Price paid: $ 730.17
Purchased from: Trad Music
Sound — 9
I mainly play the blues, and blues based rock. Occasionaly straying into classic rock, and punk. In all of these the guitar performs admirably. The neck pickup has a full, creamy blues sound, a really very soulful and characterful tone. When compared to this, the bridge pickup can seem a bit weak, but it has plenty of bite at high gain, for those Jimmy Page Moments. When both pickups are selected, the sound is very well ballanced, and playing with the tone and volume controls can create quite a few different kinds of sound. It's great if you want to get the tones Clapton had in his time with the Bluesbreakers, or Cream. You can also get Albert King sweetness out of it. At high gain it roars, howls, and wails, with lower gain you can get a very nice jazzy sound. For solos, the sound is absolutely perfect, not much else you could want, but if you're playing chords they can get a little bit muddy, but not too much. If this bothers you you could always Switch the pups for ones of your choice, the quality of the instrument itself is well worth the money. I used to run this through a Line 6 Spider II 15. Even through such a horrid little amp it still had quite a good sound. Now I'm using an Epiphone Valve Standard, and the sound really is awesome. For the price it's pretty hard to beat. There's no unwanted noise at all coming from it. Unless you get it really close to a power source or something like that, but even then it's hardly anything.
Overall Impression — 10
If you play the blues, or classic rock, nad you're looking for an inexpensive instrument with serious "Wow! Factor" then this guitar is definitely worth looking at. You get a ridiculous amount of guitar for your money. I've been playing for a couple of years now, and this is my second electric guitar, previously I was using a Vintage Kay, which was horrible to play but had some amazing pups. This guitar easily beat out similarly priced Epiphone LPs, in terms of value for money it's really insane. I love the way it looks, I love the way it sounds. I love the fact that I didn't have to pay through the nose for it! If something should happen to this guitar, I'd want another one, but there aren't that many of them around at the moment. I believe Gibson threatened legal action, I am unsure whether that has been resolved at the time of writing, but hopefully the Richwood Les Pauls will go back in to production some time in the near future.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The craftsmanship on this guitar is excellent, considering it came from the Far East. The hardware definitely seems durable and I've not had any problems with it, other than the issue with the jack socket I mentioned above. The strap button's haven't given me any reason for concern, and I'd be confident in gigging it without a backup. The finish has taken quite a pounding since I've owned it, and has stood up incredibly well. I can be clumsy, and don't treat my guitars with all the care they might deserve, but all this guitar has to show for it are a few cosmetic scratches that only show up unless you get right up next to the guitar. In fact for about a year it didn't get marked at all, which is amazing considering the way I bashed it about (accidentally, I hasten to add).
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The guitar was set up fine, but it was set up by the people I purchased it from, so I can't speak for the factory set up. After a little while I wanted to put some heavier strings on, and had it properly set up. Now the action is excellent. There were no flaws in it that I could see. The only thing is that the jack socket kept coming loose. But now I've removed the plate, and tightened it up as much as I can without cracking it, and that seems to have done the trick.
Features — 8
This 22 fret beauty has a mahogany body with a quilted maple top, a set in mahogany neck, Rosewood finger board with a fantastic Mother Of Pearl inlay. An aquaintance once told me that the neck felt and played exactly the same as his Gibson LP Standard. Each of the two humbucking pickups have tone and volume controls. Basically the features are what you'd expect to see on a Les Paul style guitar. Stoptail bridge etc. The Tuners are non-locking, and I have no idea what make they are, but they seem pretty sturdy and I've not had any tuning problems at all. The Guitar was made in Korea. I've had the guitar about a year and a half now, so I'm guessing it's either 2005 or 2006, but I can't be sure. Nothing special when it comes to features, but considering the price, it's fantastic. It's the looks that really set this guitar apart. The tree of life fret inlays, mother of pearl binding, quilted maple top, and gold plated fittings create a jaw dropping look. Wherever I take it, I get the same response.