Price paid: $ 2000
Purchased from: guitar centre
Sound — 10
It does not do what a tele/strat does but it does everything else better. In this class of guitar you can only compare the Standard and the Classic. I play lead and the classic has a brighter sound which suits me. I have never heard or played a guitar that can match either of the Les pauls. Everyone who picks up a Les Paul and plays it either falls in love or goes into denial.
Overall Impression — 10
Despite the predominance of thought that the Les Paul is a hard/heavy rock beast, it is versitile and procudes a wide variety of clean(ish) tones. As mentioned earlier the Fender guitars excel at their task. If I had to choose only one guitar - it would be a Gibson Les Paul - and if I had to choose only one Les Paul. It would be a Classic Premium Plus.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will not malfunction. Here are the problems for live use. 1 - all Les Pauls I have played are sensitive to temparature, get it out under the lights, let the temperature stabilise and then tune it, coming back from a break let it take the heat from your hands (which does not take long and then tune it). 2 -strap buttons are too small, you must always use strap locks in rehearsal or playing. 3 - the neck is weak arround the nut, even more so with the slim 60's neck. If you drop it or bang it there is a good chance the head will snap at this point. Fenders especially teles are much stronger at this point. 4 - people want to steal a Les Paul more than any other guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I have the tradditional cherry finish on my Les Paul Classic Premium Plus. This is one of the few examples in life where form and purpose come together. It is a beautiful work of art. There is no more attractive looking solid body electric guitar, although Ibanez get close, very elegant. The Fender units whilst iconic don't cut it. My Les Paul came out of the box perfect: finish, setup, action, intonation - everything. It is few years old now and shows some usage but still got the looks (unlike myself).
Features — 8
Designed in the fifties - they got it right. I have played for almost 30 years and have come to the conclusion that you need the right tools for the job. For me there are two kinds of solid body electric guitars - Les Paul and Telecaster. Between the two there is little scope for other hybrids with the exception of the classic Strat sound which you can get close to with enough telly tweeking. The Les Paul is designed for its purpose.