Price paid: £ 450
Purchased from: Park Music
Sound — 8
Before I got this guitar I was playing nothing but metal, strictly rhythmic palm muted dirty awesome metal. And it's this guitar that started to increase my horizons as a musician... Now, I'm able to play everything from dirty blues licks to full on metal shred. And it all sounds great. This guitar has Really close strings, so forces you to be ridiculously clean with your playing. Get this guitar and within a month your picking accuracy will have increased tenfold. In terms of amps I'm mostly playing it through a crappy, ancient Line 6 30 watt spider amp, so the tone ain't even close to awesome. But as soon as you plug into any decent quality valve amp... Awesomeness ensues. I play this in the live environment through a Peavey 6505+ and I've never heard anything better without paying almost a grand more. Rich, full and bright sound. Easy harmonics, the cleanest clean and full clean distortion too. The only fall down on the sound I've ever experienced is that the pickups have a nasty habit of feeding back on any sort of noticeable volume. Nothing that can't be solved without a decent noise gate.
Overall Impression — 9
Perfect for hard rock, looks the part and plays the part but can play everything from jazz to death metal. I've been playing for 5 years, I've played this through crappy (line 6 spider 30) to amazing amps (Peavey 6505+) and it always delivers, plug in a Tube screamer and I can't find any faults. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy a Gibson Les Paul because I have more money now, but for someone without much resources. Buy This Guitar. I love the finish, it looks like something that would be played by the guys out of Black Stone Cherry or some other US southern hard rock band. Fave feature is probably the pickups mounted onto the body directly, sounds so good. The other competitor when I was buying this was a Dean Hardtail, for pretty much the same price, the HardTail was by no means a bad guitar, it just never felt right when played next to this. I wish it had volume and tone for both pickups... But nothing is perfect and I can live without it!
Reliability & Durability — 10
I gig with this guitar weekly no backup, all I keep with me is a pack or two of extra strings. Hardware has had no problems, it's all made by solid, reliable and time tested companies. I replaced my strap buttons with Jim Dunlop Strap locks, no problems there, easy job. Finish is solid, slight road rash but to be honest I think it makes her look better.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I got my guitar set up for free buy the local shop I bought it from, they did an expert job. Ridiculously low action with no buzzing at all. Flawlessly beautiful finish, nothing like some of these really tacky paid jobs you see on guitars in the same price range. The only problem I've experienced with this guitar was the buzzing of the pots, and all that needed doing was a good clean... Then it was all good.
Features — 9
Scale/ Frets: 24-3/4 scale.22 medium/jumbo frets. Wood: Mahogany neck/ Ebony fretboard makes for a smooth, fast and yet still chunky feel. Mahogany body and flame maple finish. Hardware: Grover tuners, SWC rockfeild pickups w/ coiltaps, mounted direct onto the body for "extra sustain". Tune-o-matic bridge. All chrome finish. Electronics: 1 tone knob, 1 volume knob and a 3 way pickup selector. What a great guitar! It's solid, heavy, chunky and great for all sorts of jazz, blues, rock, hard rock and metal. For the money your paying you could go ALOT worse off, tanks any Epiphone IMO in terms of tone and playability. Coil taps are versatile enough so that you can get any sound your after, the whole range of tones is available.