Nighthawk Custom Reissue review by Epiphone

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 7.9 (41 votes)
Epiphone: Nighthawk Custom Reissue

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.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Good : Very comfortable fretboard, Great variety of tones, Very light guitar, Great color, Tilted & carved back, Slim neck profile, Good tuners, Awesome comfort and accesibility in the high frets. The Bad : The neck has 45 layers of laquer and it is a hard job to slide up and down this neck, The body top is very uncomfortable for the right arm, bridge buzzing, Middle pickup gets in the way of my playing, Horrible jack output position for a studio guitar. The Strange : Although the guitar body is so very light, the guitar weight is quite well ballanced trussrod included, It stays in tune after 2,3 tunings, It sounds very good unplugged, It fits in all LP style cases, I prefer it from my Gibson LP, Very low price.
    I've had a trans-black version of this guitar since the re-issue, and would love one of the earlier versions just to compare, although I believe the wiring is probably better on this new version. Love the sustain and the tone palette. Have done a few gigs with this through SS amps and tube amps. Metal and heavy rock go better with SS, but this guitar also cleans up nicely for blues and pop-rock through a tube. I have 13 other guitars including some Fenders (teles and Strats) and this guitar seems to have all of those tones and more, given the right amp. No-one is stealing my Nighthawk. Its just never out of my reach as its my go-to guitar for almost everything I do, except acoustic.
    I tried it through an AC15 like what I play and my friend's Dr. Z Maz 18 NR. It was actually a decent guitar. It is much hotter than my Strat or my Tele though. A dirty clean is more like Zeppelinesque crunch on the bridge pickup...even coil tapped.
    EPHIPHONE NIGHTHAWK CUSTOM REISSUE This is a very beautiful looking guitar in transblack which I chosen to buy. I think its funny when people say its a cross between les pauls and strats because really just holds its own in a genuine model version of a reissued Gibson guitar if this guitar was built in the classic rock era it would be sought after as a killer ax.