Price paid: $ 400
Purchased from: Music & Arts Peachtree, GA.
Sound — 9
I only have a Dinky SP-10 amp to play this guitar on and it just sounds amazing. That amp has very good clean tones. The neck pick up has that fullness to it and the bridge pick up has just enough bite for my taste. I am still saving up for a Vox AC4TV or a Tech 21 Trademark 30 for it to really push the guitar's potential. Since this is my first Epi or a Les Paul for that matter, I really have no way of knowing how good the pickups really are. But for the current set up I have, I like it a lot.
Overall Impression — 9
I just love this guitar. I really can't tell how good it sounds since I'm just using an SP-10 for the moment. But the clean tones on this guitar through that small amp is just perfect. Defined, clear and yet warm. Strumming on the neck pick up just saturates my bedroom with sweet sweet sounds. The bridge pick ups makes the SP 10 squeel. The coil tapped tones are just as clear a bit more crystalline though. Different from a Strat's tone but if you need a Strat tone, use a Strat, right?
Reliability & Durability — 8
Hmmm. I can't really comment on this yet. But I would rather buy a I would use Schaller locks than to use the included strap lock. The design is ok but Schaller's would be better. I have hit the headstock against a wall and I have already nicked it, I have managed to scratch the headstock too with the guitar strings while changing. I really can't tell if the finish on the body would hold. I can't even start to think that the finish would somehow be damaged. But heft of the guitar gives it a feel that it will last. The switch seems solid, the knobs don't produce a scratchy sound when I turn them fast, output jack seems solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The guitar's set up was just spot on. I changed the stock strings with a regular slinky without a hitch. Everything fell spot on. I tried using a D'Addario EXL115 11-49 but developed a buzz on the low E and A string. Nothing that a quarter turn on the bridge can't cure. As I have said earlier, the finish is just immaculate. I just stared at it for the first five minutes of owning it. I didn't even bothered to play it first. I was mesmerized. Can't blame a noob. The satin finish at the back gives e a bit of comfort knowing that I don't have to be anal about the finish being scratched. The satin finish seems durable. The only thing that really annoys me is the way the knobs were put in to the pots. Its all crooked. Of the 4 control knobs only one seems to be placed straight. I know its purely cosmetic and it doesn't affect the sound, but it could have been improved. The guy who's hammering on the knobs could have been corrected since.
Features — 9
Got mine from a local music store. It was cheaper compared to the ones being sold over the internet. It was at 400USD and got an additional 50 dollar discount since it was a Christmas promotion of some sort. 350 dollars for a beautiful guitar, not bad indeed. But I had to wait for 2 weeks to finally get her. Everything stated at Epiphone's website regarding this particular model was true. Mahogany body and neck, rosewood finger board coil taps etc... Tools and strap locks were included in a small ziploc bag. I had a Chinese made model, I don't know when it was made though since the serial number can't be deciphered by the web application that dates a guitar by its serial number. The finish was just immaculate. Wine red rocks! The satin finish at the back and the neck gives it a more tactile feel. Action was just perfect for my taste. The neck has no relief I don't know if its a good or bad thing, but it has no fret buzz at all using the stock strings. Changed to a regular slinky, still no buzz. So the relief I think is just fine by me. For an on and off guitarist wannabe like me, who plays power chords and triads, the features are just more than enough to suit my needs. I now have 6 tones to choose from which is more than enough to find my real true "sound". The stability of a stop bar tailpiece suits me just fine.