Price paid: $ 2379
Purchased from: Sound City
Sound — 8
My music style is r'n'b influenced, and that's the real stuff, not this modern so called r'n'b, so that's from Robert Johnson, through Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf to The Stones, The Black Crowes, Dr. Feelgood, Canned Heat, Little Steven, Southside Johnny, you get the idea. I like a sound with a crunch and a bite to it, and this guitar can do that easily. I use it with a Vox AD30VT, and sometimes through a Fender Twin if I can beg use of it, with a Boss NS2 noise suppressor. The guitar can run with a clean sound but only with the volume down; with it cranked up it gains an edge and a rawness which I love. It can go from smooth to rough easily by switching pickups from the neck to the bridge, and I should think that you Joe Perry style lead players would love it. Having said that, on the neck pickup the lower notes can sound a bit 'muddy', but the upper ranges make up for that with a great tone and bright crunch. Me? I play rhythm, but I like a driving raw rhythm and it gives me that and more.
Overall Impression — 9
I have three guitars, a Standard 83 Tele kept in open G, custom tele kept in open E and this in Standard tuning. This is the one that comes out when I want to be a bit louder and heavier than the tele twang can give me. I would change the Gibson logo on the head as I think it looks a bit cheap, a proper inlaid one would have been nice, and bigger strap buttons would also be good. This guitar makes me want to play it, and I bought it, the only Brand New guitar I have ever bought, because I loved the sound, not for the way it looks, which to me is just a bonus. I would liken it to the studio model Les Pauls, in that it is about the sound more than the image, although I realise that with this model most will have one eye on that part as well! I have read the other review of the LP Voodoo on here, and would just say this. 24 fret? Says it all really.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Well after dropping it twice and it being unscathed, I can hardly fault it now can I? I'd recommend a locking strap though. As I've already said, everything still feels tight. I would play with this one alone, as I don't doubt it's solidity and reliability. Careful with the strings though.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action from the box was a touch high for me, but not stupidly so, I've heard that Gibsons from the box are all set as a kind of happy medium, not too high, not too low, after all, I spent an good hour in the shop playing it before I bought it, and loved the sound so much I wasn't put off by a slightly high action. Who amongst us has bought a guitar that didn't need some adjustment? I've had it over two years, and use Ernie Ball 52-10s and the guitar stays in tune well. Lowering the action from the bridge was a simple thing to do, and the pickups still seemed fine, all the tone and volume range is still there and nothing has rusted, loosened or dropped off. In fact it all feels tight and responsive, despite me drop testing it twice. Not a mark on it, even after the bounce tests.
Features — 8
2004 model from USA; 22 fret Mahogony neck with ebony fingerboard; Swamp Ash body first painted ebony, then red stained grain on body and neck. Satin finish. Standard Les Paul style single cutaway, Tune-O-Matic bridge and Grover Kidney tuners; three way Switch, 2 volume and two tone controls all detailed in red to match the red pearl skull motif at the fifth fret. Black Magic double slug pickups (496R/500T) one red and one black per pair. Came with strap (Red/black Gibson), hard case (Red Python hardshell with black plush interior), string winder, cleaning cloth and pump polish and one 15 metre cable.