Purchased from: Kays Music Shop
Sound — 10
Compared to my Strat copy, which I began on, this is phenomenal, a huge improvement. The two humbuckers distort brilliantly and are fantastic for power chords and lead runs. Less distortion and performance is decent, the neck is warm and full, great for blues while the neck is less impreesive clean it is not bad, just not as good as the neck. My only qualms with the pickups is that they are a littly to flabby with distorted chords than I would like, but I intend to fit a couple of seymour duncans, and I still won't have paid the rrp. Oh, and the humbuckers do exactly what they're meant to - all the eletrics in my room can be switched on and I won't hear a thing until I strike the strings. I play mostly rock, with a generous number of bendy solos and the bridge didn't disappoint, while the neck was nice for more bluesy and ballady moments.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar is great for rock, and has a nicely balanced refined side as well. It should cope with most things, though shredders may not like the neck - it's more Slash than Kirk Hammet, but I love it. I have only played for 11 months, but I assure you that I know what I am talking about, I practice a lot. I write my own song (about 35 so far) and I can Sweet Childe o mine to Enter Sandman, so don't dismiss my opinion due to short playing time - I'm better than friends who have played for 3 years. This guitar join a truly crap Shine Strat, an american made Peavey Bandit 75 and a Zoom 505 pedal as my gear and the Epiphone is currently my pride and joy. If the guitar was stolen the thief had better be able to run very fast.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Les Pauls are very durable as a rule and this looks set to continue the trend. I'm not sure the pickups would last anyone forever, but it's hard to expect that at this price, however I'm sure they'll do for most people - I'm just a little precise about how I want to sound (hence the upgrade). Strap button are mushroom shaped for maximum stability. the hardware and electronics appear fine, but I may upgrade as I wish to record with this guitar, so I want the best performance possible. I wouldn't take this guitar to a gig without backup, but that is not because it's unreliabl, I just think that you can break a string on any guitar so its smarter to have some backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Flame top - great. Pickup height - fine. Bridge - perfect. Finish and binding - flawless. I'll be honest, I couldn't believe this guitar's looks. For a "budget Gibson" its hard to see where the money was saved. The tuners are sturdy and I really like the look of them. Special mentions to the neck and fingerboard, which make this guitar great to play. The neck is perfect it makes evrything I play feel fantastic. And the finger board is just what I want from rosewood - smooth, but grippy enough to regulate bends and vibrato.
Features — 8
This guitar is a les paul, so there is only so much to expect by way of features, but I was still satisfied. The guitar is mahogany alder (creating a balance between great sustain and manageable weight) with a mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard, which has 22 frets. My guitar has a gorgeous cherry sunburst flame maple top and crimson stained back sides and neck - beautiful. The classic Gibson headstock shape is used and tuning is held via 3 a side kluson machine heads. The classic tune o matic/stopbar combination is here for great intonation and sustain. The guitar has two humbuckers and a selector unit offering bridge neck or both. I can't honestly state the year of construction, but I think it was assembled in korea. The price include a 30 gig bag and several spare string sets - bargain. Overall the fetures are great and were up to or better than my expectations in all cases. However a mark off because some may want coil tab or whammy bar, which will cost extra.