A Solid Value
I own this guitar in a left handed, vintage sunburst version. Overall, I am very pleased with it, and am satisfied with the quality for the money. Here is my short review:
This guitar has a unique sound, and which is very flexible and usable in numerous musical settings. The pickups are good quality, better than I expected, actually, and I would urge you to listen to them side by side with any potential replacement before spending the money. they have a solid humbucker sound, with a little more clarity and treble than you get out of the a les paul with the same pickups. They will overdrive a tube amp without problem, but you need the volume up just a little higher, if that is what you are going for. Overall the guitar offers beatiful, clear tone, and good note definition. I purchased the guitar to play jazz, so I actually have been working to get a little more brown, woody tone from the guitar. Being left handed, affordable options are few and far between. I replaced the neck pickup with a 57 classic. This gives a slightly warmer tone with a little more output than the Epiphone pickups. Frankly, with flatwound strings and the 57 classic the bottom end just thunders, and I have had to roll back the bass control, and give the guitar a little more treble, to keep things under control. When you back off a little, though, and let the tone come through, the guitar just sings, and coupled with a tube amp gives you great dynamics with a very sweet, warm tone. Very nice, overall.
I wanted to address this separately, because I think the guitar really shines in this area. The neck is among the best that I have played. It has a Gibson feel and radius, but the whole package, when set up right, is just dialed in and plays great. The fretwork is very good on my guitar, and I have a pleked gutiar to compare it to. The action, after the sweetwater set up, is amazing. Very low, with almost no buzzing anywhere on the neck. It is great for jazz chord work, and, before I put the flatwounds on it, was very comfortable for bending strings.
The guitar body is also very comfortable and nice to play. I like it the size and shape better than the Ibanez that is similar. Some people have complained that the head stock is too large. I personally like it very much, and find it both aesthetically pleasing, and well balanced. The tuners are gold Grovers, and they work great. All of the hardware seems pretty decent quality, and I have had no issues with the tone or volume nobs, they work as they should.
Overall the finish work is very good quality. The finish itself is very well applied, and I would call it flawless. The body binding is also well done. The f hole binding is not perfect in terms of thickness or finish, but it is not so bad that it is noticeable.
the inlay work on the headstock is very well done. Where things get a little wonky on my guitar is the fretboard inlays. The fretboard itself is a very nice piece of rosewood. They inlays, however, sometimes have a little too much space which has been filled between the inlay and the fretboard. Not a big deal, but I can see the filler outline, and you do not have this on a 3K Gibson. Of course, this is not a 3K guitar, so no big deal. Finally, one of my inlays is not perfectly even between the two frets. Most people would probably never even notice these issues, but it is enough for me to get it 4 instead of five stars. On the one hand, there are many far more expensive guitars if you are able to pay for that level of quality. On the other hand, there are other, far cheaper chinese guitars, and this is towards the high end of even the epiphone line, so it is not unfair to ask for a higher level of fit and finish than on a guitar that looks the same, but costs several hundred dollars less.
If nothing else, this guitar is worth the price because the neck feels and plays like a gibson, which is what Eiphone can offer that other similar guitars cannot. That, plus a very fine tone, make this a great guitar overall.