Price paid: $ 500
Sound — 5
I'm going to assume that who ever reads this knows what a Gibson Les Paul sounds like and will measure this against that. In general it sounds like an authentic LP, only weaker and harsher. I'm sure the low quality woods have to do with this, but most is due to the terrible pickups. They are lower output than Gibsons but at the same time somewhat noisy and harsh at low volume. I suppose it you absolutely must have that LP sound (which is pretty unique) but can't afford a Gibson an Epiphone like this is probably as close as you'll get. But if the tradeoff is settling for an amateur sounding instrument, then I suppose you can live with this. But if you're like me, you are constantly reminded that it is an imitation and not the real thing. The best part: the sustain is almost and good as a real LP. Tons of it.
Overall Impression — 3
I strongly advise against buying an Epiphone unless it is one of the higher end ones that cost similar to a pro-level instrument and therefore defeat the purpose of getting this brand. There are loads of better deals out there. I've been playing for about 15 years and picked this up after a few years of only playing acoustic. But I decided to return to electric and get into a band again and wanted the same guitar I had before I gave it up: a genuine Gibson Les Paul. But I didn't want to spend so much this time and settled for this knockoff fooling myself into thinking it wouldn't be that much different. Oh how wrong I was. This will not satisfy anybody who has more than a couple of years experienced playing. It simply is a poor quality instrument.
Reliability & Durability — 3
I never played live with it so I don't know if it could take it. But I wouldn't be surprised if some of the electronics crap out easily, judging but the rest of the shoddy craftsmanship. The things that inspired the least confidence to me were the tuners (despite them being Grovers) and the pots, which I pretty much expected to fail at some point.
Action, Fit & Finish — 3
This was the deal breaker for me. If the craftsmanship were better, even knowing the woods used aren't the best, I might have considered swapping out the pickups and keeping this guitar. But after owning it for like three months everytime I played I was reminded of the shoddy fretwork, the badly set tuners, the sloppy paint and sanding - in short the substandard craftsmanship on the whole. I never could justify improving on something that was a lemon to begin with, so I just sold it.
Features — 7
Made in China. 22 large frets. Mahogany neck and body with a maple top. It has all the Standard LP features, except they are all bad quality. The frets are finished badly, the tuners are Grovers which is good, but they were placed sloppily on the headstock and I have trouble tuning one. The tune-o-matic saddle is of poor quality metal and is almost too thin to intonate. I had to flip around two of the saddle pieces to get the right intonation on the respective strings, which doesn't inspire confidence in that it is a good instrument. Yes, I was able to intonate it, but got the impression that if I used a different gauge string I might not be able to. Disappointing at best.