I wasn't even looking for a guitar when I bought this epiphone, but when I noticed the specs it seemed to have been silly to not buy it (the wife didn't believe that either ha)
I'd just like to point out before I get in to the details that I'm not some kid who had to buy an epiphone for money reasons, and I'm not new when it comes to guitars, I've owned everything from Gibson's, Fenders (US, Mex and MIJ) and everything in between.
My first concern was buying a budget brand without playing the actual instrument first (though I've honestly never had an issue with buying guitars blind before), then there was getting it delivered safe and in reasonable time from Germany (I'm in the UK) and last worry was would it feel and sound like a real Les Paul.
First the delivery from thomann was amazingly quick, in fact the week before I bought a guitar from London and it took longer to arrive than the Epiphone. Not only was it delivered fast, but we'll packaged and secure.
So opening up the guitar box I'm treated to a proper epiphone branded hard case (pretty much exactly why Gibson package their standards in with different logo), I take it out and give the guitar a look over. Honestly it was flawless, no paint runs, no pin holes in the finish, frets dressed well, neck not too dry (something Gibson struggle with) and a pretty good set up too.
Tuning up and plugging in put a huge smile on my face, because while this says Epiphone on the head stock most of the hardware can be found on US made les paul's. With this guitar you get good quality toggle switch, pots, Jack socket, locking tuners, strap locks, coil splits but the big deal here is the pickups, genuine Gibson USA 57 classics. The same pickups found on high end Gibson's, and they we brilliant, from Slash, punk, pop, jazz, they can do most sounds, and do it well. The coil tap/split can thin the sounds out for something more Strat like, and some interesting sounds found with them, but in full humbucking mode is where it shines.
So as I said at the start this guitar is such an easy choice, for £400 you get a Les Paul that plays like one, has £200 worth of pickups and comes in a £80 hard case. It even has the long neck tenon, this has to be specified on custom shop Gibson's. This at least equals the performance if the Gibson LP standard I had at less than 25% of the price of one.
When I received that beautiful guitar, I can't believe my eyes. Guitar case was looking very good (cheaper than Gibson case but for paid money it is very good quality case). Inside I saw guitar... Yeah, so stunning looking! Nice vintage sunburst color. When I first time took it in my hands, I feel very solid and heavy weight guitar and I thought that it is the Best LP guitar for money! Sound quality is great because of original Gibson classic 58 humbuckers! Epiphone Tribute neck is slim and it is easy to play any playing style. Neck nut places for strings have little bit small dimensions in depth, so strings was higher and first 3 frets was out of tune little bit, but I fix it for about 15 Euros. It is possible to buy new nut or make deeper string holders into original nut. Also I had polished frets and now my Epiphone Tribute is like Gibson! I always used Fender Stratocaster before and like it very much, but I wanted guitar with powerfull sound for solos, power chords and also warm clean tones... and I GOT MUCH MORE THAN EXPECTED! Now Epiphone Les Paul Tribute VS is my main guitar! Definitely best LP for that price!
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