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Epiphone Exclusive 1958 Korina Explorer Electric Guitar

Epiphone 1958 Korina Explorer Electric Guitar

Get classic looks and tone at an affordable price. The Epiphone 1958 Explorer features a Korina body with a tight grain pattern and resonant tone.

Overall User Ratings (based on 54 ratings)
Overall:
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Features:
Ease of Use:
Quality:
Value:
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The Wow Factor:
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(54)
Submitted April 5, 2017 by Wesley L in Bismarck, ND
"Second time is the charm"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I ordered the blem model 58 Korina Explorer. When it arrived, it was messed up. A huge chip the size of a fifty cent piece on the corner that would be under your arm pit. It was chipped all the way down into the wood about an eighth inch. The neck was cracked in two places at the nut. One was 75% around the neck and the other about 50%. zZounds was absolutely great on the return. I sent it back and they sent me another blem. This one was packed correctly and I even got warranty cards with it?. Out of the box, once tuned, the intonation was right on and the action was setup better than my Gibson LP Std out of the box. Plays great and especially good at frets 19-22. Sounded very crisp, better than my $2500 guitar. Pickups are a little muddy, but still sound decent. The only blem I could notice is a sanding dip between the second and third fret. It was about a 1/4" wide smooth spot. No big deal. If the first guitar would have been packed correctly, they would not have had to send a second one.
Musical Background:
Played guitar for 43 years
Musical Style:
Classic rock n blues
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Submitted November 24, 2017 by shannon plaster in Princeton, WV
"a real tone machine!!!"
i have played and still own gibson guitars, and have pretty much been an epiphone snob. I aquired this explorer on a trade. The guitar was only a few months old.Seemed to need a little tweeking with truss rod, which i done myself. After that, wow!!! this thing plays/sounds awesome!!! Not to mention the looks. the tone of this thing is unrivaled. pups are very good. Although front and back are veneer, it is still solid korina, just more than one piece, I never thought i would love a guitar made in china.That being said, it made me curious about les paul models. so, in short, i went from not owning any epiphones, to owning three in a very short time lol!! they have really uped their game. this is a ltd run on these explorers, in fact, proabablly what is in stores now is it. If you are considering buying one, DO IT!!! You will not be disappointed epiphone is making great guitars for the money.
Musical Background:
30 yrs experince
Musical Style:
rock metal
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Submitted March 2, 2018 by Füzzy Müzzle in El Paso, TX
"Clean tone, fast action"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
The guitar came setup better then my Gibson's do. The action and incantation were perfect (my perfect, 1.5mm and 2 mm on the 12th fret). As soon as it came in I checked all the settings and they were spot on. So from there I plugged it into my 6505 and got a perfect sounds. Other reviews say you can't get a Metallica sound so I tried. With the low/high around 7 and the mid at 3-4 on the Peavey it's pretty damn close. I write a lot of thrash and speed metal and this stands up to my Gibson flying V easy. I might get the matching korina V I like this so much. The volume volume tone knob is nice to. I usually only like a single tone and single volume but it's nice to keep one pickup lower volume for clean intros and Bridges before the music punches you in the face! Also the body is multi layered but holds it's sustain nice. Also the pickups are as lowed as any other once the height is set. So in short it's a wicked nice axe and a wicked good price. If you're thinking about it, do it. And it having the black pick guard v. The white is WAY better for asthetics also. Very thin neck that plays quick is ****!
Musical Background:
25 year recording and performing artist
Musical Style:
Metal; thrash; speed metal; punk; ska
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Submitted December 31, 2016 by Maggie M in Cambridge, MA
"From nervous to happy"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful.
I've never ordered from zZounds before and was more than a little nervous. It's not the first time I've bought a guitar online, by any means, but I really didn't know anything about zZounds. But I really wanted a first run of this guitar and this seemed to be the last new one on the internet. Add to this the fact that buying a guitar without trying it out first is always a little nerve-wracking and... yeah. As I said, nervous. But late one night I pulled the trigger and crossed my fingers. And 2 days later it arrived, safe and sound. As for the guitar itself, it's all I'd hoped for. I've been coveting korina Explorers for decades, and this is as close to the originals as I'll ever get.
