1958 Korina Flying V review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.2 (20 votes)
Epiphone: 1958 Korina Flying V
1

Price paid: € 380

Purchased from: thomann.de

Sound — 8
I'm playing this axe through a Marshall MG100 DFX. The clean tone of the neck pickup is classic Epiphone/Gibson. It's really pure, round, and well-defined. This pickup has the right sound when I want to do some blues, reggae, or soul. I used to cover Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold" with my former band, and I would play it as the second guitar with my steel bottleneck, and it was lovely! The combination of the neck and bridge pickups is the one I prefer. It's the most versatile combination of the guitar, since you can deeply change the tone by adjusting the two volume knobs, having access to a lot of mid-ranges (that seem to come also from the korina wood). The bridge pickup is really "piercing" and expressive. Since I'm a sucker for rockabilly, this pickup fits perfectly the kind of clean tone from this musical genre, and it's also nice for funk. Whatever the pickup I use, I tend to let the Master Tone knob on 10, in order to have a more defined guitar tone. But from time to time, the nice thing is to reduce it a lot, and obtain a nearly acoustic-like sound, that could fit really well pop-folk progressions. Now, let's have a bite on distortions! I have two distinct distortions on my Marshall amp, but I mostly use my Boss DS-1. When you use a high-gain distortion, the neck pickup has that dirty punk/garage sound, and the bridge pickup makes you sound just like a raging Gary Moore or Eddie Van Halen. A lighter distortion is perfect for hard rock or Chicago blues.

Overall Impression — 9
My favorite genres are traditional heavy metal, rockabilly, and blues. My two main influences are Ritchie Blackmore and Jimmy Page. I like this guitar a lot, I never lost the pleasure to pick it up. The weight and balance it has never prevented me from having stage presence, though I'd recommend anyone planning to buy a Flying V to first try instruments that are shaped that way (you have to know if you can feel comfortable with it). I heard this reissue is now out of production, but it was ever lost or stolen, I'd do anything to find another (and also kick the hell out of the thief, hey!). It really suits my personality and the kind of sounds that inspire me. I'd recommend this to rock players that enjoy to do some other styles and who want a classy-looking guitar (and remember that classy doesn't mean show off). If anyone wants to ask something about it, please let me know, I'll be glad to answer you. Hope you enjoyed the review!

Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is a real sturdy Epiphone. I accidentally knocked it a bit several times, and it has no scratch. I had it for almost two years, and the Ebony finish is intact. The golden hardware tends to fade away and lose its shine, but it can be fixed and cleaned with the right material when you're changing the strings (honestly do it, if not, it will get dirty with fingerprints). I used my Flying V for like three gigs now, and I'm glad I did, since it's a reliable instrument that really delivers all of its full power on stage. When you have it in your hands in front of an audience, you understand why this guitar shape became such a symbol in rock'n'roll!

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The neck is a bit thick (well, nothing unusual for Gibson-type guitars). The Flying V shape itself makes the instrument not really well-balanced. The headstock tends to fall a little bit and you have to compensate with your arm. Still, even with that balance flaw, the shape of the body makes a full and easy access to the 22 frets, and makes it a great and comfortable instrument for soloing (even if hardcore shredders may feel limitated by the lack of more frets). The lower side of the "V" (which rests on your leg when you're sitting to play) has a 21 centimeter gum bar, that gives great grip between your leg and the instrument. That way, you can use the guitar when sitting as well than when you stand.

Features — 7
- Korina body, rosewood fretboard, mahogany neck - Two Alnico Classic humbuckers (neck and bridge), that you can alternate with a 3-way toggle switch - One volume knob for each pickup, and one Master Tone knob for the whole sound of the guitar - LockTone Tune-O-Matic StopBar bridge - The fretboard has 22 frets, and the neck has a Slim Taper "D" profile - Two finishes : Ebony or Natural (I've got an Ebony one) - Manufactured in Japan (well I think so, since the serial number has no letter) The instrument is an Epiphone reissue of the original Flying V models that came out in 1958, and were distinctive for their unusual shape and their korina wood. I chose it because I love the look of it, and I wanted a Gibson-type second guitar with a humbucker combination. The lack of a vibrato or of another knob allowing to alter the tone from the guitar itself may disturb some players, that could feel limitated. But it's fine for me.

