Nighthawk Custom Reissue Review

manufacturer: Epiphone date: 01/12/2015 category: Electric Guitars
Epiphone: Nighthawk Custom Reissue
This guitar is a hybrid between a Les Paul and a Stratocaster. It's an incredibly versatile instrument and the best bargain I've ever run across.
 Sound: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 9.7
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9
 Features: 9.7
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reviews (3) pictures (5) 29 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.2
Nighthawk Custom Reissue Reviewed by:, on june 23, 2011
5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 260

Purchased from: Rainbow Music

Features: This is NOT an Original Nighthawk this is the new for 2011 Nighthawk Custom Reissue. - Indonesia in 2011 - Mahogany Body/Neck - Ebony Finferboard - 25.5 Scale with 22 Jumbo frets - Flame maple top in translucent black - Glossy finish - Lower bout is an SG but upper bout of a Les Paul - String-thru - Passive Electronics - Volume/Tone control - HSH Configuration with Coil Tap % way selector switch. Seymour Duncan have released a slanted JB model for the Nighthawk so I have it installed. - Grover tuners. - Free strings (Ernie Ball 11-48) Free strap and 4 free hetfield black fangs 1.14mm // 9

Sound: I need a versatile guitar because I play Blues, Rock, Punk, and Metal, and I have my tone control on 10. My signal chain consists of This, Zoom G2, MXR Distortion+ and then my Marshall VS65R, bypassing the Zoom and the MXR, I get a fantastic sound for blues on the neck and middle positions mixed and alone and coil-tapped, Rock sounds brilliant on the Bridge and middle (with zoom), and Metal comes from the MXR, and amp with everything on 7. Its bright on the neck, fatter on the bridge, but it can get noisy, but im getting a noisegate very soon. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Factory setup wasn't that bad, but the dealer sorted out little problems, I like my pickups not incredibly high, but not too low either. I have few flaws with the guitar, Glossy finish fingerprints easily, so it needs polished a lot, The strap button is on the side, not the back which im used to, and finally it droops down on the strap. // 7

Reliability & Durability: Yes, it withstands live playing (about 10 2 hour shows since purchase), and the hardware is lasting. I depend on this guitar a lot, but I have OCD about having no backup (I use standard tuning, and Drop D on the same guitar), the finish is lasting very good. // 8

Overall Impression: Well I play Blues, Rock, Punk and Metal, and it suits them very well, Ive been playing 4 years and my other guitar is an Epiphone Dot Studio. If it was stolen, I would brutally murder the thing who did, and if it got lost, I would be heading bakc to the dealer, for another. I mentioned my flaws about it earlier, and it was compared to a Epiphone Les Paul Custom, and a Fender Blacktop Telecaster, this sounded the best out of them all, and all I wish it had was a Floyd Rose. // 9

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overall: 10
Nighthawk Custom Reissue Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 30, 2012
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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... // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 10
Nighthawk Custom Reissue Reviewed by: eliolop, on january 12, 2015
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Features: This guitar is a hybrid between a Les Paul and a Stratocaster. It's an incredibly versatile instrument and the best bargain I've ever run across. 

First the Les Paul aspects. Mahogany body/neck with a flame Maple cherry top. Neck through body construction. Rosewood fretboard. Mine is so dark and dense it's almost like ebony, which the company initially released the first models with. It's a single cut-a-way Les Paul style body. Grover tuners, large crown shaped abalone fret markers, again ala Les Paul. 

Now the Stratocaster aspects of this guitar. It's got a 25 1/2" scale neck with 22 jumbo frets. I've heard some cry about it being 'neck heavy' whatever that means. The guitar's very light and if you don't care for a 'neck heavy' guitar, then you don't like Fenders. The 25 1/2" scale neck allows for your being able to get up very high on the fret board. The Mahogany neck is thin enough that it feels like a Maple neck (ala a Strat). It strings through the body for incredible sustain. It has three transducers, (which I'll get to in a minute). It only has one master volume/ tone like a Strat, and because of the three pickups it sports a 5 way selector switch.

