Price paid: € 200
Purchased from: Private seller
Sound — 7
I mostly play heavy metal, using my Hiwatt Maxwatt G100, but occasionally dabble in some blues, jazz and even fingerstyle. The guitar handles metal okay, but not overly great. However, the blues and jazz sound produced is exceptional: the blues crunch tone is thick and full of bass, and the jazz cleans are crystal clear and some of the smoothest I've ever heard. The humbuckers will have some annoying background noise at high gain, but that's expected. My personal metal sound has the gain rolled back to 12 o'clock, and at that the noise is non-existent. The Alnico humbuckers are great, but not for metal. If this were fitted with some high output Seymour Duncans, I'm sure I would have no issues with the sound.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression of this guitar is favourable. Although I don't think it's very good for metal, it still does the job. For blues and jazz, however, this guitar is a must. I've been playing for about 3 and a half years, and I also own a Dean Razorback, so I know this guitar is not quite suited to metal. I don't hate anything about this guitar, and my favourite feature is actually the split Diamond on the headstock. It's amazing! Finally, I wish mine had metal-orientated pickups, such as Seymour Duncans or DiMarzio pickups.
Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar is pretty much bombproof. The pickups show no signs of packing in and I don't need to worry about a backup guitar. The only problems are the strap buttons, which come loose surprisingly easy. Easily curable with a Philips head screwdriver. Also, as I have previously stated, the gold finish on the pickups fade, which seems to be a common problem with all these guitars. The tuning is solid, no signs of intonation and excellent electrics.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action and pickup height were too high for my taste, but that's just my taste. Adjusting them was no problem. The finish is simply stunning, though. Only when you feel this guitar for yourself do you realise why the Les Paul Custom is nicknamed the "tuxedo" Les Paul. The glossy black paintjob and gold hardware really compliment the LP body shape. However, the gold hardware on the pickups does tend to fade, showing the shiny silver underbelly.
Features — 9
My guitar was possibly made in 2003 in Epiphone's Japanese factory. She has a luxurious 22-fret lacquered neck with a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is fat and would be ideally suited to players with bigger hands (as per usual with all Les Pauls). The glossy ebony finish accompanied by the gold hardware (Alnico classic humbuckers, tune-o-matic stopbar and Grover tuners) and mother-of-pearl block inlays truly makes this guitar a classy one. Really the only flaw I find with her features are the lacquered neck, with can be uncomfortable to play with if you have sweaty hands, like myself.