Price paid: € 260
Purchased from: http://www.artistsystems.net/
Sound — 8
I play METAL. Metal powered by a Peavey 5150 as a main amp, followed by Ibanez TBX150H (as a spare), and a Peavey Bandit (redstripe, used for small gigs), through Randall or Marshall cabs. Quite a few Boss pedals, some handmade pedals, Sennheiser wireless... Usual wannabe "pro player" stuff. AlNiCo pickups are quiet, dead quiet, that is in what this guitar excels. JB-like tone on a bridge pickup, 59-like tone on a neck one... But it lacks something. Definition, loudness, gain... I don't know, but it can be remedied by havin' a good OD pedal in front of the amp. I have a few of those, so I don't think that pickups need to be changed. On the contrary, they are pretty decent. The thing that is a nuisance with this guitar was the factory setting for the pickups. One master volume, one master tone, two different additional volumes for pickups, so they could be split. NOT a normal LP setting. I had to rewire the guitar, so now it is set as a standard LP style guitar. The guitar HAD much more variety before I had my ways with it, but now it does EXACTLY what I bought it for. Blues to metal, clean to dirty. If it wasn't set up as bad as it was, I would of given it a 10. Sorry, all Gibson-styled guitars need to be set as a Gibson guitar. We don't have the money for the real thing, that is why we buy knock-offs.
Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing for 12 years, this is a very good workhorse, and a very good live instrument. Pretty, not too heavy, not too big. Needs a bit of love before giving it's maximum, but will reward you. A true LP for not a lot of money. The pickups were made in the spirit of "not having to change them right away", and I could not get more OK with that. Good sound, good looks, nice playability. This is a good guitar for any working musician. Slash would told you that this is a crap guitar, but he doesn't know how is to buy an instrument anymore. Video from YouTube:
Reliability & Durability — 7
Strap buttons were changed the first day it got into my home. The guitar withstood a mini tour. No need to change to a different guitar during a concert. That's how dependable it is. The backup guitar stood behind and weeped. It took a beating from the other guitarist's axe, and nothing happened to the finish... But one fret was grinded. Cheap Chinese-made frets... I had to file it. After that, it was OK. Still, I have 21 more frets to get f--ked up. For the money, this is a good guitar. Those pickups sound really close to the originals, no need to change them, if you have other good sounding guitars.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Factory setting was satisfactory (rhyme - get it? :D)... IT ISN'T A FLAW WHEN YOU DON'T GET A PERFECTLY SET UP GUITAR FROM FACTORY! Especially when that guitar came to you from another continent... I always perform a set-up after I buy an instrument. Simply, you change strings, the humidity changes, your NEEDS change... It was OK in the store, I adjusted it at home. Pickups were never touched. Aside from a hideous binding, everything looks good. Plastic knob on the top of a pickup selector falls off. Bad plastic. BUT - CHINESE guitar, it was expected.
Features — 7
New model, made in 2011, China. 22 frets, 24.75" scale, rosewood fretboard, mahogany neck, mahogany body, flame blackburst, LP style body, TOM bridge, passive pickups. Master volume, master tone, two splitting pots for pickups (instead of microswitches), 3-way switch. Two humbuckers, Asian Duncan (falsely advertized as American-made, as they are USM, not original), Washburn standard Grover-like tuners. No case, no gigbag. Got the wrenches though... Standard LP rip-off. Got it simply because it was WAY less expansive than a Epiphone Les Paul Standard (I wouldn't discuss a Custom model which costs as much as a Gibson Studio).