Sound
OK. First con is that the pickups are a little weak and slightly muddy. Not bad, mind you, but I'll definitely be changing them at some point (the bridge, at least, I like a mild neck pickup.) The electronics seem good enough, no crackling or scratching (something my Epiphone Les Paul Trad. Pro has a bit of), and the pickup switch seems solid.
Features
After opening the electronics cavity and looking at the body I think the following: Yes, it looks like it may be a real korina body (to my amateur eye). But, the top and back are still veneer caps and the body on mine is made from about 5 pieces. So it's 'solid' but not 'single'. I'm still OK with it as it's beautiful. The only blemish I could find was on the lower butt where it appears to have been sat in the rack while the clear coat was still soft. But you'd have to look to find it.
Ease of Use
It came set up very well with a nice, low action and played great out of the box. I was super-surprised by that as it's cold in New England right now and this thing just went through more than a couple of long temperature changes. The frets are a little sharp-edged, but overall good. I'll probably polish them, but so far they seem nice and level with a fair crown. They're medium/jumbo and while I'd prefer jumbo, they're fine.
Quality
It feels great and looks beautiful. It plays very well and has a nice, bright sound un-amplified.
Value
This is a wonderful replica of a classic guitar and an excellent bargain. I used to own a circa 1981 Gibson Explorer and it wasn't nearly as nice as this guitar. I'm so pleased I may try to buy the companion korina Flying V.
The Wow Factor
Korina Explorers are legendary. Rick Nielsen is the reason I've coveted this iconic guitar so long and I'm happy to have something that has both the look and playability of one. I'm very happy with this purchase.
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Submitted July 20, 2020 by a customer from gmail.com
"This thing is insane"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I have owned a couple of epiphone explorers. I owned one of the ebony 58 reissues that was made around 2006 and the matching korina finish that was produced the same year. Those were great guitars but this one blows them away. Right out of the box the quality is obvious. It’s very well built and set up, didn’t have to do hardly any work to it at all to get it ready to play. Little bit of fret buzz but easily fixable. The finish is amazing. Yes, it’s a veneer, but I don’t mind at all and I think it still looks great. This version has such a deeper korina color to it and looks almost identical to the original 58s where as my 2006 one was almost yellow. Pickups are solid, may end up changing eventually but they really shine with some big muff and tube screamer. The rhythm pickup is full sounding and gets a bit muddy under heavy distortion but nothing crazy. The lead pickup really soars for solos and especially any type of rock except maybe shred metal or death metal. If you want a classic rock and roll sound, this is it. Buy this guitar, you won’t be sorry.
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Submitted July 5, 2010 by a customer from yahoo.com
"Solid Rock and Roll at a reasonable price."
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I waited a while before I wrote this because I was so blown away by the take it out of the box and use it scenario. I can see myself having this in my collection indefinitely.
Sound
Standard Epiphone pickup sound. Not bad but a little muffled a little lower clarity than the Burstbuckers or classic 57s. With that said it is definitely not bad at all. Bridge pickup screams in a good way and the neck has a good solid humbucker neck sound. All in all for the money it is a great sounding guitar.
Features
You get a cable and a wrench, not much else expected. No gig bag or case which this needs based on it's shape. Pretty standard Volume, Volume, Tone controls.
Ease of Use
It oozes rock and roll. Pickup selector in a good out of the way place plug it in and crank it up!
Quality
A 10 for an Epiphone? Yes. I have had a few people play this guitar in the few weeks I have owned it, a luthier, a collector and my buddy I jam with and they were all completely blown away with it and said they would not change a thing. I literally took the guitar out of the box and took it to band practice, no setup, no new strings nothing and it sounded and played fantastic. Fret edges are smooth and joints are clean. Only draw back is the gold, I actually like the looks but it wears off quickly, but imho it just looks more rock and roll.
Value
Well worth the money. Stock it's a rock machine if one were inclined to install a new set of pickups to match their musical tastes it would only get better.
