Purchased from: Rondo Music, Union Nj. Purchased Thru Their Web Site - Www. Rondomusic. Net
Sound — 10
Acoustically, the guitar produces a very beefy tone. It's very loud and you can feel the resonance thru the entire body and neck. It sounds very solid. The pickups seem to pick up every subtle nuance of play. Different pick attacks translate very well into different tones, unlike most stock pickups on lower priced guitars. They are very sensitive and responsive and worthy of keeping. The stock pickups sound a LOT like Duncan 59s. They give the guitar a nice warm Vintage tone that many Les Paul players covet. They will cover the entire gamut from the all Vintage styles of music to modern rock quite easily. This guitar has an unmistakable Les Paul tone. I run the guitar thru a Peavey 5150 212 combo, and it sounds great. Due to the lackluster clean channel on the 5150, I usually also run a chorus pedal. But this guitar produced a very sweet clean tone without any help of chorus or other effects. The clean tone is very nice. A little Drive can break up the sound well enough to get a good Vintage, but ballsy overdrive tone (AC/DC, eat your heart out). High gain settings make it scream for lead, and give it a nice throaty rythm crunch. The down side is that the pickups aren't the best for very heavy or modern metal. I play mostly metal (I'm the frontman in a Metallica tribute band, plus play stuff like Slayer, Anthrax, Pantera, etc ), so the 'Vintage' pickups can't pull that type of tone off quite to the extent I would like. The pickups will eventually be swapped out with EMGs. I was fully expecting this when I ordered the guitar though. It handles older 80s metal quite well (old Metallica & Anthrax, Iron Maiden, G N' R. etc), but comes up a bit short for the more high-powered modern metal. The guitar itself playes very well for modern metal, but the pickups aren't able to deliver the output required to get the 'optimal' metal tones. It gets heavy and crunchy, but comes up a little short in that department. It's no fault of the guitar though, and I can't take points off for that. By any means, this is no show stopper and shouldn't be used as an excuse to not buy this guitar. When considering the price of this guitar, even factoring in the price of some EMGs or Duncans still makes this guitar a great buy for the price.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playign guitar for jsut under 18 years at the time of writing this. In that time, I've owned about 40 guitars or so. My current arsenal includes a 1984 custom shop Lado Earth 2000-3, a 1992 custom shop ESP Explorer, and a Warmoth Flying V. I play thru a Peavey 5150 212 combo. The majority of what I play is Metallica, since I'm the frontman in a Metallica tribute band called Sad But True (http://www.sadbuttrue-band.com). The majority of the other stuff I play is along the lines of Slayer, Pantera, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, and Slipknot. This axe is solid enough that once I replace the pickups, it will easily become one of my most used guitars, despite it costing less than 10% of what my 2 custom guitars cost. It has this certain feel and sound to it that just makes me want to play it. The guitar is perfectly suited for almsot any type of music. I would strongly recommend this guitar to anyone, and would defiantely buy another should anything happen to this one (short of a surprise manufacturer's defect). After purchase, I brought it to our local Gibson dealer under the guise of looking for a case, but really wanted to compared it to Epiphones. I compared it to the Epiphone LP Studio, Standard, and Custom. Both myself and the store owner tried them all, and we BOTH came to the (easy) conclusion that it easily surpassed any of the Epiphones. He expected that I paid over $1000 Cdn for this guitar, and was completely dumbfounded when I informed him of the $360 US price tag. Had I not brought the invoice in with me, he probably wouldn't have believed me. Even when compared to the Epiphone Elitist Les Paul Standard, it held its own very well. These two were more evenly matched. I think the feel of the neck was marginally better on the Elitist, but the action and playability was about the same as the Agile. The bridge was far more solid, and the finish was much nicer on the Elitist too. The Elitist seemed to have a little extra oomph in the sustain department too. But for sound (with the stock pickups), the Agile killed it. I hate the sound of the cheap "made by Gibson USA" pickups on the Elitist. The Agile pickups sounded much nicer and fuller. The store owner also compared the sound of the Wilkinson pickups to Duncan 59s. And the Epi Elitist sells for $1500 Cdn. Needless to say, I'm extremely pleased with the performance of this Agile even though it didn't quite match up. And that's even sweeter considering the Elitist is 2. 