Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Greenwich Music
Sound — 10
Considering I am running this guitar through a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt I don't the full potential of this beast but with just this practice amp I have come to love the tone with a burning passion. The guitar shape is most commonly recognized as James Hatfield's, Metallica's singer and rhythm guitarist, guitar collection which is a largely contributing factor to why I bought it do to James' heavy riffs, thundering palm mutes and heart blasting tone. On distortion this guitar shakes the room, the palm mutes and low string use is amazing for playing metal and the leads are perfect for shredding solos and piercing pinch harmonics. On distortion this is a metalhead's dream yet it has wonderful cleans as well. By switching into my up position on the toggle Switch (bridge pickup) I can get full luscious sounding cleans as I strum or play a blues tune. These are, mind you, just the stock pickups and I have been planning on getting a set of EMGs soon to improve the guitar 10 fold and make it even more amazing then now.
Overall Impression — 10
After a relatively short time with this guitar, I have to say it is one of the best I have ever played at such a great price. I have tried playing guitars of all sorts from other Epiphones to the Schecter Hellraiser, but the all fall inferior to the ground shaking awesomeness associated with the Epiphone Goth 1958 Explorer. Absolutely amazing sounds for metal and down tunings of all sorts on this axe, pinch harmonics are easy to do and sound crazy. I have said all the aspects I find great on this guitar, so naturally I must list all the features I do not like on the guitar as well. I do not like the placement of the strap button because if you do not watch yourself it will fall off and it will prove fatal to the guitar. The only other thing I don't really appreciate much are the control knobs, they get complicated and are kind of unnecessary. Other than that, I am absolutely infatuated with this guitar and would definitely get another one if something happened. Go get it now.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I have had this guitar for a few months now and I have not done anything of great danger or test worthy to talk about the durability of this guitar but from just playing around my room and jamming with friends, this guitar is great. It took me some time to find a case for this exotic shaped guitar but it is absolutely mandatory in order to keep it safe and open to travel. I recommend checking Musiciansfriend for the case as finding one in a store is next to impossible and you also might want to get strap locks because due to the I'll placed strap lock up the neck instead of behind it crazy moves or jumping around does not bode well for the guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar was store bought so naturally the guitar techs gave this baby a nice setup and replaced the crappy stock strings with Elixer 11s (my choice). I don't remember particularly but I was pretty happy with the action pre-setup and the current action is just great, I can play very easily. For the price it is great on action and not to mention the finish. The all satin finish is obviously not the normal shiny kind and is just great, I love it. One thing worth mentioning is that with all satin finishes, the neck becomes greasy over time as you play it as the oils on your hands adhere to it and make it more shiny and slippery, however it is nothing of concern as it just breaks in the guitar to your feel and gives you a faster neck. I always play with a sweatband on my wrist just for the sake of keeping the area around my hand a little cleaner. I must say, that the tuning stays fine on all my crazy bends and playing. It stays great for days and I play all I want without worrying much. I don't know if it's the guitar or how it was setup, but all I know is that its just perfect
Features — 9
Bought in 2009 at Greenwich Music but made in Korea for $400, this guitar is a sinister looking axe that has caught eyes without fail. This completely black guitar is an all mahogany guitar except for the fretboard which is rosewood, as most common guitars are. 22 frets is the norm on Explorer guitars that aren't custom made. All black hardware with a stop bar tailpiece and Grover 6-in-line tuner heads, the pickups are passive humbuckers and are open coil stock pickups from Epiphone and are designed by Gibson. No frets on the fretboard except for the 12th which is the number 12 in roman numerals. As previously stated, the satin black finish is a beauty combined with the black everything else i.e. hardware, pickgaurd, body & neck, the 3 knobs (2 volume, 1 tone)etc.