Price paid: $ 700
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
The sound was ok when I first got it. Acoustically it was strong, plugged in was well, meh. I bought it because I thought it was a good deal at the time. It needed the electronics reworked due to a bad/broken toggle, and one of the pots wasn't working well. I got an RS Mods wiring kit and a custom ordered SH5 pickup, and had my local tech install them. I have a Mesa F100, Peavey 5150, and a Peavey Vintage Butcher head w/a Mesa Cabinet. Bridge position now has balls, and the neck while I never paid much attention to before, isn't all that bad now. Very responsive in all positions of the pickup selector and controls, thru effects, straight in to the amps or just a wah in my signal chain. Drop tuning doesn't sound weak, and my tone doesn't suffer. I feel comfortable playing Hendrix to 5FDP on this now. That's not easy to do. I'm wondering what a P90 would sound like in the neck. I have mostly all original hardware, but I have a Les Paul with a brass bridge, and I'm thinking about getting one for this thing. There are so many tonal upgrades out there, from tonepros, wilkinson, shaller, Callaham. Now you can install a Bigsby with out any finish damage using a special install kit. Cool huh?
Overall Impression — 9
This is a fine guitar, and if you can find one in decent condition, expect to pay some good money for it. Even beaters command a fair value, as they play and sound very nice. You do get quite a bit of guitar for what you pay, you get a comfortable playing instrument and depending on how you like your tone, a pickup change away. And the Emerald Burst is beautiful.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It was still working when I got it. Broken toggle switch and all. Someone gigged the hell out of it before I got it. I had the wiring redone by a tech, with an RS upgrade kit, which solved my toggle switch issue, and a weak pot. The bridge upgrade was due to one of my Les Pauls' also having 57 Classics in it, and sound better in a LP. I think the pickup I chose fits my playing and tone well, and was an overall improvement. Every thing was point to point wired and soldered, no quick connections anywhere to interfere with the tone.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I got mine well used, and gigged, and it shows. The gold finish has mostly worn off(quite literally in some places), except for the new pickup I have in here. If your new to Gibson, they use a "Nitro" finish, and some plastic/foam on guitar stands react bad to it. As does leather straps if you leave them on the guitar while in a case for long periods of time. Mine has bears the proof of these comments. I didn't buy it for it's looks though, I bought it due to it's comfort when playing(My other guitars are Les Pauls), and how well it played at the time. I'd say action is an easy 9/10 in this area. Fit and finish is subject to opinion and you haven't seen meet ex wife yet.
Features — 7
No idea when mine was made, although I know how to check the SN, I haven't yet. This instrument has 24 frets, ebony fingerboard, and a very thick(half the body is maple and half is mahogany on further inspection) maple cap over a mahogany body. Split Diamond inlays and headstock crown, multiply binding around the headstock face, and single binding around the fingerboard. Mine is an Emerald Burst finish. Came with passive pickups, 57 Classics from what I've read up on, could be burst buckers though, I've changed my bridge out to a custom shop Seymour Duncan SH5 with a Gold cover. Quality Grover tuning machines. Even with the laundry list of tone in this thing, it's still very light weight. Feels like the neck outweighs the body. Mine did not come with a case, I bought a SKB case with it though, and it fits well in said case...