The Epiphone Futura Custom is one of four models in the 2008 Prophecy range from Epiphone. The guitar comes with an impressive spec list and while it's name might suggest that it's a new, contemporary model, it's actually a design that Ted McCarthy of Gibson Fame drew up in the 1950's.
Futura Custom EX
livewire76, on october 24, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 780.00
Purchased from: Riff Musikk, Oslo, Norway
Features: The Epiphone Futura Custom is one of four models in the 2008 Prophecy range from Epiphone. The guitar comes with an impressive spec list and while it's name might suggest that it's a new, contemporary model, it's actually a design that Ted McCarthy of Gibson Fame drew up in the 1950's. It doesnt't take a genius to see that the Futura and Explorer models are close relatives. The body shape may not be to everyones taste but if you want a guitar that'll get you noticed in an understated way - classy, yet different - this could be the axe for you. There are two main models of the Futura. The EX which I will be reviewing and the FX. The main differences between the two is that the EX is a hard tail (stop-bar bridge), while the FX has a licensed Floyd Rose locking trem unit. The second difference is finish. The EX comes in a deep, lush Heritage cherry red and the FX in an equally sexy ebony finish. Now for the spec's..
The guitar is an all mahogany affair, the body shape is essentially like the Explorer. The difference being that the upper horn on the Futura being slightly longer. Both body and neck are made from mahogany, a wood that really is one of the best all round types of wood used in electric guitar costruction. The solid body features highly figured quilted maple top whih looks absoutley stunning. The neck is slim "D" shape, has a satin finish on the back, a rosewood fingerboard with 24 well dressed and finsihed frets. The "blade" inlays are also well done (no surplus glue) and the whole neck/headstock is finished off with white binding which again, I can't fault.
The Futura features great hardware for it's price. It has a set of EMG 81/85 active humbuckers, a combination that has become a classic for players of all types of metal/hard rock. The EX model features a LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge/stop-tail and non-locking Grover tuners, all finished in black. there's a black pick guard that extends down the lower horn and this is also where the three-way toggle Switch is located. Finally, there is two volume knobs (one for each pickup) and a master tone knob. These are made of metal with a black finish and are capped to match the quilted maple top of the guitar.
The guitar I purchased didn't come with many extras save a cable and tools for adjusting the truss-rod. Slightly dissapointing really considering tht the guitar doesnt't fit into many "normal" sized gigbags. Epiphone also have strangly fitted some models with locking strap buttons and some without, yet advertise all models with them. Obviously, I'd have liked to have some. This is also why I'm giving it a 9 rating. The guitar is absolutley flawless but it would have been nice to receive a fitted gigbag and locking strap buttons. Even for a small prive increase. Epiphone take note. // 9
Sound: This guitar is loud! It begs to turned up to 11 and be let loose. I play metal and I bought the guitar with this, and only this, in mind. Anyone Who plays - especially metal - will know that EMG's are pickups that really pump it out. I've been using the guitar through a Marshall JVM half stack and Boss Metal Zone pedal and the word "fun" doesnt't even begin to cover what it's like when I play. EMG's - being active - are quite harsh pickups compared to the traditional wound, non-active humbucker but when you want to play metal there really isnt (for me anyway) many other pickups around that do the job, save maybe Dimebuckers. The guitar fulfills all my requirements without any problems so I'm giving it a 10. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was reasonably well set up when I got it. The action was a little high for my tastes, although perfectly playable. The intonation was a little bit out on a couple of strings too but these are hardly difficult problems to solve if you have a little know-how. The pickups were well adjusted and even. The overall finsih of the whole guitar was flawless. No excess glue, sharp edges, cracks or rattling parts. A strong 9. // 9
Reliability & Durability: This guitar is absolutley going to be gigged and I have no fears that it wont be able to stand up to being used Live. All the hardware has an excellent previous record ad proven itself to be tough enough for the job. Like I said earlier, the non-locking strap buttons are a dissapointment and I will be changing them but apart from that this guitar definetly has what it takes to used on stage. // 9
Impression: I've been playing for 3 years now and I play various types of music but this guitar I bought for one thing only - metal! It doesnt't dissapoint! If metal is your thing and you want a good, solid, well made and slightly leftfield guitar then check out the Futura Custom. It plays great, looks different, has the essential EMG's and is priced at a level that is within reach for those of us Who don't have unlimited cash to spend. With my Futura and my Les Paul I've got all the guitar sounds I play covered. I love them both and wouldn't hesitate to replace them if something happened. // 10
Futura Custom EX
T00DEEPBLUE, on june 14, 2012 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 500
Purchased from: PMT
Features: This guy that I have hanging on my wall is an Epiphone Futura Custom EX. Its part of the Prophecy series that Epiphone did a few years ago, though now it seems to be discontinued now they're just making the revamped Les Paul models (the new ones do look great). The Prophecy series was designed as a way to steal away a few LTD customers (the vast majority are rich 15 year old kids with Metallica T-shirts). But this guitar is a bit more affordable and it has very similar specs to something like a 400 series LTD.
