Price paid: C$ 400
Purchased from: Kitts Music
Sound — 7
I've tried many guitars over the years and have owned a few too. I was looking for something versatile, that sounded good no matter what you play on it. I play mostly rock and blues, maybe a little metal depending on my mood! I find that a Les Paul handles all styles pretty well. I probably wouldn't go as far as death metal with it but hey.. To each their own! I usually plug my LP into a Marshall VS100 amp or a Marshall JCM800 when I'm in my buddy's studio and I have to say it screams with both! My VS100, which is a valvestate amp(12AX7 tube in the preamp), has 3 channels on it, clean, gain and distortion. I find that these are all the effects I need aside from a Boss DD-3 delay and a Cry Baby Wah. I've tried other pedals than these two and sorry... Not a fan. I'll admit that it did sound decent the way it came but it doesn't compare to how it sounds now. Keep in mind that all my ratings are for the guitar the way I got it and not after the upgrades!
Overall Impression — 7
I've been involved in music since I was a kid and believe me... that's quite a while ago! I've always had a passion for music. Never did it professionally.. strictly as a pass-time.I play just about anything depending on my mood, but mostly rock and blues though and I find that a Les Paul is ideal for these styles. It's just the way it's made.. that mahogany/maple combo with a set neck is the key to a great sound regardless of the other stuff that's on a guitar. Trust me on this one, I also build my own guitars! If this thing would have gotten stolen when I first got it, I would have been pissed but I would have gotten over it.. But if it were stolen, lost or damaged in any way now, well, I would hate to be the one responsible. I was lucky to find a guitar built like this at a low price and after having invested an equal amount into getting it the way I wanted it, it was worth it. I'm pretty sure most musicians would agree to that.
Reliability & Durability — 7
With the stock pickups, I wouldn't play live with this guitar at all. I'm not trying to trash Epiphone, but I just felt something was missing. As for the rest of the hardware on it, decent. All the nickel plating was very well done, excellent finish, impeccable binding. It should last for quite some time. As far as dependability and durability goes, no complaints there. It's a very well made instrument even though it doesn't have the Gibson logo on it. Who cares!
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Like I mentioned earlier, this was an off the shelf guitar. I was very impressed with the way it was built, very solid. The details on it were just as good as any higher end guitar. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the parts and the action. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty decent overall, but there was some buzzing at the 12th fret on the higher strings. After having swapped out all the stuff I didn't like, I brought it over to a luthier to have it properly set up. Best 100 bucks I ever spent! I think everyone who plays should do that even with higher end guitars.
Features — 6
So here's the deal.. I got my hands on this Korean made Les Paul about 2 years ago. It was built in 2002 and has all the things you would expect a Les Paul to have. It's a mahogany neck and body with a maple top, black glossy finish, rosewood fingerboard with 22 frets, TOM bridge, stop bar tail piece and so on... It came stock with Alnico V Classic humbucker pickups and Epiphone tuners, which in my opinion, are both decent pieces of hardware. But it's a typical off the shelf Epi LP so it's not really something I would brag about. However, it is very well built, the sustain on this thing is incredible. That's what I was looking for more than anything else, so I can't complain about that. My intention was to get an LP at a reasonable price and customize it to my taste, and no offense to anyone, but paying thousands for a Gibson LP was out of the question! So I took off everything I wasn't too impressed with, which was pretty much everything but the Vol/Tone knobs and stop bar tail piece and swapped them out for what I preferred. It now has Seymore Duncan Alnico ProII pickups, Tone Pro bridge, new toggle switch, locking strap buttons, and Grover keystone tuners. Stock, I give this guitar a 6.. Now... take a guess!