner Alchemist which it works fine with. I haven't noticed any noise problems thus far, in fact it seems far less noisy than most of the guitars I've played. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar wasn't properly intonated when I got it so I had to re-set that, but that problem aside it was pretty well set up at the custom shop. The pickups seem just the right height to me, and I can't really see any design flaw in the guitar apart from the floyd rose system. Some people hate them with a passion, so I can understand why people would want a fixed bridge version of this guitar. I personally like it how it is, as it really beats most other tremolo fitted guitars head to head. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I've treated it roughly and pushed the hardware right to the limit and it's stood up to it fine. The only problem I've had is when one of the strings pulled itself loose, but I since discovered this was because the string hadn't been screwed in tightly enough, and wasn't a fault with the guitar itself.
I always bring backup for a floyd rose guitar, but this is a very dependable guitar all things considered. // 9
Overall Impression: It'd be very hard to replace this guitar with anything, as I truly believe it's a one of a kind this. I won't sell it any time soon, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to classic rock guitar players. Compared to stuff like an Ibanez RG, it just makes them look shoddy to me. I love Ibanez guitars, so I takes a lot for me to admit that, but it really does have a "vintage-modern" feel that so few guitars actually reach. A good buy. // 9