Price paid: € 1100
Purchased from: Kitarataivas
Sound — 8
The number one reason in sound why I bought this was how it resonated. It sounded really great without plugging in. Absolutely shows how good quality guitars just differ from the less expensive ones. This guitar is versatile, don't believe if someone says it isn't. You can go from blues to hard rock to heavy metal with your amp without lacking any sort of dynamics from the pickups. The pickups respond well to your pick attack as well as to the changes in the volume potentiometer and tone. The cleans in general are really rich and full, especially in the neck position. The bridge pickup is definitely brighter and hotter than the neck pickup. I use it mainly for both rhythm and lead playing. However, it is quite weak for heavier styles than heavy metal or at least that is to my ear. It somehow lacks aggressiveness, which might be that if it was more aggressive, it wouldn't be so bluesy anymore. That being said, it didn't fully suit my style of playing, which is something like melodic gothic metal. Hard to say, honestly. I play Black Label Society as well, for example. The neck pickup is absolutely astonishing. Everything I expect from a neck pickup is delivered. Smooth and warmth, both distorted lead and clean sounds, though I use it mainly for cleans. I have changed to EMG pickups (81 in bridge and 89 in neck). Now this guitar is absolutely an amazing workhorse and suits my style. So all in all, the response of the pickups in general was great. Some lack of aggressiveness from the original bridge pickup.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, after the mentioned upgrades, this guitar suits me nearly perfectly. I have to say, I have not found my dream guitar. I might be close or then I might be far. I've been playing for nearly 3 years now. Currently I play through a chain of Boss OS-2 to Dunlop Crybaby to MXR Analog Chorus to Blackstar HT-1 or Laney VH100R with 2x12 cabinet. It sounds great. I purchased this guitar after a really long thought and a long tryout too. I compared this guitar to Schecter C-1, Jackson SL3, ESP LTD JH-600 and Ibanez RG1550Z. Tremolo system wasn't really for me and Schecter's neck didn't feel good. If this guitar was lost or stolen, I'd be pretty broken. I like this guitar a lot. I could even say that I've got a bond with it, of some sort. The feature I love the most in this guitar has to be either the looks or the feel of the neck. It has a really magnificent gloss black finish. It looks great and it shines, especially when you take care of it (like me). This guitar is most likely a keeper. I wish this guitar had coil-taps as factory setting, they do now though, didn't last year. Also they have changed the neck profile to the thinner one. A lot of changes I'd say.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar stays in tune really well. Been on two small gigs, didn't go out of tune, even after crazy bends and vibratos. Exactly what you expect of a guitar of this level. The hardware has not corroded or oxidized. I have heard and seen that the gold hardware has that problem. I believe this guitar is made to withstand even more gigging. The finish is good and it looks great too. Then we come to the small, but not at all pointless feature, the strap buttons. They look like something that are bound to make your guitar fall. I did not like them at all, I replaced them nearly immediately with strap-locks. I feel much safer now. The craftsmanship is solid and the guitar in overall is really reliable. If I don't have a backup for a gig, it is not a problem. I don't believe this guitar would give me any unpleasant surprises, but if a string breaks, then it's my own fault.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Factory setup wasn't so great though. It was too low for me, however, there was no fret buzz. Slightly sharp frets at the end of the fingerboard, could be due to the time between factory setup and arrival to store though. But they were really minor things. Felt exactly how I liked it in less than 5 minutes. However, since I tune to D standard, I needed thicker strings than 10s. The pickups were set well to my liking, but what I've usually seen in Gibson guitars, the bridge pickup is quite high. I like it that way though. The feel of the neck was the number one reason of all why I bought it. Felt really good for my hand. It feels natural and that's really good. The rosewood fingerboard looks really good and hasn't really shrunk, not even during winter. It's also quite dark too. The sharp frets I felt were during the first two months, not after that really.
Features — 9
- Made in 2011, USA - 24.75" Scale - Les Paul style Mahogany Body - Gloss Ebony Finish (nitrocellulose) - Mahogany Neck (matching color to body, gloss finish) - Rosewood Fingerboard - Corian Nut - 22 Frets, which I believe to be medium jumbo - Chrome Hardware - Tune-o-matic bridge with stoptail (Gibson) - Vintage style Tulip tuners (Gibson Deluxe) - A really solid hardcase (made in Canada) Electronics: - Passive - 2 Humbuckers - 2x Volume, 2x Tone - 3-way switch at the top of the body - 490r Neck - 498t Bridge Basically, with these specs and with the Gibson label on it were the things that made me want to try it out. It could have coil-taps though. The specs have changed quite a bit in a year, which is surprising.