AL-2500 review by Agile

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 7
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 6
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 6.6 (91 votes)
Agile: AL-2500
4

Purchased from: Rondo Music

Sound — 10
Sound is clean and Vintage, in a very good way. The pickups are great, especially at this price point. I have a Duncan 59 on another guitar and these things sound very similar. They're slightly higher output, and a little bass heavier, so as a result not as crisp in the bass compared to the Duncan. But you have to do a back to back comparison to hear much difference. I'm trying to find out if I can buy another set for a project guitar, I like them that much. I mostly do home recording through similated amps and effects, but have a small Marshall amp also that does a reasonable simulation of it's big brothers. Plug this thing into that Marshall and it's an instant 30 year flashback, but again, in a good way. The original '59 LP was a classic because of it's versatility. This thing does a good job of replicating that functionality. It even sounds good as a rythme guitar with both pickups selected. Not even all the real Gibson LPs can make that claim.

Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for 35 years and have a dozen guitars ranging from American standards to imports of every style. There are a lot of great import guitars out there in the $200-300 price range nowadays. Some may even be better quality than this unit. But if you really want that Les Paul look and vibe, at this price (or 2X this price) there is no competition. To do over, I'd consider an Agile 3000-3500 series, in the hopes of improving slightly on material quality, especially if I was gigging, but that's 70% more money. And sound-wise this guitar is great. For home studio work, practice or just hobby playing, this thing is impressive.

Reliability & Durability — 7
Finish is very good, but long term durability will depend on how well the cheaper quality wood holds up. At the price I wouldn't sweat taking it on the road, and it would probably hold up gigging, but I'd have a ready back up.

Action, Fit & Finish — 6
In my opinion the best oriental import guitars right now come from China. Fit and finish is amazing on those instruments. Unfortunately their prices are going up as a result. But this Korean make is still pretty impressive, and still cheap. Factory set-up was not perfect, but not bad. Frets are very nicely dressed. That gets high marks in my book. There are some imperfections, of course, and they aren't hard to find. Slight coloration differences in finish show up on the light colored binding, not bad though. The hardware is not spectacular but it is acceptable or easily replaced and it was all mounted appropriately. My biggest concern, though, is the quality of the woods used. For $200 there have to be compromises and this is the biggest one I've found. The body truly is solid mahogany, but the grain swirls all over the place. This mahogany was taken from around the base of a large branch (I know wood), and in places on the edge of the guitar the grain actually runs perpendicular to the face of the guitar. The "cherry" finish is deep enough that these flaws don't jump out at you, but they are there, and they are definitely a construction flaw. And on that note; Since the neck is maple on this guitar (not mahogany) when they painted it with the translucent red used on the mahogany body the resulting color is different. It's more orange-ish red than red. Not a terrible match, but an obvious color contrast going from neck to body. Now the good news: the maple cap on the arched top is amazing. nicely bookmatched, and it really has a nice arch to it. The finish is impeccible, and while it's listed as "B grade" maple, the grain looks very good. I got the cherry sunburst with flamed maple top. Between that, the trapeziod inlays on the neck, and the cream colored hardware (all substantial and solid), it's easy to imagine you're holding a priceless '59 Les Paul. Of course the horn around the cutout of Agile's doesn't extend as far or have the point of a real LP, and the headstock is different. But from a few feet away, it's eerie how similar this guitar is to that beautiful Vintage '59.

Features — 8
2005 Agile 2000, cherry sunburst, flamed maple top, made in Korea. The dimensions, controls, scale are all standard Les Paul, but it has Grover tuners, albeit only 12:1 ratio. Fretboard is very similar to Epi Les Pauls, but the neck is not as thick (deep), which in my opinion makes it more playable. Still has a solid feel to it, though. And this guitar is dense and heavy, really heavy compared to my strats. But that's a Les Paul, and the resulting sustain is wonderful.

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