Price paid: A$ 450
Purchased from: Flinders View Music
Features — 8
This is a J&D Luthiers JD-LCB. It is a copy of the Les Paul Black Beauty which was made famous by artists such as Jimmy Page and Peter Frampton. I haven't been able to find many specs on it. I don't know the year of manufacture. It has 22 frets. I believe it has solid alder body, maple top, and rosewood fret board. I believe it was made in China. It has 3x Humbucker passive pickups, 3 way switch, and 4 control knobs. It did not come with any manual or accessories, other than a truss rod wrench. No locking tuners and I don't know the make. I don't know the exact neck width, but it's not as wide as my Charvel Model 6, yet wider than my Yamaha Pacifica. It feels the same as Gibson LP for weight, width, and playability. It has pearl inlay in the fret board and gold hardware. The body, neck, and head are black with beige trim all around.
Sound — 7
The sound suits my style of play for the most part (classic rock, metal). I use a Line 6 Spider IV 15w amp and Zoom G5 multi-effects pedal, mostly straight into the amp. I always keep the volume and tone knobs full open and adjust tone with the amp and/or G5, although the tone knobs allow for a decent range of sound. It has a full and bright tone. There is a good contrast and mix from the pickups. The bridge sounds more bass and full, the middle less bass and more bright, and neck even less bass and very bright. I'd prefer a little more naturally "dirty Gibson" sound, so may change out the pickups eventually.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
It was setup with nice fast action from the shop with 9-42 strings. I immediately changed to GHS Boomers 10-52 for a bit more bass pop and sturdier feel (personal preference). The pickups were adjusted well and I've found no reason to adjust them. The bridge was setup well. The truss rod was perfect for the strings they had on it, but required a half a turn when I added the heavier strings to back off the bow a bit. I searched long and hard, but couldn't find a flaw anywhere. It looks stunning with the gold hardware(my opinion). I'm slightly color blind, but all finishes appear to be bookmatched very well.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I don't play gigs. I also take very good care of my instruments, but see no reason it wouldn't hold up well for gigs. I see no reason to need a backup, although I'd always take one anyway. It remains tuned very well (much better than my Charvel did). All hardware appears to be made well with good finishes. Strap buttons are solid. The gold hardware will take a bit more attention than I'm used to, but shouldn't be a problem. The electronics seem reliable and the plug feels sturdy and snug. I've had it for 3 months now and see no signs of wear on the nut, fret board, or anywhere else. All gold hardware still looks like new.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly classic rock, classic metal, and ballads. While it suits my needs pretty well, I may at some point upgrade the pickups for a dirtier sound at low volume levels. I've been playing on/off for 35 years. I ordered this guitar without being able to hear it, for the price and style (LP copy). I love the appearance, playability, and price. I don't hate anything about it. I compared the price and appearance with many other guitars (Gibsons, Epiphones, other copies) and this was half the price of similar options with the appearance that I wanted. Least favorite would be the fact that it's a LP copy with only 22 frets and the high frets being more difficult to access, but I knew what I was getting. Anyone wanting a Black Beauty copy with a limited budget would be happy with this guitars. Of course it doesn't sound like a classic Gibson, but even the newer Gibsons I found disappointing in that regard for 4x the price.