Price paid: A$ 600
Purchased from: Gallins
Sound — 8
I bought it for rocking, and I use it with a twin reverb tube amp. It delivers nicely with distortion and the pickups (when they work - see below) sound clean enough with reasonable definition - particularly when compared to active pups like EMGs. You could easily play jazz as much as metal on this the sound is pretty versatile, and I've had a lot of fun with this - essentially the sound is strong without much extraneous noise. But the pickups and electronics had issues...
Overall Impression — 5
Please note that unlike other reviewers, I have not written this on the day I bought this guitar - I have used it for about three years, and it took a while for it to reveal it's flaws. I have an Epiphone Futura Prophecy EX, a Yamaha SA800 which are both much more reliable and fun to play than this guitar. You will get a taste of the Les Paul tone, and it does sound OK and stays in tune. I have had my fun with it, particularly when looking for thick hard rock tones, but the poor electronic workmanship make me feel that I've been shafted a bit. Would I replace it if it were stolen? HELL NO!
Reliability & Durability — 1
This is where this this guitar really went to pieces after the first year (one month after the shop's warranty!). The electronics just aren't up to scratch - the input jack/wiring has had to be repaired and now the pickups are seriously screwing up - dying out and coming back in, just atrocious really for a guitar that's still fairly new. And it's not like I treat it badly - I only use it at home. I would never trust this piece of crap in public, the quality of the electronic work is way too shoddy. Oh yeah - and when I was taking it to the shop to be repaired it fell over while in it's case - BOING - I opened the case and the bloody head had broken off. If this happens to you, it's not worth getting it professionally fixed - save your money and use Araldite. I did and it stays nicely in tune even if I made a hash of the job, so I won't knock the Grovers (or the Araldite!)
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The action was pretty average, even when set up by the tech at the shop - and he's got a pretty good rep. Not terrible, but the action is a big deal, and it could have been better. The baseball bat neck doesn't really help matters. Everything else was satisfactory.
Features — 6
As we know this is a Chinese made instrument - I bought it new in 2009. It has a pretty cheap look - i.e. dots instead of pearloid on the neck and uncovered pickups but essentially it has the main features of alnico pickups, a set neck, grover tuners and the three way selector for the two humbuckers. The glossy all black paint job drew me to it - well it looked OK at that moment and I had money in my pocket. Epiphone make cheaper versions with bolt on necks and crap pickups, and a more expensive version and I think this is the inbetweener.