Price paid: $ 250
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I been in a Hard rock/metal band for some time, and my old guitar was constantly in and out of the shop. Alternate tunings made a single guitar with floating tremolo rather annoying. The fixed bridge on the Les Paul Studio solved many tuning problems. I play on a Peavy Transtube supreme head with a 4X10 cab and all effects are done with a DigiTech GNX-2. I changed the stock Epiphone humbuckers for Seymour Duncan JB and Jazz combo. Though the Epi humbuckers aren't bad at all. It has a great sound when clean, and a very rich, dark sound when driven, perfect for what I was looking for. With the 2 humbuckers and independant volume and tone pots for each pickup, it offers much variety with plenty of cavity room for additional mods using push pull pots. It has a sound comparitive to those at nearly 3 times the cost.
Overall Impression — 8
I play primarily metal and hard rock, but a Les Paul works well with nearly any style. I been playing guitar for 16 years, and owned several guitars from many manufacturers. If it were stolen or lost, I might consider saving for the next step up in the Les Paul family tree like an elitist or a Gibson made Les Paul. I love the raw looks, no binding, no fancy inlays, no complicated tremolo. It's simply a raw versatle guitar in a classic shape that is as much at home playing metal as it is country, blues, or classic rock. Intonation is a slight down side, tuning changes such as Drop D throw of intonation slightly. My favorite feature is the tone, very dark tone due to the mahogany body and set neck. I've compared this guitar to the Ibanez RG321, Squire Standard Telecaster, and Schecter Blackjack. I chose the Les Paul due to the lower price, mahogany body, and set neck. I do wish it came with neck and body contouring like the Gibson Axcess Les Paul.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have been playing this as my main guitar in both Live and studio situations, and seems very rugged. The hardware is still solid and remains flawless. I've had issues with the strap falling off, but it was due to the strap being worn out and not the guitar itself. I strongly depend on this guitar, and haven't bothered bringing a backup guitar to most shows.The finish seems quite durable as well.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The overall setup was great from nut to bridge. The pickups were adjusted and performed well. The guitar contained in-store damage before purchase to the finish, but was otherwise in perfect condition. Slight modifications were needed to fit my personal playing style, but it was an easy fix.
Features — 7
I purchased this 2007 guitar initially as a Scratch and Dent from Guitar Center. There was some mild in-store damage on the surface that offered me a 33% discount. Apart from the minor surface flaws, it was every much a Epi-Paul studio. 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way, Tune-o-matic, Dual passive Epiphone humbuckers, Solid mahogany body, set neck, Gotoh tuners.