Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
This guitar sounds great. The pickups are not of a very high quality, and on high gain settings you won't get the clarity that you would on a higher end guitar. I've used it in several different bands and projects, including my prefered thrash metal, a metalcore/hardcore band, a punk band, nu-metal, playing blues at the local VFW, and a couple classic rock songs with some friends for youtube videos. It's versatile enough to play most of these. The fact that the neck is bolt on does detract from the sustain, but not to any extreme degree. My main complaints with this guitar are the poor pickup tone, and the bolt on neck.
Overall Impression — 8
I love this guitar, it was my first electric, and I still play it despite having several other guitars of higher quality. If I were to change anything about it, I would probably replace the pickups with something that gave clearer tone. If this guitar were lost, I do not know that I would replace it, but probably with another guitar of slighly higher quality. Maybe a Les Paul Standard, or an ESP Eclipse.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The strap buttons on this guitar are horrible, if you're lucky the guitar won't fall off while you're standing still. This is easily fixed with a set of straplocks, which is something that I install on every guitar I buy. The tuners hold in place forever, despite me beating on the strings constantly during my stint in a punk band. If it weren't for the poor pickup sound, I would use this as my number one Live guitar. Like I said earlier, the finish is very hard, and the only scratches are from belt buckels.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action on this guitar was acceptable from the factory, and easily fine tuned at the next string change. The factory strings were mediocre at best, but this is a problem that I've encountered with each of my guitars. I did have a problem with the wiring, apparently several connections were a little loose, and the rythm pickup would cut out occasionally. I fixed that by taking it to the local guitar shop last year and having all the wiring replaced.
Features — 8
This Les Paul is actually a good little guitar. Sure, it doesn't have a few of the things that a higher end Epiphone or Gibson would, such as a Maple top, Alnico pickups, or a set neck, but it's still got the Les Paul feel and sound. Instead of maple, the top is alder, and the neck is bolt-on, so the sustian and some of the finer tones are lacking. The finish is extremely durable, the only scratches so far are the almost unavoidable belt buckle scratches. It has a tune-o-matic bridge, which is, in my opinion, the most convineient bridge available as far as replacing strings. The pickups are passive, but that's to be expected with about 95% of Epiphones and Gibsons. It also carries the Standard 2 volume, 2 tone Les Paul knob configuration. The tuners are Grover, and in 3 and a half years of owning this guitar, I've not had a problem. This is not a constant though, as many reviews I've read on this guitar have reported tuner issues.