Price paid: $ 455.24
Purchased from: Go West Music New Zealand
Sound — 8
I play a lot of Tool, Deftones, etc. and for that, this guitar is great. The guitar is versitile enough to play a wide range of styles also. I run it through a Laney LX120 head and Laney 4X12 cab. I do get quite a lot of feedback, but that's probably due to all the effects I am running it through, not the guitar itself. I am considering upgrading the stock pickups to Seymour Duncan JBs to enhance the quality of the tone. I am happy enough with the guitar to upgrade the pickups rather than buying a whole new guitar.
Overall Impression — 9
For the style of music I play, this guitar is well matched. It is versatile and looks great. I much prefer the shape to something like a Stratocaster, which I think look common and boring. I have been playing for almost 15 years now. If I could afford the real thing (a Gibson Les Paul) I would buy it, but for now the Karina suits me just fine. In the mean time I am looking at upgrading the Pickups to seymour Duncans, as I am confident with the construction and quality of the guitar overall.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Never had any problems with reliability, electronics, input and everything have ever given me problems. I haven't done a lot of Live playing but I am confident it would be up to the task. Hardware is durable and reliable. As mentioned before, I changed the screw on one of the strap buttons and use a strap with strap locks. I'd say you'd be I'll prepared not to have a backup at a gig. I do use a ESP with CGCFAD tuning, but if I was to have a backup for the Karina, I would simpy buy another one, maybe in white, IF I had the money. The finish has lasted over 6 years of frequent playing apart from the belt buckle scratches (which actually happened during one session, due to a new belt).
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Straight out of the box the guitar was setup fine. Over the years I have fine tuned the action and pickups to my personal preference. The overl quality of finish of the guitar is excellet, no imperfections. The only marks on it have been caused by my belt buckle rubbing on the back of it and the hole left from where I removed the scratch plate. The only negative comments I have are that the hardware and pickup covers are starting to oxidize or loose the gold colouring, which I don't mind, but yeah, that's been over a period of 6 or so years, so can't really complain. Also the strap button screw came out so I had to fit a larger screw in there. The G tuning peg was a very slightly loose as well but that's simple to tighten, and again that only happened after 6 or so years of playing.
Features — 8
2002. Made in Korea. I believe it has an oak neck and mahogany body. This guitar is the best Gibson Les Paul Copy for the price that I have ever seen, and for $599NZD, I bought it straight away. The guitar is a veery accurate replica and features a set neck, not a bolt-on like cheaper replicas which was a big selling point for me. The guitar features a nice black gloss finish with off-white binding. The guitar is also available in white. Features gold hardware which I wasn't keen on, I'd much prefer silver. I am unsure what brand the factory humbuckers are but they are fine.