8/21/2016

2014 Epiphone ES-175 Premium Hollowbody Electric Guitar





Update: This was purchased, enjoyed, but ultimately returned recently due to a possible truss rod rattle under the fingerboard. When it came back I checked it out thoroughly and found 1) an overtone rattle behind the nut which I addressed (nut slot was slightly misshapen), 2) the pickups were rattling when they were lowered away from the strings (so I added foam at their sidewalls under the mounting rings to keep them in place), and 3) some rattling noise once in a while from the wiring inside if I held the guitar just-so and played hard. Admittedly, that's going to happen with any hollowbody that has electric guitar hardware on it. So -- no issues. Back to the original post...

Epi promotes these import guitars as "faithful reissues" of the legendary (and beloved) Gibson ES-175 of the 50s. At $850-900 new, these will get you in the same ballpark in tone, looks and feel (with some nice modern features), but they're certainly not like an original on a number of levels. Fit and finish is good and the construction is sound, though the finish on this example is a satin spray (compared the gloss on the originals) and the overall build is a little lighter than an old Gibson ES-175 and has a bit less acoustic vibe/volume off the bat.

This one appeared on my doorstep for resale in as-new condition in a new, Roadrunner hard case. It even still had the plastic wrap on the pickguard (before I removed it). The sticker on the back of the headstock says this was inspected and "setup" in the US, but it was almost certainly not setup. I did that bit -- adjusting the intonation at the bridge, setting the truss, and taking the nut slots down a bunch. It now plays effortlessly (1/16" action ADGBE and 3/32" low E at the 12th fret) and is strung with a wound-G set of electric 11s.


Like the originals, the body is hollow and made from ply maple.


The headstock has pearl inlay and the board has pearloid inlay. All the detail work is well-done and well-fit and the truss works nicely. This has the usual 1 11/16" Gibson nut width and a fast, modern electric-feeling shallow C-shaped neck profile. The scale is 24 3/4" just as the Dr. ordered.




The surprising bit on this guitar is that the pickups are US-made "Gibson 57 Classic" humbuckers. They sound nice and chunky -- though I have to admit I'm much more of a P90 fan. I do adore the sound of the neck pup on this, though -- it's great for those closed-position 7ths.


The bridge is a standard adjustable Gibson-style unit. Unlike the originals, Epi has chosen to add locator pins to the bottom of the bridge so that it doesn't move around on the player. While this insults the intelligence of tinkering-folks "in the know," it's a very practical addition for the average player who has no intention of moving that bridge around.


The silver-faced, gold knobs look good on this one and the "position" indicators are nice.





Kluson-style units with keystone buttons give a good, vintage look.







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