- Made in China 2008 (eew)
- 24 Jumbo Frets with a 14" radius dark rosewood fingerboard (its a very smooth fingerboard, ebony-like in look and feel), 24.75" scale.
- 2-pc Mahogany body and 2 pc Mahogany neck (set neck with a satin finish) with a quilt maple veneer top (very pretty top), a black cherry finish and 1-ply binding around the neck and headstock.
- Futura body style. This style was the shape of the original Explorer prototype. The difference being against a regular Explorer being that the upper section is elongated and the lower portion is narrowed.
- Locking TOM bridge and tailpiece, which is a nice addition.
- 3-way selector, 2 volumes, 1 tone. The knobs are inlayed with mother-of-pearl.
- EMG81/85 active pickups.
- Grover 16:1 machine heads with a graphite nut.
For the money, this guitar is fantastically featured and overall look great. The Futura body shape looks really ugly in the pictures, but in person, it looks really good. Nothing else came with the guitar however; I had to buy a case separably and there were no tools to speak of. If not for that, this guitar would be a 10/10 because before these guitars came around, a guitar with those sorts of specs for that amount of money simply did not exist. This guitar was awesome value for money. // 9
Sound: Straight off the bat, this guitar has EMG81/85's. That'll give you a decent idea of how this guitar sounds straight away, but that isn't to say its a bad guitar tonally. Far from it. I use a Peavey 6505+ primarily, but I've also used this guitar with a Mesa Dual Rectifier. Straight away, this guitar sounds great for metal and hard rock. Its quite a dark sounding guitar with all of that mahogany, pairing that with the very bright and cutting tone of the EMG's makes the two complement each other near perfectly.
I play a fairly wide variety of different kinds of metal, mostly from the 80's and 90's ranging from thrash, glam, death, to progressive. This guitar is the most prominent in the lower midrange, which is great for a crunchy rhythm tone and fluid, singing leads. It has a fairly compressed, hi-fi sound with clarity in the bottom end, making this guitar suitable for low tunings and modern high gain sounds. This guitar has LOTS of sustain due to the sheer volume of wood that rests in your hands when you play it as well.
As with the nature that comes with such a dark-sounding guitar, the EMG 85 lacks clarity, its simply too dark for my personal tastes, and that's saying something as I'm a huge fan of darker-sounding guitars. It would've been much better if an EMG 60 was used instead, the 85 is simply too HOT and too dark as a neck pickup in this guitar.
There isn't really much else to say about this guitar that hasn't already been said for any of the other half a million EMG-laidened guitars with a mahogany bodies and necks that are made by almost every brand that does rock-orientated music. The guitar is very quiet as is the nature with EMG's, but they also aren't very versatile for anything outside of hard rock. Unless you have an amp with an enormous amount of headroom, you're not going to get a super clean sound out of the guitar. I'm sure one can get a super clean sound out of this guitar, but with my amps, I simply can't. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up brilliantly from the factory. Low action, minimal fret buzz and well- set intonation. The neck was super smooth and the profile is super-thin, almost Ibanez Wizard neck thin, but slightly more rounded. The pickups were adjusted fine, but the 85 was a bit too loud, so I lowered it slightly. There was one cosmetic flaw with the guitar; there was a small chip in the binding behind the 11th fret, but it doesn't affect playability. The frets were a bit oxidized from sitting in the shop for a couple of years. Everything else seemed fine though. Another small complaint design-wise is that the upper fret access on this guitar is not that great, but if you do have large hands (like myself) it won't be a problem. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This guitar probably would withstand live playing, but there are a few complaints. I have beaten this guitar to absolute shit admittedly. Its been used and abused by yours truly. The selector switch is a little on the loose side (although this may have been my own fault) and the jack did need re-soldering a couple of times, but that was also my fault as I broke the connections when trying to remove oxidation from the jack. The guitar has several chips and dings in it that I inflicted myself accidentally over the years, the sweat from my palm has caused the ridge saddles to corrode from having a very heavy palm muting technique and also due to having disgustingly acidic sweat I've probably restrung this guitar dozens and dozens of times because of this problem.
