Submitted November 1, 2011 by a customer from yahoo.com
"Modify This Great Looking Guitar and Gig on a Budget!"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Blues
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