Blue. And Beautiful!
First things first: nobody will ever mistake me for Joe Bonamassa or Eric Clapton. I'm no accomplished musician ... just a guy who loves music and likes to flail away at the frets now and then. After years of playing MIDI keyboards off and on, I decided to return to my first love: guitars. But rather than an acoustic, which I used to play, this time I wanted an electric.
The looks, history and unmistakable tone of a Les Paul attracted me, but a quick perusal of the Gibson lineup would mean a smoking hole in my bank account, something I can't justify as a non-gigging hobbyist with limited disposable income. But further research (the magic of the Internet!) revealed the Epiphone version of Mr. Paul's dream guitar and the reviews were universally positive. The Plustop Pro model in particular seemed to offer what I was looking for; something that could emit those lovely howling, growling sounds I love in blues/rock songs from the twin humbuckers but also had the added feature of coil-tapping single coil sounds.
I then had two decisions: which color and from what retailer would I purchase it?
The first decision was relatively easy: pictures of the Trans Blue model jumped off the screen at me. Delightfully different and stunning in contrast to the cream colored binding and pick guard and gold pickup controls.
The second decision took more research. But one name kept popping up in glowing reviews: Sweetwater. Competitive pricing, attractive financing options, free shipping and excellent customer service, including a 55-point quality checklist, convinced me to give them my business.
Trust me, I have no regrets. Within a day of ordering the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plustop Pro in Trans Blue, I received a phone call from my customer service rep/guitar tech, Casey, informing me he'd gone over it they were shipping my guitar. He was friendly, professional and enthusiastic. As a bonus, living relatively close to Sweetwater's headquarters, I would have the guitar in only one day!
It came as advertised. Everything was in order: the guitar was immaculate, gorgeous, so beautiful even my wife commented on its appearance.
But the truth is, of course, in the sound, not the look of the guitar. After plugging it in and tuning it, I hit a couple of my favorite chords. I fiddled with the controls on the amp and Epiphone for a few minutes and then hit upon that perfect tone I'd been searching for ... raw yet smooth, a haunting howl that made me laugh out loud with joy! This is the guitar I've always wanted. It has so many tonal options and plays so smoothly, now I have no more excuses for being a pedestrian guitarist. I have the tool now to sound really, really good. It's up to me to rise to the level of the instrument.
Many thanks to Sweetwater for a wonderful buying experience. And to Epiphone for producing such a fine product at a price most regular working stiffs can afford. Well done!