Price paid: $ 600
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I play lots of genres, from rock to blues to jazz to shred. This guitar definitely lived up to my expectations. My setup is a Gibson Les Paul VM through a MXR Smart Gate, Ibanez TS9 Tubescreamer through a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal through a MXR Carbon Copy Delay (effects loop) all through a Peavey Classic 30 Amplifier. I first went out looking for a cheaper practice guitar, and was thinking about a PRS SE Custom and a Schecter C-1 Classic until I found this baby. The sound quality out of the BB pros was amazing, and I was shocked that this guitar was the same price as most of the higher-end Epiphones. Even though the pickups didn't have as much bite as initially expected, I was amazed at the sustain and clarity of the neck, and the lower end growl of the bridge. I am a big Satriani fan and this guitar, along with my Classic 30 and TS9, Created a perfect sweet Satriani tone like heard on Always with me, Always with You'. This guitar is very versatile and was able to to go from jazz to hardcore rock with the flick of a Switch. I use this guitar for any style of gig EXCEPT for blues, as I find my old Strat more soulful. The fact that this guitar has a no maple top makes the sound more raw and untamed. I love the sound and versatility of this guitar and knew I had made the right decision a few weeks after I had bought it. I'm giving it a 9 because the pickups lacked clarity and were muddy while playing lightly distorted chords.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this guitar has replaced my mexican Strat (which now collects dust) as my #1 guitar. I play mainly rock, but this guitar is versatile enough to go from metal to jangle, with the right pedals and amps. My setup is aforementioned, and with it I can create pretty much any tone I want (maybe a Vox AC30 and a Crybaby in the future). If this guitar were lost or stolen, I would devote the rest of my life to finding the guy who took it and making him pay =). Otherwise I would buy another one (unless I had enough cash to buy a PRS) (PRS>Gibson>>PRS SE>>>Fender>>>McDonalds). I wish I had checked the guitar out a bit more before I had bought it. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision that ended up paying off. (I originally went out to buy a PRS SE model, which sucks compared to this) Overall, I love this guitar (even though it's not quite perfection) and hope to continue playing for a long, long time (Or at least until I save up enough to buy a PRS Custom 24).
Reliability & Durability — 9
I play a lot Live and this guitar can definitely handle it. Just in case, however, I will never play without a backup. Things happen, not the fault of the guitar. The strap buttons are medium sized, but to be safe, I replaced them with strap locks. You can never be too careful. In terms of the durability of the finish, it's easy to scratch, but that's the price you pay for letting the wood breathe better. The hardware is solid and will hold up. Overall this guitar is a tank. I'm surprised it hasn't dented yet.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
Ok.. Heres where things get a bit dicey. There were 3 Vintage Mahogany's at the store and only one had filed down fret edges. The other two guitars had sharp fret edges which were literally a pain to play on. I'm sure you could sand them down, but I had expected a little bit better quality control from a Gibson USA guitar. Other than that, factory set-up was fine; proper intonation, good action, well adjusted pickups. The mahogany top was very well book-matched. At first I thought it was a one piece top (I wish). All was good until I got the guitar home. At first, I noticed that there was a drink stain around the 16th fret on the fingerboard.. Which I had not seen at the store. I was really disappointed, because I had bought the guitar brand-new. Also, the inside of the cutaway had not been sanded properly, so therefore left a rough feeling. Although these problems didn't affect the overall sound of the guitar, I was disappointed of the craftsmanship of the Gibson workshop. I opened up the case and looked at the owners certificate, and they had it registered to the wrong serial number (tsk tsk). I was able to call Guitar Center and get it sorted out. I started playing the guitar and did a bend on the high E string from the 22nd fret to get to a high F'. The Gibson Factory strings broke, so I replaced them with D'Arddio 10s and everything was fine from then on. Also, the tuners are terrible. They are molded wrong and don't work. If you do a bend, the string is immediately out of tune. When I restrung the guitar, I put some graphite on the nut and it seemed to fix the problem. Otherwise, everything else was fine with the guitar, but I had expected better quality control from Gibson.
Features — 8
2008 Gibson Les Paul Vintage Mahogany. Made in the USA. Two Volume, two tone knobs, 3-way Switch, Gibson Burstbucker Pro pickups, 22 frets. 3-piece mahogany body, two piece mahogany top. Mahogany Neck. Single cutaway profile with medium strap buttons. This guitar has a Satin finish and came with a tuno-matic bridge. Tulip tuners were stock (I think they're Kluson) Included was a hardshell case with a plush interior and an intonation adjustment Tool. I have the worn brown finish, which looks amazing. Coil tap would've been nice for a bluesier sound but oh well, you can't have everything.