Price paid: $ 500
Purchased from: Suporte Musical
Features: This is an ES-175 replica, nice all-bind sunburst basswood body, set-in maple neck with a rosewood fretboard and back finished in the same color of the guitar, abalone block inlays, two volume faders and two tone faders, three-position key, anyway, a true 175 copy. I don't have an original Gibson 175 here to compare the overall size but I am pretty confident that it should be the same. It is equipped with two humbuckers, die-cast tuning machines, TOM bridge, all golden hardware. It came strung with Daddario .09 gauge strings, that seems to be a Standard in brand new guitars lately.
It is a 2010 model and was bought brand new. It came without a case then I bought an elegant Solid Sound soft case. I was flirting with this beauty for a few months but I confess that I was feeling unsecured on buying it because it is a very new release so I couldn't find consistent reviews about it - then I didn't know if I was getting gold or crap. It is made by a make that holds the brands Eagle, Golden and Hofma and they make electric and Acoustic guitars, accordions, arch and wind instruments. Because I live in a small town and we don't have any music store here, I had to buy it online without to try it before. When I bought my other guitar (a Shelter Les Paul), it was also an online purchase and I didn't try it either, but I was a bit more confident because Shelter is a very popular low price Les Paul here in Brazil. // 8
Sound: Although I play for over 30 years I am not experienced with hollow guitars, and the only other one that I remember to have played in my whole life was a 1968 Gibson ES-335, but it was about 25 years ago, and I cannot remember how it sounded. But I can tell you that THIS guitar sounds awesome! Because it has a hollow body, even before to plug it to the amp I got surprised as it yells impressively loud. Actually it seems to be as loud as a flat Acoustic guitar, what I consider a very good thing as you can play it late at night without the risk to disturb people and without to have to effort yourself to hear that weak twang of unplugged stuff. After plug it at my Vox VT15, the surprise was still bigger. It sounds powerful and bold. Playing it clean, the sound it very clear and with a surprising definition both in the neck as well in the Bridge pickup.
I should let you know that I am definitively a humbucker guy, but I really dislike the mostly humbuckers I listen to, specially when playing them clean. While I love over driven humbuckers, they sounds very irritating and excessively hard for my ears when in clean mode. The sound that I really like for clean rhythm is that sparkle and sweet combination of neck and middle singles of a Stratocaster. OK, so for the first time in my life I have found a guitar whose humbucker neck pickup sound as powerful and bold as a humbucker and yet mellow and sweet as a strato single. I don't know how the guys could do that, but its clean sound is really lovely. The clean Bridge humbucker has that characteristic "quacky" sound but it is still better than mostly of Bridge humbucker pickups I have heard so far, and I can hear it without to get crazy.
But the real surprise was still about to come. When I stepped over the stomp-box and I turned the overdrive on I couldn't believe how that hollow guitar could punch and scream so wildly. And the sound still remains bold and nice! I am really impressed how this guitar is versatile in terms of sound. It is still more surprisingly if we take in consideration the very light gauge strings it came with. I am sure that my Les Paul will rest for a little while inside its Coffin before I pick it again. // 9
Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar is a gem. My wife that is NOT a guitar player (and therefore do not pay too much attention to instruments) said that it is as beautiful as a jewel. It really looks like a 2K+ guitar and the golden hardware gives a very classy style. I am not sure if the hardware will peal or stain with the time, but even if it happen I think that it will just give it a more Vintage look. Differently from my Les Paul, this guitar came exceptionally well set. Very low action out of the box and no fret buzz. I just had to tune it and play. I am not planning to touch anything on it and won't allow a luthier gets close to her unless it starts to buzz or something bad happen to her.
She is just perfect. The neck is very smooth and I can play it for at least three times I would in my LP before to get my fingers strained. I am not sure if someone in the store has set her up before shipping, but I believe NO, so probably it is a factory set up. Congratulations, Hofma guys! The shape is extremely comfortable and the guitar is as light as a dreadnought guitar. // 9
Reliability & Durability: I am not used to hollow body electric guitars, so it looks like to be very fragile to me and deserves to be handle gently. Maybe I am wrong. Anyway, since my interest is only in recordings at my home studio I believe that I never will get the chance to climb a stage with her, so it is not a real concern to me. If I would take in consideration how well built it is I am confident that it will last for a long time and will bring to me a lot of joy. As any musical instrument, I think that she wouldn't feel happy if I drop it on the ground though. // 8
Overall Impression: I play all sort of music, but mainly pop, rock and Indie and it fits perfectly my style. As I have mentioned before, probably my Les Paul will be forgotten for some time, as this gem does all that the LP does and MORE. I was thinking on buying a Stratocaster guitar but after to hear this babe I really have to consider if it will worst. Maybe I will just swap my LP humbuckers by a pair of GFS Mean 90! Anyway, I am very happy and more than satisfied with this purchase and strongly recommend this guitar for anyone that needs a flexible guitar capable of spitting out all kind of tones, from a classy lady to a fierce b-tch! If it would stolen, I would surely buy another one! // 9