Price paid: £ 570
Purchased from: Guitar Amp & Keyboard (online)
Features: This is the 2011 version of the Epiphone Les Paul Custom Plus (Zakk Wylde Bullseye)...it's a 22 fret guitar, with a pretty thick neck, but surprisingly it really works for shredding and some fast solos!
INFO FROM Epiphone WEBSITE:
+Pickups: EMG 81/85 (yes the 2011 does come with the famous 81/85's)
+Nut Width: 1.68"
+Neck: Glued In / Set / Hard Mapel
+Body Material: Mahogany
+Tailpiece: Locktone Stopbar
+Finish: Antique Ivory (not the 'YELLOW' that some people think it is, its more a beige/yellow)
You can get a Marshall MG30FX + Marshall Foot-pedal for an extra 151 from GAK.co.uk // 10
Sound: This guitar of course has an amazing sound, it's pretty much custom built for modern metal/rock and even alternative! I play; Elliot Minor, Nickelback, Paramore, Evanescence, Zakk Wylde (obviously), Slayer, Disturbed, AC/DC, Kansas, ANY MANY MORE DIFFERENT BANDS!
It handles them all really well! It does sound sublime for metal and modern rock/alternative, and it works well for older stuff. The pick-ups are a dream... clear precise and they can give you a warm smooth sound or a screaming bloody slap in the face solo sound! The tone and volume controls are brilliant... they make such a huge difference to the sound! The tone/volume knobs on my other guitars don't come close to this one, so the sound you get from just one pick-up by using the knobs is astounding!
The pick-ups are quiet as a mouse, un-till you play.. then they shout. All in a good way, it makes noise when you want it too, no need to turn volume down when your not playing, no buzz, no ringing, nothing... perfect! As I said... the sound can be rich/smooth/warm to high/screaming/face melting, etc... I use either; Marshall MG30FX with a Marshall Foot Pedal or my Line 6 GX Audio interface that's linked to POD Farm v2.0 on my computer (for recording purposes really... see www.youtube.com/mrtjgale for some videos!)
It stays in tune, like a dream! The pegs are nice and stiff, which really re-assures you that its holding onto the tone nice and tight... after putting new strings on, I tuned twice and it's fine! AMAZING!
This is an extremely versatile guitar, but it is suited to modern stuff really... but don't be put off buying it if you wont be focusing on modern music! // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The action is pretty much exactly where I want it... it's low... but not too low to cause any problems. There is no fret buzz... the only time I did get it was in DropC# on the first fret of the low E string, which is not at all surprising!
I'd recommend having the pick-ups in the middle/a little low, the pick-ups give off enough volume as it is, and having them too close to the strings can cause problems.
The guitar actually came tuned! It still had dust all over it inside a sealed box.. and it was tuned! WOW... all I did was change strings to my favourite Ernie Ball Regular Slinkeys (10's)and put the pick-ups down a little!
I'll tell you a little secret... the design on the body is a decal (sticker)... but it's so well done it's 100% impossible to find any kind of seam or edge! It's still sexy as hell! // 10
Reliability & Durability: This guitar is a beast... it's got good weight to it, if you use the string size (10) then it will more than handle some serious heavy playing live! I have played this at full volume on 2 4x12 Marshall Brit Cabs in a practise room, and it sounded like god farting! It was epic... that is all!
The hardware will more than last... the nut especially is the best I have seen so far... however, another little tip for you; shave some of the end of a pencil in the grooves of the nut, so that the grooves in the nut fill with the black graphite stuff... this will aid in reducing the effect of the strings cutting through the plastic.
The strap buttons... mmmm, I wouldn't be too confident with these, they're not the 'button' type that I like.. they have that angled style, so pressure will make the strap slide off :( Such a shame!
I will be keeping this guitar for many years! I can feel it... it's so reliable! // 9
Overall Impression: I can't get over how brilliant this guitar is... if you don't like a sound, tweak the tone/volume and there you have it, a sound that will make Slash cry!
Zakk Wylde loves this guitar! I know he uses a Gibson... but he has said that the Epiphone is his number 1 recommendation for those who can't get a Gibson. The only difference between this and a Gibson... is the way/place it was built... Gibson in America, by a team of dedicated workers... and Epiphone in China, with a good manufacturing process! Though please don't let that put you off!
The only thing I wish it had, would be different strap buttons! That is all! If it were lost or stolen, I'd cry for a month then buy a new one!
My favourite feature (apart from the obvious sound)... is the tuning pegs! They are just so great at what they do it's unreal!
This guitar I'm reviewing is the 2011 version, that includes Zakk Wylde's choice of active EMG pick-ups.. the 81 and 85! They normally have to be bought and fitted later for an extra cost of close to 200. The older versions have imitation EMG HZ passive pick-ups! // 10