Price paid: $ 300
Purchased from: zzounds.com
Sound — 5
Let's get one thing out of the way. The vast majority of newer Epiphones have foreign-made pickups. My G-400 as it came stock did not sound full at all. Pinch harmonics were not possible with the pickups that came on it, and the pickup output was horrible. There was audible buzz from the humbuckers as well, though it was minor. I am using a 340-watt Fender 212 for the vast majority of my guitar playing, which includes blues, classical, neoclassical, alternative, metal, thrash and classic rock. The guitar itself however is fine, it's well-made and the tuning machines actually stay in tune. The inlays are well-fitted and the Heritage cherry body looks near-identical to a Gibson.
Overall Impression — 9
As I have addressed previously, the guitar is mediocre stock. The only thing that is really lacking is the humbuckers. I immediately replaced them with a Gibson Classic '57 in the neck position and a Gibson Classic '57 Plus in the bridge position. A personal warning to anyone who is planning on buying this guitar and replacing only one pickup though; Epiphone foreign-made pickups are reverse-wound thus will clash with the American-made Gibson pickups, giving you an irritating hum or buzz in the middle position of the toggle switch. After my modifications, this guitar is excellent. It sounds better than a Gibson Faded Series SG, and identical to a Gibson SG Standard, and it only cost a grand total of 700 dollars. If it was stolen or lost, I would buy the same guitar, modify it the same way, and still have the classic Gibson sound. For only 300 dollars, it's definitely worth the investment. However, it irritated me that fretboard was not properly finished. I've been playing for 1 year and 5 months, though I am now attending college for music performance. One thing I especially liked about the G-400: it was affordable on a college student's budget, even with the modifications. Overall, it was clearly well-made and like most guitars you'll own, just requires some customization to get the sound you want.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar as it comes stock is not playable Live or gigs, due to the humbucker sound (or lack thereof). The strap buttons are solid, but the finish as I mentioned previously will wear off completely if you play often, thus requiring it to be refinished. The Grover tuners are very durable, and will last through a full Live set, which is always nice.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
The guitar was perfectly set up and playable upon delivery. The action was low, and fully adjustable via the Tune-O-Matic bridge. The fretboard was not warped or otherwise defective at all, however the finish on the fretboard is lacking in my opinion. Upon close inspection, the grain of the wood is visible and I would reccommend refinishing it. The controls and toggle Switch are firmly fit and look like they will hold up for a long time.