Price paid: $ 40
Purchased from: Friend
Sound — 10
The best feature about this guitar would have to be the sound. I play thrash metal (Pantera, Metallica), fast solos that mainly dwell on the highest frets on the high E string (see Kirk Hammet's solo on the end of "Jump In The Fire"), classic rock & classic metal (lots of Sabbath and Zeppelin) and occasionally some prog rock (big Floyd fan). My distortion knob rarely leaves 10. I'm playing it through a Peavey Blazer 158 Transtube (the one with reverb), 15 watt. It can make really dirty sounding distortion, but I've heard better. On clean it makes a pretty rich sound, but I have also heard better. The pickup isn't very noisy, actually relatively quiet. All the reviews I've read for it say how it's best for rock/metal, which I would agree with. It's pretty obvious that that's the sound it was made for. If you don't play with distortion, this probably isn't the guitar for you.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall this is a good beater guitar. Don't buy it if you're looking for a real high class, fast moving machine. This is a pretty primitive guitar made for practice amps, just for noodling around on. That's why the price is so low. Hell, I got mine for forty bucks in mint condition, I'm going to be pretty rough on it and I'm confident it'll last. A rundown of highs & lows: Highs: - Rich sound, great on distortion - Nothing confusing, very straightforward - Solidly put together right here in the USA, pretty reliable brand - Relatively lightweight, easy to jump around and really move with - Bridge isn't a string-thru or anything, very easy to lower or raise the action as well as to change the strings Lows: - Bridge has a very jagged shape, resting your hand there is pretty uncomfortable, doesn't feel like a string-thru which is very smooth - Neck is moderately thick and is painted on so you can't widdle it down which means - It isn't exactly a fast player, much easier to play lightening fast solos on smaller and more precise guitars - Tuners. Don't count on them, if you're really serious about it and you have the money, go ahead and get them replaced - The thing that annoys me the most: There's no cutaway in the body right around where your forearm goes. It doesn't matter what position you're in: seated, standing, on your back, upside down for all I care, the edge of the guitar is always going to be in the way. Quality is definitely sacrificed for vanity here, it just doesn't make for comfortable playing which means you can't play at your best. This is why I don't think I'd gig with it. You can get them for about $100 now. Or if you have good friends, less than half of that. I'd recommend it to beginners or those strapped for cash. A good guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Well, I can't say much about the durability. You see, I got this guitar from my friend less than 24 hours ago. But I've done some pretty rough jams on it already and it gets my approval. Strap buttons are very stable. Everything is really solid (except for the tuners). You could drop it a couple times on pavement or something and it would hold up well. There is no cutaway in the body. The edge of the guitar is always in the way of your arm, it's very distracting and annoying. If you're sitting down and playing, your arm is going to be pressed up against the corner of the guitar and your hand or wrist will be on the jagged bridge. It's just not a comfortable player any way you play it. It's made for beginners who play crudely and harshly, so it's made to last. It's also 100% made in the USA!
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
You probably weren't expecting much in this category. Like I've said before, it's a pretty stubborn guitar. The knobs are pretty stable in the guitar compared to my other electric (Washburn Maverick BT-4, which, mind you, is a much better guitar than this). Everywhere I read about it, the people say how the tuners can't hold up very well. They don't have a brand name on them, I assume they're just Epiphone's standard wimpy tuners. Get used to tuning it more often than your other guitars, or if this is your first guitar, normal axes don't need to be tuned this often. My advice is if you're serious about getting this to be a great instrument and you have the cash, go get them replaced. I'd do it if this wasn't just a beater for me.
Features — 6
This isn't exactly a guitar made for features. One volume knob, one tone knob. One pickup. Weak tuners. Stubborn shape. However, it sounds great. There's no pickups in the way of your playing so you can absolutely smash on the strings, I encourage you to do a Nirvana or a Townshend on this guitar. Very simple axe.