Price paid: $ 220
Purchased from: craigslist
Features — 9
This review is of my Epiphone Les Paul Standard plain top electric guitar which I have owned for about four years at the time of my writing this review. According to the serial number on the back of its headstock it was made in China at the Unsung Plant in November of 2006. Like most Les Paul models it has a single cutaway mahogany body capped with a carved maple top. Contrasting the ebony finish is an elevated cream white pickguard, with matching back cavity covers, and 1-ply binding along the body and glued-in, set mahogany neck with slim-tapered profile and golden "Les Paul Model" silkscreen on the headstock. It comes equipped with two passive Alnico Classic humbucker pickups which are controlled through four amber colored, bell shaped knobs (2 volume, 2 tone) and 3-position pickup selector toggle. This model features Epiphone's legendary rock solid chrome hardware including Grover Rotomatic non-locking die-cast tuners, fully adjustable tune-o-matic bridge, and stopbar tailpiece for that legendary Les Paul sustain. Atop the neck is a 24-3/4" scale rosewood fingerboard with 12" radius, and a 1.68" wide nut followed by 22 medium jumbo frets, highlighted with trapezoid inlays. This guitar did not come with any additional accessories when I purchased it from the original owner off of Craigslist.
Sound — 9
Prior to owning this Epiphone Les Paul I had been playing guitars with single-coil pickups. However, I did own an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. Special II back when I was a teen, and an Epiphone SG Special in my early 20's, but neither Special model impressed me much. Years later, claims of increased sustain from its glued-in, set mahogany neck, and heavier sound of the Alnico humbucker pickups persuaded me to give the Epiphone Les Paul Standard model a try. I have not been disappointed, nor have I looked back since discovering that I am "Les Paul" kind of guy. The Alnico Classic humbucker pickups fit in well among rock genres (which I prefer). I'll go further and say the Alnico Classic humbucker pickups can fit into any music genre out there. After all, the Les Paul was designed in part by a jazz musician and was originally marketed towards jazz guitarist. Over the decades the Les Paul has been popular with blues guitarist as well.
I have played my Les Paul Standard through a few amplifiers but I will stick with my primary amp to keep things short, my humble little Fender Mustang I. I do not use a whole lot of effects, typically just overdrive and distortion presets. I like to throw in a little delay and tremolo effect for fun here and there. Thanks to the humbucker pickups that "buck the hum" this is not a noisy guitar while sitting idle with the volume knob on, compared to most single-coil pickups. Overall, the Les Paul produces a tight and focused tone, from dark and warm, to bright and crisp, and all shades in between.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Since I purchased this guitar preowned I cannot accurately speak on how well the guitar was set-up by the factory. However, assuming the previous owner did not make any adjustments, and knowing I myself have not made any adjustments, I'd say the factory did a fine job setting up this guitar. The action is to my liking. It feels right, not too high and not too low. The pickups appear to have been set-up properly as well, and I have not discovered any flaws with this guitar aside from normal wear from use. Overall, in my opinion the Les Paul single cutaway feels more comfortable and natural compared to other guitars I have had the opportunity to own. The best words I can come up with to describe how the Les Paul feels to me is "it feels like home" if that makes sense to anyone out there reading this. In other words, it's the "bee's-knees." Some complain about the Les Paul's weight being too heavy, but that's actually one of the many aspects that I love about the model. Thinking about it, I cannot think of anything that I do not like about this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I lucked out when I found this guitar on Craigslist; the seller was a kid who had wanted to learn how to play but gave up and decided to put it up for sale. It was like new when I bought it with the only blemishes being superficial pick scratches, and it has pretty much remained in the same condition. I have babied this guitar; actually, I have treated this guitar better than my own kids at times, sorry kids. The reason being, this guitar is a piece of eye candy and I want to keep it looking as such. I have always been cautious whenever I wear a belt while playing this guitar, going as far as sliding my belt buckle around to the side of my body, resting on my hip to avoid any buckle rash. The guitar appears to have been constructed with high regard to integrity. I was immediately impressed with how solid it felt compared to the Strat style guitars I have owned. I am confident this guitar can withstand gigging as I have seen musicians gig with similar, if not the same make and model. When I asked one musician why he uses Epiphone, he told me it helped him avoid damage to, or theft of his Gibson Les Paul while providing the same feel and tone of his Gibson. The finish has withstood my regular playing of it the past several years.
Honestly, I have not had any issues with this Les Paul whatsoever. Another reason for my confidence in this guitar's ability to withstand live performances is the fact that one of my guitar heroes, Lars Frederiksen of Rancid, has recorded albums and performed live while using his completely stock Epiphone Les Paul Custom. Need I say more? The evidence speaks for itself. An Epiphone Les Paul can withstand live performances as well as touring around the world with Rancid. As mentioned earlier in the review, the hardware on this guitar is rock solid, and lives up to Epiphone's legendary reputation. Although this guitar has not let me down, I would not perform live without a backup, nor should anybody perform without a backup ready and waiting. Let's say a string breaks during your set. Would you rather (A) switch to your backup guitar between songs and keep the show and its energy going, or (B) stop the show, and look like an dweeb while you become the new center of attention while you restring your guitar and kiss the energy you had going good bye?
Overall Impression — 9
Personally, I enjoy listening to my favorite bands and play my guitar along to their music. I love listening to Rancid, Misfits, Social Distortion and Dropkick Murphys especially. The Epiphone Les Paul Standard is perfectly suited for this style of music (punk rock) as guitarists from Rancid, Social Distortion and Dropkick Murphys play Les Pauls. I have been playing guitar for the past twenty years now, and in addition to my Epiphone Les Paul Standard, I also have an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Black Beauty 3, and a Gretsch G5120 Electromatic hollow body. If either of my Epiphone Les Pauls were lost or stolen it is highly likely that I would go out and buy another one, although I would like to get my hands on a Hagstrom Swede or Gibson Les Paul. I really do love everything about this Epiphone Les Paul: the weight, sustain, carved top, slim-tapered glued - in set neck, trapezoid inlays, rosewood fretboard, the binding, Grover tuners, the pickups, bridge, hardware... everything. The only thing I would consider changing is swapping out the chrome tuners for vintage-style green key tuners.