Price paid: $ 549
Purchased from: Aire Guitars
Sound — 8
Excellent sound and impeccable playability as nice an action as a genuine Gibson! Much easier to tap and bend than on a Fender neck I think, although a 9 guage E string will tend to snap at the bridge graphite would be a good upgrade here, use use 10 guage strings. Keeps tune excellently unless you do a lot of bending. Very versatile sound, but best suited to rock and R&B. Over 30 seconds of sustain with distortion. Pretty weighty, not for wimps. I would recommend replacing the pickups if you are serious, the shelf ones can be a little underpowered. Originally it would pick up hum if near TV's etc, but I have since fully shielded the elctronics and it's silent now. I use a '70s HH Musician 100W and a selection of home made effects.
Overall Impression — 10
As a lead rock player this is my ideal axe. I bought it 3 years ago soley because it's a reputable company and the most beautiful guitar I can imagine. I wasn't dissapointed! I would definately buy the same (or an equally nice Gibson) if it were stolen. I replaced the pickups with Swineshead's which are much better than the originals. The fact that I can't use less than 10 guage is a slightly annoying, but I'm well used to it now.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I wouldn't choose to play any other guitar (not even a Gibson unless the flame was just as good), definately gig worthy, although I wouldn't risk using a 9 guage top E string. The strap buttons were fine, although I have replaced them with locking ones for safety's sake. Finish seems very durable, althouh I've added guitar armour as it's just too perfect to risk scratching!
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought this as a factory second it had a chip in the varnish on the headstock and a couple of cracks in the plastic hardware where some screws had been over tightened. Action was good to begin with, but was like butter after a little adjustment. Top is a beautiful mached book of flame maple I rarely see one as nice in any music shop.
Features — 10
Made circa 2000, 22 frets, solid mohogany body with contoured flame maple top, rosewood fretboard. Cherry burst finish, chrome and cream hardware, Tune-O-Matic bridge, passive electronics, 2 vol, 2 tone, 3 way selector Switch. Standard neck and bridge position Epiphone humbuckers. Standard Gibson style non locking green tuners.