Price paid: $ 560
Purchased from: Groth Music, MN, USA
Sound — 9
I am definitely a Fender guy and like all things Fender, but I needed a guitar for hard rock and metal. Testing out this guitar at GC, I felt that it had the tone that I wanted. But since I've had it home, I've come to enjoy the beefy tones that it puts out. The bass strings are very powerful and crisp while the treble strings are very bright and also crisp. The Gibson pickups are very strong. While I bought it for metal and hard rock, I've ended up mostly playing rock and roll with it on a Twin Reverb preset on my Fender Mustang III amp. It is a very lively guitar that is a lot of fun to play. The only issue I have with the sound is that the treble strings are a tad too bright.
Overall Impression — 9
Like I said, I'm a Fender guy. But I find myself reaching for this guitar about 30% of the time. It has a very powerful sound. It's not great for long jam sessions because of the weight. My Fenders are better for that. But just sitting there, it steals the show from my Fenders with its impeccable finish, its flame maple top, and its neck inlays. I'd highly recommend this guitar and would definitely replace it with the same model if lost or stolen. The thing that I like best about this guitar is the beefy sound. The strong pickups with powerful tight bass and bright treble coupled with the almost endless sustain provided by the solid mahogany body give you a feeling of power that's a cut above other guitars.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems very well made and I believe would hold up to the rigors of gigging. I put strap locks on it. It is so heavy that I believe it could easily come off of a strap without locks. For the money, it is an extremely well made guitar. The Tribute does not come with a pickguard. I tried putting a Gibson pickguard on it, but it did not fit as the pickups were too close together. However, after playing for a few months, I have yet to put a scratch on it because the top falls away from the string. So now I'm glad I didn't put a pick guard on it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I tried this guitar out at the music store, there was fret buzz up and down the neck. But the store manager easily adjusted it out. However, it still needed a full setup when I got it home (something I was happy to do). I had a hard time falling in love with the guitar when I got it home because the bass strings were so dead. But a new set of D'Addarios cured that. The hardware and every bit of finish on the guitar is perfect. It is a stunning guitar. Now that the guitar is well adjusted, it is a joy to play.
Features — 10
- 2013 guitar, Made in China - Solid mahogany body with flame maple top - Gloss (most certainly polyurethane) finish is impeccable - Heavy guitar at nearly 10 pounds - Pickups are Gibson USA '57 Classic humbuckers - Pickups can be used in split coil mode via the tone controls - Grover locking tuners - There are four controls: two volume and two tone - Nice Epiphone case included - Strap locks are also included although I opted for Schallers instead - I believe there are 22 frets (1 fret above high C) - Possibly the most important feature is that the neck and frets are very smooth -- something that not all Epiphones have. This guitar definitely got the attention to finish that it deserves as it is a very beautiful guitar.