Price paid: $ 430
Purchased from: eBay (Brand New)
Sound — 8
As I said before, the pickups are quite lacking of what Epiphone usually puts in. I compared it with my '95 goldtop that has Burstbucker Pro's, and this just doesn't have the warmth and brightness. I play rock and some light metal (Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, GN'R, Velvet Revolver, Frampton etc.) and its just not as overall bright and powerfull for playing this stuff, but new pickups are on there way!
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is awesome for anything pretty much. The 3 pickups are awesome, and really expand that LP tone to even farther reaches. This is now officially my nicest guitar, after 7 years of playing, she's a nice additon, and one I shoulda had all along. From the stunning looks to the easy playability, its a black beauty that will sustain its beauty and impression for as long as they make it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I think this guitar will be there for a long time. Its nice and thick, and the black doesn't show dings very well, which is nice. Its solid and firm, although a little heavy, but thats ok. No blemishes on the finish yet, even after torturing it. The gold might fade a little, but just adds to that Vintage 50's look that I was looking for all along.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action was pretty screwed when I got it, but it's not its fault (climate changes and rough shipping) I set it up and its pretty straight and low, a little buzzy on the low end, but nothing to be concerned with. It's very easy to play and is greatly comfortable all around. I also had to adjust the pickups, they were litteraly all the way down, below the rings. The finish is nice, no flaws whatsoever, and is quite stunning with the gold hardware. After you adjust it, it'll be one of the best players you'll ever try!
Features — 8
I have on my hands a nice little Black Beauty Les Paul. It's a 2004 that I got new off eBay. It's Korean made, like my other Les Paul Standard Goldtop, got 22 frets, with block MOP inlays. Nice neck, a little fatter than most, but still comfortable. I'm pretty sure its mahogony, and the finish is a beautiful ebony laquer with gold hardware. I would think it would have a 5-way swith or push-pull pots or something, but just comes with the 3-way so pickup configuration is limited. It's got 3 gold hb's, which are kind of sub-par of what Epiphone usually puts in. There not as bright and clear as the Gibson's, and are alot worse than I expected. I went ahead and bought Gibson 57 classic plussus for the neck and middle, and a SD SH-11 for the bridge. Aside from the electronics, this baby is truly a Black Beauty.