Manufacturer Support
Hard to rate this as I have never had to deal with them after owning 3 Epiphone guitars so to me that is worth a 9.
The Wow Factor
It's an explorer, from Ricky Medlocke to ZZ-Top, Ace Frehley most rock icons have used an explorer at some point!
Musical Background:
Hobbyist
Musical Style:
Blues Rock
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Submitted June 3, 2018 by tommy clover in Horizon City, TX
"warm clean tone but can bark"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
this is my usual go to rhythm guitar for most songs that arent wicked fast. i set the action a little low and she plays really quick. shes not to heavy and has a really warm clean sound. the alnico style pickups matched with my peavey 6505 makes for a great 80/90's metal sound with a modern tinge. the sustain rings out for days. all around great guitar with tons of great features. i never it expected it to replace my les pauls or King but it has for rhythm on albums as well as live
Musical Background:
25 years playing, 10 recording, 20 years live
Musical Style:
metal, punk, thrash, speed metal
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Submitted August 3, 2018 by John C in Farmington, NM
"Very Pleased"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
This guitar is actually a fantastic Buy. It sounds plays and looks great! Read on for more.
Sound
The sound of this instrument is really good. The Alnico Pro pickups are better than expected and hot, but not too hot. It seems like Epiphone is starting to pay attention to what players have been requesting for years. Better Pickups! These have great low end tight mids and highs and are not complete garbage as some reviewers will have you believe. Once you set the heights just right they really start to sing. They remind me of a Gibson 490T but a bit brighter.
Features
Basic Gibson style features. What's not to love? Everything you need, nothing you don't. I really enjoy having a volume for each pickup but a master tone. It's the perfect setup for me.
Ease of Use
Out of the box the action, intonation, fit and finish were great. No sharp fret edges, all frets level and properly dressed. It stays in tune incredibly well. ( I can go for entire hour long sets without having to re-tune, and I am not the most light handed player)
Quality
The guitar seems to be of great quality. for it's size it's very lightweight probably around 7.5 to 8 pounds. The body is made up of multiple pieces of Korina (african limba) but you'd never know it looks amazing. The pots and switches are all great, no problems there. Hardware quality is as good as anything out there with similar features. Overall it's quality seems on par or better than some other guitars in this price range.
Value
I would say that the asking price of this instrument is fair. You get a great guitar at a semi-affordable price that performs as well as or better than others in it's range.
Manufacturer Support
Have not had to deal with them.
The Wow Factor
Looks super cool, sounds super cool, has a great vibe to it classy yet raw, one that says I'm going to drink this $150 bottle of wine from a plastic tumbler in my underwear while learning every thrash song that I can.
Musical Background:
Guitar player for over 20 years, regularly gigging musician.
Musical Style:
Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative.
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Submitted July 8, 2012 by David M in suffern, NY
"Epiphone 1958 Korina Explorer Guitar - better than expected, well worth the price"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
For the price, this is the 2nd best value in guitar I've come across, the other was a PRS SE (and not all of them are, I just happened to get a great one). All reviews of this Epi people dissed the pickups, so maybe I was expecting worse, but I like them. I have a Gibson Les Paul and love those pickups and these are voiced differently, so it is an interesting difference. They take dirt and other pedals well. The guitar looks beautiful and the Korina was finished nicely, and has a nice weight to it. The neck needed a little adjusting. The fretboard is ok, could be better, but for the price you can't expect perfection. Tuners are fine, stays in tune for me. Bridge is fine. When I got it I thought I'd invest in changing the electronics and possibly tuners, but so far I see no need to do that. If it were my main axe maybe, but if it were my main axe, then I would have spent all that extra money and gotten a Gibson.
Musical Background:
Mostly electric guitar. Played in high school but started taking it very seriously at age 47 for the last 3 years.
Musical Style:
rock, blues, prog rock, classic rock
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Submitted November 1, 2011 by a customer from yahoo.com
"Modify This Great Looking Guitar and Gig on a Budget!"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Again, as long as you mod the pickups and electronics, this is a great buy for the classic or hard rocker and I expect to play it for the rest of my life.