Lastly, the body is contoured, like a Strat, so it's much more comfortable to hold because it hugs the body like a Strat hugs the body. The electronics are passive. It has a set bridge, again like a Start, so each string has it's own saddle. Unlike a Strat it has no whammy. // 10

Sound: I play just about every form of music except full jazz and thrash/shredding stuff. I usually just go through my Boss GT-8 directly into the board, but sometimes I'll add my Fender Champ. This guitar is capable of handling any form of music really. It's just as versatile as my PRS Custom 24. I wish it had a whammy, but it's tuning is impeccable. This guitar holds it tune very well.

This guitar is capable of 10 different tones! Who really needs more than that? This is where the instrument gets very interesting. The transducer configuration is HSH. It sports a mini-humbucker in the bridge which is good and hot. It's also brighter than your average humbucker which I like, (I prefer the tone of single coils). The single coil from the factory is also very, very good. It's bright, bell like, and very hot. The bridge humbucker from the factory is also very good. A friend put a Seymour Duncan slanted in his, but mine sounds plenty hot and plenty good as is.

The advantage to this is pretty obvious because you can be playing say "18 and Life" where the guitar goes from heavy to clean by just switching from the H to an S and back. Because of the 5 way, one also has the option of the extra positions in the selector switch. You can push your pick ups out of phase and give yourself 5 different tonal options.

Now here's the beauty. You can also coil tap the guitar for single coils and voila! Five more tonal variations, not to mention the total strat sound! I have to play a wide variety each gig. It doesn't matter if The Beatles "Standing There" comes up, to "Little Wing" to "Layla," to "I Hate Myself for Lovin' You," to "Remember When." You can achieve the tone you need with this one axe! And for a measly three hundred bucks! The PRS retails for $800 alone. With just one master volume/ tone, you not only have total control, but it's less confusing than having three or four knobs.

One last thing. Because of the string-through body construction, this guitar has the sustain of death! Mahogany does naturally sustain better than harder woods Fenders usually have. After all, that's why Fender pioneered string through body in the first place. But when you combine string-through with Mahogany... wow! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: This guitar was perfect from the box!!! The only thing I had done to it was; changed the strings to .010's and I had the pickup heights adjusted to my specifications. That's it! The guitar was/is beautiful to look at. Mine is cherry burst. My friend's is tobacco burst, and I have played the Amber burst. All three of these guitars are beautiful to look at, and quite frankly, all three were perfect out-of-the box set up wise. The tuners are Grovers and they do hold their tune. I have played this guitar all night, left it in it's case a week or two and by the next gig it's still in tune! // 10

Reliability & Durability: I have been using this guitar as my Go To for almost 6 months now and it still looks and sounds great. I have to have at least one extra guitar on hand, (because of the whammy, but sometimes a guitar set up for slide), But I know I can depend on this guitar if I had to. The construction is solid, smart, and very, very, well crafted. She's beautiful to look at and she's very light. The guitar is lighter than either a Les Paul (thank god!), or a Stratocaster. I can do a four set gig and not feel it wearing me down by the last set. // 10

Overall Impression: I've already talked about a lot of these things previously. There's no sense in rehashing it. I own several other guitars. Some of which I've reviewed her previously. If this guitar were stolen, I'd probably tracked the thief down and strangle him so he'd have to look at me while he died, lol. This guitar is really, really worth the money. My guitars range from Telecasters, Stratocasters, PRS, Godins, Ibanez, Jackson, and more. This guitar was purchased at a fraction what most of the other guitars can be purchased for. Yet it holds up to and surpasses many of them.

The action is great, it sounds great, and has such a wide variety of choices, yet maintains the simplicity to keep it all organized in the heat of a live gig. The factory pickups are very, very good so you really don't have to change them. There's nothing I can say that I dislike about the guitar. Yes, I like my whammy bars, but I'd probably have to compromise the great tuning stability or install a Floyd Rose. Why? The guitar sounds great, looks great, and plays great!

I've been told by the salesman that this guitar did not sell well and that's why it was priced so low. It was, I was told, also why it was hard to get. I'm still wondering how or why. If you ever run across one of these guitars... jump on it with BOTH hands! This guitar is a hybrid of a Strat and a Les Paul and it's the best bargain you could ever hope to get. // 10

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