Price paid: $ 599
Purchased from: Professional Musician's Center of Des Moines
Sound — 9
This guitar is definitely made for those Who want a more rich tone. I'm a bit of a mellow player, comparative style to Joe Satriani, Dan The Man, and Carlos Santana. The rhythm pickup that came with it was VERY warm and mellow. And when I say warm, I mean that even with a metal distortion and a little reverb, you can get some very pretty tones out of it, it's not a shredding machine, more like something that the effect junkies out there will love. The bridge pickup actually surprised me. I actually thought about not changing it out. The distortion is absolutely gorgeous on that pickup, somewhat punchy, with a very throaty mid. Metal players may not like this too much, but any other sort of distortion wizard will love it. In clean is where this guitar really shines. The rhythm sounds like some of your higher end PRS guitars, very hard sound to explain, but it's very rich and the chording sounds really good, considering it has such a full tone. The bridge pickup in clean is what will get a lot of you funk and ska players worked up. Every note is punctual and clear, definitely required for anybody Who uses a wah.
Overall Impression — 9
So I'm on to year 6 in my playing, and I'm starting to realize what kind of a guitarist I want to be. This has taken a very long time, but my Les Paul has ridden it out with me. I own an Austin Strat (if you play funk, buy this guitar), my Epi Paul, and my Gibson ES-335. Now, my music is varried alot, and I mean a lot. Satriani-esque major and natural minor chorus lines, all the way to transposed Pan Flute music. Each of these 3 guitars contributes to every song I play in some way, one that's quick and punchy (my Austin), my Epi (for the sad, slower, more minor and harmonic movements), and the 335 (a good balance between the other two.) My single pedals and my PodXT make this baby sing, and I know I'd buy it again for sure. I suggest that if you are very technical and are looking for a "perfect sound", then this guitar is great. It has all the features of a Gibson, and is easily customizable. I mean, I changed the pickups, tuners, glow-gobbed the inlays (putting a permanent glow-in-the-dark finish on them), modified the bridge with a small pully system to work out a sound that replicates bending. So know that you can, literally, turn this guitar into anything you want. So, if you don't have the money for a Gibson, buy this. If you do have the money for the Gibson, by this anyway, because it'll be cheaper to have Gibson equip put in it anyway than buying a Gibson. Don't worry about the logo. Most people have no idea what the difference is anyway!
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar, for any of you little dudes out there, is very heavy, which is expected of most Les Pauls, but it seemed to me this one was especially heavy. Don't get me wrong, that meant that the sustain was beautiful, but it can get very old swinging that thing around for a 3 hour stage performance. Especially when you have a broken Strap-lok. It should outlive me, that's for sure. Very solid, and the bridge (which I usually have the most problems with in a guitar) is burried in this thing. Really deep. which makes tweeking or modding with it very difficult. But it really is a very good guitar that should last you a long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The factory set up on the action and truss rod were my biggest complaints with this guitar. They totally just threw out random string-to-fingerboard measurements with every string. one would be 1/32 of an inch off, another would be 3/64, and still another would be 1/16. Very annoying! It took me forever to measure and gauge them just right. Plus, the truss rod was barely securing anything! That was a good 40 minutes. But in the end, I set it up the way I wanted. The finish, wow, it far outshines almost any other finish I own or have ever played. Gibson should use this paint job more, that way I can get my 335 prettied up without having to spend on the paint job. But I truly love this paint job, especially for my classier gigs. I'm just giving it a 7 because I believe the factory could have saved me a little trouble in adjustments. Fix those and this guitar is a real Beauty!