Price paid: A$ 600
Purchased from: Derringers Music
Sound — 9
Sound wise its pretty darn good! Nice sustain, although the pickups sound a little muddy. Easy to replace though. Nice tone on middle pickup setting, nice mellow sound for neck pickup, but the bridge is a little too much in the lower end. Needs to be more bright. But still, there nice pickups. My style of music includes a lot of different genres, and this guitar does a good job. Its best at rock though. Think of artists like his holiness Dave Grohl, Nirvana, Airbourne etc. Good for grunge / hard rock. Its not a full on screaming metal monster, but it isn't a quivering heap either. It packs a punch. Couple this with a good sound rig and you will be blowing eardrums all night. I personally am thinking of getting new pickups, but I would say the sound for the stock pickups are pretty darn good.
Overall Impression — 9
Die hard Gibson maniacs will ask, "are you high? Why get an Epiphone when you could save up for a Gibson?" A valid question, but in my opinion, its an extra 1000 dollars for the brand name and a few hardware differences. I got the Epiphone fully expecting the hardware to be mediocre (in actual fact it was quite good). My plan was, and still is to replace the pickups, the machine heads, the pots and all the electronics. And at the end of the day, I would have paid more for a Gibson Explorer than I would have buying this Epiphone and modifying it to suit my needs. Its a fantastic rig, and would be exceptionally depressed if it was stolen. Its a ridiculous shaped guitar made out of wood from the "not too f***ing sure" stockpile, all in all creating one of the coolest looking guitars I have ever seen.
Reliability & Durability — 7
It has failed me on-stage before. I was playing "The Pretender" at a gig and did a biga-s jump just before things started to get really intense. But upon contacting the ground, my strap literally tore the strap button out of the guitar. I was beside myself. But lucky for me I had a spare axe. All that was needed was a bigger bolt to hold the strap button in. Not sure if that is a manufacturing flaw, but still, I recommend caution when jumping with this guitar. It tends to go out of tune a little. This is either my grovers or strings that haven't been stretched properly. If this is an issue, get new machine heads. Better ones. Other than those issues, it is wicked fun to play live! It looks bada-s on stage and suits the wild rock n roll scene well!
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I checked everything in the store before I got it. It was well set up! Although the intonation is just the tiniest bit out now, thanks to the Tune-o-matic bridge that's easy to fix. Everything felt solid and well adjusted. No flaws I could see.
Features — 8
Lets start by saying this guitar is definitely NOT from 1958. If there was a 58 Explorer on sale for 600 dollars, the dealer would have to be off their meds. Anyway, this is a Gibson copy, hence the name Epiphone. A name many cringe to hear. Not sure why, because this is a great guitar. It has: - 22 frets w. a rosewood neck - Mahogany D profile neck - Tune-o-matic bridge - Two humbucking pickups - Volume knob for both pickups and one tone knob - This guitar is the Phantom Axe. Apparently its made from Korina wood. I hear a lot about how its only a bit of Korina with some mystery wood in the middle. But what I gather is that its expensive to get one, large bit of Korina, but cheap to get several little bits and chuck it all together to make one. Apparently using smaller pieces is better because Korina is unstable. Honestly, after doing a bit of research I have no idea weather the body is cheaper B grade Korina, not made of Korina at all, mainly Mahogany or 1234234534 different types of wood. It could be bloody Aussie red gum for all I know. But lets just trust Epiphone and say there is Korina in there. - Grover machine heads, although the Epiphone website says there something else. What did i say before? Trust Epiphone?? - Three way selector switch - An enormous guitar case. It literally doesn't fit in the boot of some of my mates cars. Oh, and it doesn't shut properly sometimes. Feature wise, this guitar is good. Just the essentials. Good stuff Epiphone.