Price paid: £ 330
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 9
The stock pickups are ok sounding, nothing special, but they give a good idea of what the guitar is capable of. Playing through my Marshall avt50 combo I can get a good range of sounds, but the best is always going to be good old rock and hard rock styles through a Les Paul custom. The neck pickup position is mellow enough for some jazz, but obviously with humbuckers the cleans are never going to be exceptional. I replaced the bridge humbucker with an Iron Gear Hot Slag and all the pots/electronics with an axetec kit. I was already quite happy with the sound, but knew I could get more from it, and now I love it. Nice tight bass and balanced highs.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly hard rock, some classic rock and lighter stuff a la Jeff Buckley, and I dabble (poorly) in a bit of blues lead. It suits my styles really well, as I don't need the crisp cleans of a Fender all that often. Been playing just over 6 years, and have owned a fair amount of mid priced gear and guitars, and I find this very favourable. I was tempted to go for a lesser known (ie.cheaper) brand, but I'm glad I went for Epiphone in the end. The only thing I don't like about this guitar are the tuners, and purely from a cosmetic point of view. They hold tune really well, for long periods of time, but the 'round' Grover buttons are just ugly in my opinion. Overall, very happy with my purchase, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again, as it performs well for all my needs. One thing I'd recommend to any prospective buyers- be prepared to replace the electrics, not just the pickups, it makes a big difference and is well worth the money.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Very durable, solid guitar. Once when I was playing drunk, the strap slipped off, sending the guitar crashing to the floor with an almighty smash. Not a mark on it afterwards, but the pedal it landed on was pretty dented. I haven't gigged with it yet, but will be very soon, and I'll be using this is my main guitar, with a backup obviously, but I'm confident enough in my Paul to go without. I've not had any problems with it at all now I come to think of, just lots of fun making lots of noise.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I bought mine second hand so I can't comment on the setup, but it's always played pretty well, good and balanced in the hands, with the neck being on the fatter side. The finish is overall very good, but there is a patch on the corner of the headstock that isn't painted, leaving wood covered only by the clear coat, which is a let down on an otherwise great guitar. One of the strap buttons kept falling out, so I had to pack and re-screw the hole, nothing too major though.
Features — 8
This guitar has your 'standard' Les Paul setup, 3 way selector/ 2 volume/ 2 tone controls, set neck etc. Mine is a 2005 model in ebony, with bound body, neck and headstock and also came with a hard case.