The F4 at the beginning of the Serial number on the back of the headstock indicates an instrument made in 2004. The Epiphone logo is inlaid pearl. The ‘Les Paul’ script logo is printed. On the Earliest run the ‘Elitist’ in the logo on the back of the headstock read as ‘Elite’. it has been rumored that another manufacturer had an ‘Elite” model at the time, so this emblem was chamged to say “Elitist”.
I gave this guitar a minor Fret level & dress & polish for optimal playability. The stock grover tuners work fine and are very stable. The nut is bone. The stock nut is very typically Gibson style in cut with long deep string grooves. The nut was modded to have a tapered top with shallower grooves as well as some fine tuning of depth of the slots. The truss rod is a vintage style nut-end accessible threaded steel rod which requires a Gibson standard size truss rod wrench for adjustment, which was included at the time of purchase. The neck is a good all around neck that is comfortable for rhythm and lead. I have the action set fairly low for comfortable cording and lead playing styles.
The controls are a volume and tone control for each pick-up with a three way switch. The volume controls are linked as stock, which means that in the middle (both pick-ups on) setting the volume control of either pick-up effects both pickups to some degree. A mod can be done to make them truly independent of each other.
The Two pick-ups are Made in U.S.A. by Gibson humbuckers, model 50SR Rhythm and 60ST Lead, as indicated by stickers on the base plates. They have German nickel-silver covers and are wired via a vintage style braided shield single conductor silver wire.
There was also a line of ‘Elite’ Les Paul Florentine style guitars (hollow bodied with F-Holes) produced by Epiphone in the 80s.
Conclusion: Who doesn’t eye a Les Paul from time to time? With an Elitist from Epiphone you have, essentially, a Gibson quality instrument – Made in Japan. So unless the name on the headstock and a nitro finish are on your must have list, the Elitist Les Paul could very well fill your Les Paul desires at a wallet friendly price point. Sounds great, looks great, plays great – The Elitist is hard to beat