Price paid: $ 239
Purchased from: Guitarfetish.com
Sound — 8
Been playing about 1 year. Mostly play rock, hard/classic rock; Guns, AC/DC, Zeppelin, etc. Been using it with a Fender Mustang 1; nothing fancy. But the Mustangs are cool because you can import various amp settings from other users and instantly have that sound. So I play a lot using amp settings for Slash, Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Angus, etc. Play at home mostly, and since I have a 10 month old kid, I use my headphones a lot. However, they are Dr. Dre Beats Studio, so they're tip top headphones. Overall, the sound is pretty "firey", for lack of a better word. The in-house pickups that GFS makes, at least for this guitar, are awesome for this style of music. They do pick up a little from electronic devices in the house. I went mad for a while until I read somewhere to turn off any lights in the house on a dimmer switch. It went from being stroke inducing buzzing to silent. Incredible. Anyway, if you're looking for a throaty, LP sound in the style of bands/players mentioned, that's what this is.
Overall Impression — 9
Hard/classic rock, i.e. Guns, AC/DC, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, etc. Excellent match for that music. Playing about a year. Epi LP Std Plain, J&D Strat, SX Strat, Epi LP Jr. If lost or stolen I would be upset. But being relatively new to the game, I might try to find another similar because I enjoy trying the various brands/styles and comparing. Still trying to find the right fit/feel for my taste. I'd also consider an Agile based on what I've read about them, but I'd buy it with the very same mindset I bought the Xaviere with. I love the look, the neck feels fantastic, and most importantly the sound. Take this for what it's worth; I am by no means a good player yet and I can not rip through solos yet, but I am an obsessive fan of a few of the bands I mentioned and I know what the guitars should sound like. And if you like that nuclear growl of Slash's Appetite sound or Coma, or Watch This from his most recent album, this guitar and the Slash setting on the Mustang amp, do a great job of getting that sound. To reiterate, I am not suggesting this guitar stacks up to a Gibson; I've never played a Gibson much less a model comparable to one Slash or Page play. But for someone who has a few hundred bucks and wants a great hard rock guitar, this will more than satisfy you.
Reliability & Durability — 7
I play for a few hours every night, but not under performance conditions. Again, comparing to my Epi, it feels every bit as sturdy. But based on reading countless reviews of guitars and guys that gig, etc., I'll just assume that it probably isn't quite as sturdy as an Epi, so I'll give it a 7. But I have no personal experience to base this on.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar was set up fairly well. I don't mind if they're shipped in less than "playable out of the box" condition. I don't even see how that's possible anyway. Pickups were properly adjusted. Top bookmatched well. No flaws with regard to function of any kind. In terms of finish, frets could use a little more filing. They aren't awful, but the better I get, the more I notice such things and they're a bit rough. A few minor flaws in the gloss tucked in near the neck; only noticable if looking for it and at the right angle. The color is a bit lighter in person than it appears in pics on their website, but this is not a complaint. Not a compliement either. Pickup selector is a bit noisy. No problem in its function, but its a fairly loud click when changing.
Features — 10
Not sure of year made, but it has to be recent. Its a model new for 2012. Won't bore everyone repeating all the specs, with the exception of one; the nec. Has the long-tenon neck; not even found on Gibsons any longer. Its in other reviews and easy to find. In my opinion, it makes the most score guitars relative to price paid and/or relative to its general class of peers. I also have a 2010 Epi Les Paul Standard Plain Top, and this guitar has all the same features as the Epi; exeption being the flamed maple top and purfling. So if you believe the Epi is the "standard" for an LP in this general price range, this guitar definitely matches the Epi, for $170 less.