Epiphone Flying V – ’58 Reissue – Review – 19/12/2017

First released in 1958 as part of the modernist series, which included the Flying V, Explorer, and Moderne (Never Released), the Flying V was a radical design introduced by Gibson to compete with the other solid bodied guitars that were gaining popularity at the time.

The model we are reviewing is the Epiphone reissue version of that first release, initially so radical that it did really catch on with most players of the time.

Early adopters of the V were players such as Albert King and Lonnie Mack, Jimmy Hendrix was also seen to occasionally swap his Stratocaster for one. Later in time many heavy metal acts adopted them for their aggressive looks.

The V also inspired other manufacturers such as Dean and Jackson to create their own versions of this iconic instrument.

Specifications

The V is made of solid Korina wood both for the neck and body. Korina is also known as African Limba and is a sub-species of Mahogany to which it is quite similar in appearance aside from having a slightly lighter colouration.

This V sports a rosewood fingerboard, onto a Korina neck which is glued onto the body. The neck has a slim taper profile. All hardware is gold plated, the bridge being a tune’o’matic item with the classic V shaped string through body tailpiece and Kluson style sealed tuners.

In the electronics department, full size 500k potentiometers are used with one volume for each pickup and a master tone. The 3 way toggle switch is placed quite near the volume knob which could mean accidental contact for some, although I have not yet encountered this problem. As for the pickups these are two Alnico Classic humbuckers which Epiphone say are styled after PAF items. The output jack is front facing and has a protective plastic ring.

Fit & Finish

For a mid-range guitar this V is very well made. There are no discernible flaws on view and the fret work is smooth and well finished. The pickguard is cut carefully with no extra burring occasionally seen on some import models. The tuners also seem to be quality items. The rosewood does not seem to be of the highest quality with a few white marks on the wood but this is acceptable on a guitar within this price range, I would think it would clean up in any case. The electronics seem solid but as always with import guitars this might be the first upgrade to save up for. The setup/intonation wasn’t quite right out of the box but a restring and adjustment soon sorted that out.

Sounds & Playability.

The V has quite a unique sound it’s hard to describe, but I would say it’s similar to an SG but harder with more bite. The guitar plays well with its slim taper neck, and even with the unusual shape it can be played sitting down thanks to its lower rubber grip pad.

Clean it sounds warm and can take distortion and overdrive very well. I tested it with a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amplifier and a Boss Waza Craft SD1-w (which we also reviewed) and was quite impressed at the sound and tone. Also noticeable is that the pickups are quite hot with noticeably more volume than my Gibson SG 61 RI for example.

Summary

A great looking and performing guitar. Please see our video demo for further details.

By Ernest H Slade
www.gear-review.co.uk