RE135 Tree Of Life review by Richwood

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.4 (17 votes)
Richwood: RE135 Tree Of Life

Price paid: $ 891.21

Purchased from:

Sound — 8
It's been a long time since I played a genuine LP, but going from memory, this guitar isn't far away from that sound. It has a really fat tone, which I love. Uaed with my Roland Microcube and Toneworks AX1500G, I can easily get all the variety of sounds I want. The pickups are generic, tho' I believe they are the same/similar to, the ones Epiphone use in their top end Gibson clones.

Overall Impression — 10
Honeslty, this guitar has to be seen to be believed, it is absolutely stunning, my description simply can't do it justice. There's literally nothing to dislike, tho' the lack of dot markers on the fretboard will take a bit of getting used to for me, but if this is all I have to complain about, I'll settle for that. As it is one of 24 made in this colour (mine is 7 of the 24) the chances of being able to buy another if lost or stolen are slim, but if I could, I would without hesitation. It has a list price of 825 GBP, but I paid 487 GBP, so whichever way I look at it, this guitar was a steal at that price. It was more than I'm usually willing to spend on a guitar without trying first, but I've not been disappointed in any way. To sum up, if anyone reading this has ever wanted a Les Paul type guitar with a difference, have a look at these, but as a limited edition, they won't be available forever. A fantastic guitar that really stands out from the normal LP clones. Highly recommended.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Purely on looks alone, it deserves to be a first choice guitar, but it's too soon to tell about durability, tho' it gives the impression everything about this guitar is built to last. As it's for home use only in my case, durability isn't so much of an issue.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Overall, the finish was flawless, tho' the factory setup action wise wasn't the best, not unplayable by any means, but higher than I like. It shipped fitted with 9's, I soon restrung with a set of 11's, lowered the action, and within 10 minutes it was setup exactly how I wanted. The action is now superb with not a hint of fret buzz.

Features — 10
Recently made in Korea, this Les Paul style guitar is part of a limited edition Tree of Life series made exclusively for the UK market. There were 168 made, 24 of each in 7 colours. Right, onto the details. Mahogany body with solid quilted maple top finished in 'amber burst' with gloss finish, 22 fret mahogany neck/rosewood fretboard. The body, neck and headstock are bound with mother of pearl, and the fretboard inlaid with a stunning mother of pearl Tree of Life motif across the whole fretboard. Gold (coloured/plated) tunomatic style end piece and bridge, 2 gold (coloured/plated? ) passive generic humbuckers, 2 each of volume and tone controls, 3 way selector. Generic gold (coloured/plated) closed tuners. It came supplied with a good quality fitted hard case and a cerificate of authenticity.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I purchased the Storm Grey version of the Tree of Life Les Paul at the end of last year (I was lucky enough to get number 1 of 24 too!) and it really is a fantastic guitar. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the weight. These guitars are quite heavy, heavier than an Epiphone Les Paul for instance. It's not something that's put me off personally as the tone/sustain it adds is amazing. If you want a high quality Les Paul for under 500 (which includes a hard case!), get one of these while you still can. You will not regret it.
    I have a blood red tree of life, it's my 1st choice guitar for gigging, I've gigged for over a year now with this guitar, usually in my hands 3 hours everyday & still looks like new. I've changed the pickups to Gibson Ceramics from an explorer because my Richwood sounded virtually the same as my Gibson Standard with Alnico V pickups. It plays much much better than my Gibson & cost a third of the price. I will never part with my Richwood but would sell my Gibson standard tomorrow, I've got a Gibson studio fitted with EMG actives which is partner in crime to my Richwood. I have an INDIE les paul copy which looks identical to the Richwood so much so that I'd swear they're made on the same machine at the same korean factory, the neck has twisted on the INDIE but hasn't moved at all on the Richwood. Highly reccomend buying to anyone who isn't branded to Gibson..
    Nearly 2 years on.... Richwood has been problem free, I've grown to like the gibson better now as the fretboard feels a bit flat & wider in comparison on the richwood, however Tonally it's great, still don't think I could part with it. The gold finish is just starting to show signs of play wear, adding charachter I think. I still have a pair of gibsons which in fairness, branding aside it is very hard to justify the price differential, occasionally you'll see these on ebay struggling to fetch 250, if you find one then you should snap it up.
    mark austin
    The guitar is very nice a honey sunburst, i got mine in 2004, direct from the importers in the north of the uk, for 250.00 pounds,iunderstand that 24 were made in each colour ,but the honey sunburst were the first made and none were numberd.The pick ups on the newer ones are beter speck, but on my one i have had gibson burstbucker 1959 replica humbucker, and grover 18.1 machine heads,now the guitar sounds and plays well good .
    I have just bought what I think is an RE135, but without the tree of life emblem on the frets. It is a green sunburst colour, with the beautiful mother of pearl edging to the neck and body. With two gold humbuckers and gold adjustable bridge. Mine also has a Bigsby vibrato fitted. I came across this beauty in a second hand guitar shop in Wakefield England and paid GBP 199.95 for it, I thought it would have been much more. When I saw it I couldn't stop staring at it, it has to be seen to be believed. The shopkeeper told me that it had been restrung and tuned, but I noticed a buzzing when I first strummed it. It seems that the bridge had been put back the wrong way round, so the e string (1st string) was sitting in the large cutout for the E string. I have since noticed that the strings go over, not under the front bar of the Bigsby as they should. I have only had the guitar for 3 days and will have to spend time researching how to set it up properly. I am only just learning to play the guitar it may seem a bit late at 68 yrs old but I am enjoying every minute. I guess it will be a long time before I can do this guitar justice but I can already tell that the tone and low action is far better than anything else I have come accross to date.
    To Retrohs, guess what, I am 68 too and have just bought an RE135 off Ebay! It arives tomorrow. I'm still learning too after trying for about 50 years. I'm going to try Rocksmith. Amazing coincidence. It's something about the 1960s