Price paid: $ 380
Purchased from: Calango Music Store
Sound — 6
This is the first Les Paul I have. Actually I never had played another Les Paul before. In the past I had a SG and two super-strato axes. The sound of this one is not BAD at all but it could be too much better and I think that it is due to cheap pickups. I believe that swapping them by boutique pickups will make the guitar sound a lot better. It is OK for leading and you won't have to effort too much to make the guitar scream in the Bridge pickup or extract a mellow sound with the Bridge one. However it can be a real challenge to achieve a pleasant sound when doing rhythm. There is a big lack of weight when doing rhythm with overdrive. When playing clean the pickups sound excessively medium (too "quacky"). I have a Vox VT15 amp and it is very versatile as its VR tube technology allows you to simulate a lot of well known amps, and I have to tweak it a LOT before to obtain a tone that really pleases me.
Overall Impression — 7
I play all sort of music, mainly pop, rock and indie. It is OK but as mentioned before it is hard to find THAT tone. Maybe it is just my ears. Anyway, I feel that I spend more time tweaking my amp than playing. Definitively new pickups are a must if you want that this guitar be your main axe. If it would stolen, I wouldn't buy another one - probably I would try a Tanglewood or Epiphone Standard LP, or a cheap Gibson G-310.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I doubt I will be in a stage with her some day, because I play mostly at my home studio. But it looks like to be well built and strong enough, so I think that it is a reliable axe. If I would take a part in a gig, I would trust on it to play without any backup axe.
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
The guitar has a very classy look and is well finished but came with a horrible setup, high action and fret buzz. Although I am not a speedy lead player high strings strains my hand very quickly. I tried to setup it myself by lowering the Bridge and adjusting the truss rod but everything I got was to make its frets to buzz still more, then I reset stuff to original positions and now it is like it was when I picked it from the box. I think that beside Bridge and truss rod adjustment it will need fret leveling also. Unfortunately there is not luthier service in my town, so I didn't had the chance to take it to one yet. I confess that I am not sure if I will want to invest on this guitar though. I think that the proper luthier service plus new pickups would put it in a cost that it doesn't worst, so I have to decide if I want to do that or just sell it and pick a better guitar. Tuning machines are very good. You tune it and it just stays in tune. It takes weeks until I have to re-tune it again.
Features — 8
This is a Les Paul replica and was made in China. Mine is red wine, basswood body, set-in maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and back finished in the same color of the guitar, pearloid block inlays, two volume faders and two tone faders and three-position key. As any Standard LP replica, It is equipped with two humbuckers, die-cast tuning machines, TOM bridge, all chrome hardware. It came strung with Daddario .09 gauge strings, that seems to be a Standard in brand new guitars lately. It was made in 2010 and was bought brand new. It came without a case then I made my own in wood. I bought it as a passport entry for the guitar playing world after almost 10 years without to get closer to a strung instrument. It was very hard to decide what guitar to buy because after 10 years, I was completely "out of the market". After to research some guitar forums I decided for this axe, as I was after a reasonable instrument for a small price. It was purchased online and I never had the chance to try it before it arrive at my doorstep.