Sound — 9
I play in a rock and roll outfit, and I was testing guitars in the 1,000 dollar range. I wanted a Les Paul for the tonal differences from our lead player's Strat. This thing delivers. Mahogany is its own distinct sound. For most Studios, the problem is how muddy they sound because of the large mahogany body. The other studios were way too dark toned for my ear. The maple top made a huge difference. The notes were crisper and the whole sound thickened and was more puncuated. The Les Paul sound is, the Les Paul sound.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, I decided to pass on this guitar. The reason was the price/quality. I didn't want to pay 1,300 for a Gibson LP that wasn't quite up to sound, finish, and the setup was terrible. I would've felt much more comfortable with a higher quality instrument. I would say it's a great guitar, but the one I played in the shop was not setup well.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I played the thing for almost 2 hours in the shop through all of the amps. Les Pauls are built like tanks, always have been, always will be. The finish was top notch on the top, but id be wary of the other areas. The back and neck would probably get dinged pretty well over time. However, that is true with most guitars.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was set up terribly from the factory. The strings were not wound on well enough to maintain tuning, and the strings were not that old. The guitar's top was a little improperly lined up but it was still a fantastic top. Everything else seemed to be ok. Not the type of setup youd expect for a guitar that expensive.
Features — 9
2006 Made in USA from Gibson, 22 fret maple topped mahogony, mahogony necked Les Paul Studio. The deluxe is a new line from Gibson this year. The finish is a natural blonde color, which is fantastically done. Tune-O-Matic bridge, standard Les Paul controls. I'm not sure what the stock pickups are, but they are alright. Nothing special, but definately to standard with other Gibsons. Non-locking tuners. Came with hardcase and care kit. Pretty standard Barebones maple topped Les Paul Studio.