Purchased from: GuitarGuitar
Features — 10
The guitar is a 2013 model '70s Tribute. It's essentially a classic Gibson Les Paul that's at the lower end of the price scale. This gets you a Mahogany body with a Maple top, a Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets, classic stop bar and tail piece bridge, grover tuners, 2 Gibson Dirty Fingers humbuckers and a fairly nice Satin Finish. Mine's is the Tobacco-burst finish which has a natural back which is stunning. I absolutely love the bare bones look of this guitar. It comes with a nice gig bag. In all honesty I feel that doing a features section on a Les Paul is fairly pointless unless there is something special about it. I wanted a simple Les Paul and I got one. No harm in giving it a 10 there then.
Sound — 6
I play metal in it's many varieties. My biggest influences are Mastodon, High On Fire, Testament and Iced Earth. I play this through an Orange TH100 going into a Marshall Mode Four cab. The only pedals in the way between the guitar and amp are a Tuner and a noise gate. The gate is essential with this guitar because it seems to have a huge feedback problem. The pick ups are incredibly microphonic which I assume is the cause of this. The sound is so very beefy and chugging rhythms are very satisfying... So long as you don't tune down too low. This is a huge flaw for me personally as a metal guy. Dropping the guitar anywhere below D (my band plays in D standard and Drop C) cause the guitar to become unbelievably muddy. I used this guitar in D standard and it sounds great but as soon as I head any lower it becomes undefinable. The problems I have with the sound of this guitar are easily fixable with a pick up change which many people consider an essential mod but for anything plus £500 I feel that these are problems I shouldn't be coming across. That being said, as mentioned above, in D standard this guitar sounds fantastic. Combined with my Orange it gives me a nice Vintage feel to my band that I really love.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
The guitar was properly intonated at the factory and the neck/truss rod were well adjusted. The action height is all down to preference. I like mine surprisingly high for a metal guy. The pick ups for some reason were set about as high as they could be. After that was set back down the guitar was comfortable enough to play but there were a few sharp fret-ends which I wasn't all that impressed with. The general impression that I got from this guitar was that they really rushed these out of the factory. I'm marking down this seriously as a brand with a legacy and reputation as high as Gibson's should not have these kinds of flaws.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've used this guitar live a few times but only for a few songs. It snapped a string at one gig but that can happen to any guitar so obviously I wont hold that against it. This guitar will happily withstand live playing. The hardware is all rock solid and it holds it tuning beautifully. Les Pauls have a reputation for not holding their tuning at all but with this guitar that fortunately isn't the case at all. The strap buttons are very secure. The finish, being satin, fades away very quickly. I won't mark it down however on that basis because for me that is part of the appeal of satin as opposed to the many gloss finishes that are available from other brands on the market at this price range. The guitar feels rock solid and to be honest is a real redeeming factor for this guitar.
Overall Impression — 7
I've been playing for about 10 years now and have owned various guitars but this was my first Gibson. I don't know if my expectations were ridiculously high based on the heritage and legacy of the company. The guitar holds up against it's Epiphone counterpart but I feel it falls short of my Ibanez and Schecter. The problem with drop tuning is a simple pick up change away. I do feel that on a guitar this price and from such a prestigious brand as Gibson microphonic pick ups are a serious no no. Combine that with the poor fret finish and ridiculous pick up height that they set them at the guitar looses some serious marks. If it were lost or stolen I probably wouldn't re-purchase. I do love this guitar and it has some wonderful features and it does feel like it has been well put together. They just need to take more time finishing it off and quality controlling them. I feel that in the market there are other brands offering similar guitars with a greater sense of quality control. I have had the guitar re-fretted since I bought with some taller frets and had a much nicer fret finish on it. After a pick up change this will become the Les Paul I have been dreaming of. Anyone buying this guitar for metal music I offer one recommendation - do not just try this in standard tuning at the shop. Drop it down as low as you would usually and make sure the sound is definable enough for you.