Price paid: $ 436.87
Sound — 5
I play lots of rock and roll music with a cover band, and this guitar is versatile to handle anything (though I like to Switch guitars on stage for songs in other tunings, acoustic stuff, etc). The sound is clean and resonant, and like one reviewer pointed out, this thing holds notes for a very long time. With the mahogany body, the tone is really warm and mellow, which I love. After 6 months, the guitar began to show off some less than pleasing attributes, like the neck pickup becoming the muddiest, tone free piece of crap I've ever heard. More on this below.
Overall Impression — 3
Ever since I started playing guitar in 1994, I have always wanted a Les Paul. An Epiphone isn't the same as a Gibson, but it certainly is a worthy substitute. Everything about this guitar screams rock and roll, and I would highly reccommend it to anyone looking to buy a guitar. No matter how many times it gets said around here, an Epiphone is not a Gibson, no matter how badly you want it to be. You get what you pay for, and $500 USD gets you a pretty lousy guitar. I bought a Gibson LPStandard about a year ago, had it set up when I bought it, and have never taken it in for repair work, or had to replace anything on the instrument itself. The quality of Epiphone parts is budget at best; garbage at worst. I would never reccommend buying an Epiphone Les Paul to anyone (at least not the Standard model).
Reliability & Durability — 1
Even though I only bought this guitar in March, it has stood up to a great deal of abuse playing Live and travelling. I would absolutely bring this to a gig without a back up, though I'm to anal retentive to Live that freely. And here is the problem. When new, it seemed the possibilities were boundless. However, this guitar was an unreliable piece of crap. It constantly cut out, the neck pickup was essentially useless, and, until I replaced the bridge with a better quality model, constantly out of tune. Absolutely unacceptable.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
My only real beef with this guitar is that the pickup toggle is really noisy. Other than that, it was playable right out of the box (though I fine tuned the set up when I got it home. I like my action just above buzzing). The bookmatched top is a thing of beauty. However within a year, the following happened: needed a replacement bridge, 3 tone/volume controls, output jack, toggle switch. As mentioned above, I replaced the tuning pegs as well.
Features — 7
2004 Korean Les Paul Standard. It has a beautiful translucent red finish, with a book-matched flame maple top and mahogany body. It has a rosewood fingerboard, 22 frets and the Standard Les Paul controls. I replaced the nickel grover tuners that came Standard with Schaller 'green key' tuners to give it a more Vintage look. I also changed out the stock strap pins with locking Schaller pins, 'cause I hate dropping my guitars. It came with a really crappy guitar cable, but the guys at Steve's were nice and gave me a good deal on a leather strap and hardshell case. Overall, pretty Standard, though. It did look nice, though I came to find out that the top was a veneer, not real maple.