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Epiphone Chet Atkins SST
Jul 10, 2002 (Updated Jul 10, 2002)
Review by xrisj
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:plays well. Well built, 1/3 the cost of the Gibson CA SST
Cons:No recessed controls, OHSC is extra cost. No top strap button.
The Bottom Line: I doubt there is anything to compete with it in the price range. If you need high volume acoustic, this is the guitar.
I was recently in the market for a Gibson Chet Atkins SST. I got tired of seeing shows with great players getting really good acoustic sound and they being able to add crunch, etc. with no feedback at higher levels; I wanted to do this as well. They were all using a Chet Atkins SST model from Gibson. Do to financial issues, I was not able to get my Gibson Chet unless I traded in another guitar - this was something I was not willing to do, so I started looking at alternatives to save money. That's when I found the Epi Chet.
Recommend this product?
I played 2 of them at a local shop. One was a used older sunburst with the fake sound hole. It sounded awesome, but played poorly. The second was a new Ebony SST. It played really well, but sounded poor. The dealer put a new set of strings on it for me, and after some quick adjustments with the tone and volume controls, I got a decent enough sound. So I bought it.
After a few hours on the guitar at home, I've decided that this is an excellent purchase. The instrument is very well balanced and constructed. The set neck is mahagony (as is the body) with a nice piece of rosewood for the fretboard, not a cheap #2 or #3 quality board. The top is maple, though I suspect a thin veneer only. The frequency sweep on the tone control is generous, giving a varied tone ability, though the top 30% of the tone range is unusable as it makes the guitar so bright as to be harsh on the ears. In adition, as I like a "warm" acoustic tone, I found the sweet spot is very limited to the lower 5% of the tone control. While it sounds great to me at that setting, I'd prefer a more usable tone range. I've heard this is how it is on the Gibson models as well, though I can't confirm this. The tone and volume controls are mounted on the side of the guitar in the front. These are very long knobs, and seem to offer the potential to get caught on things if you're an active performer like I am. These should at the very least have lower profile knobs. the older model I played had gold knurled knobs that were half of the height; They should have stayed with these. A set of aftermarket knobs will easily correct this.
I was also surprised to find that there is no top strap button, much like a traditional accoustic. As this instrument is designed for the Non-traditional acoustic (r.e. electric) player, this seems to be a cheap oversight on Epiphone's part. That said, this is easily corrected.
The balance and feel of the guitar is exceptional for a lower priced instrument. Playability is excellent, and so far tuning is good. The new strings seated quickly and the gears in the machine heads are responsive and easy to turn. The finish is good quality, though I found some flaws at the neck joint.
Overall, I don't have too many hours on the guitar, but so far I think it's an exceptional value. Certainly priced so everyone can have a high-volume acoustic for stage work. It might also be a good piece of the traditional singer-songwriter. Go play one..
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