Which brings me onto the problem with the nut slots on the E and A strings being worn out and now the strings sit too deeply in the slots. This is forgivable because the problem wasn't there when I first got the guitar and since then, the guitar has been restrung almost countless times, the nut wearing out was inevitable. The guitar does hold tune very well though; the Grovers do a great job, they're tight and keep the guitar in tune for weeks on end.
Oh and I also almost forgot to mention that the satin on the back of the neck had worn off to a gloss finish after so many thousands of hours of play, I've re-satined the back of the neck since then. The fretwires are also badly worn after so many thousands of hours playing the damn thing. I am going to be generous with points here because I have abused this guitar to complete and utter f--k and everything still works for all intent of purpose. I've had this guitar for 4 years and I'm quite surprised at how this guitar has held up after what its been through. // 8
Impression: This guitar is overall a really good match for my style of playing, but a bit more versatility would have been nice. Having a free case would've been nice, but that is an optional extra on the Epiphone website. If it was stolen or lost, I probably wouldn't bother getting another one though. This is a great guitar no doubt about it, but it would probably have been a wiser decision to get a used LTD EC-1000 on Ebay or something.
The things I really love about the guitar are the sound and the playability. It has a utterly crushing tone and the super low action coupled with the fast neck, make this guitar great for shred and modern metal styles. The upper fret access not being fantastic is a bit of a shame though. This guitar isn't perfect, but it sounds, looks, plays and feels like a guitar that is worth twice as much. Its not perfect of course, but given how much abuse I have given this damn thing, I'm quite impressed. Its overall a very good guitar. // 8
Futura Custom EX
Nightmare4560, on may 29, 2012 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 337
Purchased from: Coda Music (Used)
Features: I think this guitar was made in 2008, I'm not really sure. You would have to look it up. The one I have was made in China. It has a set Mahogany Neck, a bound Rosewood fingerboard and 24 jumbo frets. I also need to mention that the neck is very fast. It also has a bound Mahogany Body with a black cherry finish. Bear in mind that it is glossy, so expect fingerprints to stack up. It has a Tune-O Magic fixed bridge. The guitar is loaded with EMG active pickups. An 81 and an 85. The sound you get from these is simply amazing, no matter what amp you play out of. It has 1 volume knob and 2 tone knobs. It also comes with grover tuners, which in my mind, is simply awesome. All I got with this guitar was some tools for adjusting the truss rod, would of been nice to get a case with it, ah well. No matter, its not hard to find an Explorer case. // 9
Sound: This guitar suits my style of music. I play mostly Metal stuff, but I do switch to Soft Rock, acoustic and Hard Rock stuff and it suits them all perfectly. I'm currently using a White Horse GT260H head and cab (yes, some of you may have not of heard of the brand) coupled together with a DigiTech multi-effects processor, and the sound that I get is face melting. When I push the gain all the way up, it handles it very well. Like I said, I play a lot of Metal, but you can get so many sounds out of this guitar, its unreal. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: When I received the guitar, it was set up really low, which was perfect for me. I can't deal with high action. The pickups were very well adjusted, I had no problems from them at all. Flaws-wise, the only one I found was on the body. On the edge there was a little chip. But that can be sorted, other than that, there was nothing else wrong. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I have never played a live gig before (hoping to in the future), but I would say that this guitar would definitely withstand gigs and such. In my honest opinion, the hardware would last a very long time, you can tell this is a very well made guitar, and it feels that way as well. I could very well depend on this guitar for gigging, but I would always bring a backup just in case something goes wrong (i.e. the battery dies). // 9
Impression: I've been playing for 5/6 years now, and I'm so happy that I bought this guitar. Because it was worth every penny. If it were lost or stolen, I'd be very annoyed. But I would easily go out and by another. My favourite feature on this guitar is the pickups. They're just so awesome. // 9
Futura Custom EX
Johnny Lingo, on march 10, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: C$ 350
Purchased from: Kijiji -Used
Features: Not sure of the production date, perhaps '05 or '06. Made in Indonesia. Guitar was used and gigged with when I bought it and came with hard shell case and a strap.
