Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 5
The sound is just what you'd expect from a Les Paul-warm, thick, and with a boatload of sustain-but with one caveat: the pickups. The pickups are Epi stock Alnicos, and, to be frank, they sound like crap; not very high output, yet not Vintage sounding either, they're more just. But even with those limitations, this is a fairly versatile guitar. I play this through a DigiTech Bad Monkey OD into a Sunn T50C all-tube combo. On the clean channel with the neck pickup I can get a nice, bassy, RHCP-like clean tone, while the distortion channel with the gain at it's lowest is very reminiscent of SRV. I can get some good chugga-chugga metal rhythm on the neck pickup, but it still doesn't have enough output, and is far too loose for leads (the Bad Monkey helps with this somewhat).
Overall Impression — 7
I'm mostly a shred/power metal guy, but I was a total noob when I got this, and was more into classic rock. I bought it because it was a Les Paul, and I though all Les Pauls were automatically cool (and also because my friend got one). This would probably match my style better if it had good pickups, but I still wish I had gotten an Ibanez (an S520 will be my next guitar). I really love the thick, sustainful LP sound, but again, better pickups would enhance this oh so much more. But that awesome tone comes with a price; this guitar is obscenely heavy (upwards of 10 pounds), and kills my back and neck if I play standing for more than a half hour. Something I wish it had was body contours. I can never get my hand into a good picking position, whether standing or sitting. If this guitar was stolen, I would not buy another one, there are much better guitars for the price than this one.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will easily withstand Live playing (it's probably thick enough to stop bullets), and all the hardware is solid. Strangely, the stock strap buttons are rock solid, when you consider that even high-end guitars often have loose ones. The finish is tough as well (it has the Standard belt rash and pick scratches, but that's normal). I would never gig with it without a backup, as that's a stupid thing to do with any guitar, and not because I feel that it will crap out on me. There is one exception to this though; lately, the bridge pickup, the one I use the most, has been randomly cutting in volume when I Switch to it. If I Switch to the neck and then back, it usually fixes it, but this is yet another problem with Epiphone pickups.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
When I got the guitar, the neck looked like a strung longbow, with action to match. The pickups were much too far away from the strings as well. The intonation was off, but not by much. After a simple action, intonation, and truss rod adjustment, this guitar now plays fairly nice, with only one hitch: If I bend the high E string at the 18th fret, it frets out. There was nothing wrong with the finish, apart from a tiny, invisible-except-in-sunlight ding on the top at the end of the cutaway.
Features — 8
This is an '05 or '06 not sure which, made in China Epiphone Les Paul Classic. It has a solid Mahogany body, with a beautiful quilted maple top, and a transparent black finish. The set neck is Mahogany, with a bound rosewood fingerboard, 22 medium frets, and abalone trapezoid inlays. It has the Standard Les Paul setup of two humbuckers, two tone and two volume controls, three-way pickup selector, and Tune-O-Matic bridge with stoptail. The tuners are Grover sealed.