Price paid: € 444
Purchased from: misc
Sound — 7
For a cheap Chinese guitar this Epiphone sounds surprisingly resonant and lifely, probably due to the large body. This is a fairly full and heavy sounding guitar. And with the right humbuckers and tube-amp you might even get a decent tone out of this guitar. Getting rid of the active EMG might even have this guitar qualify for a broad range of different styles as EMG pickups are tone-wise very limited and rather flat and lifeless sounding. SO with high-end dynamic pickups the Epiphone EX 84 might sound really nice and full.
Overall Impression — 1
I am really disappointed in the quality and craftsmanship of these guitars. I understand that it's a cheap made in china guitar. However I have seen Chinese B.C. Rich guitars that were half the price that looked far more solid. It says "Epiphone Customshop" on the back of this guitar and quite frankly that must be some kind of joke, as the quality you get is piss poor. Based on this experience I will never again purchase a Qingdao Epiphone guitar in my life. Sorry to be so negative but even at this low to mid price range there are much better options for Asian guitars!
Reliability & Durability — 5
The guitar itself looks like it can withstand a lot of abuse and plenty of rough gigs. The flimsy bridge and stop bar tail piece will surely not. I would suggest to exchange the bridge and tail piece for quality Gotoh M8 metric parts. There was some kind of Epiphone in-house security strap locks system in the box that doesn't really give a solid impression though. Again that is something that can easily be swapped for quality aftermarket parts such as Schaller, Dunlop or other manufacturers offer.
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
All 3 Epiphone EX 84 guitars I had over the course of 3 weeks came with fret buzz right out of the box. There is no way to get rid of the fret buzz with the standard nut and standard cheapo hardware. You might have more luck by replacing the nut and bridge with quality Gotoh parts. I haven't tested this. The fret work/dressing on this guitar is really exceptionally poor. Some of the frets were too short. The finish had lots of issues all over with all 3 guitars. There were cracks in the finish. One guitar looked like it has been chipped and then painted over. There were little black spots under the poly finish at some places. One guitar didn't have the fret board glued on properly. 2 of them had the machine heads installed on very poorly. In short craftsmanship on all 3 guitars were a slap in the face.
Features — 7
I had 3 Epiphone EX 84 Alpine White recently. They all were made in December 2012 at the Epiphone Qingdao Factory in China. This guitar comes with active EMG 81/85 Humbuckers. The EX 84 guitar is said to be mahogany neck and body, and I believe its asian mahogany/nato. The guitar looks pretty classy and resembles a Gibson 84 Explorer. Though the original Gibson 84 has an alder body and chrome hardware instead. This is the only way to obtain a 84 Explorer since Gibson USA doesn't offer this quite popular model at the moment.