* Highly figured quilt maple top
* Custom Black Cherry finish
* 24 Jumbo Frets
* Hard Maple SpeedTaper D Profile, satin finish set neck
* Bound fingerboard
* Unique blade inlay pattern
* Eye-catching pearl inlay knobs
* Graphite nut
* LockTone locking Tune-O-Matic bridge/stopbar
* Grover machine heads
* EMG-81/85 active pickups
* 2 volume, 1 tone, 3-way pickup selector // 9
Sound: This is obviously a hard rock/metal guitar with the active EMG 81/85 pickup combo. It suits my style and was bought mainly on the combo of set neck, 24 frets, and the EMG's. I run it through my Peavey Vypyr 30, with any of effects that are on board the amp. It has a really awesome chug with the mahogany body and the EMG's, nice and deep. It has a good rock sound even running clean, but not made for huge variety with the pickups. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: Here is where I worried about Epiphone. All my encounters with their guitars had been sketchy up to this point for me. Many reviews of their guitars were not the best and many complained about the quality of parts and workmanship. I was not impressed with this one, especially for the price of it new, which I never would have paid. The neck joint seam was not sanded well, and needed some light rubbing. Blade inlays on the neck are not all at proper depth, giving a rough feel even you can't see it, but so far it hasn't affected playability. Some frets are slighty ripply from the mounting. Fretboard binding has a couple light flaws, not affecting playability. Finish has faded from sweat in a couple places. // 7
Reliability & Durability: This guitar was gigged with before I bought it and despite some finish getting dull from sweat and a couple small chunks taken, it is in good shape. The guitar comes with straplocks, which is nice. Hardware seems like it will last fine and has so far. Would likely stand a whole gig no problem, and likely has. Never play without a backup instrument, it's unproffessional. // 8
Impression: I have been playing for over 30 years, and Gibson makes a good guitar, I've played a few. However, Epiphone is a low priced sub line, and there is a reason they don't have the parent company name on the peg head. The problems were not design or hardware, but workmanship. I do like the active pickups, and was what made me buy this guitar in the first place. I do like the feel of the neck, despite the workmanship issues with it. If lost or stolen, I would get another guitar with EMG 81/85's, but likely a Jackson RR V or something close. I bought this guitar for the features, and was only dissapointed with the poor workmanship. The rest of the guitar was good and put together well. // 8
Futura Custom EX
unregistered, on october 23, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Purchased from: Guitarcenter
Features: This particular I bought was made in 2005 and said Indonesia, but it plays better than my korean made C7. 24 fret slim U profile, Maple veneer top (according to what I see in the pickguard cavity), Mahogany body and neck, ebony bound fretboard (website says rosewood, thats BS. it's ebony as most sites suggest), the body is gloss transparent red and the neck is satin finished, slightly more angular Explorer shape, comes stock with EMG 81/85, 2 vol 1 tone, 3 way toggle, Gotoh 18:1 tuners, and comes with straplocks (which I didn't receive.) Gets a 9 for great specs for the cash. Even if I only paid 499, those are some Killer specs for under 1,000 // 9
Sound: This guitar is built for metal. I play mostly industrial and melodic death metal, but I often branch into other musical territories. With the right pickups this guitar could do anything. I'm running it through a Peavey Valveking 100 with a DigiTech Bad Monkey infront, and it gets one hell of a tone. The stock EMGs aren't my thing and don't do this guitar justice and sort of turn it into a one trick pony that does metal and only metal., I'm going to be picking up a DiMarzio D-Sonic for the bridge and Lace Sensor Dually Red/Silver for the neck tomorrow, and making it a 1 vol/coil split/pickup select setup (Lace Sensor Duallies are 2 hum-canceling single coils in one, awesome pickup for the neck and diversity) for more tonal variety. Gets an 8 here because the EMGs really aren't my thing but thats a simple fix if you know your stuff. // 8
Action, Fit & Finish: The action from the factory on this guitar was HORRIBLE, and it had some really bad backbow and a touchy trussrod when I first got it after changing the strings to .48~.08 elixirs (bought the .48~.11 set, took out the G and put a .08 on the end), which was no big deal but then the trussrod didn't want to function right, so I oiled it and everything started working fine from there. Thats prolly not a factory problem but instead guitarcenter's fault for not maintaining it over the 3 or 4 years it was in there. Also the tuners were loose from the factory which is how I got it for 499.. because guitarcenter thought the tuners were broken. Again guitarcenter's fault likely for not maintaining it. I will be getting a new roller TOM and locking tuners in the mail next week, so the gotohs are coming out and going on craigslist. The guitar itself is extremely resonant and about as loud as it gets acoustically, not to mention the BEAUTIFUL finish. One of the deepest tops I've seen in a while, ALMOST looked as nice as the 1/2 inch quilted maple top on the PRS on the wall near it, but nothing tops some of PRS' tops if you ask me.. where do they get that stuff!? Also, the ebony board on mine is very unique, it's pitch black except for a string thin brown stripe going through it. That's actually why I picked this instead of the Futura FX, for the unique ebony fretboard. that and more sustain by means of stopbar+TOM.