Sound
First, acoustically, this guitar is as loud as my Gibson Flying V, which is loud indeed. When you plug in, though, the pickups are pretty substandard. While you can get somewhat serviceable tones out of the neck and bridge positions, in the middle position it sounds boomy with little body or definition. I bought this as a project guitar anyway and replaced the pickups with a set of DiMarzio Super Distortions and upgraded the electronics. Once I did that, this thing sounds bloody sweet. So if you invest an extra $250 or so for pickups, innards and labor, you get a sound that can go from Gary Rossington on the one hand to a nice, surprisingly rich 70's and 80's hard rock or classic rock tone on the other. Unless you put EMG's into it, though, it will not do modern metal or Metallica type stuff. I find using these babies as project guitars a good alternative to spending $1400 for a Gibby Explorer.
Features
It comes with Grover tuning machines, so it will stay in tune. The color of the body, while looking kinda goldish in the vendor's photos (the stock pickups have gold covers on them, too) is actually a nice reddish brown. The wood quality, while of a lower stripe than on a Gibby, is more than good enough to get the job done. Modify this axe and you can gig with it. There have been some reported issues with the plastic nut, but not on mine since the slots were cut correctly and don't snag the strings. It will also neck dive, which isn't that big a deal since that's an easy thing to get used to compensating for. Or you can just have a tech change the strap position.
Ease of Use
The original set up from the factory was relatively high in the upper registers, making playing fast there somewhat awkward. The tech who did the pickup replacement tweaked the action for me gratis and it made a big difference in playability. Keep in mind that the factory set up from Gibson on my V was far worse, though. Few guitars come right out of the box ready to play fast on without a bit of adjustment, anyway. There is zero fret buzz, btw.
Quality
Evaluating the stock instrument, I had to dock it two stars for the substandard pickups and the cheap Korean electronics plus the high action out of the box, even at this price point. If you change them out, though, this baby can scream and becomes a definite nine or better. It is perhaps a reflection of the actual overall quality that after waiting for rather a long time for used ones to pop up on the sites of retailers I trusted none showed up, So I felt compelled to buy one new. It's a beautiful looking axe anyway.
Value
The price is low enough and the basic quality is good enough that hot rodding it is still a much more than viable proposition. And it looks killer. As a project guitar for someone who wants to gig on a budget this is a pretty solid investment. In fact, I'm thinking of buying and modding another one.
The Wow Factor
This is a great looking instrument with some pretty solid features. Epiphone could easily upgrade the pickups (for example, by putting a Duncan, or for us 70's relics, the Dimarzio SD, in the bridge) and the electronics and charge another hundred dollars and deserve to get it.
Musical Background:
Hobbyist
Musical Style:
Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues
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Submitted February 1, 2010 by a customer from charter.net
"Never to old for an Explorer!"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I don't plan on getting rid of the Explorer any time soon. Looked at a Dean Z-X which was very light but did not feel right. Peavey Rotor EX lines were a little to sharp and squared for my liking. I have played guitar on and off since I was 16 and now I'm 50. I am still just a beginner. If you are a parent and thinking of buying a guitar for your kid, don't buy a cheap guitar and don't buy one that's overly expensive. This guitar fits in a perfect niche for the beginner on up.
Sound
I play the Explorer through a 25W Fender amp, you can go from clear as a bell tones to that ZZ Top growl. Very pleased overall with the sustain, rings forever.
Features
Two volume and one tone with a 3 way switch, can't get any easier.
Ease of Use
Out of the box and all I had to do was tune it and plug it in. If you can't get the tones you want from this guitar you don't need to be playing.
Quality
Mine is Natural Korina, color is not too vibrant (good thing). Frets all feel excellent and don't shred your fingers. Gold plated mechanics are nicely done, not overly flashy.
Value
Beats my 72 Fender Tele Squire reissue. Best $500 I have spent.
