Price paid: $ 520
Purchased from: Rondo Music
Sound — 10
Sounds like a Vintage Gibson LP. I play classic rock, so this guitar is perfect. However, my 100 watt Marshall hybrid Valvestate amp does not work well with this type of guitar when you use the on board EQ and distortion effects. However, when I play this guitar through my Rockman rack, the sound and tone is pure joy. The AL-3500 has about the same tonal versatility of a Gibson LP Standard. It's mostly warm and rich, with just a slight amount of bright overtone. The harmonics are excellent.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing for 35 years and I can honestly say this $520 Agile is as good as a $2500 Gibson LP Standard. The build and playability are about the same. The quality is comparable and, in many ways, better with the Agile. I went to a local Guitar Center and lined up various Gibson and Epi LPs (along with one used Vintage LP). I was shocked at the less-than-impressive quality of the new Gibsons. This Agile meets and exceeds what I saw at the guitar store. The only difference was the quality of the grain on the maple cap. Gibson uses a better grade and tends to match it a bit better. However, the Gibsons also have cheaper looking plastics and more finish flaws. I was surprised to see better attention to detail in the high end Epi's. On the other hand, I did really like the Vintage Gibson LP. It was much better than the new Gibson and Epi LPs (just like I remember them). Overall, you can't beat the value of the Agile AL-3500 when you look at the quality of the woods, the quality of the construction and the quality of the hardware used on the instrument. When you combine these features with the excellent tone and playability, it doesn't make any sense to pay $2500 + for a name. Personally, I'm just interested in playing a good guitar - I don't care who makes it! Besides, most guitars are carved out by computer controlled machines anyway! These days, it's the finish work that requires good workmanship and attention to detail.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is as durable looking as any other high quality guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
This guitar is only available through Rondo Music. They didn't bother prepping (or checking) the guitar before shipping it. It arrived with a broken string, oxidized pup covers and frets and a faulty tone pot. Considering the way the guitar came packed (a simple double walled box), the tone pot may have been knocked. It works, but turning it hard to full treble causes the pot to short. The other pots are nice, smooth and noiseless. Despite these initial annoyances, the guitar is incredibly well built, with quality woods and an excellent finish. The real 3/4" flame maple cap is only AA grade. The two piece tiger grain cap was not matched closely. There is more tiger grain on one half, compared to the other half. However, the stain and finish are absolutely beautiful. The mahogany set neck and the ebony fretboard are both well crafted and a joy to play. The real abalone inlay is a great bonus. The tuners (and all other hardware) are nickle plated and very good quality (to be expected with Grover tuners, Gotoh bridge).