Price paid: $ 640.5
Purchased from: Regent Guitars
Sound — 9
This model is not reknown for its versatility like its oppisition the Fender Stratocastic, however many users will find that the Black Beauty is as versatile as it needs to be. I personally use a multi effects pedal therefore the sound can be modified is required, but even with the most basic compression or gain this model does back some firepower especially with both 3 way pickup selector set to middle, as the Alcino Classics produce very clear and warm sound. Generally you'll find that this Model will suit any musical genre. I've used it for mainly rock style of play, but I have found that it can produce equally good results playing jazz, blues and country.
Overall Impression — 9
Generally, this is a quality purchase, especially considering the price. The basic bonus associated with all Epiphone models is that you're getting a Gibson without paying the price (well almost) and this is a pure example of thay rule.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The Black Beauty is pretty durable by comparison. It does however suffer from some slight poor craftmanship on the screw front as the threads on the body of which the screw sat that held the pic-guard unfortunately became blunt and therefore had to be replaced with a larger screw. That aside, the general reliability and craftmanship is pretty sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
In my experience Epiphone models do not deserve the cheap label that they're given because they are constructed in Asia and not in the US like their Gibson conterparts. Its factory set up was next to none, not a single fault was appearent on upon its arrival. The finish, bindings, fret placements, quality of material and hardware was all implemented to the highest level of quality, in-fact if you were to replace the end with a Gibson one, I would imagine few would notice. However, despite the quality of the end product there is one minor complaint to be made, but is aimed at Les Pauls in general, and thats the body shape can be a little bulky. A few of the high-end Gibson and Epiphone models have a curved bottom now which expells this design flaw, but I were to remove marks for this I would appear patantic.
Features — 10
This model is a Stardard Custom Les Paul design, with one obvious exception, the additional third pickup. Made in 2003, this model has a 22 pearl block inlayed fret neck on a stardard curved Les paul body made from Mahogany and Alder. It's black finish along with cream bindings and gold hardware are what provide this model its well deserved title of 'the tuxedo'. The model is infact a replica of a 59 Gibson model of the same name, aimed at guitars who desired a more deep and rythmic sound. The design of the Epiphone model is practically identical to the Gibson original featuring the dame Tune-O-Matic bridge system and Grover machine heads, which are also found on almost all Les Paul models. However, the less than usual feature of this model is its hardware configuration. Featuring two Epiphone Alcino Classics pickups at the neck and middle positions and an Epiphone Alcino Hot at the bridge position of which are connected to a 3 way pickup selector. The rythm setting channels just the neck pickup, the middle setting channels both the neck and middle, and treble setting channels the bridge pickup. Both of these pickup models are based on the orinigal Les Paul designed Humbuckers found on the majority of the Gibson line, the only difference the Epiphone Models are produced in Asis, where as the Gibson's in Nashville TN USA. However if you were to listen to both, you wouldn't be able to notice much difference at all, do don't feel you're getting less for paying less.