Purchased from: Friend
Sound — 7
Interesting one, it's made from mahogany and has a set neck so it has much better sustain than you would expect. Still not a les paul, but plays and sounds very much like one. I'm playing it through a Marshall MG30DFX (I know, it ain't great) but it still sounds nice. If you're willing to mess about with the volume and treble dials on the guitar you can get a good range of sounds from it. I think it's a bit too trebly but that might be due to the amp.
Overall Impression — 4
I play mainly indie/punky stuff (take your shots) and when it wants to, it sounds quite nice. I bought it because of the zany looks and how easy it made playing higher frets (plus Pete Doherty, Jimi Hendrix and that bloke from The Strokes had one). However, this isn't a patch on the original. There's only a few in the UK, and two of them are in my room; one with a huge neck fracture and 2 broken knobs, the other with a weak neck joint and a broken tone knob. Thumbs down to Epiphone on this one, looks to me like they are trying to cash in on a legend by making guitars way too cheaply. If it was stolen, I'd get a Fender '50s Telecaster which is exactly what I've done.
Reliability & Durability — 3
I originally bought this to gig with but I don't think it could handle it. Who knows when a humbucker might fall out? Or the volume knobs give out altogether? It's resigned to light indoor use now and seems to handle that ok. The very small neck/body joint worries me, even laying the guitar flat on it's back knocks it out of tune because the neck bends so much. Not impressed.
Action, Fit & Finish — 1
This is where it all falls apart. I took the first one from the factory box and I don't know Who does the quality checking (a blind chimp, perhaps) but the guitar was in quite a state. Two of the knobs were broken (not working), there was a massive chip in the laquer at the front (due to pickguard screw being tightened so tight it took off about 30 mm sq of laquer) and a neck fracture developing. After a lot of arguing with DHL and Epiphone, I got a replacement which was set up fine. However, upon taking this apart the other day, I found that under the surface, everything about this was poorly made. The laquer was poorly finished under the pickguard, connections kept coming loose and a tone knob has recently broken through light indoor playing. Hell, they must have major problems with drilling holes for pickguards, mines got 3 or 4 extra ones where they missed and redrilled them (one of which is too big anyway so the screw just sits in it, not touching the wood). I will never buy a post 2001 Epiphone again, they are terrible.
Features — 9
22 frets, two alnico magnet pickups and Standard volume/tone knobs for each (plus that famous "batwing" headstock, nice). I got some extra stuff with mine but nothing special, a few posters and an angled 6 mm lead. It sorta looks like a Strat in that it's double cutaway, but it's unique in that the body is cut away on both sides right up to the 22nd fret. This makes playing 17th fret upwards a helluva lot easier, I found it nearly impossible on my Les Paul! Pickups work very well and I wouldn't upgrade them.