I have a '99 Studio that I bought new. It's plain black and nothing to look at. Swapped the pickups and tuners, dialed it in, and likely will keep it 'forever' (I've had it for 18 years so far). I've also played a few recent Epiphone LPs, but not done a serious survey. Maybe I got lucky with my Studio and have only tried dud Epiphones, but there's no comparison. It may be worth noting that this Studio is particularly resonant — easily felt in the fretting hand, and even the toes when standing.