Anyways I'm only giving it an 8 because I received it in poor condition, but the high stock action (which I was able to drop down to about 2mm or so fret 12) was likely Epiphone's doing. // 8
Reliability & Durability: This thing is, to my surprise, built like a brick for an indonesian made guitar. The guitar came with 2 knobs missing which I immediately replaced, and then ended up replacing every electronic except the output jack due to changing from EMGs, which will be replaced tomorrow with 1 500k ohm vol, 2 mini DPDT on/on/on switches, a new 3 way Gibson Switch, and aforementioned pickups. The strap buttons I replaced the second I got it with straplocks, since I didn't receive the stock locks. The screws on the stock strap buttons were rather small though, and didn't seem like they'd be able to handle much. The finish is flawless, and the only flaws I've caused myself (hit the corder of the guitar and put a 2mm diameter chip in it. I like battle scars regardless lol) Honestly, I'd gladly use this guitar without a backup. The whole thing is as stable as it gets, stays in tune, has a strong neck, and is straight up beautiful. It gets a 10 here because this thing is built like a tank for a guitar under a grand. I honestly don't believe that indonesian sticker, this thing is at least made in south korea. // 10
Impression: Great guitar with the right pickups. The EMGs really take away the amazing resonance and natural tone of the guitar. I love the shape vs a normal Explorer, so much that now a normal Explorer looks bulky to me. I've been playing guitar for 2 years now, played bass 2 years previous, and played keyboard for 2 years before that. I compared this to the Ibanez Xiphos they had there and as much as I liked the Xiphos it was somewhat off-balanced weight-wise and lacked the beautiful top+TOM (I already have 2 floyded guitars. No more please lol). I wish they had a version of the Futura with a Kahler hybrid, as I'd kill for that, but that might be asking too much from a 700 dollar guitar.. Though the FX has an original Floyd Rose for 850... If this was stolen/lost, I'd prolly buy another, but I'd need to try it beforehand since Epiphone can be such a hit and miss company.. Though I'd hope not for one of their expensive models. // 9
Futura Custom EX
wolfeman85, on august 27, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: $ 649.00
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Features: The Epiphone Futura Custom EX is a guitar from the new line of Epiphone guitars called the Prophecy Series, made in Indonesia. It has a 24 jumbo fret bound rosewood fretboard on a set mahogany neck with blade inlays and a speed-tapered neck profile, and the bound headstock is equipped with a graphite nut and Grover tuners. Moving down we have a mahogany body with a highly figured quilted maple top with two active EMG 81-85 pickups and a Tonepros Tune-o-matic bridge. It has two volume knobs (one for each pickup) and one tone knob with a 3-way selector. All in all lots and lots of fine features for such a low price. // 10
Sound: I got the Futura knowing I would be playing about 95 percent metal with it, and I do not regret my decision at all! Both of the EMGs dish out amazing tone and clarity. The 81 gives out bonecrushing intensity with incredible leads and makes any riff sound heavy, while the 85 delivers with really great cleans (don't let anyone tell you EMGs don't give good cleans, these people have no idea what they're saying) and warm distortion, perfect for soloing in the upper register. I run my Futura through a DigiTech Grunge Pedal and a Marshall MG30DFX and even on this crappy amp it sounds great at lower to medium volumes! When you stop playing it makes almost no feedback at all. My only complaint is that the 81 CAN be a tiny bit harsh if you're playing in like Standard or something, but then again a person wouldn't get EMGs intending to play in Standard, would they? // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: I was truly impressed with Epiphone's quality of setup when I received this guitar in the mail a few days ago. The action was perfect, not too high, not too low, and only a tiny bit of fret buzz, if any. The neck is incredibly fast and the rosewood must be extremely high quality because it looks and feels almost exactly like ebony. The pickups are perfectly adjusted, the tuners are nice and tight, there were no scratches on the finish when I received the guitar. Basically almost everything was perfect, except I suspect the nut was poorly cut because sometimes the strings rattle at the nut when you pluck them, but this isn't a huge problem for me and it's probably pretty easily repairable if it is for you. Overall Epiphone did a great job setting this thing up at the factory. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I have no doubt that if I were to gig with this guitar it would fare quite well. It's well built, it isn't flimsy like some guitars in this price range and it doesn't feel like a toy when you hold it (not too light, not too heavy). The knobs are nice and tight, and don't feel like they'll crack off any time soon. The strap locks included with the guitar are really good, put them on and you're guitar's never going to fall on you. All in all, I wouldn't gig without a backup (I wouldn't gig without a backup in ANY situation) but if I had to, I could trust this guitar to pull through very nicely. // 10
