Price paid: € 322
Purchased from: Sinphonia
Sound — 8
I'm using a Vox Valtetronix VT20+. The sound is good for a guitar of this price. The highlights are the riffs and the clean warm sounds that this guitar pulls off. I like a broad variety of music and this guitar is pretty versatile in terms of sound. I'm able to pull off a wide variety of tones playing with the amp and the pots, but don't expect this guitar to be able to sound like Dime Bag's Washburns. The bluesy sounds of a Les Paul are easy to find but it's also relatively easy to get them out and bring in something different. In any case, the sound is definitely good for a guitar of this price, but doesn't really compare with stuff that costs 4 of 5 times more. Which is to be expected and totally ok with me.
Overall Impression — 9
It sounds fantastic for a cheap guitar. Never mind the price, it sounds good, it looks great, if plays great, the pickups are reasonably good and have a good sustain to them. To sum it up: this guitar should never be coupled with a crap amplifier. So, if you are interested in this guitar, get a good amplifier. If you want something for your room, I recommend my Vox Valvetronix VT20+, or a Roland Cube 40XL, which has a very neat looper, great for soloing. If you are just learning and don't want to spend 165 or 205, then try them amps with the guitar, and always favor sound over features, because this guitar will allow you to play around with the tones and it'll do a lot on its own, without the need for complex amps or pedals. In any case, you oughta love how it looks and how it sounds. You'll be hard pressed to find a better packaged for this kind of money. I certainly couldn't and that's why I bought it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have to say that this guitar doesn't stay in tune very well, but it's very minor. I've seen far far worse, even in high end guitars. The tuners are very good, but the nut is probably catching the strings, will have to get some graphite to it eventually. It is a heavy guitar, and you'll get physically tired when playing with her, but you'll also get used to it no problem. Playing live with it will probably be ok, the strings very seldom break and the electrics are reliable from what I can tell. But I would still bring a backup, because it is, after all, a cheap guitar. If you don't play live, though, I'm thinking this guitar will last you from 30 to 50 years of daily playing:D Well, maybe not that long, but it is very solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
My guitar was already set up when I got her, but I think I'll need to set her up again. I took a look at a boxed version and it was about the same. The action is a bit high, but the adjustable Bridge will let me fix that easily. The rest is very decent with a few weak points. Overall the guitar is well put together, no doubt about that, but the screws are cheap looking (they do their job but don't look nice), the pots are a bit uneven and a few very tiny glitches here and there, where the wood meets the plastic of the Switch and the pickups, but you'll need to look hard for something to complain about. The finish is awesome and the fretboard is flawless. The pickguard, however, looks like it was made, well, in China. There are bards bellow and it's a cheap plastic that doesn't go well at all with the rest of the guitar. My suggestion is take it off, you don't need it anyway, and your guitar will look much more like a Gibson Les Paul so there.
Features — 8
Made in China, Standard Epiphone Les Paul standard, black top with chrome hardware and brownish pots that I'll probably change in the future. Overall a very nice looking guitar with the classic Les Paul looks at a much lower price tag. Mahogany solid body with a very nice finish, the rosewood trapezoid inlays are awesome. It is a set neck and head stock, so that's also very good. It came with a plastic whitish pickguard that is screwed into the guitar's body on two points. I took it off because the guitar looks better without it, and left the screws there but I may have to replace them with something nicer because they look a bit off on the guitar. In terms of features, it has four pots, which is nice, it has three pickup positions, which is normal, 22 and a half frets, which is normal, very nice tuners and a tune-o-matic bridge. Standard. I miss a locking nut to help the guitar stay in tune (Les Pauls never do stay in tune very well, to be honest), though, but that's it.