Sound — 10
I have a Fender 410 Hotrod Deville and use a Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal. The sound is really clear and the sustain and gain cycles are impressive when played in any position. I was concerned with the lighter Nighthawk that the bass sound would be weak. I use Thomstik-Infeld 9-46 strings on all my guitars and right away replaced the 9-42 strings that were on the guitar. The Sound was really strong and bassy, but I learned to tip the bass side down of the pickups. I purchased the guitar on line from a GuitarCenter who stated that they had a professional look the guitar over and due a set-up on it when it arrived to make sure it was ok. Well, either their Guitar tech is incompetent or they were dishonest about having it set-up. Anyway. I listened to videos of it on YouTube and thought the sound would be really thin. HOWEVER - I think with this guitar you have to back off the pickups to get away from the string pull. The Guitar didn't sound really clear until I re- set-up the guitar. I found the guitar on line at a Guitar Center half way across our nation, other wise I would have chewed them out and made them go over the set-up again. The sound has a wide Spectrum I like the Minihumbucker in the neck which can sound really nice on leads with a lot of gain. I think it actually is as full as my Les Paul.
Overall Impression — 10
Hard Rock, Blues, Folk. Yes, it will work well with clean and dirty. I have been playing since the early nineties and have 5 other guitars and will have to say this Nighthawk will be good competition for my ESP LTD Deluxe Viper 1000. I was really impressed with the light guitar after listening to some of the videos on YouTube which seemed to present the guitar as it sounded really thin when played clean. Yes, I may buy the Black guitar next time though.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Yes it will be very adequate. I have strap locks on it and it seems to hold good tuning. The guitar fits well when standing or playing from a sitting position. I was impressed with the d shaped neck profile and how it fits the hand really well and I don't appear to have any feelings of doubt about taking it to the stage and and turning the gain up on it and letting it roll hard. The Finish seems to have a deep coat that doesn't seem to scratch when wiped with a soft cloth, so it should last a long time. Yeah... I love it. Way to go Epiphone...
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was purchased used from a Guitar Center and there is no way that a Guitar Tech had gone over this guitar and set-it up because the string saddles were not set so the strings were even with the radius of the neck. From Treble E to Bass E. I do like that each string can be adjusted, but you have to have some basic technical tools and skills to that. I have done guiarsmithing on my own guitars for 15 years now, and that is not difficult. The basic Factory conditions and fit of the guirar are wonderful and exact. The nut height was very exact and the finish is gorgeous. The neck inlays are done with great craftsmenship. There were no manufacturing issues with the guitar, it was the set-up that may have been there since the guitar was new, but affected the sound quality of the guitar and I suspect that was why it was traded. The neck joint is smooth and the binding around the neck is consistent all around the guitar.
Features — 10
The reissued Nighthawk produced by Epiphone. - Body: Mahogany - Top: AAA Flame Maple Veneer - Neck: Mahogany - Neck Shape: SlimTaper; D-shaped - Neck Joint: Glued-In - Truss Rod: Adjustable - Scale Length: 25.5 inches - Fingerboard: Rosewood - Inlays: Mother-of-pearl "Crown" inlays - Radius: 12 inches - Frets: 22 medium-jumbo - Pickups: - Bridge: Slant NHT Humbucker; 4-wire - Middle: NSX Single-Coil - Neck: NHR Mini-Humbucker; 4-wire - Controls: - 5-Way Slider - Master Volume - Master Tone with Push/Pull Coil Tapping - Bridge: Nighthawk fully-adjustable; String-Thru body - Nut Width: 1-11/16 inches - Hardware: Nickel - Binding: Body and Fingerboard - Machine Heads: Grover 14:1 ratio - Included Accessories: It was used and there were no accessories. The guitar is impressive for features, for any electrical guitar cost.