Price paid: $ 950
Purchased from: Local Instrument Store
Sound — 8
My band has a very diverse sound, going from some clean sounds like reggae and some soulful groove, to metal riffs. I'm currently running it through a Laney LV300T and a very simple pedal board (Marshall Shredmaster, Beringher TO100, Joyo Voodoo Octave). It responded very good overall. The clean sound of the guitar is really good, with deep bass and a good presence of treble. I also use it's clean sound (neck pick up) on blues instrumentals, which come out with a very nice sound. With low gain overdrive it goes along very well, having a very Vintage sound, getting tones to play AC/DC riffs, and chuck berry's rock and roll chords (the tone pots help a lot in shaping that). The high gain distortion sounds are a bit tricky to manage on this guitar, since it maintains the Vintage feel it has (probably 'cause of the pick ups). But with a little practice and the right Pedal/amp configuration, it does its job very well. I also got pretty much impressed finding out that this guitar has more sustain than the other LPs I've played on.
Overall Impression — 9
I should say that I've retired my Epiphone Les Paul Special II when I got this. The clean tone of the guitar was the crucial factor for me. Compared it to some Cort Les Pauls, and even some SX Les Paul models. It really outshined the others. It also outstands by the looks. The only point it loses to the Special II model is the weight. This guitar is very heavy (specially compared to the LPS2). But this doesn't have a big negative impact, since the sound quality make up for it. I feel like adding a Bigsby to it, but I shouldn't say it's missing. I just think it will add up to the versatility and the looks. If it was stolen I would hunt the man down and get it back! This is a very good guitar indeed! Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 8
I've been playing it live for 3 months now, about a gig or two per week, and I haven't had any troubles by far. The tuning holds well, the neck is still in the right position, the bridge is still tuned (I've been checking it after every gig and rehearsal session). The strap buttons are very good too, a bit bigger than usual, making it harder for the strap to fall out, but I'd recommend strap locks for sure. I've been trying some Tom Morello techniques using the PU switch and it haven't showed any problems yet (no noises, no malfunction). One bad point is that it doesn't come with a shield, so you probably will scratch the top easily with your pick. But besides that, it seems like it will last a long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Well, the guitar was sitting in the store for some time when I bought it, so the strings were already a bit rusty. The store gave a pack o new strings for that and I changed it right away (with all the necessary adjustments), so I'm not sure how was the action set-up from the factory (My Luthier of choice did it for me), But as far as I heard, they come almost perfectly impeccable. The tuners are well set, holding the tune for long, even under heavy bending action (but I wonder if it will stand like this under some bigsby action). The bridge is also well set, and like the good LP models, make it a very comfortable guitar to play. Didn't have any flaws on the overall finish of the guitar, no marks, no scratches, no cracks on the wood. The natural wood color with mother of pearl trapezoid inlays makes a beautiful combination for the eye, and draws a lot of attention too!
Features — 9
Bought this guitar in a local store owned by a friend of mine about three months ago. It's hand made in 2012 in the south part of Brazil, and it first got my attention by the overall looks. But lets get on to it. 22-fret ironwood fretboard (pretty uncommon, but very good dark wood), pink cedar solid body and neck with cedar top. The body is Les Paul Shaped, with a few exclusive features (like the arched top with flat side-ends). They also have their exclusive set-net binding, which makes easier to reach for the last frets and makes the playing very comfortable. Wilkinson Tune-o-Matic bridge and shielded tuners. It comes with 2 Wilkinson passive humbucking pick-ups (but some of them come with Walczak Custom PUs) and the usual LP 3-way switch. Actually, the electronics are the usual LP overall, with 2 volume pots and 2 tone pots (one for each pick-up). No painting at all, natural wood color with matte varnish finish. The only modification that I can think of to this guitar, is adding a Bigsby arm (And I'll soon do that). It came with a very strong gig bag.