Price paid: € 250
Purchased from: amall ads
Sound — 5
After owning a variety of crap (unknown maker's SG, Ibanez Les Paul, some Chinese Flying V, Czech Janina) I got my paws on a couple of real Gibsons and Fenders and decided that Gibson is the way to go. As I am not a rich man, Epiphone was a logical choice. At first I thought the sound was %&/$%#! awesome, a true "Stratocaster on steroids", but when I compared it to a Gibson RD... well... it's like comparing your bathtub to a Pacific Ocean.
Overall Impression — 8
I'm a rocker, with lots of thrash metal background. But my passion is blues so I combine those two. I play slide, guitar tuned to open D, if it wasn't for the humbuckers, my guitar playing would sound like Taj Mahal on a steel Dobro, but I have this customized Firebird that roars like a Godzilla. With diarhorrea. With a hungover. And PMS. With lots of help from a Kustom tube amp with Lorantz speaker. It just can't get more powerful without having some major destruction and radiation issues afterwards... I only wish one day some fairy will turn it into a Gibson and Lorantz will sponsor me 3 more speakers like that...
Reliability & Durability — 5
For the first few months the guitar was a gem, then she started dying on me. The wooden parts are very good, neck is strong, so I suggest you buy this cheap piece of lumber, strip off all the Korean wiring and lousy pickups, invest a couple of 100's in new Seymour Duncan PAF or DiMarzio Super Distortions or some other stuff that ROCKS, get a good cable jack and a Gibson Switch - and you'll have a MONSTER of a guitar for 500. Still some 1500 cheaper than the real thing but close enough...
Action, Fit & Finish — 5
Factory setup was pretty cool for a while, the guitar doesn't go out of tune for a month. But the first thing to fall apart was the cable jack and I had to get another one. Then one pickup died on me. Then the pickup selector Switch started to give me hard time. So I had it overhauled. Some wiring connections were soldered so badly they barely touched. Very beautiful guitar on the outside but lousy in the places you can't see. After a major overhaul of the insides (50 euros) the selector Switch was still bothering me. I also wasn't too impressed by the pickups anymore so I took the next step: a Gibson humbucker taken from some limited-edition 1979 Flying V on the bridge and a PAF replica by Seymour Duncan on the neck. And the Switch was taken off some lousy Chinese Flaying V replica that I have as a decoration ornament on the wall. Now she sounds like a goddamn atomic blast!
Features — 9
Got it in original like-new condition, Korean, all red, nothing special. Oh, I got a nice red leather strap to match the colour of my hungover eyes :) I love the velvet finish of lacquer because you're down there for the music and not for the pesky reflections from the lightshow, right?