Price paid: $ 450
Purchased from: Archambault
Sound — 8
I play a lot of metal/hard rock (a lot of Metallica), and the guitar sounds awesome with a high gain amp. Note that I have set up my guitar for heavier strings (Power Slinkys), not a big fan of those extra thin strings that came with it. Seriously, on a gain amp, the difference with a pair of EMG 81/85 is surprisingly not that much of a difference! Clean sound could be better though. There was a time where I played Drop C and setted the guitar up with super heavy strings and it sounded super heavy, still sounds heavy in E or Eb. I play through a Roland Cube 30X mostly on the Rectifier amp setting. For the amount of money I spent, It sounds absolutely fantastic.
Overall Impression — 8
This guitar will suit pretty much every style of music. From jazz to heavy modern metal without forgetting awesome pure and old Rock N' Roll. It sounds very heavy if you need to. You will also get a very nice jazz tone with it, without forgetting the awesome sustain (unlike a Fender Tele). I have been playing for now 5 years and counting. I have a Art & Lutherie acoustic guitar, an American Fender Telecaster Nashville B Bender, a classical guitar and this beauty. If it was stolen/lost I would definitely get myself another one. The only negative thing I could say about it is that I expected a "hotter" clean sound, but it's fine.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I had the guitar for several years now, and it's still in one piece! One day, the stand on which the guitar was falled forward and the pickup switch snapped from the impact. Needed to go find an original switch and solder another one there. It was my fault obviously! The guitar also survived a 1 meter drop on asphalt which a chip on the body. That super heavy solid guitar will withstand live playing and the hardware will surely last. I would gig with it without a backup (already did) and I depend on it. The finish is good to last and hard to scratch. I also replaced the strap buttons with some Schaullers; I like every guitar I own to have the strap locked and secure.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Sadly, the guitar was really badly set up from the factory. Being quite a beginner when I got it several years ago, I couldn't figure out why when I played an E or a G Chord it would sound awful (no I haven't changed string gauge at that time). Until I learned by myself to intonate it, fix the action and fix the truss rod. The action was perfect when I got it, but it was very badly intonated and the truss rod needed adjustment. I also set the pickups a little bit higher, but that's a matter of preference. It also kept in tune really really badly. I tightened the tuners so they are harder to turn and put a pair of heavier strings. Now it stays in tune nicely and don't need to retune after a song or some crazy bending. Just don't forget to stretch your fresh pair of strings and that constantly changing tuning (like I do) will make it harder to stay in tune. I guess that not every Epi Les Pauls out there are like that, but maybe the guy that set it up at the Epiphone factory wanted to go home faster and bungled the work.
Features — 9
The guitar was made in 2004. Features a fat neck for you fatty lovers out there, a pair of cool sounding pickups with a tone and volume for each one. I am a big fan of the Tune-O-Matic bridge! Very easy to set up, blablabla you know the drill there's hundreds of reviews down there reviewing the guitar features; all the same! Now it says "this field requires minimum 500 characters." I have nothing else to say about the features. The features are awesome. Need more characters... I bought the guitar with the black and yellow finish (forgot how it's called). It's a beauty. So I drank coffee this morning. Yes! No more characters needed!