Price paid: $ 800
Purchased from: Local music store (used)
Sound — 10
If you are looking for the classic, powerful, and versatile sound of a Les Paul, don't be discouraged by the lower price; this guitar has it. Although mine came with DiMarzio's when I bought it, the quality of mine is extraordinary. The mahogany solid body creates the full, living, breathing sound of a Gibson Les Paul the world has come to love. The Les Paul is also one of, if not the, most versatile guitars ever made, in my opinion. When I'm shredding through some Megadeth or Dio, this guitar creates the brutal metal tone of my dreams. When I'm jamming along with classic rock like Led Zeppelin or Thin Lizzy, it sounds fantastic as well. When I switch the Les Paul over to a clean tone, it is as crystal clear as any guitar I've ever played. It's fantastic, and I couldn't be happier. There has never been any sort of fault with the sound of the guitar for me. It is by far my best sounding guitar, and the sustain on it could go on for forever.
Overall Impression — 9
This guitar handles perfectly all the metal, classic rock, blues, and whatever else I feel like playing thrown at it. It looks great, sounds great, feels great, and inspires me to play and write music. It's a fantastic instrument, and although it may have a flaw or two like any guitar, it's my favorite guitar I've ever played. I love it, and it has everything I personally need or would use. If it was stolen, I would buy another Les Paul eventually, and would be happy for another of these. I couldn't be happier with this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar is built like a tank for the most part, and could take a lot of abuse I think. I've played live with it and have had no problems. I've had backup guitars with me, but haven't need to use them. People sometimes complain about Les Pauls going out of tune, but I've had no such problem. As far as ways it has not held up so well, when I first bought it, I had to replace the toggle switch two volume pots. In both of them, dirt had gotten stuck in a little area by the last owner that could not be cleaned out. It had been used as a gigging guitar by the last owner, and I'm not sure how long he owned it for and how much abuse he put it through so I will only detract a point. It was totally worth it to replace these couple of things to get this great guitar to working condition. Also, the gold on the hardware, like I said, wears off pretty quickly, so a point off for that. I put strap locks on it just to be safe and haven't had any problems so far.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I bought this guitar used, so I can't speak for the factory set up, but the first time I picked it up, I was blown away by the amount of comfort it exhibited. I've played many Les Pauls that did absolutely nothing for me and I dislike the necks very much, but I fell in love with mine pretty quickly. The action is perfect for me as far as how it is set up right now, and bending and vibrato feels like a dream on this guitar. I couldn't be happier. The flamed maple top was matched excellently. There are a few flaws in the wood (a few really dark places that stand out) but I rather like it actually; it looks unique and cool to me. I've not seen another one like it, and I really like it. I personally wouldn't change it at all. But because it is technically an imperfection, I will detract a point. There is a slight bit of buzz, but I don't notice when it's plugged in. It could probably be pretty easily fixed, but I don't even notice it all unless I'm playing unplugged, and even then it isn't an issue. For that I will detract a point.
Features — 9
This guitar has the standards of a Les Paul: A "solid" mahogany body (I was lucky and got one from 2005, which was before Gibson started doing their extreme chambering), a gorgeous flamed maple top, a 22 fret rosewood fretboard, two volume and two tone knobs, a 3-way toggle switch, two humbuckers (mine came with two DiMarzio pickups that had been installed by its previous owner), and a tune-o-matic bridge. The hardware is also gold, and a case was included with my purchase. There is nothing else I really could want out of this guitar if I was looking for a Les Paul; great feeling neck, a nice weighty body, all the standards that I previously mentioned, and one of my favorite finishes I've ever seen on a guitar that is perfectly complimented by the gold hardware and lack of binding. It's a beauty to play and look at. I personally prefer this guitar, mine at least, to higher end Les Paul I've played. The only thing I personally dislike about Les Pauls is the location of the toggle switch can be a bit in the way, so I am taking off a point for that. If you don't mind that though (it doesn't bother me much), this guitar has everything you could want out of a Les Paul.