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    chitownmike
    Nice review. I had to laugh, though, thinking of you playing Neil Young with a flying V...has to be a first.
    CrawlingHorror
    I'm a little surprised by the review of the pickups on this guitar. I have the Epi Korina Explorer and while the neck pickup sounded pretty good, the middle position on the toggle switch was pretty useless (sounded like crap---no body to it at all) and the bridge pickup didn't have enough cut for me. So I replaced the pickups with DiMarzio super distortions and had better electronics installed, which really brought it to life. Now it sounds very good (though not as good as my Gibson Flying V). Also, the pics you see of these things tend to represent the finish as having a more gold like hue to them whereas in reality they are more reddish brown. Still a handsome looking instrument (though mine had a few blemishes under the finish due to using a cheaper quality wood), but the pictures are a little deceptive. My recommendation is to buy these Epi 58 Korinas as project guitars rather than as something you want to be gig worthy out of the box. They aren't.
    Shorun
    Great review, nice guitar! I think of getting one, but I'd put a toggle in it so I can play funk too. But there's one last question: Is it neck-heavy?
    its_minchew
    The lead guitarist in one of my old bands used to have this guitar. Held tune pretty well, had a really fast neck on it. Can't say too much bad about it but it had a kind of thin clean tone to me. it might be because he always used 9's on it (i use at least 10's). overall solid guitar for the price though. No complaints for the $300 it can go for used.
    its_minchew
    sorry for the double post, but to Shorun, no it isn't neck heavy. when i played it the neck almost went into a classical position which was great for soloing.
    MaggaraMarine
    ^ Yeah, the stock Epi pickups are pretty boring. They are good if you haven't played any other guitars, but after trying a guitar with Dimarzios or something, you'll notice how boring the Epi stock pickups sound. I had an Epi Les Paul Standard and it had the same pickups. And I agree with CrawlingHorror. The neck pickup was OK and gave me a great funky sound. It was dryer than my Charvel's Dimarzio pickups but it could do some useful sounds that my Charvel So Cal couldn't. The bridge was pretty meh. And the middle position... Well, if I wanted a bit more twang than on the neck pickup I used it but yeah, it was pretty useless. Neck sounded better. BTW I watched a video about pickup change on Epi Dot (not sure if it was a Dot) and it originally had the same Epi stock "Alnico Classic" pickups. But the thing that was funny was that it had a neck pickup in the bridge position (it said something like "Alnico Classic neck pickup"). So that might tell you why the bridge pickup didn't sound that great.
    geordieinexile
    I have one of these, I found the standard pickups very weak, no "punch" in the sound at all. I upgraded those for genuine Gibsons, and it now has a much nicer sound to it, really warm and fat, just how I like it. I found with mine it does suffer a little from neck dive, but live with it just because the "V" is a dream guitar and I can't afford a proper Gibson version. I also own another Epi "V", a 67 reissue made in China (my Korina is Korean) and the quality of the Chinese ones compared is appalling!!!
    Silverpack
    CrawlingHorror wrote: I'm a little surprised by the review of the pickups on this guitar. I have the Epi Korina Explorer and while the neck pickup sounded pretty good, the middle position on the toggle switch was pretty useless (sounded like crap---no body to it at all) and the bridge pickup didn't have enough cut for me. So I replaced the pickups with DiMarzio super distortions and had better electronics installed, which really brought it to life. Now it sounds very good (though not as good as my Gibson Flying V). Also, the pics you see of these things tend to represent the finish as having a more gold like hue to them whereas in reality they are more reddish brown. Still a handsome looking instrument (though mine had a few blemishes under the finish due to using a cheaper quality wood), but the pictures are a little deceptive. My recommendation is to buy these Epi 58 Korinas as project guitars rather than as something you want to be gig worthy out of the box. They aren't.
    geordieinexile wrote: I have one of these, I found the standard pickups very weak, no "punch" in the sound at all. I upgraded those for genuine Gibsons, and it now has a much nicer sound to it, really warm and fat, just how I like it. I found with mine it does suffer a little from neck dive, but live with it just because the "V" is a dream guitar and I can't afford a proper Gibson version. I also own another Epi "V", a 67 reissue made in China (my Korina is Korean) and the quality of the Chinese ones compared is appalling!!!
    I tried several other Epiphones (Les Paul, SG, and even hollow bodies) and my Flying V is not weaker than any of these guitars in terms of pickups. Of course, it will always sound a bit dull if you compare it to Gibsons or hidh end Epiphones, but they still provide you a more than decent sound. And I don't see why you're saying the bridge pickup is weak, I even have to tone down its volume knob when I use it, cause it's almost a little bit aggressive for the ear if it's too loud in a clean sound. The hardware of mine doesn't look "reddish brown", it's really yellow gold. Of course it tends to fade away a bit just like I said in the review, but it can be fixed with the right cleaning tools.