'Inspired by Gibson' Epiphones — First Impressions. And stuf Jul 13, 2021 15:47:40 GMT ocarolan, grayn, and 5 more like this
Post by andyhowell on Jul 13, 2021 15:47:40 GMT
Inspired by grayn 's recent post I found a decent chunk of time today to use to visit BVirmingham's Guitar Guitar and check these out.
The 'Inspired by Gibson' guitars are all made of solid woods in Epiphone's Malaysian production facility. Currently there is a J200 clone, A Hummingbird Clone and two 'J45's' in the collection, one a cutaway.
The store was quiet and the acoustic guy grateful for some company. He told me the "inspired' line was flying off the shelves. They had sold out but then he managed to find a J45 custom and I sat down to play.
The guitar has a very decent finish, a wonderful sunburst, rosewood fingerboard and a built-in Fishman system and preamp which I was told was pretty decent. The only thing I didn't like were the machine tuners but then I don't like these on Gibsons either. The guitar was somewhere around £600.
When I strummed the guitar I almost fell off my chair. This was a big sound and it seemed more dynamic than a J45. The balance across the strings was excellent and it was loud! I played it in folk and country styles and in country blues/ragtime. The more that I played it the more I recognised that it was part of the J45 family. I worked out that the initial sound I heard was really that this was a spanking new guitar with no playing in at all. However, I reckon that over a couple of months this would open up wonderfully. Out of curiosity I put the guitar into DADGAD, not something I usually associate a J45 with — ti more than adequately held its own.
Playability might be an issue for some as this has a big, chunky, traditional neck which gives a lot of space for the fingers up around the nut. It is not for everyopne but then I guess most J45 players don't go much below the 5th fret.
If this is what your budget can stand don't hesitate to check these out as they are phenomonal guitars even before you consider the price. If you are a J45 owner who plays live this might make for a good stage substitute.
My only issue with it was that the action was too high for me but a good setup is always recomended and will see you alright. There is nothing to dislike with this guitar at twice the price.
It was still quiet so the sales guy suggested I try out the Masterbuilt Texan. This is J45 with an Epiphone headstock and logo on the pickguard. These are built in the Montana factory. Again the finish was superb. The neck was a litte slimmer than the Asian guitar. The sound was a little more mature but I suspect this is to do with production and that this difference would quickly disappear. It comes in at £2.5K and is every bit a J45. If you fancy yourself as more a Wizz Jones than a Ralph Mctell (well somebody must) this may well be the guitar for you. Was this £2K better a guitar? No, not really.
The sales guy was keen for me to try other guitars, particularly a Martin 0-15 (all Mahogany) instrument. Apparently they can only get these now as a custom order. It cost £1500. Apoogies for anyone who has one of these but this one was shit! Compare this bling to an 'inspired' guitar and I reckon there would only be one result. A 000-15 didn't move me either. A small bodied Lowden — all Walnut S — was a far better guitar of this type but then it should be at £7K.
Like Cormier I am a bit stumped by what Gibson are doing but then in the USA 'Made in the USA' carries with it a real premium. And as leoroberts wpuld say it has to have Gibson on the headstock, understandable given the history and culture of this guitar. But if £600-700 is your price range there is no need to feel in anyway inferior!
I also bought a few packets of the new D'Adarrio X strings and will report back.