Price paid: $ 299
Purchased from: AMS
Sound — 5
The stock sound is ok but not great. The neck p/u is very warm and big sounding(it actualy is nice), but the Bridge p/u is very muddy and undefined. You can solve a little of this by adjusting the pole peices. It is not extremely noisy stock and deffinately has that Vintage vibe and sound. Now if you replace even only the Bridge p/u you can transform this little budget axe to a fire breathing monster. I rated this on stock sound, but if you mod this guitar it is an easy 9-9 1/2 sound wise.
Overall Impression — 10
This is one of the most amazing guitars I have come across(yes you can find better, but not at this price point) that's under $500. Sure its not perfect, but with a little tweeking and a p/u swap you can have a very nice sounding and playing guitar for less than $400 new. This was the first Epiphone I ever purchased(I'm a PRS/Gibson guy) but I doubt it will be the last. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
Reliability & Durability — 8
No problems at all giging with this guitar. The finish is very nice, but not the quality of there high end counterparts(come on its a $300 solid mahogany guitar), but good none the less. Although I normaly always carry a back up, I have used this many times with out and never a problem. The hardware is very sturdy and will take the normal "abuse" of playing.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
The factory setup was pure crap, even the intonation was off. But a little TLC and this is a real players guitar. The frets were level with no sharp edges. The hardware is also very nice, no loose screws or parts. All in all a very well made instrument, and I'm comparing the build quality to a USA PRS CE22(obviously a better made guitar, but also 6 times the price). If you properly set this guitar up it's a 9.
Features — 8
Mine is a 2009 I believe made in china. 2 volume, 2 tone, and a 3 way togle switch. Satin brown solid mahogany with a set mahogany neck. Trapezoid inlays. Grover romantic tuners. 2 humbuckers(Epi designed) It looks just like its Gibson counterpart minus the head stock.