Monday, December 22, 2014

New Guitar Day: Christmas Edition

It's that time of year again.  Time for gifts and all that fun stuff.  But I decided to give a gift to a most special person in my life.... me.  I'm so good to me. 

But all funny (or unfunny) jokes aside, there was a type of guitar that I had been wanting for a long time.  I had always wanted a Les Paul style guitar with P-90's in it.  Getting a Gibson was out of the question due to price, so I turned to Epiphone.  They made (they just stopped making it) a version of the 1956 Les Paul that only came in Gold or Black.  I honestly wasn't too crazy about it.  Gold guitars do nothing for me, and black guitars show every fingerprint and spec of dust that comes near them.

So a few of the members on the Dean Guitars and Seymour Duncan forums had spoken about how much they liked Agile Guitars.  The factory that Epiphone used to have their Les Pauls made in was now making the guitars for Agile.  Just to be clear, Epiphone moved their production to an Epiphone only factory in China.  The factory in South Korea, where the Agiles and other guitars are made, has been making guitars for decades, and with the new CNC machines they have been doing a great job.

So I look through their offerings.  Honestly, their website is a bit cheesy, but their inventory looks pretty good.  Then I see it.  A Les Paul style guitar in a root beer finish with a flame maple veneer.  It also had P-90 pickups.  I knew I had to have it, so I got it with a tweed style case.  This one was the last one left.  I was aiming to wait a few weeks to get it, but I couldn't take the chance that I would miss out on buying it.

I had some Seymour Duncan P-90's from a previous project that I never got around to using.  So once I did a set-up, I installed the pickups.  I used the SP-90-2 for the neck, and the SP-90-3 for the bridge.  The neck pickup has an almost piano like quality to it.  The bridge pickup just sounds like a bigger P-90.  Due to it's specs, I was hoping for a distortion like pickup, but it just sounded bigger.  I was expecting it to have a bigger bottom end, but it was actually pretty balanced. 

The funny thing is that I have an Epiphone Les Paul plain top pretty close to this color.  They call it honeyburst.  It has a bit of honey color in the middle, but the rest of the burst is root beer color.  So they look like twins.  The Epiphone has humbucker pickups in it. 

I will say that the Agile has a few upgrades from the Epiphone.  It has some sort of ebony fretboard instead of rosewood.  It also has a type of graphtech like saddles on the bridge.  The only thing that was not as good or better than the Epiphone was the three way switch.  They used one of the ones that makes a "clinking" sound when switched. 

What's weird is that even the necks are almost identical on them.  The weight is about the same too.  I may have to do a second blog showing the two of them together.  Just to show just how much alike they are.

So if you are thinking about an Epiphone type guitar, check out Agile Guitars at Rondo Music online.  They have a bunch of different types of guitars, so you can find something you like.  The good news is that they sell direct to customer so they are cutting out the middle man.  My guitar cost 60% of what an Epiphone guitar would have, and the Agile is better quality.  Also, the hardshell cases are about half of what a case would run you at Guitar Center.  So take a peek, and see if you find something you like.

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