Price paid: C$ 680
Purchased from: Long and McQuade
Sound — 9
I purchased this guitar mainly as my E-standard guitar and even more so for playing classic rock, mostly Zeppelin and luckily enough I can come even closer to authentic tones on songs where page used guitars like his Strat or Tele, which is great cause I have yet to own either model of those guitars. I play into a Marshall Haze 15 on the clean channel with a pretty flat EQ, a mild touch of reverb and a light dusting of delay. For a mild distorted tone I kick in a Visual Sound TS808 clone with the Drive maxed and its pretty much spewing classic British rock tone like projectile vomit. With the pickups being a Vintage output they are pretty quiet until you really start stacking the gain but then any passive pickup starts getting nosier. When you split the coil you can instantly hear the single coil hum come in but its not loud enough to Drive you bonkers. The treble pickup is a little dark its still sounds great but I am guessing this is probably due to the lower output of the pickup, I am on the debate of removing the cover off the bridge pickup to see if it brightens it up a bit. With the coil splits, Vintage pickups, the Floyd Rose and a good OD pedal you really can hit home all over the place with this thing. Since its a four wire pickup as I mentioned you can increase you tonal options even further by adding in phase and/or series/parallel wiring. 9/10: Why? It has all the Classic Les Paul tones and more but I can't help but say some people will feel left out that the pickups are pretty low output, not depressingly low but without a good Drive channel on your amp or a good pedal the more modern heavier music will certainly be a trick to nail. A pickup swap could change this but for me the tone of the Vintage output pickups is exactly what I wanted and I certainly got it.
Overall Impression — 10
Not sure if there is other levels of this guitar out there as I see people mentioning there's being made in Indonesia. As seen by the serial number of mine it came from China, and also has a Limited Edition Epiphone Custom Shop decal on the back of the headstock. From what I can dig up the Custom Shop decal is just for models that are not normal production probably cause this one comes with a Factory Floyd and Coil Splits, and with mine being #2887 I wonder just how limited edition it was. I purchased this guitar for the sole purpose of playing music like Zeppelin, Cream, Clapton, Sabbath and it certainly fits that bill straight from the factory with no mods. Crank up the gain on your amp and start letting some dimebombs fly off the Floyd (yes I know I called it a Dimebomb because Dimebag had some of the nastiest most violent divebombs ever!) If I lost this guitar I would cry a little then try and buy a new one but its limited edition and been out for two years so that could be hard. If someone stole it well they better hope I never find them cause I got a rusty old subway knife from like 10 years ago I will castrate them with then proceed to trying to replace the guitar. Love everything about it, been more giddy after picking this one up then I was when I got my first guitar. Always been a sucker for a Les Paul never owned one cause I couldn't find something that suited my needs, well it took 12 years but it finally happened. Best part is the Floyd, I mean not only is it nice to have but it looks cool you don't see a Floyd equipped Paul too often. Compared it to a bunch of Epiphone Les Paul variants all in the $600-700 CAD range and this one was in a deadlock with another Paul they had for $50 more that had series/parallel wiring as well but then I saw the tag on this one that said buy this guitar and get a $100 gift card. My exact reaction was "holy shit $100 off a $600 guitar SOLD" 10/10: Why? I am a pretty big guitar snob douche, I like my expensive guitars and boutique pedals. But after my buddy grabbed a Epiphone Les Paul I was pretty amazed by the quality for the price point. Then I came across this beast and was literally blown out of the water, I mean if this guitar said Gibson on the headstock it would have a $3000 price tag. It sustains for days like its nobodies business and certainly has that Les Paul sound everyone is after. Have not been let down by my purchase yet and I don't think I will be. Certainly will not dismiss Epiphone guitars in the future anymore either.