Price paid: £ 425
Purchased from: Nevada Music
Sound — 9
This guitar is my second quality guitar but have being playing in for around 8 years and in bands for several of them. This guitar is built, more or less, around the idea that you will be playing Metal. It's just the way it is. When the list of endorser's for EMG 81 pickups has that many legendary metal guitar players on it, it is to be expected that these pickups suit distorted, high gain sounds. The bridge pickup is simply the most impressive metal tone I have ever heard. I often here people complaining however that this guitar has two 81's, in the bridge and neck position. I can honestly say I have no idea what the problem is, the neck sound is as sweet as the sound on my Schecter C-1 Plus and gets even sweeter as you play around with the tone dial.
Overall Impression — 10
The music I play is pretty hard to define but I guess it fits relatively well into the the pretentious beast that is genre progressive metal. In other words, widdly stuff. This guitar is great for achieving that heavy, chugging metal tone while keeping a great amount of clarity and note definition that is great for playing songs by bands like Death or Opeth. I play the guitar through a Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff Pedal, with a Jim Dunlop Cry Baby and a Kustom 30 watt double speaker amp. I have been playing for many years but due to lack of funds and lack of need I have never really had the need to upgrade amplifier. However this is more than sufficient to get a quality tone on this guitar. This guitar for want of a better word is perfect, especially for its price. There are no real flaws that alter the quality of playing, only amazing pickups and a quality build, as well as an overall brilliant aesthetic. As compared to my Schecter C-1 Plus, a guitar which was a good 150/200 pounds more, the sound is better! It plays better than any other Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul I've ever played. If you are thinking about getting this I would recommend it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar is very bulky and heavy and for that matter I imagine it would withstand a fair amount of drops etc. I would gig without a backup but I would make sure I had a spare 9v battery for the pickup. The only downside about this guitar in my eyes is the gods forsaken strap-buttons. Without fail they manage to come off every time you either put the flaming thing down or pick it up. I intend to invest in a pair of strap-locks and I suggest you do too if you buy this guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar's action was fine straight from the factory and the neck is rather slim, compared to the majority of Les Pauls I've played. Aesthetically the guitar is gorgeous, dark colours, and even fret binding. A real find. As my first active pickup guitar, I had to play around with raising and lowering the pickups to achieve a sound I really liked but I think everyone should experiment with their own guitars to find a sound they like, it is not the factory or shops responsibility to cater the individual taste of every guitar player in the world. People seem to want everything done for them these days!
Features — 10
This guitar is one of the best quality models I have seen for it's price. It's colour is a laminated Midnight Black and its fret binding (pearl) and body trim is a pale colour. It comes with two EMG active 81 Pickups, Grover Tuners, a three way selector, a tuno-matic bridge and a volume and tone dial as is typical of the Les Paul model. I have never seen another model of guitar as well equipped for the money