Price paid: $ 269.95
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 5
I bought this instrument because I love the Les Paul body style but needed a guitar that could handle low tunings without issues. My band plays in GDGCEAD and this guitar holds tuning very well. Out of the box this guitar sounds like shit. Do no expect to plug it in and have an acceptable tone. In addition to that awful flab, the pickups are pretty low output. Leads, harmonics, and pinch harmonics take a lot of work to get out. The fact that it is A) solid mahogany B) most likely de-tuned (why else would you buy a 27 inch scale!) and C) likely has larger gauge stings on it all add up to a very dark and flabby tone. I ran a frequency Spectrum analyzer on the raw DI signal of this guitar and everything from 500hz and below looks like it is boosted about 5-10db. If you have an EQ pedal you can run in front of your amp to attenuate those nasty low frequencies you will be able to get a decent sound out of it. I run this guitar into an ISP Decimator -> OD808 -> 6505+ -> Marshall 1960 lead cab. It took some time, but with tweaking I got it sound good and chunky while retaining clarity. If you really want this guitar to sound good though, I would strongly recommend a new set of pickups. After talking to the guys at Bareknuckle pickups I'll be ordering a set of the Painkillers to throw in it. Duncan Distortions would probably work well also, and possibly blackouts if you wanted.
This instrument is muddy as hell. Prepare to tweak, buy an EQ pedal, or upgrade the pickups to get a good tone out of it.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall I give this guitar a 7. It has all the features I would expect to see in a Les Paul style guitar, plus the extended scale length I need to effectively de-tune for my progressive metal outfit. My main 6 string is an Epi Les Paul that I completely replaced the electronics and hardware on. I kind of see this guitar in the same light. For me it is a nice solid piece of wood I can use as a template to build from. It has the sustain and dark sound of a mahogany body, the feel of a Les Paul neck, and it looks really metal.
It sounds like a-s, but that is primarily due to the incredibly bad stock pickups. The wood is fine and is supposed to be a little dark. But these pickups make me cringe. As previously stated, I'll be replacing them with something with higher output and brightness ASAP! If this thing was lost/stolen I would definitely replace it. For $270 you get a great piece of wood and solid hardware. The pickups are a project, but hey, when you pay less than $300, you can afford the upgrade! Happy Shredding!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is a beast. It weighs in around 10lbs and if I needed to fend off a hoard of zombies I would grab it and start swinging. I've dropped it once with no issue. The hardshell case I bought for it is prety good quality. The pots are fine and there are no issues with the electronics. The bridge is solid and the grover tuners are excellent. Until I can afford one, I fully plan on gigging without a backup. The finish seems good enough to last a while, but I'm sure my incredibly sweaty nature will end up ruining it after enough playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
While this guitar would have been playable out of the box, I still took the time to get it set up by a professional. The action was definitely high, and the intonation wasn't perfect. The pickups were also set up a little bit low for my taste. As far as flaws go, there was one cosmetic issue, but it did not affect the playability of the instrument.
Features — 7
- Made in Korea, 2012
- Les Paul body
- Solid Mahogany body with arch top
- Set Maple neck with Rosewood fretboard
- Tune-o-matic bridge
- Flat Black finish
- 27 inch scale length
- 22 jumbo frets
- Wax potted passive ceramic Cepheus pickups
- Two volume and tone controls with a 3-way selector
- Die cast grover tuners
- I also bought the hard case with this guitar.
The guitar has the basic features you expect to see on a Les Paul, nothing more and nothing less. The finish is beautiful if you enjoy flat black. The rosewood fretboard and jumbo frets play nicely. The bridge is fine, and the grover tuners perform well.