Price paid: $ 249.99
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 9
The sound of this guitar is very big and practically begs for distortion. While it can play clean, it is obviously at its best distorted. I have a very eclectic music style, and I'll play anything from classical to Rage Against the Machine. This guitar is definitely made for the Rage-type tones. I'll keep my Alvarez acoustic for the classical. I use the Epiphone with a great modeling amp, the Fender Mustang I. The amp is very versatile, so I could try out a large number of styles straight-away on the guitar. Because of this, the guitar can make a variety of sounds from distorted wah to clean blues. But the guitar sounds downright violent with distortion, and it fits the hard rock style very well. The pickups are surprisingly quiet for a guitar in this price range. Not much static is audible. Very nice, heavy sound overall. But it is probably not for players who prefer clean tones.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly rock, especially hard rock on this guitar. It fits perfectly. If this guitar was stolen I would probably save money and buy a more expensive Epiphone for a more versatile, clearer sound, but if I could only buy guitars under $400 this would be my top pick, easily. I compared this guitar to a Squier and this one won hands down. I love its hard, heavy sound, its thin neck and lighter body weight, its beautiful finish, and its definitive classic Les Paul appearance. I do wish it had a ROBOT self-tuning system, but then I would be spending several thousand dollars on a Gibson, so I'm fine that it doesn't. Overall, I am very pleased with this guitar. It could be priced for many hundreds more, as it is quite high quality.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this guitar would definitely withstand live playing. It is a very solid instrument, well-built and infinitely better than a similarly priced Squier that I tried as well. I replaced the strap buttons with a DiMarzio locking strap, so I do not know how good the strap buttons were. The input jack is a little loose, but thus far I have not encountered any problems with it (I have had the guitar for almost four months). This guitar is dependable, but my own paranoia would prevent me from ever using a guitar at a gig without a backup. The poly finish is spectacular! I bought the ebony model, and upon removing the cream pick guard everything is perfectly black! The neck is so dark that I thought it was ebony at first before I checked to be sure it was rosewood. I think the finish will last quite some time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is a little high compared to some of the higher-end Epiphones, but it is low enough for my needs (After all, most shred-heads probably already know to go for a Jackson or Dean). Everything was adjusted perfectly, except for a very small chip in the finish on the back of the guitar which probably resulted from shipping. I don't mind it, though, as I rarely view the back of the guitar closely enough to see it anyway. All fits well.
Features — 9
My Epiphone Les Paul 100 was made in March 2011 in China. It has 22 frets with a typical Les Paul 24.75" neck. The body is mahogany, as is the neck. It has a bolt-on neck, but contrary to the complaints of Gibson fanboys, this guitar has very long-lasting sustain. And the neck is much thinner than higher-end Epiphones and Gibsons, so it is more playable. It has a Tune-o-matic bridge, a 3-way pickup selector, and 4 gold-colored controls for volume and tone. The guitar has Alnico Classic pickups which are a little on the muddy side, but it still sounds great, especially through lots of distortion. The Grover tuners are exceptional, and they reliably hold tune for up to a week. The guitar shipped with a 10 foot cable, but I had to buy the case separately.