Price paid: $ 650
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 10
I play a cross of Stevie Ray meets Slash meets Neil Young. Rocking blues and some modern covers, along with my blues based originals and she has not let me down yet. It is quickly becoming my primary road guitar by a wide margin. Very dank sound, a little meatier than the standard, not quite as searing or airy, and I know that's because of the mahogany top. I play through a 15w Fender super champ XD, slightly dirty, that feeds a homemade cabinet that is switchable between 2 and 4 speakers, depending on the setting, and use just a few pedals to get what I want. Boss TU2 tuner, Boss Blues driver (mostly clean, just use it for a little volume boost on my leads), Dunlop crybaby, and Boss digital delay. that's my rig. The amp has plenty of features but that will be another review. Whatever I dial up on the amp, this guitar is ready for it.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing for about 20 years now, gigging regularly for 8, and this is a great battle axe for being on stage. Plus at the price, I'm not going to commit hari-kari over an accident or theft like I would say over a '66 SG that has never fully recovered or my prized '72 Standard that I don't let my kids breathe on! It's durable, affordable, and more than capable.
Reliability & Durability — 10
OMG! Again, It's a Gibson. I have never had a problem with any of my gibsons (or epiphones for that matter) that I have not caused myself. Again straplocks! A balsa wood guitar would still fall on stage if not for straplocks. Any brand will do, I have used them all. Personally like the look of the hennessey NSL series. Every guitar I own will outlive me, and hopefully my children if they take care of them when I'm gone. Over 100 years and people still shell out a months salary or more on their product... That speaks for itself. If I ever go to a gig without a second guitar shoot me where I stand. Accidents happen. But, if I could guarantee my clumsiness not a factor, I don't need any other guitar on stage.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
It's a Gibson! For crying out loud! I hear all kind of complaints about Gibson's quality of late, I own now 6, and have owned close to 20 Gibsons and they are all flawless. They are the most well put together guitar I have ever run into, I sold all my other guitar but one of my fenders and just play Gibson now. I do have a couple of Epiphones that I use when I want a little less punch on recordings but on stage it's Gibson only. Any flaws I could point out are my personal choices when it comes to hardware, not any negative towards what Gibson puts out every single day. The faded mahogany top looks great, it's supposed to look aged and it does. It's not a $2k standard, so I am very pleased with the color and look of the guitar. I might try and find a cherry one for my second road axe.
Features — 9
2005 all mahogany LP studio. Purchased in '10 off of ebay. Wow. This is not my first LP, or even my first Gibson, but it is my first Studio model and my first guitar made of only one kind of wood. Very tough looking guitar, Faded mahogany color, Black trimmings, nickel hardware. She has such a different tone as compared to standards I've owned. Fat and muddy rhythm and sweet, dusky treble. I play alot of blues and classic rock and she powers through every song I play. Really gave me a danker sound that I was looking for on stage. Not as bright as the standard, but perfect for my style. '59 style rounded neck, kinda fat but I'm getting used to it, actually makes solos easier but a little tougher to fret some of the stretchier chords. All my Epis and Stds in the past have had the 60's slim taper neck, this is a different animal but an absolute joy to play nonetheless. Came with (I am assuming) stock humbuckers that have a "patent applied for" sticker on the back of them. They sound alright to me, but I think a set of SD APH's is in order. Again, a personal preference on my tone, no knock on the quality of the pickups, they sing just fine, just not my sound. Action came to me a little high but (as on any Gibson) was an easy fix. Has Vintage style Gibson deluxe tuners with the green knobs. They work great, but I will soon be putting Grover Locking tuners on. Another personal preference, once I discovered those, there was no turning back and they are on every guitar I own (9). Also, straplocks. Invest in them. Even though this has a Gibson chambered body for tonality, it is still a heavy guitar (about 8 lbs) and I learned the hard way on a '66 SG how valuable they are. Must have on any guitar with a strap.