Price paid: $ 399
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
For an Epiphone, its bridge pickup has a very well-defined character, especially if you wiggle the bar around a bit while playing. The neck suffers from the same problems as every Epi neck pickup in that it is often times muddy. I'm running it through Guitar Rig 4 here at home, and at the store I ran it through a Fender Mustang amp and an Egnater combo (I got chased off the Egnater by a store employee who wanted to play it. I really, REALLY hate GC, but more on that in the coming sections) The coil taps are a welcome addition, actually bringing some definition to the neck pickup... And oddly, they're not noisy at all. I have another guitar with coil splits, and it spits noise out the wazoo whenever I have the splits enabled, but the PRO/FX's splits are surprisingly quiet. The neck pickup always brings this score down on any Epi I review, but that coil split makes me think otherwise on this particular guitar; it sounds beautiful... But it doesn't quite seem that way right out of the gate.
Overall Impression — 9
Lets start this off with a gear roll-call, to make sure Irene didn't steal anything. Pro/FX - Check LP Ultra II - Check Michael Kelly Valor X - Check Epi Custom LP Silverburst... Silvia... SILVIA?! Oh, right. She's in the shop. - Check I have an LP problem, yes... And as a result of that, I would absolutely re-purchase this guitar if it was stolen. It has a floyd rose, man, and its just a beautiful guitar with this new blue strap I got for it. I compared it to Ibanez guitars (Mostly because of the tremolo unit) and this one came out on top for looks and playability; it really fits my hands. I have yet to name this one... It could be squishy. I could name it squishy, and it would be my squishy.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Now, there are some guitars that are made to look good and not made to play (Gibson, I'm staring in your direction, with the Zoot Suit SG and the Raw Power SG)... But we're here as musicians, and not ART collectors. This guitar is built like a tank, I say as I'm writing this in a hurricane. Everything seems pretty sturdy, the exception being the floyd arm which enjoys whipping me every now and again. The strap buttons... Ugh, were supposed to be straplocks according to the Epi press release, and finding out that that was false bought me down a little. The only problem is your satin finish, because body oil will seep into it and make it a slow gloss. I'd likely gig with this without a backup, but I've always got another LP on hand... Just not one with a Floyd. I think I have a problem.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Okay, now we get to the part where I bash GC "If you want to skip this part, I'll tell you where it's safe". I played this guitar in the store on two different occasions. The first all was fine, the strings were old as all hell but still playable, and they didn't take the whammy bar off the guitar so I could fiddle around with that a bit. Played a few of my songs through the Egnater combo... Where I was kicked off rather abruptly by a GC employee on break. I left the store, vowing to try the guitar out again. The second time I came in, I plugged into a Fender Mustang... And found strings broken. Unperturbed, I purchased the guitar and had the restring done for free. Pack it up, get home, find the guitar so far out of tune, the locking nut down, and the 3mm allen wrench gone... There's nothing worse than buying a guitar you can't play immediately because the guitar tech can't deal with a floyd, and some kid lifted parts. "Okay, its safe to look back" All in all, the floyd was actually set up well, save for an employee-error tuning problem, which was a pleasant surprise. The floyd has full range of motion on this guitar, the bookmatching and finish are rather stunning for an Epi (This is the first non-B stock guitar I've bought). The controls are all pretty fluid, and the action is perfect for my style of play.
Features — 8
The Les Paul Plus Top Pro/FX (It doesn't slide off the tongue well at all) is a special edition LP, made in Indonesia, that was released March of 2010. I got the guitar for my birthday this year, after having waited for... Lets just say it felt like a long time. Lets dive in, shall we? - 22 frets, rosewood board, slim-taper D profile with satin finish (More on the satin later) - Set neck of mahogany - flame maple top on mahogany body, this particular guitar is a honey burst - quilted top, satin neck - four-lead Epi-designed pickups, allowing for coil taps (Which come standard), and the ability to re-wire for phasing and series/parallel options - three way switch, two tone, two volume - standard grover tuners - and the biggest draw for this particular guiar; it has a Floyd Rose Special. with locking nut. more on this later - in the press release, Epi said that the guitar comes with straplocks. This is not the case when buying from GC. A floyd isn't something you see on an LP everyday (There are, I think, four LP's that offer this feature. Gibson Axcess, Gibson's Alex Lifeson model, the PRO/FX, and an EMG-equipped LP from Epi that isn't to my taste) If you're looking to get an LP with a floyd, and don't want to break the bank, this is your best bet coming in at the usual price of 499.00... Mine was 399 with a coupon. I'm knocking this down from a 9 to an 8 for the straplocks which were not included.