Price paid: $ 325
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 10
I prefer a bluesier based approach to guitar playing so I like to aim for tone. And this guitar delivers. I even still mostly play with my 10-watt practice amp, but it really doesn't detract from the range of sounds this guitar will give you. Rhythm playing is very tight and playing leads is as smooth as it gets. It gives off a much smoother, mellower, and fatter sound than a Fender. Probably not as useful to a metal player out of the box, but there are dirty fingers models out there for that style. This is a straight up guitar for straight up sound.
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar and I are really a perfect match for one another. I think that every penny was worth it. Even my dad agrees that his Stratocaster is not really as impressive as my guitar. And I paid less for mine. If this guitar were to ever be stolen or somehow lost I'd first unleash hell and then go and immediately find an exact replacement.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is a beast. It's heavy duty and durable and has never let me down. No issues with the strap buttons, and the every thing as far as hardware is built to last. The finish is fairly simple and might give way if it gets any really hard bumps, but resists everything in the normal ding and dent spectrum. Just take care of it and it'll keep true. Definitely a gig worthy rig. It's a Les Paul. If that doesn't suit your standards then nothing will.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I feel completely satisfied with how this guitar is set up right out of the box. The finger action is nice and low which I like. I bought this guitar used, so it had some minor esthetic flaws but other than that its beautiful. All black with white trim and pick guard and pearl inlays. This is where the more obvious difference is between Epiphone and Gibson. The finish is extremely simple with no over the head flair, so if you are really concerned with the style you can probably fork over a little more for a flame top Epiphone or a lot more if you absolutely feel like you need a Gibson.
Features — 9
This is quite a versitile guitar for what I paid for it. It's pretty much as advertised: all the functionality of a Gibson without all the frill. It *is* built to Les Paul's specifications. Its got two alnico humbucker pickups; each with a respective volume and tone knob. Tune-o-matic bridge. The selector switch, located on the arch of the guitar's body, is a three way selector with neck, bridge, and simultaneous pickup selection. Its a little heavier than a Gibson but just as user friendly and way, way cheaper.