Purchased from: Trade on Craig's List
Sound — 10
I play Blues and Classic Rock and despite it's eerie appearance, this guitar can handle in my opinion, any genre of music besides Heavy Metal which this guitar was obviously designed for. I play this through a DigiTech RP-50 effects processor and a Vintage, USA, made 1989 Peavey Bandit 112 solo series 80 watt combo, which makes for a delightful combination of tone. Even without the RP-50, this guitar sounds great going straight into my amp, although if I put the gain on high, there is some hum which I easily rectified by putting some shielding inside the pickup and control compartments of the guitar. Some folks have complained about the stock alnico pickups being muddy but I don't find any problems with them at all. I have my guitar set up according to Gibson's standards and this baby gives me nothing but tone and sustain.
Overall Impression — 10
I've been playing 40 years and have never owned a Les Paul, so you could say that, this is my cherry guitar as far as these go. I've been mostly a Fender Strat guy all of that time and am now wondering why I didn't make the move to one of these earlier. If anything happened to this, I would definitely go out and get another one without even thinking about it. To me, these are a great deal for a beginner or somebody on a budget who wants a Les Paul but who doesn't have 2 grand to spend on a Gibson. I love the fact that it doesn't weigh a ton and that it has tone and sustain to it, especially for my music, which is Classic Rock and Blues. I don't see any reason to change anything else on it other than the bridge. This is just one bad ass guitar folks.
Reliability & Durability — 10
In the short space of a few months, this has now become my number one go to guitar. The strap buttons on it are very solid and the weight is very comfortable for a Les Paul, which is a relief for somebody of my age (54). I've already have used this at several gigs with my band as the only guitar and it has held up very well with no problems at all. The guys in my band love the sound that this baby puts out and it's very visually appealing as well. This is despite the stock bridge, one well made product. Considering that mine is almost 10 years old, it's held up very well and I can see this lasting a very long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I got this used in a trade so, it was obvious that the previous owner did not take care of it very well. I did have to do a intonation check and tighten up the Grover tuners. One thing that I did, was to get rid of the stock Epiphone bridge and replace it with a brand new, Graph-Tech NV-2 6 MM locking bridge which vastly improved not only the tuning stability but also added more tone and sustain as well. I did also have to adjust the pickup and string height as well which I did according to Gibson's standards. Other than that, everything else was fine on this.
Features — 10
Mine is a 2004 made in Korea model which has 22 medium jumbo frets and I think, is a 1960's neck design and not the 1950's as some folks have said. It has the Korean made, Grover tuners along with a white Celtic Cross outline on the headstock along with a Roman numeral XII on the 12th fret. There are no inlays on the neck but instead are, dot markers along the side of the neck. The pickups are Epiphone stock Alnico Classic Humbuckers and the electronics include 2 Volume and 2 Tone controls with a 3 way pickup switch. It also has a tune-o-matic bridge and tailpiece which is all in Black along with the Matte Black finish on the guitar. The wood is mahogany which sustains very well.