Sound — 8
Well back when I bought this guitar I was into classic rock, pop/punk and Indie and it's worked well for all of those styles. The bridge pickup is strong and excellent for rhythm (powerchords in particular), whilst the slightly-underpowered neck pickup responds better to clean lead runs. However my music tastes have since changed and as such I've discovered this guitar lacks the ability to play the kind of really twangy, biting chords used for fast ska. Whilst I'm willing to concede that this is the curse of all twin-humbucker equipped guitars and that I should really stop moaning about it and buy a Telecaster, I can't help but wonder that if the neck pickup was a little less like a weaker version of the bridge pickup and had some bite of it's own then I might not have such a problem. My current solution is to use my Zoom G7\.1UT pedal's EQ settings to alter its tone when I want to play bright chords with plenty of treble. It sang when I played it through a Line 6 HD147 amp at my local guitar store, but I need to use my Zoom G7 to get the most out of it with my Marshall MG100DFX at home. Luckily that amp has become something of a scapegoat so I'm just going to blame the Crafter's reduced performance with the amp on the Marshall's comparative lack of tone.
Overall Impression — 8
I initially set out to buy an Epiphone Les Paul Studio but after comparing it at the guitar store to this, the Crafter Constantine DX, I decided that I would be getting more for my money with the latter. They sounded more or less the same (similar body woods, set necks and twin Alnico humbuckers) but the Crafter had a quilted maple top, binding and unique abalone inlays (see features). I also preferred the slightly thinner body and the PRS-style headstock, as opposed to the ridiculously large Boating Oar the Epiphone has. Considering the quality of its looks and construction, with a pickup upgrade I see no reason why it wouldn't rival a Gibson. I'm writing this review because nobody seems to be aware of the existence of these guitars (it's not one of their budget 'Cruiser' models) and I'm not even sure if they're for retail in the UK anymore. As much as I would like to be the only person in the world Who owns one, I consider it my duty to inform the general public that there is another alternative to the Epiphone Les Paul models. What can I say? I'm a philanthropist.
Reliability & Durability — 9
A dependable guitar, and one that I've relied on for my GCSE music performance exams. I have had not one problem with it since its purchase and at this point I don't expect there to be any in the near future either. The gold hardware may have oxidised to the point that the bridge floats in mid-air when I remove it to change strings and clean the fretboard, but that is a minor cosmetic flaw in what is otherwise a solid guitar. The set-neck joint is strong and I'm yet to break a string owing to the nut or bridge saddles. Also one might want to consider strap locks, as the buttons are fairly small.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
For the low, low price of 250 (that's about $500 USD) the quilted maple top and body and neck binding are superb inclusions. However there are a few flaws which let this otherwise stunning guitar down: Whatever has been used to stain the body has managed to seep into the body binding in a few places. Whilst this is really only visible upon close inspection, it does detract from the feeling that you're actually holding a PRS Singlecut. The gold hardware has also done a fantastic job of oxidising over the year and a half that I've owned it, but it's surprised me by at least not rubbing off. Make no mistake, this guitar is a looker, and it also has solid controls and stable (it non-locking) tuners to it's credit. After getting the action lowered and the nut reset (a personal preference) I am still yet to try a Les Paul-style guitar, including my friend's Gibson LP Studio, that plays better.
Features — 8
2004 Korean-built Les Paul copy, 22 jumbo frets and a rosewood fretboard, bound mahogany neck and body, with an amber quilted maple top the on body and headstock, 2 passive Crafter alnico humbuckers with a 3-way toggle switch and 2 volume and tone controls, gold hardware, non-locking tuners and a Tune-O-Matic bridge, D'Addario strings of unspecified gauge, possibly extra light, no accessories, 24 and 3/4" (629mm) scale, coil tap and locking tuners would've been nice, but I really like the inlays (an abalone dot with a mother-of-pearl border) and I'm yet to see anything like them on another guitar.