Price paid: £ 349
Purchased from: Rock Around The Clock
Sound — 9
This guitar perfectly suits my style of playing. I play blues and heavy/blues rock. This guitar is perfetly suited to playing music in the style of Led Zeppelin, Free, Cream, Joe Bonamassa and any other blues/classic rock band or musician you care to mention. I am currently playing this guitar through a Line6 Spider Valve 112 combo and it sounds great on pretty much every one of the hundreds of presets and amp models but sounds best when using the blues or classic 'Plexi' sounds of the classic rock era. This guitar is not terribly loud which is a good thing because it perfectly compliments the styles of music this guitar was made for but don't worry, it can handle being cranked up to 11. On bluesier amplifier settings this guitar has a very rich and full bodied sound and on clean settings it sounds bright and very resonant. The neck pickup is fantastic for the more rhythm based guitar sounds and chords whilst the treble pickup barks and growls like a wounded beast and is perfect for solos. The neck pickup being wired in reverse means that when the three way selector is set in the middle position you can get that brilliant "out of phase" sound which is fantastic for blues playing but may not appeal to everyone's tastes. Playing around with the volume and tone controls means you can get a variety of sounds from Joe Bonamassa and Clapton, to Jimmy Page and Slash, to Paul Kossoff and obviosly Peter Green. Overall I am extremely pleased with this guitar's tone and overall sound.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall this guitar is the guitar for you, if your like me and love your blues and classic rock. I've been playing for around six years and I have used this as my main instrument since I got it. My rig includes a Line6 Spider Valve 112 combo with an FBV Shortboard, a Boss DS-1 Distortion pedal, a Boss OD-2 Turbo Overdrive pedal and a Behringer DD400 Digital Delay pedal and this guitar blends perfectly into the mix. If this guitar was stolen or lost I would most certainly buy another one because for 349 ($520), you get something which could have it's price tripled and still be worth every last penny. The best thing about this guitar is definately value for money (it should be illegal to get this tone for under 500). When I was thinking of buying this I was also looking at an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Classic Antique and a Dean Evo Noir and this guitar surpases both in terms of tone and build quality. I settled on the Vintage because I think that Epiphones are just too expensive for what they are. I could have gotten the Dean Evo Noir for really cheap because my guitar teacher is endorsed by Dean but I still chose the Vintage over both of them. I would higly reccomend this guitar to anyone on a budget looking for that '59 Les Paul sound who isn't willing to pay over a grand for a real Gibson. Overall a brilliant buy.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I have had this guitar for over two years and have been gigging with it for just as long and it has withstood every bash and knock that befalls a guitar in the heat of a gig. The tuners are brilliant and have never let me down by going out of tune and the only bit of hardware that has given me any trouble has been the input jack which has come loose a few times but is easily fixed with the application of a spanner and some elbow grease. As soon as I bought the guitar, I replaced the strap buttons with strap-locks, not because they were bad but I just prefer to be safe in the knowledge that my guitar will never fall off mid-gig. I would, and have used this as my main guitar at gigs for over two years and even though it's never let me down, I always bring a back-up just in case the worst should happen. The finish was made to look like it had been played and abused for 40 years and so with each passing gig and knock, it looks better and better and just adds to this guitar's mojo.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I purchased this guitar it did not have the original factory set-up from Vintage and had been set-up by the guitar shop owner so I can only speculate as to the original set-up. The guy in the guitar shop had modified the pickups by changing the heights of the copper wire in the pickups so they were the same as an original 1959 Les Paul. As far as I can tell there was no damage to any part of the guitar and it came perfectly giggable straight out of the shop and I have made no modifications (apart from fitting strap-locks) since I bought it in 2008.
Features — 9
This guitar was made in Vietnam in 2006. It has a 22-fret, 24.75" scale, set mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard. The body is made of mahogany and it has a flamed maple top. The style of this guitar is a single-cutaway Les Paul based on the legendary 1959 Gibson Les Paul used extensively by Peter Green and then later on Gary Moore. It has been aged and given that "road-worn" look, to look exactly like the original guitar down to the minutest of details such as holes where the scratch-plate has been "removed" and holes where the tuners have been "replaced". It features a Tune-O-Matic bridge and chrome hardware. It has passive electronics and features two Wilkinson Double-Coil humbuckers. There is a three way selector switch. The neck pickup is wired in reverse so when the middle position is selected you get that iconic "out of phase" sound. Each pickup has individual volume and tone controls. The tuners are Wilkinson Deluxe chrome machine heads which are similar to Grover ones and just as good.