Maya 8052, 8009
When you buy a copy guitar you are not paying for design and only a minimal amount of research. Therefore your money mostly goes into materials and various profit margins, similar to buying 2cwt of bricks.
This considered, one would expect an instrument built in a business-like fashion to a minimum standard for the price. This is how I feel about Maya's Les Paul copy.
As with the Gibson original, it comes in a black finish with cream and gold fittings. The frets are the half wide type used on the newer Gibsons and the neck markings are of an imitation pearl plastic.
The input is on a raised plastic square and since it's perched on the underside edge in a notoriously vulnerable position I wouldn't expect it to last very long before it cracks or the screws fall out.
All the fittings are styled on the Gibson and operate as expected.
The sound has the basic characteristics of the Gibson Les Paul, but falls short in most respects. When you start to push the volume up on your amp you notice the sound becomes boxy instead of full, and the sustained lead sound is a little hollow, decaying faster than the original.
My main objection to this guitar is that the Gibson Les Paul was manufactured with a particular sound in mind — high sustain combined with a fullness of tone (a sound I personally feel is more suited to the church organ than the electric guitar).
The Gibson achieves this admirably by using a very thick and heavy body (usually mahogany), combined with powerful humbucking pickups. In the case of the Maya, it seems a pointless exercise to hang a guitar with the weight of a gravestone around your neck when cheated of the extremities of sound provided for in the nature of the design.
However, it's strongly put together, fretted accurately and cheap, and if it's a new Gibson type copy you want at a budget price, you could do a lot worse. £122
It's hard to fault this guitar. For the money, it leaves many similarly priced counterparts from catalogues and supermarkets, on the shelf.
It comes in a snappy sunburst finish which looks as though it could take a knock or two without going through to the wood. The frets, neck markings, knobs, toggle switch are all similar to the original they're modelled on, but the bridge saddles are a little narrower.
This would only be a problem to a blues player using ultra light strings where it's conceivable that the string could be pushed off.
The machine heads are cheapish but seem fair.
The main difference in sound between this and the real article comes at volume where the Maya starts to lose its edge and isn't able to "sing". Also at extreme volumes its pickups sounded slightly microphonic and started to whistle. The whole sound is a fair representation of the American original, but lacks a cutting edge.
The tone controls functioned well but the selector toggle switch was very loose and that was annoying. The tremolo unit was okay for a guitar of this price.
One of the major problems of a guitar of this nature is it will not hold its price as a second hand instrument, but as long as you don't ask too much of it in critical conditions, it seems a reliable machine. £118