Purchased from: Manor Music Mansion
Sound — 4
I use this guitar mainly for hair metal and for church stuff. Thanks to the maple and ebonol materials, the guitar is very bright, and the 500k pots don't help matters. The bridge pickup come across as bland and a bit shrill. The EQ range of it is fairly flat, maybe with a slight treble bump. The coil tap sounds pretty weak and is nigh useless. The single coil pickups also sound bland and have no balls at all. Their EQ range seems fairly flat as well. Your amp will make or break how this guitar sounds due to the very bland and low quality pickup. Replacing them is a very good idea.
Overall Impression — 6
For '80s metal, it's got everything you could want. I have owned lots of guitars, and this is one of the better playing ones. If it were stolen or loss, I would be a little upset, but probably just go get another beater. I love how it plays, and think it looks very cool and totally captures an '80s super Strat. I wish however it was made in Japan and had a better trem unit (which ironically was made in Japan). I choose this one over a few NOS Vesters and Aria Pro II as for the price, nothing could match it's playability. The sound is alright, but the amp makes most of your tone so it's not a huge issue. These would however make great project guitars; new pickups, new trem posts, and you have a killer guitar. In it's stock form, it makes a good beater that plays nice and is a looker. If you want a mod project, beater, or cheap great playing guitar, go for it. If you want something to gig and something that is great out of the box, save a little more.
Reliability & Durability — 2
This is where things get ugly. These shipped with Steinberger KBX tremolos. A very innovative and effective unit, these had a HUGE flaw that lead to two versions being made, but neither truly correcting it. The first versions had the studs on the baseplate where the small posts screw in free standing. The weight of the unit and tension of the strings was too much and caused the whole assembly to bend forward. In an effort to fix this, these studs were reinforced. However, now the small (only 22mm long and barely 4mm diameter at the threads) posts were too weak, and the posts themselves bent. Gibson and Steinberger decided to not attempt to fix the flaw. Because of this, almost everyone of these have a nonworking trem unit. This is ashame, as the trem has two spots for height adjustment on each saddle, a lever to lock the tremolo, and another lever/gear system to adjust the spring tension. They also took very little wood out of the guitar, using a Kahler-like route. Next, the strap buttons on this were horrible. I would not use them for anything. The tuners are also total garbage, but the guitar fortunately is double locking. Next I have heard issues with the trussrods on many Korean Epiphones, which is another question mark. While it works for Church and as a beater, I would only probably take it to a gig to have something to smash when it eventually has something major go wrong.
Action, Fit & Finish — 6
These guitars play great! The the action on this is as low as any Charvle Model series out there or any modern shredder. The neck is fairly thin, but has a bit bit more meat to it than an Ibanez wizard. The fretboard radius is probably about 14", as it feels extremely flat and allows for some crazy bends. The guitar however does have a couple weak points. First off, this is an early Korean guitar. Quality is not the tightest. The bridge pickup is crooked by a very slight amount (confirmed this with a laser level). Next, the paint application around where the fretboard meets the body is sloppy, with some bare wood showing. The fret ends are smooth, but are cut inconsistently. The inlays seemed to have been cleared over, and this application is somewhat sloppy as well, going beyond the inlays and on to the fretboard in a few small spots. Next, the paint covers the binding slightly around the headstock, Finally, the electronics are extremely noisy, even after some shots of contact cleaner. Really, this is the stereotype of Korean guitars; a great player with poor attention to the finishing process.
Features — 9
The guitar I am reviewing today is a NOS Epiphone X-1000, which was made in Korea in 1988. It has 24 jumbo frets. The guitar is a neck-thru, with a hard rock maple neck and maple wings. The fretboard is a composite Ebony substitute known by it's trade name of ebonol. The neck and headstock are bound with white (now aged) binding. The inlay material appears to be real mother of pearl. The guitar is finished in White Pearl, which has aged slightly. The bridge on this is a Steinberger KB-x tremolo (more on that later). It is mounted on a very Kramer-like flatop body. T.he pickups in configured in an H/S/S format, with an on/off switch for each pickup and a volume and tone control. The tone control contains a coil tap for the bridge pickup. The pickups are the original EMG selects with a 4 conductor humbucker in the bridge and two single coils in the neck and middle. The tuners seem to be cheap Epiphones. I am not sure of the original retail, but it was probably a more budget oriented model meant to compete with the very similar Charvel Model 6, which was a higher price point. All and all for what one would of paid for this (probably around $700-$800)it has a lot of great features.