Sound — 8
I use this mainly with a Fender HRD, a Fender 75, a 69 Champ with pedals and modeling software (Guitar Rig 5 etc... ). I play Blues, Classic Rock and Hard Rock in a cover band. Most people will be happy with the sound out of the box. It sounds like a Paul, but the pickups just don't hit that sweet spot for nice crunch and smooth highs on the bridge. With some tweaking on your preamp chain, you can get it much better though. Neck pickup is muddy, I dropped the neck spacing quite a bit and raised the bridge, a little better sounding. I compare this to my Strat with SD 59's and it is probably 75% close, but the 59's are more open, defined and better crunch. Clean this guitar sounds pretty nice, especially with the coil tap, it doesn't go as thin as most I have heard.
Overall Impression — 8
I wanted a different backup guitar for my Strats with Trem's that fit classic rock sounds better. At the price ($400) you can't go wrong with this, however after purchase I didn't realize how damn heavy these things are, so I modded my Strats with PAF's and use the Paul as backup. Having owned Vintage and modern Gibsons, this guitar is on par in many ways, although the wood quality and electronics are probably the bigggest limiting factors. The mahogany weighs a ton... Electronics are average sound/quality. Excellent student/starter guitar, with a few mods it can be heaven for a low budget weekend warrior (with a strong back).
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have used this on 4 gigs and played it regularly for 5 months, having owned several other Epiphones (and Gibsons) this guitar feels very solid all around. I agree the electronics were skimped, but that's not a big deal, I usually swap out most stuff on my expensive guitars also. I suspect the PU selector will need to go within a year. I think the Gotoh tuners and trem will last a lifetime, although looking at the pots... They are smooth, but are the mini cheapo's that start scratching in about a year... $15 part(s). As mentioned I swapped the tophat knobs out, my fingers would slip after getting hands wet on a heineken... Coil tap select easy now.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Again finish was impeccable at this price... Wife took notice how pretty it was. It wasn't horrible out of the box, I mean you could play it, but I drastically had to modify the string height, spring tension on the trem and polish a few frets that were funky. Intonation was good, and it is almost impossible to get out of tune once your bridge is flat. This guitar weighs a ton!, which most Pauls do... But this one seems like a pound heavier. I always end up going back to my strats as primary and use this as backup... Being a Strat guy I must admit its fun to play a paul once and awhile, the trem and price was always the limiting factor until now.
Features — 8
Les Paul with Floyd Rose "Special" trem, coil tap, Epi Strap Locks, Alnico Plus and Std Alnico pickups, Honeyburst Finish, Allen keys mounted under headstock, Std Les Paul Tone/volume tophats, Grover Tuners, strings are 10's. - Finish = 10, gorgeous at this price, satin neck is ok. - Trem = 9, Works great, stays in tune, but gets loose over time. - Pickups = 8, Average sounding, muddy neck, although you can tweak your pedals and get some decet classic rock tone... Raise bridge pu. - Coil Tap = 9, Not bad actually, although tophats are hard to pull, replaced with standard Gibson knobs - much better. - Strap Locks = 3, Cheap and they bind, tossed them - Pickup Selector = 5, over 4-5 months it start getting sloppy, neck side wouldn't select well without wiggle. - Body Wood = 7, This is obviously some cheaper mahogany, weighs a ton, headstock has two part seem showing.