Very impressed with the new Epiphone 1960s Tribute Les Paul. The quality coming out of China is better than ever. An 8lb non-chambered maple on mahogany body with a famed long-tennon neck joint and Gibson 1957 (coil-tapper-able pickups). Sounds to me just like a USA model with the added benefit of single-coil taps for all you Jimmy Page freaks. At under £400 I think they are one of the best value guitars on the market. Certainly better than the inflated prices Gibson has been getting away with for years. Don’t expect them to play perfectly out of the shipping carton however . . . .
Starting at the top it has Grover locking tuners which work very well for tuning stability but are a little fiddly to push a string through. I have never been a fan of the phallic shaped Epiphone headstock, but it’s nice to see the serial numbers stamped into the wood (albeit the thick finish obscures the serial).
The sticker on the back reads 100% inspected and set-up in the USA. Slightly skeptical of that. There were no signs this guitar (shown in workshop photos below) had been setup. The string action was a whopping 4mm at the 12th fret and the nut hadn’t been slotted far deep enough.
The owner asked for lowest possible playing action with zero fret buzz.
Cool Gibson shaped 2-ply trussrod cover.
The main reason for the high action was humping from the 14th – 21st fret over the neck body join. Any larger and the rosewood fingerboard would have required a complete leveling before being re-fretted. More usual to see this kind of humping on a bolt on neck.
Crowning the flat fret tops with a Stew Mac offset diamond file.
After transiting through different grades of abrasives, the frets have a totally level mirror finish.
1.5 mm action at the 12th fret.