Price paid: C$ 350
Purchased from: Kijiji -Used
Sound — 9
This is obviously a hard rock/metal guitar with the active EMG 81/85 pickup combo. It suits my style and was bought mainly on the combo of set neck, 24 frets, and the EMG's. I run it through my Peavey Vypyr 30, with any of effects that are on board the amp. It has a really awesome chug with the mahogany body and the EMG's, nice and deep. It has a good rock sound even running clean, but not made for huge variety with the pickups.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing for over 30 years, and Gibson makes a good guitar, I've played a few. However, Epiphone is a low priced sub line, and there is a reason they don't have the parent company name on the peg head. The problems were not design or hardware, but workmanship. I do like the active pickups, and was what made me buy this guitar in the first place. I do like the feel of the neck, despite the workmanship issues with it. If lost or stolen, I would get another guitar with EMG 81/85's, but likely a Jackson RR V or something close. I bought this guitar for the features, and was only dissapointed with the poor workmanship. The rest of the guitar was good and put together well.
Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar was gigged with before I bought it and despite some finish getting dull from sweat and a couple small chunks taken, it is in good shape. The guitar comes with straplocks, which is nice. Hardware seems like it will last fine and has so far. Would likely stand a whole gig no problem, and likely has. Never play without a backup instrument, it's unproffessional.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Here is where I worried about Epiphone. All my encounters with their guitars had been sketchy up to this point for me. Many reviews of their guitars were not the best and many complained about the quality of parts and workmanship. I was not impressed with this one, especially for the price of it new, which I never would have paid. The neck joint seam was not sanded well, and needed some light rubbing. Blade inlays on the neck are not all at proper depth, giving a rough feel even you can't see it, but so far it hasn't affected playability. Some frets are slighty ripply from the mounting. Fretboard binding has a couple light flaws, not affecting playability. Finish has faded from sweat in a couple places.
Features — 9
Not sure of the production date, perhaps '05 or '06. Made in Indonesia. Guitar was used and gigged with when I bought it and came with hard shell case and a strap. Features: * Highly figured quilt maple top * Custom Black Cherry finish * 24 Jumbo Frets * Hard Maple SpeedTaper D Profile, satin finish set neck * Bound fingerboard * Unique blade inlay pattern * Eye-catching pearl inlay knobs * Strap-Locks * Graphite nut * LockTone locking Tune-O-Matic bridge/stopbar * Grover machine heads * EMG-81/85 active pickups * 2 volume, 1 tone, 3-way pickup selector