Manufacturer Support
Not had to use support
The Wow Factor
I'm 50 and thought it would look out of place. Nothing further from the truth it fits and feels great. Weight is nice balance on the strap is comfortable.
Musical Background:
Is there anything below amateur?
Musical Style:
Rock, Country
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Submitted December 29, 2007 by a customer from aol.com
"Best guitar i own, and it'll stay that way."
i expect to get a les paul in a year and if it would be any better than this i would tell you. I plan to keep this baby for ever and ever. My whole family is impressed with the guitar. =)
Sound
Ok... definatly like the best sound i've heard and guitar play, or atleast any guitar i have. My main guitar that i used before this is a fender stratocaster. Sure the strat sounds beautiful but this guitar is soring high right when you play the first time. It works well with distortion and w/o. The difference between this and my strat is that my strat has single coil pick-ups and my explorer has humbuckers. Humbuckers are just 2 single coil pick-ups put together basically, hence the name; hum Bucker.
Features
It came with everything BUT a whammy bar. Personally i like this guitar with out the whammy anyways though because sometimes the whammy gets in the way or cramps the style of the guitar.
Ease of Use
WAYYYYY easier then most guitars i know of. It may be just as good as my strat. I tried this out in a store and i fell in love. I tried almost every single guitar in the freaking store and hell.. this is the easiest. (hint hint, buy it its good.) =)
Quality
No problems with anything falling off or breaking yet lol. I think this guitar is one of the best made epiphones out there and the wood that they used for it is just beautiful. ( i got natural color) This guitar is very durable but the only downside is that when you turn around, you're very liable to bump something with the huge explorer wingy thingy lol. Definatly tourable. you could easily take this on tour with you.
Value
very good value. price is great for whAT you get.
Manufacturer Support
Haven't delt with this yet.
The Wow Factor
very sexy.... hehe the girls would be all over you with this baby. Of course because it is an explorer, it will rock out loud.
Musical Background:
i am in a band at school and i made a band of rock at home. Active musician
Musical Style:
rock, meatal, alternative, and some hardcore.
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Submitted March 5, 2008 by a customer from yahoo.com
"Great Buy!!!!!!!!!"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Sound
The pickups are good and it sounds great I just wish that when you switch pickups it didn't sound like you switched guitars.
Features
There's volume and tone knobs, a pickup selector and strings, no real exiting features.
Ease of Use
the necks fast and its stock with a nice action level
Quality
its the best quility guitar I've owed, I've had it for about 2 months and the gold is already wearing away on the bridge pickup were I rest my hand though.
Value
Its worth every penny
Musical Background:
Guitarist, Co Band Manager
Musical Style:
Classic Rock
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Submitted November 7, 2017 by ronnie fisher in victorville, CA
"Saturday Night Underground product Review"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
i own a 1980 gibson explorer and several Les pauls also a epiphany Lp out of all of them the epiphone Lp plays the best its a limited edition traditional with the baseball bat neck and gibson burst bucker 11 usa pick ups so i wasn't surprised when the explorer showed up it plays very well picks will need to be changed like all epiphone's thats where the cut corners however i will say one thing about it jumped right out at me the frets are very small like a fender mustang or something my explorer and mp Lp's all have really fat jumbos don't remember ever playing a gibson that didn't have big fat frets dose play good i was surprised sharp frets no rolled over ends like the gibsons not bad package beautiful craftsmanship just swap the pickups rock on
Musical Background:
40 plus yrs
Musical Style:
rock n roll
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Submitted June 17, 2012 by a customer from sbcglobal.net
"1958 Karina Explorer"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Excellent guitar! The feel the sound of this guitar is amazing! If you play any Lynyrd Skynyrd this guitar is a must have! It was good enough for Allen Collins it will work for you too. It takes a little getting use to depending on what your use to playing. The looks alone of this guitar will blow you away. Then plugged into a good tube amp it will sing or it will scream!
Musical Background:
Playing for 20+ years. play at local clubs every weekend.
Musical Style:
Classic and southern rock
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Submitted March 5, 2021 by a customer from gmail.com
"Great guitar"
Bought one about 4 months ago..love it. I did,however, swap the pickups to dimarzio 36th anniversary.
