Epiphone Les Paul Custom - White w/gold hardware Reviews 5

I visited several guitar shops in town including Guitar Center, in search of a decent Les Paul at an affordable price ($500-$1000...I know, I was dreaming). I was, to say the least, SHOCKED when I saw what Guitar Center was offering with their customized "pillow-top" Epiphone Les Pauls and the price was more than affordable. I began my quest for the ultimate playing model right then. I played one right after the other, using different amps, effects, even picks (yes, that does make a difference). I finally ended up buying the white Epiphone Custom for $575.00 from my local shop because Guitar Center refused my credit(and I walk around with three credit cards all the time...go figure!). So, when I was ready to buy, rather than take out a new credit line (and after I was embarrassingly insulted) I just went and got the cash from my bank and bought it elsewhere. Take a note, if someone insults me by attacking my integrity, it adds up to a lost sale. EVERY TIME!

After deciding I would definitely buy elsewhere, and after discovering this LP Custom at my local shop (which I never would've found if I had not been so insulted about my integrity) I went immediately into evaluate mode. The neck is very smooth on top and bottom and there is no "fret overhang" to bite your fingers. The fretboard radius is cut thin without a whole bunch of meat in the behind (hmmm). The controls are very easy to reach with just a simple flick of the wrist...I didn't need to move my entire arm to change the tone like on the ES-335. Very nice!!! As far as the sound was concerned, I played the Epiphone Custom and the Gibson Black Beauty side by side. I have a very good ear and could not tell the difference. Maybe you can see it on a "silly-scope" but the EAR COULD NOT HEAR. The sustain is absolutely incredible which, by the way, you can hear without an amp. And woah, those humbuckers are truly incredible, also. The bridge pick-up had that classic LP bite and the front had that delicious rhythm sound. Turn'em both on at the same time, cut back the tone and you can almost hear Carlos Santana rippin' out Black Magic Woman. After playing this guitar on about three different trips (just to be sure mind you) I finally went into inspection mode as they brought out the one I was to purchase. I looked for a flaws everywhere...none. I looked for surface imperfections...none. I looked for improperly plated hardware...none. I looked for improperly set trim...none. I could not find one flaw. I finally picked this instrument up to play and, after tuning, played on the most incredibly smooth strings I have ever touched. One more litle thing are the machine heads. Smooth and they didn't let loose. 'Nuff said.

There is very little not to like except to say that my fingers are very big and it's a little more difficult to play than other instruments I have used, i.e. acoustic guitars. Now that I think about it, though, there are two more items that need to be mentioned. One, is that the pick-up switch is located in a position that makes quick change artists cringe (be on guard for dynamic changes in your tunes), and two, they didn't leave a card or something to tell me what kind of strings the guitar came with. But right from their website I found, via email, that they come with Gibson or Epi strings; it depends on who set up the guitar?!? Guess I'll just have to try both.

I have been "told" that the American Les Paul comes with a special type of mahogany and that the Epiphone Les Paul uses mahogany but not of superior quality. Whether it is true or not I leave for you to verify, however I would add that in my humble opinion mahogany is mahogany and I cannot tell the difference. This guitar is very well made. As I stated earlier, I could not find one flaw, in fact, they even sold the floor model which I discovered on my third trip to check this baby out(just to be sure, mind you...not because I just love playing like my wife says).

If you are in the market for that classic Les Paul sound, don't pass up the Epiphone/Gibson model. At the very least give it a try. Put it side by side with a Gibson then play, listen and inspect. You will be truly amazed. Now, if they would just stock these things in stores with that Bigsby tail piece... Oh, one more thing, STAY OUT OF THOSE RIP-OFF PAWN SHOPS! Price paid - $575.00 Perfectly fitted Gator Case $75.00

Mark rated this unit 5 on 2004-07-04.

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