Impression: All in all I'm incredibly happy with this guitar. I've been playing for a little over a year and my style incorporates fast riffage and occasionally a crazy guitar solo and sometimes a clean section then back to the heavy riffage, and this guitar covers all of that very well with its heavier than heavy EMG pickups and neck faster than a sports car. I love the bodyshape, it'll certainly get you noticed if you're worried about that kind of thing. If it was stolen I'd either hunt down the thief and take it back or buy it again, because this guitar is perfect for my style in about every way. All in all, if you're considering getting this guitar stop considering and just GET IT! I guarantee you you will not regret it! // 10
Futura Custom EX
john_latchem, on april 15, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Price paid: £ 300
Purchased from: www.thomann.de
Features: 2007 model, made in Korea (I believe), with 24 jumbo frets on a bound ebony fretboard, inlaid with the Futura series' blade inlays. Gorgeous flamed maple cap on a wafer-thin Explorer-shpaed mahogany body, maple set neck with pleasing satin finish, all in a deep trans-cherry finish. I've got the Standard TOM and stop-tail version, all models come fitted with a graphite nut, excellent strap-locks and top-quality grover tuners. Mine is also the EMG model, with an 81 in the bridge, and an 85 (would have preferred a 60) in the neck position, wired through 2 volumes and 1 (would have liked 2) tone pot, and a 3-way toggle. No case supplied, which is a shame as the unusual body shape means it is incompatible with generic cases of any kind, which loses it a couple of points. // 7
Sound: I play all sorts of music, with a tendency towards the more progressive and extreme genres, I.e. Grindcore, Deathcore, Math, but also traditional hardcore and thrash. The EX is something of a one (and a half) trick pony, the EMG pickups, coupled with the skinny body and maple cap make it overly trebly when tuned to Standard, so I have the guitar tuned to C-Standard (C-F-B-E-G-C), fitted with.13s and it sounds really good, both in the bridge position for deathcore (a-la Emmure, BMTH, JFAC) and in the neck position for modern hard rock (The Sword). I run mine through an Ashdown Fallen Angel 60w valve head and 2 4X12 cabs, as well as a Ibanez Tubescreamer to tighten up the gain channel and an EHX Metal Muff through the clean channel for thrash and tech metal. This thing and the MM are like lovers, perfect together. But, like I say, the sound is somewhat trebly and harsh out of the box, and lighter gauge strings tend to sound a bit wimpy through the EMGs. // 6
Action, Fit & Finish: The factory set-up left a lot to be desired, the action was too high, the pickups too low, the nut is slotted for really light strings (which, as I say, will sound godawful on there), there are a few sub-clearcoat blemishes, and one of the tuners was on wonky. But it is only an Epiphone. Also, the ends of the studs on the TOM are razor sharp, which is not much good for chugga-chugging palm muters like me! // 4
Reliability & Durability: Seems to be fairly sturdy, straplocks provide peace-of-mind, but the straplocks are so good they regularly pull the strap buttons out of the body, which I intend to fix permanently, but it is rather worrying. Other than that, built like the proverbial brick outdoor lavatory... // 7
Impression: This guitar is an OK match for my playing style, the neck and fretboard are lovely, but the pickups aren't all they're hyped up to be and the fit of the parts isn't spectacular. I'm a guitarist of seven years, and the EX fit's in the middle of my range, below my RG and my Gibson LP and above my budget Parker and my no-name first guitar. I kinda wish I'd asked if they could stick an EMG 60 in their instead of the 85! If it were stolen or lost I don't think I'd replace it, I'd probably go with an ESP/LTD or similar. I literally bought this guitar on an impulse, because it had the Explorer shape I wanted, with the EMG pickups I wanted (a la Claudio Sanchez's guitars), and I didn't really research properly, so I can't justify my choice, but overall this thing isn't awful and if you can get it cheap go for it! // 8