i play a lot of metal, but also want a nice guitar for regular classic rock, stuff like that. whats ur opinion on epiphones? are they actually a copy of the gibson, or are they just a les paul but not $1500? i was going to get the custom black beauty LP
Epiphones are really cool guitars for their price. The Les Paul Custom is a good guitar for the price. I think on that guitar, the sound quality is a lot better than the paint job quality, it may have just been the one I used though, but sound is what matters most though.

I'm interested in looking at the Epiphone Slash model thats comming out in a month.
The Standard is much cheaper than the Custom or Black Beauty (at least here in Sweden, they cost twice as much), if it is the same in your case, then get the Standard.
I think the plain top is the best deal. Epis are quite decent, though in my opinion are not perfect replicas of Gibsons. If you want a Gibson buy a Gibson, but nothing wrong with a good Epi.