Price paid: $ 449
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 4
The intention with this guitar is to be able to easily travel with it. So that's what I'm going to gear my review opinions around. There is not as much physical mass to the guitar body as you'd find in a regular solid body. As part of this, the tuners are built into cut-outs in the body to maximize the size - removing more wood. Out of the box it sounds "good" through a clean channel but only "alright" through a lead channel. The humbucker seems pretty poor in sound quality. And for the price of the guitar I would have expected something better. The problem is the pickup doesn't match the sound the guitar can make. It's very thin, very bright and almost tinny through an amp with any amount of gain. Through headphones it's a bit better. The built-in amp will get you by (and amazingly doesn't sound half bad through a clean-only amp). The humbucker was so poor sounding that I replaced it within a week. I wish I wouldn't have chosen a pickup as HOT as I did - a Seymour Duncan SH6, but it's so much better than stock. I would recommend something much more Vintage for this guitar, maybe even a PAF. Sitting in an airport I can pull out headphones and jam while waiting. And similarly at hotels I can play it cranked through headphones without any chance of disturbing the neighbors. I play it acoustically a LOT of the time. You know, just sitting on the couch while watching football or something like that. I keep it in my office and have played it unplugged for many months. Recently I picked up a Vox Mini3 battery powered amp and it works great with this sort of set up. It loves a modelling amp - and again, the clean sounds really really good, especially with a new pickup. I'm rating this low because of the out-of-box tone. But keep in mind, you're not buying this kind of guitar for tone. You're buying it to have a small, light guitar that you can easily carry.
Overall Impression — 8
I play all sorts of genres and this guitar is great for all of it. You've got a full-sized neck and a comfortable body, all in very small package. From a form perspective, what's not to love? What this guitar needs to be a real "star" is replacement of the pickup, bridge and tuners. I don't mind the soft finish because I don't care about this getting nicked & dinged. If you do care, check out the EG-1 Vintage (gold top), that finish might be a bit more durable. What I love about it is the form factor. It's just awesome for traveling and for being able to pick up and play anytime, anywhere. It's light, feels great in your hands & plays like a full-sized guitar. If I could change something I'd change the scale length. This is a 25 1/2" scale (think Fenders). I play PRS electrics and both of mine are 24 1/2" scale (think Gibson), so it would be nice if they matched up. But that's a decent problem to have. I'd honestly rather have a common scale that happens to be longer than what I'm use to, than some non-standard scale like some travel guitars have. If this were lost or stolen I'd immediately replace it with something similar (maybe the EG-1 Vintage or possibly the EG-2). But yeah, I love this thing. And despite the things I've had to replace to make it "good" it's still worth it. My recommendation would be to find one used. Some of these things might have already been swapped out, but at the very least you won't be surprised if any of the above areas are problematic.
Reliability & Durability — 5
The finish on this model (Mahogany) is not very sturdy in my mind. The body surface is very fragile and will easily scratch. You could easily push a fingernail into the body and leave a permanent mark - that's how frail the finish is. With lots of playing (particularly in a live setting) this guitar will be "relic'd" quickly. Similarly, the finish on the neck is fragile. I had the guitar leaning against my couch and it started to fall. I quickly reached for it and when I grabbed it my thumb nail hit the back of the neck. There's a permanent mark & rough spot where this occurred. The finish seems to be of a wax substance (or something like that) and is easily scrapped. I've already detailed the humbucker. It may or may not have lasted, but it was such a poor specimen it required replacement immediately. The stock bridge was not very confidence inspiring. It had rollers on threads for adjustments. Fine. However, over time the rollers would move left &/or right. I noticed this first when my high E string was at the edge of the fret board in the upper registers. I recently had the bridge replaced with a Tune-O-Matic. The strap buttons are on the small side but are very solid. I like them and have no reason to believe they'll be anything but serviceable for life. The electronics seem to work excellent and I have no reason to believe they won't hold up. That being said, if I was out of town and ended up playing with others, I'd just plug into whatever amp was available - not using the on-board electronics. They're really made for headphones. It's a clever design to have the strings wrap around the body from front to back and then have the tuners "inside" the body. The tuners can't be knocked around while playing very easily and won't be bothered during travel. The only problem with this is the tuners are poor quality. I say that simply because they cannot keep the strings in tune. My local guitar tech and I are on a search for an affordable replacement set.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Out of the box the set up was poor. The strings were very high, the neck was bowed & the bridge wasn't adjusted properly. A quick trip to the luthier for a set-up (which I do on any guitar, so it doesn't really matter) and it was in great condition. This is also when I had the pickup swap done. As for fit and finish of the rest of the guitar, it was quite good. The nut didn't need much adjustment (the strings don't slide there because of the headless design it wouldn't have mattered much anyway). The "head" of the guitar is very sturdy with an aluminum section exposing the truss rod. Fretwire was in good shape and there were no unfinished or poorly finished wood, inlays, etc. Even the leather hanging strap was attached well. The neck felt very good - smooth with no hints of glue or poorly sanded edges. Same for the body. It came with strap buttons pre-installed, with felt between them and the body (nice touch). The two knurled metal knobs & three-way toggle switch (off-clean-distortion) all felt sturdy and set up properly. Ditto for the headphone, aux in & 1/4" jacks. I'm somewhat spoiled when it comes to guitars coming from the factory in excellent set-up condition. That being said, they all go to the shop anyway. And while I've never bought a guitar that was this out of shape on arrival, it doesn't take away from the overall fit & finish - which was more than adequate and made up for being poorly set up.
Features — 9
- Neck - African Mahogany - Body - African Mahogany - Fingerboard - Ebonized Rosewood - Frets - 22-Jumbo - Scale Length - 25 1/2 in. - Fingerboard Inlays - Pearloid - Neck Width at Nut - 1 5/8 in. - Body Width - 10 1/2 in. - Body Thickness - 1 5/8 in. - Overall Depth - 2 1/4 in. - Length - 29 1/4 in. - Weight - 4 lbs. 2 oz. - Pickup - Full-Size Humbucker - Hardware - Chrome 14:1 Gear Ratio (closed gear) - Electronics - Custom Pocket Rock-It Pre w/ Headphone Amp, Tone control, Clean/Distortion settings, 1/8 aux-in for mp3 player - Finish - Translucet Satin - MSRP - $642.99 (USD) The EG-1 comes with a deluxe gig-bag (nice quality), truss rod wrench, ownerfs manual, 9V battery and warranty card. It came strung with D'Addario EXL110 Nickel plated Steel Round Wound Regular Light Electric Strings. In addition to the 1/8" headphone jack and 1/8" aux-in port, the EG-1 has a standard 1/4" output that is used when wanting to amplify your guitar. The Pocket Rock-It's effects can also be used through an amplifier. NOTE: When not in use, you need to remember to turn the Pocket Rock-It headphone amplifier to the "off" position so that no battery power is wasted. One very important thing to note: It fits in airline overhead compartments. The body stile is a miniature single-cut with no head stock. It has a single pickup with volume & tone. There is no coil tap. The three-way toggle switch has off-clean-distortion for the on-board headphone amp (which can also be used with any amp).