Price paid: $ 502
Purchased from: Swee Lee (Singapore)
Features — 9
2015 model made in Epiphone Qingdao Factory in China. Build quality is superb for the price paid. In case anyone who do not know, it's Mahogany Body with a maple cap and a AAA flame maple veneer (a very thin piece of wood). Mahogany neck with Rosewood fretboard. Mine is in Honey Burst colour. Pickups are ProBucker 2 and 3 which are modeled after Gibson's BurstBucker 2 and 3. Low output original PAF style humbers. The other specs is your basic Les Paul stuff.
- Scale: 24.75"
- Frets: 22 medium jumbo
- Fretboard Radius: 12"
- Fingerboard Inlay: trapezoid
- Nut Width: 1.68"
- Binding: 1-ply cream (body)
- 1-ply cream (neck)
- Pickups: Pro-Bucker-2
- Bridge Pickup: Pro-Bucker-3
- Bridge: Locking Tune-o-matic
- Tailpiece: Stopbar
* The tailpiece is legit solid steel so yea.... I shat myself when I dropped it from table height and it made a loud clang
Sound — 10
As I'm more into the High Gain blues/ blues-rock, the original PAF style humbucker is very suitable for my music choice. This guitar can also easily do metal, classic rock and stuff like that.
On the neck pickup at high gain is smooth and full; there's a lot of mid-range coming from the neck pickup. If the tone is set to 0, it can really give you the women tone if your amp settings is set right. When playing low gain or clean in this position, your guitar will sound really sweet and smooth. It really makes the guitar sing in this position.
On the bridge pickup at high gain, the pickup is roaring; harsh and powerful and just screaming. When playing low gain or clean in this position, the guitar will sound like it's ready to just set off; a very raw and rumbly sound.
Middle position (Both pickup):
I've brought my guitar to the shop to have the middle position wired out-of-phase sound (Peter Green mod). So if you play in high gain in the middle position, it'll really scream with all the harmonics coming out of each notes [think of "Bohemian Rhapsody" solo tone]. In low gain or clean in this position, it'll remind you of the early stuff that Peter Green do.
It's important to note that the pickup are not double vacuum wax so there'll be microphonic feedback in the bridge pickup when there's high gain (don't have any for the neck pickup).
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Upon purchasing it, the action of the guitar is rubbish; too high to be able to play comfortably. However, it is easily adjusted through the tune-o-matic bridge while changing strings. Took me about 2 to 3 string change to set the action just right for me. The pickup height are up to preference; for me, I prefer my pickup height really low on the Les Paul. However, my guitar neck humbucker is way louder than the bridge pickup so I believe it's the factory messing up the set up for pickup height. After much adjustment, I got the balance of volume on both guitar right and sounds overall pretty good to me. No issues with the cavities. The wiring is just a little messy but it's not big of an issue.
There are some imperfection near the top binding for my guitar where they did not remove the pain off the binding properly but if you never really look for it, you can't see it so not an issue either. The Grover tuners keep the guitar in tune properly. The nut has been cut properly but you many want to change to a Tusq nut in the future because plastic nuts... (Also apply for Gibson Guitars). The frets were done quite properly. I've no issue with fret buzz on my Les Paul but it's good to ask the shop where you bought the guitar from to do a basic set up unless you know how to set-up like me LOL. Anyways, 6/10 for this mainly due to the stock action and partly because of the pickup adjustment.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't put it through it paces for live playing (Will find out in a few months) but so far it had worked very well for rehearsal and home use. You do want to get a tuner for any Les Paul because the D and G String will get stuck in the nut if it's not lubricated properly and will cause tuning issue (Not only on this Les Paul... All Les Paul with traditional nut will encounter this issue). Strap Button holds the strap quite well but just get strap locks... You don't want to drop any guitar.
It's important to note also this model and most Epiphone are polyurethane finish... So it could take a few beating as compared to Nitro finish as poly finish is harder. You may want to have a cloth somewhere nearby because if you sweat a lot, the gloop (finish) on the neck may cause stickiness when playing and it's good to wipe it down once in a while in between songs if necessary.
Overall Impression — 10
If you can look past the minor flaws, rubbish stock string action, pickup adjustment and tuning issues that is common among majority of Les Paul (be it Epiphone or Gibson), this model is the best value for your money. Comparing to the regular Epiphone Les Paul Standard, the pickup fair better overall for me and the playability is way better than the Standard. Even though I prefer a 58 or 59 neck, the slim tapered neck on this Epiphone feels nice to my hands. Playing blues, blues rock, classic rock and many different genre on this guitar is a good match. Get a decent amp and good pedal set up and you're ready to rock! You can easily get the tone you're looking for when getting a Les Paul easily.
Comparing to other brands like Edwards or the older Lawsuit MIJ models like Aria, this guitar fair better than some of what I've played (Gibsons too). It could also depend on the guitar as not all guitar are made the same. If you were to buy the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro, you need to try it out for yourself. Mine speak to me the moment I strum a single A chord. You may find one that speak to you too!