EM-1 review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.7 (10 votes)
Epiphone: EM-1

Price paid: £ 115

Purchased from: Gear4Music

Sound — 10
My music style ranges from neo-classical, metal, blues and even funk. The Epiphone and its pickups play neo-classical, metal, blues and even funk relatively well. Through a Fender FM212R (inexpensive but good starter amp) On clean its sounds nice, little muddy, but thats due to the Amp's EQ settings. On distortion, its nice. Chords and evne those little riffs sound intense. On more distortion, you're there. This guitar was made for solo-ing, for scales, even for shredding. I also find that playing on the rhythm pickup on clean sounds beautiful for blues and funk, just turn done the tone a bit. Light distortion for blues too. If you're that solo-ist or shredder after a inexpensive guitar for your needs, this is it.

Overall Impression — 9
As I've said, I play metal, classical, blues, funk and even rock. This does well for all of those genres. Less funk, but I prefer single coils for funk anyway. I've been playing about 5 years now, I own the amp above (after maybe a marshall, I've played through loads, also: they sound nice through Marshall amps!). I own a Gibson ES-335, and the fretboard quality compares. I own a Fender Telecaster custom, and the quality compares. I own an Ibanez SAS36-FM and the quality compares. I own a Les Paul Custom built, and the quality compares. Epiphone did a fine job with this guitar, even if it might not suit to some people's tastes. For those it does and even for begginners, its a spot on, inexpensive, great quality, nice sounding guitar. I'd recommend it every time. Shame it has been discontinued.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I used to play live with this baby non-stop. It withstands it so well, unless you're drunk and snap a string, whoops. The hardware over the course of heavy gigging for a year stayed spot on. These days the bridge's chrome has worn a bit, its copper underneath. But overall, cracking reliability. The strap buttons are pretty good too, but I'd still like to get some straplocks for this thing, I've yet to. I've dropped this guitar a few times in gigs, and the worse which has happened is nothing. It all stays spot on, in tuning, intonation and strength. Can't go wrong. The finish does well too, stays as it is, just oil your fretboard! Its also a very dependable guitar, over that full year I didn't have another guitar to hand, and it did well.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The action was great coming from epiphone. The bridge was not set up, but I didn't expect it to be. After some minor setting-up and a slight truss-rod adjustment (I like mine the slightest bowed) it was ready. The pickups (as I expected also) were not adjusted. They both came at a Standard height and their poles were not fine tuned. For action I can't complain though, bit high for my liking, but for any metal solist/shredder you'd lower it anyway. All the routing was spot on and it was even shielded. For the price you can't go wrong. After a while due to heavy use (I love the thing) the tone control became loose, in a shorted time than I expected, but easily fixed, apart from that its really good. Its finish is a nice gloss in ebony colour. Its rather a dark guitar, but (I'm thinking about this my self, but buying another one) take off the paint, give it some colour, customise it. Like I have said a few times, you can't go wrong with the price of this thing, so spending a few hundred more on it with a custom paintjob and replacement pickups, its your own lovely custom for a few hundred quid.

Features — 9
This guitar is meant for one thing. Simplicity. Mine was made in Indonesia. Built in 2007 & 2008, its a relatively new guitar. Before this it was built early nineties and through the eighties, by both Gibson (As M-III) and Epiphone (EM Series). The earlier models actually look so much better, but I've never had the chance. Anyway, it has 24 frets, solid Alder wood with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, with classic Dot inlays. Headstock is a non-reverse shape, which makes it difficult to find a modelled case. Being a double cutaway and due to its shape, its relatively small too as a body, so height-wise its about the same height as a Les Paul custom. The hardware is chrome, all Epiphone branded, 1 volume, 1 tone and a 3 way pickup selector. Passive pickups and quite a high output (as it would have been in the eighties) for that classic shredder and solo-ist. There is no included accessories, but like I say, simplicity.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Gorgeous guitar! I always loved the Les Paul shape but wanted something entirely different in shape. Strats have always looked ugly to me so this is perfect. Then again, strats can look fine if not made to have that horrible pickguard that takes up more than half of the front of the guitar. What a horrid design that, yes, has sold tons of. It's a matter of taste.