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I'll get back to you on the live playing, from what I can tell yeah no problem at all its a solid build guitar with a set neck and double locking bridge its ready to hit the road with ya. Hardware is great, the one thing you really have to be cautious about with guitars like this is the Floyd, a cheap crappy knock off will be a nightmare even if its on a $3000 guitar. If the locking mechanisms don't work properly as soon as you touch that bar or even look at it funny your guitar will be out of tune. If your not one of the moderately cool kids with a locking guitar strap I would highly suggest investing in a pair of strap locks, mine weighed in at 8.7lbs and I would certainly not trust the strap buttons on it they are kinda small, they wont fall off the guitar but your strap might fall off them! This guitar is currently my main guitar for E-standard tuning and is currently the only guitar I have setup for E-standard and I don't worry about it at all. Worst I can do is break a string on the Floyd but now that it is setup properly that's a cinch to fix. The finish on the guitar is great, I haven't researched it but I am guessing its probably standard polyurethane paint and not nitro but that doesn't matter its got excellent color and a mirror like Shine when polished up. 9/10: Why? I always knocked Epiphone for being cheap crappy guitars, but boy was I ever wrong. Yes it was a cheap guitar but it isn't cheaply made or crappy at all. I would put the build quality right up there with my Gibson Explorer.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
New guitars never come tuned, anyone that owns a Floyd Rose knows how much of a pain this can be. It took me two hours to get the string and spring tension equal, but that two hours spent will make your playing life so much better. The intonation was good and so was the action, it could do with a little lowering but I am still getting used to the fact it will be higher with a Floyd then a fixed bridge. The bridge pickup needed to be raised a little. The bookmatched top is deadly, as I mentioned above we all know Epiphone is notorious for using veneers which could explain how awesome this top looks, otherwise good care and detail was put into making it. The bridge routing for the Floyd is perfect the Floyd tucks in neatly without having huge routing gaps around it and has a rubber protector on the wood to keep the Floyd from damaging it. The only flaws it had from the factory was too many damn finger prints on it, then again I can't blame this on the factory as much as the store selling it, same with the issue of the Floyd spring tension. 8/10: Why? For a high dollar Epiphone guitar you would think the store would take the time to at least tune it up, if I wasn't an amateur luthier it probably would have been a negative selling feature. I mean they only had it for a couple years.
Features — 9
- Serial # 1009122887 - Production Date: September 2010 - Factory: DaeWon or Unsung apparently this has not been clarified - Production # 2887 - Body Style: Les Paul (duh!) Standard 22 fret set Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fretboard. Not sure on the exact size of the frets but they are a bit thinner, I am used to pretty large frets on my Gibson Explorer, but these feel smaller for sure. This neck has a satin finish and has since changed my outlook on finished necks, the neck on my Explorer has a nitro finish on it, if you hand gets a bit clammy it sticks to the nitro finish, this doesn't happen at all on a satin finish feels a lot faster. The body appears to be a solid one piece Mahogany body, I can't see any joint lines through the clear on the back. The claim it is a Flame Maple top, but we all know one of the ways for Epiphone to keep costs down is using a veneer top, I am not about to cut apart my guitar to find out. I did have a pickup out the other day and it didn't look like there was a veneer but there was a lot of staining from the burst it made it hard to tell in such a small area. Comes with a factory installed Floyd Rose Special, this is your standard double locking Floyd Rose Original but made in China so its labeled as a special and costs a bit less, I have put this thing through the whammy bar torture test and worst I could due was get it a 1/4 step out of tune. The body is routed out allowing something like a 2.5 step increase, I know from experience you will break strings before bottoming out the Floyd and if you do there is a piece of foam in there to protect the wood. Passive Epiphone 57 Classic and 57 Classic Plus Humbuckers which are Epiphone's offshore take on the Gibson pickup of the exact same name. Loaded with Alnico II magnets they are certainly not a screaming Hot pickup look towards a ceramic magnet for that. Otherwise these things produce a tone that's like having extra crunchy peanut butter crammed in your ears! Standard Les Paul controls, independent master volume and tone for each pickup and your standard three way toggle selector. The fun stuff comes in with the coil splits via the push/pull volume pots. Both the neck and bridge pickup can function as a humbucker or single coil at the push or pull of a switch. Being a four wire pickup I am planning on wiring the guitar up for Phase and Parallel/Series as well. Non locking Grover tuners, the ones with the huge kidney bean tuner, nothing fancy and with a double locking bridge setup there is no need for locking tuners. Comes with a hard shell case, and the proper keys attached to the back of the headstock for the Floyd Rose. 9/10: Why? Well for a sub $1000 Les Paul you really can't ask for more this thing is loaded with quality Epiphone parts out the wazoo and it ooozes class. If it had the Gibson Axcess cut on the back this could easily be an Epiphone version of Gibson's Alex Lifeson Custom Shop Axcess.