Price paid: C$ 680
Purchased from: Steve's Music
Sound — 10
I play alternative rock (anywhere from metal, to punk, to grunge, to shoegaze) almost exclusively and this guitar can handle any style I've thrown at it. I literally went from playing Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups to playing Them Bones by Alice in Chains and both sounded excellent on this guitar. I'm playing through a Line 6 Spider III but I don't use any of the amp effects (I use an assortment of foot pedals instead). This guitar can generate a lot of feedback as semi-hollows are prone to do but as long as you aren't cranking 2 distortion pedals, it shouldn't be a problem (but if you're looking to generate a tight feedback/noise rock sound, look no further). It has a really smooth, bassiness to it, playing like a warm Acoustic when you're clean, and a really rich, HOT distortion when you need it. This guitar's tone is the main reason I fell in love with it. Must be heard to be appreciated!
Overall Impression — 10
This guitar, overall, is a dream. You have to baby it a little because of it's body style and I wish the pickups were a little bit harder/hotter (I may Switch them out for some Gibson 59's eventually) but in all honesty for the price paid, this thing has surpassed all expectations. I also own a Fender Jazzmaster and it is at par or just above quality/sound-wise which is amazing considering it's an Epiphone (although given the history of this guitar model, it's truly the equivalent of a lower level Gibson). It truly is a work of art, both to look at and play. I am thoroughly pleased and impressed with this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I haven't played it live yet (I've only had it for a few days) but I'm pretty sure it could stand up to a concert situation as long as it is respected (not too much thrashing around or stage antics). Being a semi-hollow body, there is a lot of room for the guitar to be damaged so it should be played with care. I would never gig without a back-up, but I'm pretty sure this guitar would hold up just fine. The finish seems to be hardy, but I've heard that the coating of the hardware tends to wear off. But that's okay, it merely adds character to the guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
I'm not sure how it was set up by the factory because the guys at Steve's Music tend to run a pretty tight ship when it comes to their guitars (they set everything up right in front of you if you don't like anything on the guitar). But this guitar is perfect, not a hassle at all. As of yet, not a single flaw can be found with the finish or hardware of the guitar.
Features — 9
I bought it brand new for $680 (it's so cheap because of the Canadian Dollar's strength at the moment, otherwise the MSRP is approx. $899.99 here in Canada). If you're reading this review, I'm sure you probably know what it looks like. But just in case, it's an ES-335 style body with gold plated hardware (including Grover Tuners) double f-holes, and a very large headstock with beautiful mother-of-pearl inlays in the head and neck (it's a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard). It features a Gibson-stlye locking tailpiece with a TOM-Bridge. It also has the Standard 3-way pickup Switch and 2 tone and 2 volume knobs. The guitar I got was "Hand-Crafted in China".