Price paid: $ 125
Purchased from: Pawn Smart
Features — 7
I have a 1995 Korean made model. There's a very fancy chrome neck plate with the serial number firmly stamped into it. I've never seen an Epiphone with a neck plate anything like this. It's a 22 fret dot inlay mahogany fretboard with medium jumbos. It's supposed to have a maple top (I can't discern it) over a mahogany body (yes) and it's so light, almost as light as my SG. Way less than my Les Paul Custom.
I couldn't tell you anything about the hardware, it's all there, it's chrome and looks great. I love the 4 controls, same as my SG and Custom and wouldn't like the two control system at all. I don't like the knobs, they're the see though cylinder style. I'll buy proper knobs and push-pull pots for the Jimmy page setup. I know I need different PU to do this. Someone changed the tit on the PU selector to some tapered ribbed thing which I don't like so it will go. The tuners are foreign to me, maybe their a common Gibson type but I only know Grover, Schaller. They stay in tune even when I go stupid.
Sound — 9
I play rock, classic and '80s, some punk, some 2000's stuff and just getting into blues. This guitar floored me when used with my Spider 212 Valve combo. It nearly broke windows at the 2 setting. It was insane. I think my PU might be aftermarket as my Custom and SG come nowhere close to the same output. The pickups are a bit dirty but I think I need to dial in my 212 Valve some more. It can't really make clean loud but again it's me. It does loud crunch, insane, insane cubed. This thing sustains like nothing I've experienced. It just doesn't stop.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
It's a used guitar, it needs a thorough cleaning and I restrung it with cheap ass Fender counterfeits tens from Ebay for $2.50/set. For a 19 yr. old super cheap (when new) axe it's in remarkable condition. No rash, no large dings, chips or gouges. You can clearly see the 4 mahogany logs they used for the body but the grain choices are pleasing. This, and the variable depth clearcoat on the back makes for a wavy finish. The front doesn't have this problem. This is why it gets an 8. It should be better. The clearcoat is tough as nails. Hardly a mark on it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's made 19 years with nothing more going wrong than the pots getting loose in the body and spinning around. I'll buy a cheap knob puller when I get the new knobs. I'd gig with it, sure. It seems solid. I'd like the chance to run my awesome spider into a board and wail away with this live. I really think cool little guitars like this are undercutting Gibson badly. Maybe not, I don't have Gibson cash. I sat down and added up the costs of my cheap guitars and for $775 I have 4 amazing Epiphones and two great Fenders. I remember when $700 got you ONE name brand guitar. If you were poor you were stuck with an El Degas hunk of junk. Sawdust and tin. Makes me shudder.
Overall Impression — 9
Well, I bought this on a lark. I was taken in by the metal neck plate with the stamped serial and the thin, light body. It's amazing. I'm afraid my Custom won't see much use anymore. I love my SG so it will still see use and my Strats will always get played. I love my Spider Valve 212, it's emulates amps perfectly when it's dialed in right. I should know, I can compare it head to head with a Twin Reverb and an AC30 and a Marshall 800. Those amps are going bye bye.
I'd buy another if this one was stolen or gets trashed but I'd want an oldie just like mine and I doubt I'll ever see another like mine in my remaining years,