Price paid: A$ 900
Purchased from: Mega Music
Sound — 8
I play anything from jazz to pop, blues and metal, so I need something with a fairly versatile sound, and despite the limited array of pickup/tone configurations, I find the tonal range of this guitar very usable. I normally play through a 100w Marshall valvestate amp, and the combination works very well for blues music, particularly one the neck pickup. I find the Bridge pickup is a little harsh, but is very good at cutitng through a mix. In terms of noise, they are very good. For the price of the guitar, it certainly sounds very good. That said, the reasonable cost of getting upgraded pickups means I would gladly invest in a Burstbucker or an Ol 57.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar suits a range of music and playing styles, but it does take a bit of work to get the range of tones that it has on offer. It is also a very heavy beast, so a good, wide strap is a must. I've been playing for over 15 years and I have played a range of very nice guitars, including high end strats, Ibanez's and also some very high-end classical instruments and this guitar stands up well and will remain a stalwart of my line-up. I don't ever intend to sell it and if I were to lose it or it were stolen, I would definitely get it replaced (though I would be very sad, given the sentimental value I attach to it) Highly recommended guitar for anyone wanting a solid, reliable machine that can kick it with the big boys.
Reliability & Durability — 6
I gig with this guitar every couple of weeks, and while I look after my equipment, it has not let me down in a live situation. That said, The only problem I have had with reliability, has come from poorly earthed electrics. This, I have heard, is a common complaint among Epiphone guitars, and has otherwise dented a flawless record with this guitar. That said, it was an easy issue to fix and it has since held up perfectly. I do gig it without a backup and it hasn't let me down yet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was set up pretty well from factory, I haven't had to do a lot to set it to my style of playing. I typically use 11 gauge strings so I need a slightly higher action than most lead guitarists use. Most players I know would lower the action a bit from what it came as. Aside from that, the colour and binding is well applied, the neck is well set up (although a satin finish on the neck would be more comfortable, acommon complaint among les pauls) and overall it is a very well put togther guitar.
Features — 7
I got mine in 2006, I assume it was built around the same time, made in China, with the usual Les Paul fruit on it. It's a dual humbucker version with uncovered pickups. It came with grover tuners as opposed to the Gibson ones on the Gibson version of the same guitar. Mine also came with a hard case, but it was a deal that came with the place it bought it. I'm pretty sure we all know what les pauls come with right?