For what it costs, this is a really nice guitar. It sounded pretty good right out of the box, but sounds even better with a fresh set of Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys and a nice set-up. Plays great, exhibits excellent workmanship, and is quite versatile in the sounds it can produce. While the pickups aren't the greatest (that's why I give it 4 instead of 5 stars), they're not bad either. A little muddy sometimes, and not overly powerful, but that can be compensated for with tone/volume knobs, amps settings, and/or effects settings. The neck pickup has some nice bite to it and the bridge pickup sounds nice and warm for clean tones. The middle position produces a really nice blend. And it has some rather impressive sustain. On top of all this, it's an absolutely beautiful instrument that is fun to play. I own several more other expensive guitars, but I find myself playing the Epi Les Paul more than any of the others. For a little over $400 you won't be disappointed.