King Loudness 12/31/2011

Epiphone Sheraton II : King Loudness's user review

« Decent guitar, cheap electronics »

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The Epiphone Sheraton II is based on the original Epiphone design that was highly popular in the sixties and seventies. The core inspiration is an ES335 by Gibson, but the Epiphone does have a vibe that's all its own. It features a maple body and neck with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, gold hardware, a tune-o-matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece, and a pair of Epiphone humbuckers based on Gibson '57 Classics. They're primarily made overseas... I have seen Korean models as well as some newer ones that are made in China.


The design is reasonably ergonomic I would say. It is definitely not a light guitar, but considering that it's maple with a solid block running through it, that's not a shock. For being a 335 type guitar the ergonomics are fine. The shape can be a bit big for some people, but if you're standing up and playing this is less noticeable. The upper fret access isn't bad, but it really is nothing to write home about due to the stubby cutaways and the typical Gibson style neck heel. Getting a good sound out of this guitar is easy enough. The stock pickups aren't really worth anything, but they do a passable job at covering various styles to my ears.


The downfall with semi hollow guitars is that they can be difficult to rewire or replace the pickups in if the user isn't a fan of the pickups that are in the guitar. Unfortunately Epiphone's pickups are less than stellar in this case, and I find them to be a bit muddy and dull. You can get some nice jazz or blues tones through a clean amp, but they're not as crisp or punchy as I'd like. The drive tones really don't do much for me as the pickups are just out of their element and tend to feed back. When you do tame them, the sound is still dull and a bit lifeless, so it's not the most inspiring tone. You could swap the pickups for Gibson '57s or some Duncans, but that would require a fair bit of work to rewire, so you'd have to decide if that was worth it. It sounds okay with the stock pickups, but really not good enough to spend $650 on the guitar.


All in all I think the Epiphone Sheraton II is a decent semi hollow body guitar for those who are looking for something upscale without spending a fortune. The stock electronics are pretty bad, but the quality of the guitar is decent and the feel is very nice. At $650 new I'd be inclined to get something cheaper like an Epi Dot and replace the pickups to get a better tone, as the sounds out of this guitar plugged in don't really make me want to get out my wallet and buy.