Before I ordered this guitar, I tried Ibanez, Aria, Yamaha, and Takamine in the range of up to $350. I chose the Epi for it's consistent sound (I tried several of this model), and price. I think I ended up with a superior beater! Actually, I waivered on this review, almost giving it 5's across the board, based on price/performance ratio. However, there are some fine machines out there that truly rate the top rating. Honestly this isn't one, but it is one hell of a buy for a hundred and a half!
Model Year: 2002
Price: $150.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Musician's Friend
Made in Korea with a spruce top and mahogany bottom, this fiddle features 20 frets (14 reachable), a shiny ebony finish, and a piezo pickup with passive electronics, jumbo body, standard accoustic shape. Bridge is standard accoustic, non-adjustable. Tuners are encased, with Epiphone stickers.
Out of the box, this guitar was set up extremely well. Action as low as I have seen on most accoustics, and no fretbuzz whatsoever. For the price, this is the finest I have seen anywhere. It is stamped "2nd" on the back of the headstock, and it was advertized as "refurbished." This may be why the setup was so super?
I play it unplugged mostly, or using a direct box through my PA. It's not a Martin, Ok, or a Taylor. I bought it for a beater, and its playability and sound ended up far exceeding my expections. Again, this is an inexpensive guitar. I probably wouldn't do an entire accoustic gig with it, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it in a band setting for songs requiring an accoustic.
I haven't had this guitar for a long time. The construction seems to be flawless, as is the finish. I live in the greater New Orleans area, where the humidity rarely drops below 70% and both temp and humidity are controlled in my house. I have another Epiphone with pretty much the same hardware, and I have had no problems, so I don't expect any with this one.