5 times the price. So in conclusion, if anyone is considering any import Les Paul clone, be it from Epiphone, PRS, LTD EC-400AT, or others, you should seriously consider this guitar first. You get a whole lot of bang for surprisingly little buck. It's built from quality materials, displays excellent workmanship, and is a compelte pleasure to play. I'm very picky about my guitars, and I can say that this is a definate keeper, and when I'm done modding it (Sperzel locking tuners, Earvana compensated nut, TonePros bridge and tailpiece, EMG pickups), this will be a top-notch metal machine that will bring my countless hours of enjoyment for years to come.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I can't honestly comment on this too much since I've had the guitar for less than 1 week. But from my 18 years of playing, and 14 years or so of doign guitar tech work, everything seems very solid and well built. The finish seems pretty hard and deep. I think it would take quite a bit of trying to wear out the finish in any significan manner. The oversized strap buttons would work well for anyone, although I immediately swapped them out for strap locks. It looks like a well-built guitar that can last for years, but only time will tell for sure. The hardware looks on par with what you'd get on a high end Epiphone. The tuners are Grover 18: 1, and the bridge has the same markings on the underside (couldn't make out exactly what it said) as an Epiphone Les Paul. A Gotoh bridge is available on the AL-3500 model (the 'step up' model from the 3000), and would certainly help this guitar as well, but I don't forsee any problems with the existing hardware. The guitar stays in tune very well. I would never think of gigging with only one guitar, but if I had to, I think this guitar would hold its own quite well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The factory setup was actually not bad at all. There was minor fret buzzing on the low E and A strings at the 3rd fret when fretting the 1st and 2nd frets. After settling in to its new environment, the neck did shift a bit and I had to tweak the truss rod to compensate. I now have perfect 2 mm action on low E, and 1.5 mm on the high E with no buzzing anywhere. I've inspected this guitar very closely. I had often noticed small imperfections in fretboard binding and such with other 'comparable' brands such as Epiphone. Often, there is light rotary tool scoring on the edge of the fretboard that occurred when the binding was ground down. There are no such flaws on this instrument. The binding is perfect. The jumbo frets, all hand-filed, are perfect, and nicely contoured to blend in withthe edges of the fretboard and binding. There are no rough edges that catch your hand like on so many other import guitars. The only down side is something shared with all bone nuts. The bone can be a little coarse and offers some resistance to the wound strings, making precise tuning a little mroe difficult. But this is an issue with bone nuts in general, and are in no way specific to this guitar. The fix for this is to remove the strings fromt he nut and 'color' the grooves with lead (graphite) pencil to lubricate the nut. Once I did this, tuning was improved drastically. The bridge pickup was properly adjsuted, but I found the neck pickup was set a little low. This was nothing that a few twists with a a screwdriver didn't fix in less than 10 seconds. Overall, I would say that in mny 18 years of playing, I've never seen this type of attention to detail in any instrment in this price range. You don't usually see this type of quality I'm the majority of Korean-built guitars, and definately NEVER in guitars of even double the proce of this instrment. In my humble opinion, the quality is on par with the LTD Deluxe (1000) series.
Features — 10
This is a brand new 2004 Agile AL-3000 (Les Paul Copy) made in Korea. I got the black model, although they also make them in many traditional Les Paul type finishes. It features a 24. 75 inch scale neck, 22 jumbo frets, mounted on an ebony fingerboard decked out with beautiful real abalone trapezoidal inlays. The neck is a 1 piece mahogany with a nice profile - thinner than a real baseball bat Les Paul neck, but beefy enough to feel substantial. The 1 piece solid mahogany body has an arch-top maple cap and a fantastic deep black finish. It's topped off wil abslutely flawless cream colored triple binding around the front of the body (no binding on the rear), a while, single-bound neck, and a triple bound headstock. It comes with a decent quality (although could be better) Tune-O-Matic bridge with stop tailpiece, Wilkinson Alnico V covered humbuckers, hand-cut bone nut, and Grover 18:1 tuners. Included is the truss rod tool and a replacement graphite nut if you don't like the bone nut. Nothing else is included. You can order the case from Rondo Music for $60 US, and they will ship the guitar in the case, so you only pay shipping on 1 item.