Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com
Sound — 8
One word, bluesy. It has by far one of the prettier cleans I've ever heard. But the stock pickups can barely hit a gain level high enough for punk. If you like classic rock and blues it's perfect. But if you want something with some more gain, you're gonna need to buy some Seymour Duncans and pop them in.
Overall Impression — 9
For the price it's the best deal I've ever seen. The tuners are almost worth the price of the guitar, and it's body is really light and comfy yet seems like it will outlast me. The neck is super easy on the hands and the fretboard is just wide enough without being for "big hands only." I plan to change the pickups on it but everything else I wouldn't change for the world.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's a Epi. Meaning it'll take whatever it needs to take, but I wouldn't go slaming it around, it's a set neck after all which gives it a better sustain, but makes repairs something you don't wanna know about. I'd easily use this and not worry about needing a backup. the finish seems to be holding up well and everything else on it feels rock solid.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar came to me perfect. The action, inotation, pickup height, everything was perfect right outa the box. The real kicker is the finish. It feels almost like a dress. It's almost like rubbing satin instead of a finish. And mine is a bright cherry red but I saw it in a beautiful looking sunburst too.
Features — 10
Basically the big hit here is the Tuners. Stienberger's "Direct Drive Locking Gearless Tuners" (try saying that five times fast). they are literally the best tuners ever made. And by themselves they retail about $90. But they're stock on this. They seem to hold tune just almost well as my friend's Floyd Rose and are literally the easiest restringing you'll ever do. You simply wind it out, unlock the clamp, and then restring it, clamp the strings back into lock, and just tune each string. The ratio on them is 40:1 which is insanely accurate and best of all, they're just so smooth that it feels like I can go into "D tuning" in the same time someone else takes to go to "Drop D tuning". Fretboard is a 22 fret rosewood, body is solid mahogany, 2 volume, 2 tone, 3-way selector switch, and it's a set neck and has two fullsized humbuckers just like the Gibson counterpart. The Pickups are Standard Epi Alnicos based on the Gibson 52's I think. They have a nice bluesy sound to them and will do for anything short of metal. And as a nice bonus, you look on the back of the headstock and you'll see a "Epiphone Custom Shop" logo stamp. Only problem I had with it is that the headstock is alittle long and so it tends to fall a bit unless you place your arm on the back or hold it at an angle. It's super comfy when you're sitting. Not so much a problem, just a perferance. For the money this is a true steal.