Price paid: $ 399.99
Purchased from: musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 10
It's widely accepted that the les paul is the perfect rhythm guitar for any kind of music, blues, pop-punk, metal, you name it. The humbuckers automatically make any amp sound so much richer, warmer, thicker, and more powerful. They sure as hell boost the gain too, with it turned only one-third of the way up on my MG30DFX I had plenty. That same amp has a really boring clean, but this guitar made it nice and bluesy, whereas with my Strat it sounded the same unplugged. I personally play pop-punk music, and with balanced settings this guitar actually had a bit too much bass, but turning bass down and turning treble up a bit made it just what I wanted, a thick, smooth, and filling EQ, but with a bright enough tone to sound fun and catchy. The difference this guitar's humbuckers made just blew me away. The lead tone is pretty good but not perfect, I recommend a Telecaster for that, but the lespaul was designed for rhythm anyway. And to be fair I wasn't playing on a JCM head either.
Overall Impression — 10
I just got a Marshall AVT valvestate 2000 half stack, and when combined with this lespaul, this is by far the best rhythm guitar setup for any modern rock music (with the exception of the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp). I couldn't rate any category lower than a 10 because I have no complaints what'soever. This guitar has done wonders for me. If I lost or broke it I would buy the same exact guitar again, no questions asked. It's my permanent guitar, and as long as this thing is still sold on the market you have no reason to spend more than 400 dollars on a guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The guitar is at least twice as heavy as a Strat, and whether this is a good thing or bad thing is based on personal preference. I personally love it because it feels so incredibly sturdy and secure. As a pop-punk guitarist, I like to swing my guitar around like crazy and do a couple jumps when I play, and as a rhythm guitarist I don't strum with my wrist, I strum with my elbow and shoulder in full arm swings. All of that can create serious abuse to a normal guitar but this guitar holds up like you wouldn't believe, and the fact that it's heavy makes me feel comfortable putting on an energetic performance. It's been dropped at least 30 times because I'm clumsy and have a bad habit of leaning it against a wall or chair when I'm not using it, and it still feels new when I play it. The finish is still smooth as well after 2 years and I've never polished it. This thing is built to last, and made for even the most reckless performers.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
You couldn't ask for better action on any guitar. The well sanded rosewood is very kind to a player's fingers and allows for very easy slide-ups and slide-downs. The strings tend to be a little looser on a lespaul than on a regular guitar, with 10s I was fine. bends are effortless, and you're not killing your finger or bending your string out of tune to get that half step up. Also, speaking of tuning, once your strings are set it'll stay in tune for a good 3 weeks if unplayed, and for a full week even if you're slamming the strings with full arm Strokes while standing. The intonation was slightly off when I got it, but this is much easier fixed on the lespaul than on a Strat or tele, just put a flathead screw driver to the two bolts on the stopbar and you can fix it in a pinch. The intonation is also pretty versatile. I play in tunings from Standard to drop C, and all of them sound in tune up and down the fretboard. This is without a doubt the most user-friendly guitar, even more so than a Gibson because of the chrome hardware.
Features — 10
I'm not sure when or where it was made but it doesn't matter. This is an amazing guitar. There are 22 frets that are actually pretty wide for an electric guitar, not quite as wide as an acoustic but definitely wider than your typical Stratocaster or Telecaster. So if you have big hands, this is the guitar for you. The chrome hardware functions very smoothly, not to mention how awesome it makes the guitar look, the classic humbuckers just Shine. Beautiful finish, nice smooth mahogany neck, transparent Orange control knobs if this guitar were a girl she'd be way out of my league. Absolutely stunning, it'll make anyone look like a pro on stage.