Price paid: € 549
Purchased from: Max Guitar Store
Sound — 9
I play different styles, from blues to metal. Thanks to the Dirty Fingers this guitar has incredible amounts of sustain for a passive pick-up, while delivering a thick, distorted sound, comparable to that of active pick-ups. Pull the coil-tap volume knob and you have instant access to the a perfectly clear single-coil sound. The guitar seems to deliver anything from 60's classic hard rock to 90's grunge. I wouldn't use it to play metal, though it could handle it.
Overall Impression — 9
This is a serious alternative to guitars with active pick-ups, when you're not really looking for that Mesa Boogie sound but still want a thick, powerfull sound. I'd probably buy it again if it were stolen. I chose it after comparing it with a Gibson Explorer (496R/500T), a Slash Signature Epiphone LP (Alnico Pro II) and a ESP LTD EC401VF (Seymour Duncan JB/59), while looking for a guitar with passive pickups. I decided to go with this one because it had the sound I was looking for and I never regretted it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
It seems like a solid guitar, very well put together. The action of the tuners, knobs and switches is solid and precise, inspiring confidence in the guitar's reliability. I immediately replaced the factory strap buttons with the strap locks that came with the guitar, so that's not a concern anymore. I wouldn't gig with it without a back-up, but that's valid for any guitar, it has nothing to do with this one.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I bought it only needed a minor bridge lift. It sounds perfect now and even with such a flat fretboard (14" radius), 2-note bends on the high frets don't mute at all. The satin finish on the back of the neck can cause some unwanted friction, but I plan to have it polished/glossed soon. The overall quality of the finish is impressive. The weight is very well balanced, unlike other LPs the neck doesn't drop down when you let go. However, like most LPs, it's a heavy guitar that sometimes be tiring to play for more than 2 hours.
Features — 9
The guitar was made in December 2007 in China. It has a mahogany body with quilt maple top, finished in a gloss Black Cherry. The set mahogany neck is Epiphone's own "SpeedTaper" neck with a slim D profile and satin finish, with 24 jumbo frets on a 24.75"-scale ebony fretboard. Two Gibson Dirty Fingers humbuckers are controlled via a volume (push/pull coil-tap) and a tone knob plus the typical LP 3-way selector. The entire hardware has a gold finish: LockTone stopbar/Tune-O-Matic bridge set, volume & tone knobs, Grover tuners and Epiphone straplocks.