This is part of Gibsons Gothic line. This guitar came out in the 2nd run of the Gothic series. This run of guitars was the best line of Gothic guitars they ever did. These guitars came with nice active EMG pickups which are great for what this guitar is made out of. This guitar has a flat black finish with a mahogany body with a maple top. The neck is a set neck mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard. The fretboard has 22 frets but no inlays for a clean look. The pickups are a set of active EMG's with an 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. This guitar has a quick access battery compartment for the battery. The controls are traditional with a volume and tone for each pickup with a 3 way switch. The pickups are switched with a 3 way toggle and the bridge is your standard tune-o-matic stop tail combination.
This guitar plays just like every other Les Paul. Being a studio it has a stripped down no frills look and feel. The upper fret access on the Les Paul isnt that great but that goes for every guitar like this. If the fret access was good they would have never tried to replace it with the SG. The neck on this guitar is pretty big but it is not a baseball bat. The rosewood fretboard is okay. I would have preferred ebony on a guitar like this. The no inlays gives the fretboard a clean look but it can make it hard to play for some people. There are always sidemarkers you can look at. The control cavity plate has a little section so you can access the battery easily without having to unscrew the whole plate. This is good because you need batteries to use the active EMG pickups. I wish Gibson would put locking tuners on more of their guitars. They seem to pick models randomly to put locking tuners on.
With the active EMG pickups this guitar is great for metal like Gibson intended. The first run of Gothic guitars from Gibson had normal passive Gibson pickups. The only thing that made those guitars good for metal were their black finishes. These guitars have the tone to match the dark looks. The thick tone of the Les Paul naturally matches well with the crushing active EMG tone. The 81 in the bridge has been an iconic metal pickup for decades. It has a high end crunch and distortion that gives it clarity no matter how much gain you are using or how low you tune. The 85 in the neck is a great pickup too. It has a more fuller sound than the 81 so in the neck position you can get fat lead tones. The 85 is also good too in the bridge. With EMG's quick connect system you can easily swap these pickups position without soldering anything. The 85 in the bridge produces a super thick tone and cleans up better than the 81. Speaking of cleans if you do the 18v mod on the EMG's. With the 18v mod you run the pickups on two batteries instead of one. This provides a more organic tone with more headroom. This tone produces better cleans than stock EMG's and clean tones are usually the weakest part of the EMG sound. If you absolutely need a good clean tone from the guitar you can swap the neck pickup for a 60. The 60 provides a great clean tone for an active pickup.
If you are looking for a Gibson with razor sharp metal tone these are great guitars. If you are looking for a Gibson to play Merle Haggard on then this is not the right choice. This is a metal guitar through and though. It has the looks and the feel and the tone to go from the box to the metal gig. This is a perfectly useful gig guitar straight out of the box with some locking tuners and straplocks it can be a gigging machine.