Price paid: $ 799
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 7
Bear in mind that guitarists like Jerry Cantrell have actually used this and similar LP Junior models to record studio albums (check out "Boggy Depot") - so you can actually get a good sound from this guitar. The problem is that it's not very versatile - no surprise there.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, I was impressed with the affordability and the craftsmanship, but couldn't get over how much I was missing by having the one-part bridge and the single pickup. What if I want to replace the bridge with a vibrato system? Can't do that. What if I want some tonal variation? You're pretty much limited to what you can do with your fingers in that department.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I can't accurately gauge this section here, as I only played the guitar for several hours in store before deciding not to purchase it. However, given Gibson's reputation, and given that I myself didn't notice anything suspect, I will give this guitar the benefit of the doubt. That being said, the guitar felt like a well-built tank.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Action was low, the pickup was adjusted just fine, and the craftsmanship was spot-on - which you expect from an $800 guitar. Even though it's a "cheap" model, by Gibson standards, you can't skimp on the actual construction of the instrument - and Gibson didn't. Really, my only complaint here is that I don't like the way the finish feels on the neck. I like the smooth, glossy that I'm used to on my Epiphone LP; it just feels like it's easier to move up and down the fret board that way.
Features — 5
Before I continue, let me make it clear that this is a model I tried out at Guitar Center about a dozen times over a two-month period - I spent several hours playing it, which gave me enough information to decide not to buy it. The guitar in question has a "satin cherry" finish. Since it was new in store, I'm going to assume it was made in either 2012 or late 2011 (in the USA). The body is, of course, single-cutaway mahogany with a single P90 pickup. Since there's only one pickup, the controls are really simple - one volume knob, one tone knob. The hardware's okay - nothing fancy, especially the one-part Tune-o-Matic bridge (stop piece only). This is a really bare, stripped-down Les Paul, so of course the features aren't going to be quite up to snuff.