Price paid: $ 720
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I play a variety of music, from classic rock to jazz to straight blues. This guitar can do anything. it's amazing how versatile the three pickups are. I've been milking every tone I could want. They can sometimes get a little muddy when run with heavy distortion on a miced amp. I've played it with quite a few amps including a Marshall JVM Tube Combo, a Trace Elliot Super Tramp, and a Marshall DFX Half Stac, and every time it's sounded just as amazing. The only effect I use outside of reverb is an Ibanez Weeping Demon wah-pedal, and it handles the outputs very well.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is the best Epi you can buy. I've been playing for four-years, and this is my third guitar. It rocks my other Les Paul (Studio Chameleon) and my (now gone) Ibanez RG120. Its as close to aGibson as you can get and, in my humble opinion, even sounds better than the Gibson Worn and Standard Studios. If this guitar was lost or stolen, even broken, I'd run to the bank, take out 800.00 bucks and run to the nearest store that had it. I absolutely love the diversity of sounds lying in the pickups. It's a step above every other mid-range price guitar. I chose this guitar over an Epi Firebird Studio, an Epi Slash Les Paul Goldto and a Gibson Worn Studio Les Paul. I don't have the slightest regret.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar survived the death of my first band and the formation of my current kit. Its survived school-shows, small gigs, and parties and shows no signs of fatigue. I've given it a beating, and it doesn't show that at all. As I mentioned earlier, it's built like a tank. It's my main guitar and I've never needed a back-up. The only problem is that my Reunion Blues strap can sometimes slide off the top knob, but that happens infrequently.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar came from the factory and was set-up pretty poorly. The neck pickup was wired incorrectly and lost all sound. It was easily remedied, however, and I was able to rewire the pickup and get everything sounding great. The action was fantastic. The pickups sat at a great height. The only part I didn't care for was the pickgaurd. I quickly removed it from the guitar completely. This is merely a personal preference (I played an Epiphone Les Paul Studio before this, and it had no pickgaurd. I was used to not having one) and doesn't affect the overall tone at all. The finish is built like a tank, as is the mahogany body. No chipping anywhere, and the gold is still great, which is very surprising.
Features — 10
It's a 2006 Les Paul Black Beauty 3 made in Japan, I believe. The slim-tapered neck (22 frets) feels great. The rosewood fretboard felt great and looked amazing with the block inlays. Standard 3-aside tuners stay in tune well. The gold hardware looks great against the body, and they have yet to even scratch after 7 months of hard labor. The three Alnico Classic humbuckers look and sound awesome.