I bought my first Epiphone Les Paul in July 2007, A Les Paul Standard HCS on sale at Music & Arts for $379. It was a Plus Top at a Plain Top price basically, so I put some cash down and paid it off. The guitar was OK when I got it, but needed some work. Neck and fretwork, a new nut, new bridge - while the set-up happened I requested a TP-6 tailpiece..they were only $49 then, to help with tuning. After that, we took it home. I played in a Hard Rock group and was trying to push this guitar through a JCM 800, but it just sounded so flat and had nothing going for it in the pickup dept- especially boosted. It just sucked. Along came the Super Distortion and a JB-1 (mismatched but paired up nicely) and all was well. This guitar was happy now and so was I. Nevertheless; I spent almost as much fixing it as I did buying it I've long since departed with the 2007 Les Paul Standard (Quingdao build, EE0507) and replaced it playing bass for 6 years Fast forward to 2017. I'm looking for a new Les Paul, and the Bourbon Burst at AMS caught my eye. I ordered one and it arrived in 2 days. When I got this guitar out of the package it was stunning to look at! It was very beautiful, much like my old one- with a dark rimburst. This guitar was noticeably built better, No sloppiness around the bindings near the neck, the polycoat didn't scratch immediately just from touching it with my fingertips * a gruesome anomality that once happened, and it doesn't just wipe away either* so, I grabbed a set of XL 10-46 strings and took the newbie in for a set-up. And then brought it home. And played it. Changed the Jack to a switchcraft, the jackplate to a metal one, put on some straplocks, and played it. That is all. No new pickups needed. This guitar sounds Great no matter what its pushed through, and boosted it treats me to honks and screams from time to time that I only get out of my Gibsons, True neck, Great fretwork, a Treat to play. It allows bends that shouldn't be happening on a guitar at this price. I am Blown Away at my recent Epiphone guitars. Not a slacker in the Bunch! But, the old days.... It must get tough for a Company that has the little guys coming up from behind trying so hard to get their niche, they lose marketshare, people are ragging their name (such as me, I'm guilty of it) and the lackluster product can't sell due to poor quality parts, pickups, and consistently crappy builds. Epiphone woke up. I'm Thankful for whoever in R&D got the message. I Love My Epiphone Guitars and look forward to a future of Getting Better all of the Time!