Price paid: $ 988
Purchased from: Steve Forrest Music
Sound — 8
I play heavy metal. With a change of pickups, this guitar suits my playing extremely well. I left the original Alnico neck humbucker in the guitar, because I'm in love with the way it sounds, clean or dirty. I use this guitar with an Ashton GA100H solid state half stack and no effects. When I got the guitar, it was very hard to play Heavy Metal with, due to the microphonic feedback produced by the bridge and neck humbuckers, so I had the bridge humbucker replaced. I always play with the gain set above 4 o'clock, treble max, and mid at 11 o'clock. The sound of the guitar, even with the humbucker change, is very good. It sounds very heavy, but can be bright with a change of settings, and takes distortion a little better now. This guitar is also great for bluegrass and country music. You can roll back the volume, put on a straw hat and you'll be jamming along to some Lynyrd Skynyrd in no time.
Overall Impression — 10
I play heavy metal music, and with a pickup change, I have no doubt that any guitar player Who plays the same style of music would be satisfied with this guitar. I have been playing guitar for over 4 years now, and own an Ibanez RGR421, a Washburn X40, and an Ashton GA100H half stack, among other equipment. I didn't need to ask any questions when buying this guitar, as there wasn't really too much left to ask by the time the salesman has his way with me. If the guitar were lost or stolen, provided I was unable to retrive it, there is no doubt in my mind that I would get another as soon as humanly possible. I love this guitar to death, there isnt too much not to love about it. The only thing I can say that I hate about it, is that the hardware has begun to rust, and it is very noticeable, after less than 2 years of play time. I plan to replace the gold hardware with black Gibson replacement parts. My favourite feature of this guitar is the sound. It is very rich and chunky, just what I love in a guitar. When I purchased this guitar, I had my heart set on a Les Paul. I had been wanting to get a hold of one of those sweet lookin', round love machines for months. The only other guitars I compared it to were the other Les Paul models the shop had in stock, and I had a choice between lower end Epiphone Les Pauls, or a $4000 Gibson Les Paul. Had my budget been 2 to 3 times as much as I had, I would have gone for the Gibson. I coulnd't really wish for more than I got, as I am pretty much satisfied. I have only played 2 Gibson Les Pauls, and I believe that this is right up there with them.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Any Les Paul player will tell you that it's hard to bring down one of these beauties in a Live situation, provided the strap buttons do their job! I have played many gigs with my Les Paul, never have I encountered any problems directly related to the guitar. The hardware has lasted and remained stable, although it is fairly rusted and oxidised now, even with regular cleaning. I did'nt trust the strap buttons that were supplied with the guitar, as I rarely ever keep Standard strap buttons. They did not seem solid, and appeared rather small, so I replaced them with a set of Dunlop strap locks. I always depend on this guitar, both in a live setting, and at band rehearsals, and I have used this guitar many times without a backup at hand, and it has never let me down. After a year and a half of rough playing, being hit with the headstocks of band mate's guitars, and getting it's fair share of sweat dropped upon it, the finish on the Les Paul still stands strong. There are close to no scratches on the front of the body. However, as with most guitars, the back of the body has a nice case of buckle rash, but this is hardly an issue.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I got this guitar, it was set up immaculately. All I did was lower the action by a small amount. It was pretty much great the way it was, I just prefer very low action. The pickups were also adjusted perfectly, and I did not bother to re-adjust them after lowering the action, because I didn't feel I needed to, as it sounded great the way it was. Why fix it if it ain't broke right? Upon purchasing the guitar, I found few to no flaws. Apart from a roughly cut nut, everything was as it should have been. Intonation was perfect, Truss rod seemed perfectly adjusted, and the electronics were in top shape.
Features — 9
I believe this guitar to be made in late 2004, in Korea. It has 22 Jumbo frets, with a contour top. Both the body and the Neck are constructed of Mahogany, with a rosewood fingerboard, which has block style inlays. The finish is a solid ebony, a.k.a black. The guitar has the famed Les Paul body shape, with a Tune-O-Matic bridge and HardTail stop piece. The electronics are all passive, with 4 controls, 2 volumes, and 2 tones, as well as your selector switch. The pickup configuration is a dual humbucker layout. The tuners the guitar came with are Grover, 3 a side, and non locking. Included were a poster, a warranty card, some styrofoam, and a cardboard box.