Wesley Les Paul Copy

I was in the market for a relatively cheap (£100-£150) electric guitar based on the style of the famous Gibson Les Paul. Why a copy? Well, if you know anything about Gibson Guitars, the build quality is amazing and the prices reflect this fact - they start at around £600 and rise sharply into the thousands, and, although I am a keen guitar player, I do have other priorities and just can't justify the expense.
The obvious first choice was Epiphone, they are extremely well made and licensed by Gibson to produce stunningly accurate copies of the real Les Paul priced aroound £200-£500 alon with many other well known and respected guitar designs, having owned a black beauty les paul by Epiphone in the past I was keeping an eye out for one on eBay but so were hundreds of other bargain hunters and I was too pressed for time to spend hours lurking and sniping.

As it happens I had recently acquired, for one of my friends, a cheap les paul copy made by a company I had no knowledge of called Wesley. It turned out to be an excellent copy of a Gibson Les Paul in arctic white, with gold (coloured) fittings, tuners, bridge and stop piece, along with pickup covers. I was utterly stunned at the build quality, the substantial weight of the beast and after plugging it into my trusty Marshall amp and tuning it I just could not believe how authentic it sounded. All the classic Les Paul tones were there, I even found the neck pickup sound to my liking, not so much warm and jazzy as guttural, throaty and superbly aggressive, the bridge pickup sound was sharp and trebly and mixed perfectly with the neck pickup with the switch in the middle position to give a perfect balance that was evenly responsive with masses of sustain and tone.
Considering I had just bought it (no competition on eBay at all) for £85 I was shocked, especially as I already owned a Burny Les Paul copy that had already stood me at over £500, that actually sounded quite tinny and cheap in comparison! I was a bit gutted but decided to sell the Burny and get myself one of these Wesley Phoenix's as the manufacturer named them, hopefully in better condition...

My plan worked reasonably well and within a week or two I had spotted a Wesley Phoenix Les Paul Gold Top copy in what was described as brand new condition, one of the last ever sold before the company sadly stopped making these little beauties... I bagged it on eBay for just under £100 and a brand new gator hard case for another £40 which my friend wanted, which benefitted us both as it helped keep the guitar safe in transit.
It arrived and turned out to be quite different from the les Paul copy I had found for him... The body was slightly thinner, the neck had a narrower profile, the pickups sounded very different and the tuners were rather nasty plastic 8mm jobs that are either expensive or downright awkward to replace, requiring nerve- wracking drilling out 2mm in order to fit standard modern style tuners, I discovered one of the tuners to be squeaky and not at all smooth in its action, but after the application of WD40 it started working better... I really do not want to drill those holes bigger for fear of cracking the lacquer.
But overall a lovely guitar and tonally still superior to the Epiphone I used to have (even after a pickup upgrade) and the Burny (which had a Seymour Duncan pickup installed) so I have to give Wesley Phoenix Les Paul copies a double thumbs up for quality of workmanship, playability and most of all, value for money. I may start a collection of these...