- Sep 28, 2021
- Reaction score
- Kami-Ikebukuro, Japan
1299 msrp according to the Epi websiteAll korina, no veneers, and Burstbuckers? Awesome. Do we know how much these things will cost yet?
1299 msrp according to the Epi website
I know. A mahogany Gibson flying V or explorer is around 1700.. The Epi prices are getting up there a bit.IIRC a few years back you could get a brand new Gibson for this amount of coins.....
I LOVE Explorers but given the fret problems that all the mid-tiered / high-end Epiphone models I bought had, I'm certainly not ready to drop €1300 into an Epiphone knowing I would probably have to add €200 for professional levelling, crowning and polishing on top of it.1299 msrp according to the Epi website
Yep, the B2 Flying V goes for about that price when on sale. I think I mentioned this in the past - even when I ordered the Prophecy V, it ended up being around the same price (but I got a case as well).IIRC a few years back you could get a brand new Gibson for this amount of coins.....
Interestingly enough, the only Epiphones that needed nothing more than a fret polish (and one of them also nededed a change of tuning machines) were the two set net models that I got - both Epi Special I - which didn't have any "light hump" on the fretboard. Moreover, they had actual medium jumbo frets and shared a really nice C neck profile that I preferred to the slim taper D that both my Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro and the Casino Coupe had.
I still really appreciate Epiphone for its lovely and unique designs (Casino Coupe hollowbody, Wildkat, DC Pro, Wilshire, etc...), but certainly NOT for its guitars' frets quality, its lack of decent quality control and its price increases.
I think the all Korina body and neck jacks the price up as well.
It's unfortunately that the fret work stuff does happen sometimes and there's really not much of an excuse for that. I rarely purchase online, and that solves a lot of those problems so for me, the worse (from the post 2019 line-up) has only been the occasional fret here and there - nothing that a few quick passes with a fret-kisser couldn't fix. Same with the three way selector. Even though it's an easy fix, it's not one of those things that they should expect people to have to do esp for new and out of the box instruments. Do you purchase your guitars through Thomann? Just curious whether they check any of this stuff before shipping. One thing to note though, is that some of the models you mentioned were from the pre-2019 line-up. I do think they have improved, albeit slightly only, the fretwork since then.
I only got Harley Bentons from Thomann as it is their in-house brand. They told me over the phone that no, they did not have time to open the boxes and check them before they shipped them, so you basically depend on the quality control that was made by the Asian factory.
That said, I've been very lucky with them. My best Harley Benton had jumbo frets which were perfect, nicely polished. The fretboard was rounded on the edges. The fretwire is much better quality than Epiphone's too. It is super comfortable. That guitar came from Indonesia. Could it be from Cort? I've been really lucky with Indonesia-built Cort guitars (my Squiers were made there too). I've been less lucky with a Cort acoustic that was made in China which had the same light hump where the fretboard meets the body and vintage frets and which had to be worked on by a luthier.
My first Epiphones were from a local shop which had a decent selection - understand a few Les Pauls with nice tops in different colors and one SG - all with humbuckers. I also bought my wonderful first Squier strat there.
But they never had more than one guitar per model, so it was impossible to try several and get the best one (it seems to always be the case in my region. Real estate is super expensive here, so most shops don't stock more than one guitar of each model and they have a very small selection).
The Epiphones came with bad frets from the factory but I didn't realise it at the time because I was a total beginner. I started taking lessons and after a few years I started to go beyond the 12th fret and to learn bending because I'm a Slash fan.
That is when I realised my Epiphones had frets problems - after the guarantee period had expired. I think that is exactly why Epiphone gets away with it. They are mostly bought by beginners.
I tried to take one of them back to the shop anyway, but the shop was closed during the lockdowns. Unfortunately it has never reopened since.
I got my Epi Les Paul Special I from Zoundhouse Dresden in Germany because it was the only shop that imported them in Europe.
As to my red Casino Coupe, it was bought last year for my birthday so post 2019. My family chipped in as it was an expensive purchase for us. It was super hard to find. There were none in my country. I phoned shops in other regions as well, they always got confused with the bigger Casino that they always had in sunburst only (!).
I asked remaining shops from my region (it's the region of the capital of my country so there are a few music shops left) if they could order one for me. I added I wanted a red one with good frets only. They answered that Epiphone had a terrible backlog and that they did not trust them as to delivery dates and quality control - in fact they were still waiting for the delivery of what they had already ordered one year ago which is why they wouldn't order anything from them again. They offered totally different brands and guitar models instead (Prodipe and Sire mostly).
I phoned Gibson in the USA (I spoke to a very nice man over the phone). He phoned the Epiphone factory in China which answered that they had no idea when they would be able to make more Casino Coupes as they had so many pre-ordered, paid for and belated Les Pauls to build first. Gibson told me to consider the Casino Coupe was no longer available.
Thomann didn't have that guitar either, so in the end I bought it from a small mom and pop store in Germany near the border which had one remaining Casino Coupe in stock. Unfortunately the guitar came with bad frets. I asked if I could return it. At first they said no, because bad frets were too common with Epiphones that they were considered normal.
As a consequence, I took my guitar to my luthier.
Then the German shop changed its mind and said I could return it after all but that was too late, my luthier had already worked on it.
That has left a bitter taste in my mouth, and my family was also disappointed.
I think if you could try several guitars of the same model it could be interesting to get an Epiphone, otherwise it wouldn't really be worth it, especially at €1300.
That sounds like a very bad experience and I'd probably be very disinclined to continue buying Epiphones had I gone through the same thing. For the V, I'd definitely not spend the equivalent of $1299 without trying it first. The thing is that not many brands make (or can legally make) a Korina '58 V with this aesthetic package - esp. after all the legal shenanigans that have occurred over the last decade. And the fact that it's a fairly niche look - it's one of those designs that Epiphone's pretty much cornered in the affordable range. Otherwise, its basically a $2~3k+ guitar once you start going Momose or other boutique makers. The Gibson one is basically unobtainium at this point...
The old ones were nice too! Just that even those aren't that easy to find for a good price (either that or in really good condition). Korina Vs and Explorers seem to always be quite popular.Just have to say: I finally decided to give my 2017 Ltd. Ed Korina V to a luthier friend of mine to get the frets leveled. It wasn't truly bad by any means, but there was that little notch that I couldn't sort out myself, and man - is it now a great guitar!
Ok, so I have spent a little money on it. Tonerider Alnico IV pickups (Really good pickups at an affordable price), CTS pots and Emerson cap and new knobs, of course. Faber ABRM bridge. I have loved the sound of this thing from when I swapped the electronics, pickups and bridge, but there was always this thing I couldn't get right with the neck and frets, so I considered getting rid of it, but now it plays and sounds just great!
I'll probably swap the toggle switch some day, but for now, it works ok.
This guitar now owes me about 800 dollars. Ok, it's got a 3-piece body with veneer on front and back, a scarf joint headstock, but it's very light weight and sounds magnificent, and there are still some hundred dollars to go compared to the new series.
The new ones might be worth it, though. Especially with that case.