Price paid: $ 355
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 10
Good God is this thing amazing! I play a pretty wide variety of music, including classic rock, metal, punk, and blues. I stick mostly to punk and metal. This guitar has extremely versatile tone. It has all the tone you will need and then some. You can put the tone way up for sound brighter than the sun, or drop it down for some really warm stuff. I havn't really found the need to put it on either extreme, but if I ever need to go further in either direction, I know I will always have room. And with seperate tone knobs for the bridge and neck pickups, anything is possible. I play this using a Fender amp. It sounds pretty good on the clean channels. Crystal clear. But the distortion is where this baby really blows you away. This thing is monstrous! It has such a strong sound to it. It sounds like a guitar that can't be stopped. Sound is full and rich. And the sustain is phenomenal. Will resonate forever. Very little buzz from the pickups. You will notice it if you are trying to listen for it, but these things are pretty stealth otherwise. If I could give this an 11 I would. The sound says "I'm here and there ain't nothing you can do about it!"
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for 6 years, and I am far more excited about this guitar than I have been about any other peice of gear. This is definately a monster. It sounds and feels like you would think a Les Paul should. I am very impressed with its variety of sound. You can create just about any sound you want. If it were lost, I would think about getting an eletist Les Paul Custom. If I couldn't afford it, I would definetely buy this again. I think this is the best guitar for the money. It is very close to the lower end gibsons, and some might argue a little better than some of the cheaper Gibson models. Either way, it is similar quality, for a much cheaper price. I did a lot of research before buying this guitar. It out performed it's competion by a long shot. I love the 3-way pickup selector. It allows for ultimate tone control when combined with seperate volume and tone knobs for each pickup. If you are in the market for a new guitar, I would suggest giving it a try. Les Paul Custom is the way to go!
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is built like a tank! I havn't giged with it yet, but I am by no means nice when I play it. There is no doubt that this guitar can withstand live playing. I would gig with it without a backup. The hardware isn't just on the guitar, it is part of the guitar. Whatever happens, the hardware isn't going anywhere. The gold hardware does seem like it will tarnish slightly if you let it go for a long time. But if you take any kind of care of it at all, it shouldn't be a problem. I haven't seen any waer on the finish yet. It is very solid. I almost droped it once, but cought it by the neck. Unfortunately, the body kept swinging, and the body hit the corner of my bed. I was expecting to see a huge dent, with bare wood showing. There was barely a dent on the finish, and I can't even notice it anymore unless I look for it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar came pretty well setup. Not perfect, but pretty well. My only real complaint is that the action on the lower end was a little low, so my sixth string was buzzing, but that was easy to take care of. And everybody has their own preference for action, so it is hard to knock them for it. There was some binding at the nut, but nothing a little lube couldn't take care of. Pickups were extremely well balanced. I did have to raise them on the lower end a little, but that is only becouse I raised the action on that end. Finish is amazing! I never get tired of looking at this guitar. The black finish has so much depth. I am very paranoid about wear and tear on the finish, so I am always making sure to keep it very clean, but it hides fingerprints and other dirt pretty well. The black and gold give it a "classy" look. Everything else is in excelent condition.