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Submitted January 13, 2017 by Jake Walker in Indianapolis, IN
"Cool Collector Guitar"
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
I purchased this guitar from zZounds in mid December. I have been a professional musician since age 12 and have a vast knowledge of guitars and alike instruments. I bought this guitar because I have always wanted this specific guitar. The guitar arrived a few days late due to an ice storm, at no fault to zZounds. Otherwise the customer service was great. As for the instrument itself: The stock pickups are garbage. I could tell that right away once plugging it in. They are very muddy in the middle range and do not produce a very pleasant clean tone. (My live rig is a 2x12 U.S.A. Fender Hot Rod Deville). I immediately ordered a set of Seymour Duncan 59 Humbuckers and have since then replaced the stock pickups. The 59's sound HUGE in this guitar and the sustain is incredible. The pots and other wiring are fine, other than the wire connected to the tone switch is too short to put the switch in the proper direction. Unless you want a crooked switch, your forced to position it as the bridge pickup is the UP position on the switch and the neck pickup in the DOWN position, the reverse of standard positioning. This is Epiphone's fault as the wire needed to be about another half inch longer. (The pickup swap did not effect the length of the switch wire in any way). The routing inside the guitar is sloppy, along with the neck joint having a sizable gap that would not be acceptable in a higher end instrument. The neck is very flat and wide. It isn't necessarily THICK, but rather the width of the fretboard is fairly large, making the strings much further apart than that of a strat, tele, or other slim necked guitars. This has taken a good amount of getting used to as I primarily play strats and tele's. The tuners are OK, NOT GREAT. I will eventually replace them with locking tuners. They hold tune enough to play a few songs as long as you aren't doing heavy bending, otherwise they slip. ( I use Ernie Ball Beefy Slinky 54-11's). The neck is very easy to bend, I find myself having to be conscious of how hard I am gripping the neck while playing in order to not bend the guitar out of tune. I have made SEVERAL attempts at tightening the truss rod in order to help with this, but unfortunately doing so causes extreme fret buzz on the low E string. Even adjusting the bridge height and tail piece does not alleviate this issue. I had to settle for a nearly all the way loose truss rod in order to keep the action of the guitar at a reasonable level. I would recommend planning to have a fret job done to this instrument if you intend to use it regularly. Every one of the volume/tone knobs cracked when I was removing them for the first time in order to pull the pots and solder in the new pickups. I was VERY careful removing them, but they are clearly very cheap. To make all that a bit easier to follow: Sub-Par parts on this guitar: Pickups Tuners Volume/Tone Knobs Frets I also plan to put a Stetsbar system in place of the stop tail on this guitar. This will require swapping out the tuners for locking ones for sure. If you plan to use this guitar as your #1 for gigging out be prepared to spend at least an additional $200 in quality hardware (pickups/tuners). Also be prepared to have at minimum a professional setup done if you are unfamiliar with this process. I recommend a full fret job, but that is preference based. I need to also note that standard Gibson parts DO NOT fit on this instrument. (pickup housings, volume/tone knobs, pickguard, etc.) I attempted to replace some of these simple things for cosmetic appeal, only to find out that none of the common sized pieces fit on this instrument. After all this the guitar is very cool. I was aware of what I was purchasing when I placed the order. Epiphones are known to be hit or miss depending on the model. I've owned better Epiphone's and worse ones. Even after upgrading all the parts on this guitar it's still several hundred dollars cheaper than purchasing the Gibson version. So I would consider it worth the money. The previous reissue's have all appreciated in value dramatically since they were released so consider this an investment if taken care of well. Lastly I would recommend spending the extra money on the SKB explorer case, rather than purchasing the much cheaper Epiphone case made specifically for this guitar. The case is very cheap and rips super easily. I purchased it and expect it to last around 6 months of heavy use before it falls apart. Good luck everyone!
Musical Background:
professional musician since age 12. Currently 31 years old, gigging 2-3x/week.
Musical Style:
Classic Rock, Blues, rock.
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