Purchased from: Craigslist: Private Party
Features — 10
The Epiphone Sheraton II I am reviewing was made in 2006 at the Saein, South Korea Plant, and is ebony beneath its transparent finish. It features a large vintage style "Clipped Ear" headstock with a Mother of Pearl "Vine" inlay atop its 24-3/4" Maple and Walnut neck and Rosewood fretboard decorated with block and triangle Pearloid and Abalone inlays, and 1.68" wide nut followed by 22 medium-jumbo frets. The Sheraton has a double cutaway semi-hollowbody made of laminated Maple with a Mahogany center block. Hardware includes aftermarket Planet Waves auto-trim locking tuners (18:1 ratio) and black bell shape control knobs, with stock Tune-O-Matic bridge, and stop bar tailpiece. The guitar is equipped with two passive Alnico Classic Humbucker pickups, two volume and two tone controls, and a three position pickup selector switch. Included in the trade was an Epiphone hard shell case designed for guitars of similar shape.
Sound — 8
I primarily play punk rock, and I will say this guitar fits the punk genre just fine. Also, two guitars I previously reviewed were also equipped Alnico Classic Humbucker pickups. Now. I have only played the Sheraton through my Fender Mustang I V.2 and I have yet to find a setting where this guitar does not sound great. It is not a noisy guitar, but feedback will develop when in close proximity to your amp like any other semi-hollow or hollowbody. Overall, the Sheraton produces a rich and full sound with plenty of low end, rather than a bright sound compared to my Gretsch G5120 with the bridge pickup selected. I have read elsewhere that this guitar is popular among blues and jazz musicians for its tone. Personally, I don't notice that much change in tone when turning the tone knobs back and forth from 0-10. Ten sounds better in my opinion. Then again, I like to play everything wide open: set to 10.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I cannot speak on how well this guitar was set up by the factory as I am not the original owner and the bridge had obviously been adjusted by the previous owner when I acquired it. Though, it didn't take long to adjusted the bridge to my liking and I have not found any reason to mess with it since. As far as I know the pickups have been setup perfectly. Looking at them they don't appear to be adjusted too high or too low. In regards to flaws, again I am not the original owner and the previous owner was a working musician who had taken the Sheraton on the road and admitted he had never cleaned it. With that said, the guitar was dirty with years of grit and grime accompanied by a fair share or oxidation, especially around the nut for the pickup selector. Also, the action was adjusted a bit too low by the previous owner, as I noticed several open strings would buzz when played. Last, one of the two strap buttons has a little play on it. I tried to tighten the screw holding the button in place but it already feels tight. I don't want to strip the hole, and the strap button feels secure enough for me to play the guitar without any problems or worries.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Yes, this guitar and most likely any other Epiphone Sheraton II can withstand live performance duties as demonstrated by my Sheraton's previous owner. The hardware on this Sheraton has withstood use and abuse while on the road and they appear to have a lot of life left them. And as I have mentioned in my other Epiphone reviews, they prides themself on the high quality of their stock hardware. Although this is a solid guitar by a reputable maker I would never intentionally play a gig without a backup guitar ready and waiting. You want to be the center of attention, but you don't want to be the center of attention while you restring a broken string for ten minutes. The finish on this guitar appears to be good enough to last, minus some buckle rash. It survived its first six years of its existence while playing shows and going on the road with its first owner, and I don't foresee myself being particularly brutal on it while playing in the comfort of my home or away at the office.
Overall Impression — 10
Once again, playing punk rock I consider this guitar to be a good match for that style. Honestly, I can't imagine a guitar that would not be a good match for punk, except maybe a classical guitar. But then again some bands could probably pull it off considering the Dropkick Murphys get away with bagpipes, mandolin, and tin flute! On another note, Tom DeLonge from Blink-182 has a signature model similar to the Sheraton. I have been playing guitar for some 20 plus years now with my other two guitars being a Gretsch G5120, and an Epiphone Les Paul Black Beauty 3. My amplifier of choice is a humble little Fender Mustang 1 V.2, and I also have a Zoom MRS-802 8-track digital recorder I like to mess around with here and there. Now, I can't say I would buy another Sheraton if mine was ever lost or stolen, but I would buy another Epiphone hollowbody or semi-hollowbody: Joe Pass, Casino, or Riviera. What I love about this guitar is its beautiful headstock with "vine" inlay, the Pearloid and Abalone inlays on the fretboard, and binding along its neck and body (top, back, and f-holes). Thanks to its light weight (Epiphone states 8.7 lbs (+/- 5%)) and fast neck it is fun and comfortable to play (action is easier on the fingers compared to my Gretsch). And chances are it's design was inspired by Les Paul's original electric guitar prototype "The Log." What I hate is that I am missing the truss rod cover which the original owner misplaced. I just need to get off my ass and order one, easy fix. What I also don't like about this guitar is that it is neck heavy. So be careful if you take both hands off the guitar while standing, gravity loves that neck and headstock too, and wants to get a better look.